SAGE Crossroads interviewed Leon Kass today, chair of the President's Council on Bioethics and a man who strongly opposes any attempt to lengthen the healthy human life span. I didn't have a chance to listen to the live webcast, but will link to the transcript when it is posted.
In the meanwhile, Stephen Gorden has posted his thoughts on the webcast and Leon Kass at the Speculist.
He said, in essence that there is no question that longer life would be fulfilling for many. But this may be a situation where society as a whole suffers more than individuals benefit.
In other words, because society might be inconvenienced if our lives are prolonged, we should all accept our fate and die with a little dignity for crying out loud! I find this point of view to be abhorrent - particularly in a public servant who is responsible for setting policy.
Our country is set up to protect the individual (who has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) from undue demands from society. We in this country have never concerned ourselves with protecting society from individuals. If the U.S. is pulled from the life extension race, it will postpone the arrival of life extension, but it will come. And when it does it could end up being controlled by elites. If THEY can decide we shouldn't have it, by the same logic why shouldn't THEY decide who can have it when it gets here?
Morton asked whether he, Kass, would eliminate life extension research if he could. Kass began by saying he couldn't eliminate this research even if he wanted to. This is no lie. He can't eliminate it. But he can retard its development and drive some of this research overseas. If life extension is possible, delay could kill millions.
As I've said before, Kass' positions are ugly and very unethical. He wants to cause death and suffering for billions by halting the advance of medical science - and this is the person the current US administration put in charge of their bioethics council! These attitudes towards life, medicine and science are a sickness in our society, and we must fight them. There is nothing wrong with choosing not to use healthy life extension science yourself - but there is everything wrong with restricting access to life-saving medicine for everyone else.