Human Exceptionalism

Obama’s Ethically Challenged “Bioeconomy Blueprint”

Central Control has released the “National Bioeconomy Blueprint” that outlines how the sector can transform our struggling economy into soaring prosperity, and how the government-business partnership will make that happen. Perhaps, but why do I keep seeing visions of the public money vacuum Solyndra dancing in my head?

But we don’t generally do economics here at Secondhand Smoke. So, I decided to see what emphasis our “national blueprint” would place on ensuring that we maintain proper ethical parameters around technologies that could include, human cloning, genetic engineering of human, animal, and plant life, creating synthetic organisms, using embryos or fetuses for their potential healing properties, testing new bioproducts on human beings, and etc.. Surprise!  There are more Obama speech pull quotes (9) than even mentions of the word “ethics” (1) and “ethical” (1), and no meaningful discussion about that crucial issue, other than what appears to be a worrying call to “improve” weaken human subject research protective protocols (p. 31).  From the White House’s “National Bioeconomy Blueprint:”

The modification of biological organisms and construction and use of organisms not found in nature carry potential safety and security risks if misapplied, raising issues of responsible conduct including ethics, responsible use, and environmental awareness, among others. These advances raise important ethical and security issues that are also top priorities for the Administration, but go beyond the scope of this document.

Why are ethics “beyond the scope” of a national blueprint about how to develop the entire biosector? To the contrary, ethics have to be integral if we are not to lose our claim of being a moral society.

Think about it this way: Failing to detail ethical concerns about such a controversial sector is akin to the Bush Administration issuing a “Gas and Oil Shale Development National Blueprint,” and claiming that environmental protection was beyond its scope. Can you imagine the outcry? Why, people would think that environmental protection was not a serious concern to the administration, indeed, that it was merely an afterthought.

Most Popular


Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More

The Democrats Made Two Joe Biden Miscalculations

I think it's safe to say that there are many, many progressive Democrats who are more than a little surprised -- and a lot chagrined -- at Joe Biden's polling dominance. Look at FiveThirtyEight's polling roundup. Aside from a few high and low outliers, he leads the race by a solid 20 points (at least). Even ... Read More