For years, the right pummeled the left with partial birth abortion exposing liberals as extremists out of touch with the mainstream. It was the right thing to do and it was good old fashioned “wedge” politics. But the liberals have found their wedge issue now in stem cell research.
The politics are the same. But here’s the difference between the right and the left on this issue: there’s a body count when the left wins in politics.
Let’s face it, the ban on partial birth abortion is a victory simply because it could be a harbinger of better things to come. It quite possibly won’t save one life. But the value to our politicians was it polled well. We won the nomenclature war-which is everything in politics. For example, Republicans for years tried to kill off the estate tax to no avail. Suddenly someone called it the death tax and the American people were behind getting rid of it. Just as when the media was finally forced to call it, “the procedure some call partial birth abortion” we won. When people learned what occurred during this gruesome procedure the public reacted negatively and rightly so. We made the left look like extremists -which they are.
But now the left is playing the same game at the other end of the spectrum. The embryo is the petri dish is the closest thing to the mythical “blob of tissue” that you can get. The left knows it can’t win when discussing late term pregnancy so they dragged the discussion back to a test tube and called all opponents of research extremists-which we are. This is so clearly politics, as embryonic stem cell research hasn’t shown any indication of helping us find a cure for athlete’s foot never mind something more serious.
William Saletan who is, of course, a well known liberal, wrote a piece on Slate.com
To fend off the (Christian) bullies, the nerds have seized on stem cells. Some of them think embryonic stem-cell cures are just around the corner. Others know better but believe in the research anyway. What unites them is awareness that stem cells score very well in polls, much better than anything else on their agenda. Of 32 commentaries posted on the Web page of the “Progressive Bioethics Initiative,” 26 focus on stem cells.
Some don’t even address ethics; they just lay out the polls. Stem cells are a chance for liberal
bioethicists to beat the living daylights out of their opponents.
Saletan continued with I think an interesting if fuzzy point about attending a conference surrounded by liberal bio-ethicists.
I bitched about the atheism, the talking points, and the word progressive. I made a pitch for my version of liberalism. The freedom to strip-mine embryos, have a baby at 60, or kill yourself can’t be the end of the story. Not everything that’s legal is moral.
The most interesting moral questions aren’t the ones you can settle with simple rules. They’re the subtle ones you find in literature and real life. Conservative bioethicists think that when we recoil at something in this gray area, our repugnance signals a moral problem. Liberal bioethicists dismiss this argument as “fuzzy intuitionism” based on an illogical “yuck factor.” The liberals are making a big mistake. Fuzz and yuck are very real.
The left is not going to take this issue off the table in the near future. That’s why every time we hear of adult stem cells being responsible for some cure the scientific community and the media yawn. The left actually doesn’t particularly want a cure from embryonic stem cells. They want the issue.