July 22, 2006

Stem Cells, Iraq, and the "Culture of Life"

I try to watch The Daily Show whenever I can, but I'm almost always a day or two behind when I get around to watching it. On a recent show in which they were talking about Bush's stem cell research, I thought a great point was made. Stewart put the stem cell veto in the context of Bush's "culture of life" nonsense. They showed a clip of Bush saying, "Every person counts, every being matters" and followed it with a 2005 clip of Bush telling reporters that around 30,000 Iraqis had been killed so far. You can see the clip, Stem Cell Veto, here.

The Republican "culture of life" is used to oppose stem cell research and abortion. It is rarely applied to capital punishment and never to war. They claim that they don't apply it to the death penalty because these people are not innocent in the way that fetuses are innocent. I suppose they'd make the same argument about Iraqi combatants. Of course, the civilians are unfortunate accidents. This seems like an awfully selective culture of life, doesn't it?

There are 3 possible positions that can be held: (1) all human life is worth preserving; (2) no human life is worth preserving; and (3) some human life is worth preserving and some is not. Obviously, #3 is the position that the administration takes. This allows them to oppose abortion as "murder" while promoting preemptive war. Comedians and liberal critics are fond of pointing out that the Republican Party ceases to care about someone the day they are born. The problem is that their rhetoric is designed to make it seem like they are taking #1. With their "holier than thou" attitude, the Christian Right claims #1 while accusing the rest of us of #3.

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