A reminder from Michael Anissimov that some people are not just opposed to healthy life extension, but also quite willing to steer government power to block research and the development of working anti-aging therapies. So much for live and let live.
“Could the beauty of flowers depend on the fact that they will soon wither? . . . How deeply could one deathless ‘human’ being love another?”
“Biotechnologies may undermine the likelihood that I will find my path to a full and rich life.”
“Fancy medical technology wasn’t going to benefit a lot of people. It would lead to a trade in human spare parts.”
"Withering is nature’s preparation for death, for the one who dies and for the ones who look upon him.”
“One could look over the past century and ask oneself, has the increased longevity been good, bad or indifferent?”
Leon Kass may not presently possess the high profile of past years, and these views are not expressed in the mainstream media in quite such volume these days, but the President's Council on Bioethics that was his podium is just as bad now as then - stacked with folk who believe it best to force you to age and die on schedule. Bah. I've nothing against people who want to age, suffer and die, but there's a strong, ugly word for someone who forces death on others.
These sorts of pro-death viewpoint are rightfully brought out in the sunlight, ridiculed, and squashed. You cannot rationally debate people who are on the side of legislative murder.
When debating the views and opinions of Leon Kass, chair of the President's Council of Bioethics, it's rather hard to get past the point at which he says he wants to use government power to ensure medical technology for healthy life extension is never developed or used. While there may or may not be wonderous subtleties and interesting points being made, they're being made in the service of arguing for legislated murder. We can debate differences all we like, but using state power to enforce bans on the use of healthy life extension technologies is a form of murder, condemning millions to slow, painful death by age-related degeneration that they could otherwise have avoided. So you can see that after a man says "I would like to ensure that you die" it is somewhat hard to continue to treat anything he says with dignity and gravitas.
Really, you are left with pointing out the obvious, and working to see that rational thought prevails.
If you want to take the interview at face value, Leon Kass is a mystic. He is a modern alchemist. The alchemists of old stood atop what little knowledge of chemistry they had and built a speculative religion of hermetic magic, transient wishes, celestial signs and hidden gold. Leon Kass stands atop what little biotechnology we have today (and seems to have a good grasp thereof), building his own structures of fanciful thought, equally disconnected from the real world.
To repeat myself: the Kasses of this world are more quiet of late, but they haven't gone away. A part of the work needed to bring about great change in medicine and longevity is the defeat of those who would try to sabotage progress and ensure the deaths of billions. We should endeavor to remember that.