IEET > HealthLongevity
Leon Kass still at it
Jan 7, 2006  

I vainly hoped that Leon Kass would retire from the fight over human enhancement after being retired from the President’s Council on Bioethics. But in this piece in the Wall Street Journal he’s still beating the same old drum:

“consider the kind of choices people might make if their biological deadlines were to be extended by decades. How long would our de facto adolescence last? How much longer would we postpone childbearing, if many of us didn’t abandon the business altogether? How would the balance of social energies tilt between the young and the old? Would it not lead (liberals, take note) to an increasingly conservative and perhaps reactionary society? Would not the bulk of human energies turn toward coarse and selfish attempts at self-preservation? ‘There are very few people who’ve been around a long time who see anything with fresh eyes,’ says Dr. Kass. ‘We need to put our weight with the young.’”

As with most of Leon’s much loved musings he leaves it others to figure out the policy implications of his “questions” and “concerns.” What exactly does it mean to “put our weight with the young”? Does it mean grandma doesn’t get antibiotics after 90? Does it mean no FDA approval of life enhancements that take us past 100? I suppose even the Wall Street Journal would balk at such a statist solution, so we are left to just ponder how yucky it would be if everybody got to live longer. Here’s hoping that Ed Pellegrino, the new President’s Council chair, will provide a little less amorphous as a sparring partner in the debate.




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