Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Stem-cells and Alzheimers

As something of a related follow-up on the stem-cell discussion spurred by the Reagans’ plea for Bush to flip-flop on the issue, here’s an AP report on why stem-cell research is not a top priority in Alzheimer labs. A snipet:

"I just think everybody feels there are higher priorities for seeking effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and for identifying preventive strategies," said Marilyn Albert, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who chairs the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association.

And therein lies the practical, less esoteric side of the debate. As the article reveals, of course, Marilyn Albert’s view is not shared by all. Many would like to see stem-cell research and "other" research pursued simultaneously. And thus we pick up our pencils and our slide rules for yet another pop-quiz in utilitarian calculus: how do we allocate our research dollars most effectively?

Discussions - 3 Comments

I am a bit disappointed with the Reagans for pushing for this, though I can understand why. However, I think it is a case of self-interest trumping the public good within the context of the objective moral law (though let’s not go down that path again - it is worn). Reagan was generally a man of principle who obeyed many of the dictates of the Founders, as the above is an allusion to.

How do we allocate our research dollars most effectively? Let the market allocate them. End government involvement in funding abortion, stem cell research...ext...

I was disapointed that the Reagan’s wanted public funding for the project. On the other hand let entreprenerial types, pharmaceutical companies, CRA, DNA, ext... have free reign in the research they wish to persue.

I hardly see this as a case of market failure. It turns out that we disagree upon the public good. In my way of thinking the self-interest of the pharmaceutical companies would ensure the development of the best drugs to not only cure diseases, but also to perhaps allow for improvements in the human body/mind. Drugs that increase intelligence or improve memmory and concentration, allow for higher metabolism, more energy, sharper perception or a general improvement in the senses. The possibilities seem worthwhile.

In preparing defenses for John Stuart Mill I inadvertantly discovered Fredrick Bastiat whom I quote because he seems pertinent.

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."

"Please understand that I do not dispute their right to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate them, and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk. But I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law -- by force -- and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes."

"Moreover, even where they have consented to recognize a principle of action in the heart of man - and a principle of discernment in man’s intellect - they have considered these gifts from god to be fatal gifts. They have thought that persons, under the impulse of these two gifts, would fatally tend to ruin themselves. They assume that if the legislators left persons free to follow their own inclinations, they would arrive at atheism instead of religion, ignorance instead of knowledge, property instead of production and exchange." (all quotations from The Law)

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