November 21, 2007


Stem-Cell Success Story (The Editors, 11/21/07, National Review)

[It is] a powerful vindication of the premise behind much of the opposition to the destruction of embryos for research this past decade: the conviction that scientific advance need not require, and should not compel, the abandonment of ethical principles, and especially the principle of human equality that should cause us to cherish and guard every human life, from beginning to end.

In an effort to cause the country to abandon this conviction, some advocates of the research, including nearly every prominent Democrat in Congress, have made reckless and irresponsible promises, offered false hope to the suffering, depicted their opponents as heartless enemies of science, and exploited sick people for crass political gain.

Meanwhile, in an effort to defend that conviction, President Bush and most congressional Republicans have stood up to all that pressure, and have pursued an approach that seeks to advance science while also insisting on ethics. [...]

This leaves the nation with a crucial lesson for what will certainly be many ethical quandaries to come as biotechnology advances: The answer to unethical science is not to give up on ethics, but rather to pursue ethical science.

The Gulag Testimonial (ADAM KIRSCH, November 21, 2007, NY Sun)

The Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, like millions of his countrymen, was doomed to come face to face with both of the great evils of the 20th century. During World War II, he survived the Nazi occupation of Poland; afterward, he served for several years as a diplomat for Communist Poland. After defecting to France in 1951, Milosz devoted the rest of his long life to exploring the spiritual and intellectual damage that totalitarianism inflicts on what he called "the captive mind."

The first casualty, he made clear, was our innate sense of the holiness of every human life. Milosz, who died in 2004, once recalled a conversation with a Communist friend in which he expressed "reservations" about Stalin's terror, only to receive the reply: "A million people more, a million people less, what's the difference?" That Communist was a perfect pupil of Stalin, who was once heard to murmur, while looking over a list of people to be executed: "Who's going to remember all this riffraff in 10 or 20 years' time? No one."

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2007 8:42 AM
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