Good grief. “Progressive” bioethicists are whining that they don’t have enough power. Nonsense. The utilitarian bioethics agenda, which is what the “progressive” bioethics movement really is, has tremendous influence in this country. Indeed, as is discussed in depth in Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, most bioethicists hew to the ideological lines of the “progressives,” which is why bioethics has ceased to be a “discourse” and become more akin to an ideology and social movement. They are just irked that Bush is in power, which has temporarily prevented their sweeping the board. Of course, I find most of mainstream utilitarian bioethics to be not liberal at all, particularly given that most believe human beings can be separated into caste-creating distinctions between so-called persons and human non persons.
Here’s a note from Bio-Edge on a recent meeting among the progressives with a Democratic Party think tank, with an interesting comment by Daniel Callahan. I often disagree with Callahan, but he seems right here. Note also the typical nasty comments by Art Caplan, who is the media go-to guy for sound bites on bioethics controversies. I read the transcript of his talk at the progressive soiree and he seems to be growing more demagogic with each passing day. The “progressive’s” conference was also covered by Will Saletan in his own inimitable style. (I really enjoy how Saletan bemusedly goes back and forth between “conservative” bioethics/biotech and “liberal” camp meetings. He’s a good journalist, even when I don’t agree with his perspectives.)