The Nonsense of "Human Dignity"

"Human dignity" is a keyphase used by conservative bioethicists to justify relinquishing progress in longevity science - to permit the preventable death and suffering of billions to continue in the decades ahead. It is also nonsense in this context: "The problem is that 'dignity' is a squishy, subjective notion, hardly up to the heavyweight moral demands assigned to it. The bioethicist Ruth Macklin, who had been fed up with loose talk about dignity intended to squelch research and therapy, threw down the gauntlet in a 2003 editorial, 'Dignity Is a Useless Concept.' Macklin argued that bioethics has done just fine with the principle of personal autonomy - the idea that, because all humans have the same minimum capacity to suffer, prosper, reason, and choose, no human has the right to impinge on the life, body, or freedom of another. This is why informed consent serves as the bedrock of ethical research and practice, and it clearly rules out the kinds of abuses that led to the birth of bioethics in the first place ... [but] this government-sponsored bioethics does not want medical practice to maximize health and flourishing; it considers that quest to be a bad thing, not a good thing."

Link: http://www.tnr.com/story_print.html?id=d8731cf4-e87b-4d88-b7e7-f5059cd0bfbd

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