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  •  I realize this is going to be a... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLJ, DarkSyde

    ...very unpopular sentiment around here, but I think that if dKos is going to make the pretense of being a haven for libertarians, Democrats, liberals, and other pro-freedom/anti-fascist forces in the US, my position is one that should be considered.

    My essential point is this: I have a hard time justifying taxing the 30% or so of Americans who have moral objections to stem cell research to fund it. Even though they are wrong to think stem cell research is immoral, they still have the right to not be forced to fund research they view as immoral. I find it morally reprehensible to tax people at gun point to fund things they view as immoral and sinful. Imagine you were an evangelical Christian. How would you feel if you knew your tax money was going to "murder"?

    I realize evangelical Christians don't return liberals the favor when it comes to freedom (see gay marriage, abortion, flag burning, torture, wiretapping, habeas corpus), but if want to be intellectually honest, I feel we have to admit that public funding for research that a significant minority in this country views as murder is wrong.

    Russ Feingold for President!

    by Basil on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 02:53:31 PM PST

    •  I (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SLJ, matt2525, milton333

      think five percent of American would give a rat's ass if Bush hadn't mined the issue for political gold, and had instead carefully explained the facts to anyone with reservations. The Neocons created that 30%. It's the same flipping 30% that show up in every poll lately on the wrong side of the question.

      To wit, if some one doesn't like embryos being destroyed, then lobby against IVF. Lobbying against ESCR to save lives is like blaming the skate-board ramp building kid down the street for using some scrap wood from a construction site and calling him a tree murderer. It makes no sense at all.

      And for the hardcore, there's a simple solution inthe meantime: Don't use it. It works across the board. If someone thinks ranching is murder, don't eat meat or wear leather.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 03:06:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure this is the appropriate test (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SLJ, milton333, Coherent Viewpoint

      You can find minorities of people who will find a moral objection to just about anything the government does.  There are people (i.e. Quakers, Amish etc.) who think any war at any time is immoral.  There are people who think all taxation is immoral.  If all it took was for someone to say they morally object to something the government does, then the government couldn't function.

      But what should be the appropriate way to take those views into account?

      Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) the framers of the Constitution, in their infinate wisdom, fretted about a "tyranny of the majority" and inserted devices into our system of government to make sure that strongly held minority views were represented.  Things like the Senate filibuster are designed to make sure that there is a mechanism for minorities to slow down or stop legislation.

    •  I have pondered this before (5+ / 0-)

      but I think the bottom line is that in a Democracy, it is majority rule. (or it should be, Bushco). Congress supposedly represents the majority. Your tax dollar is applied as the "majority" therefore dictates. You can't cherry-pick.

      Responding to the diary. I'm now watching a co-worker cope with the early stages of Parkinson's. It is heartbreaking, and this is NOT a person I particularly like or admire. Regardless, my eyes tear when I watch her trying to control her body. Imagine if this were a loved one.  I watch her, try to be helpful without embarrassing her, all the while thinking "damn Bush to hell."

      •  Majority Rule (0+ / 0-)

        In the south in the 50's, majority rule meant segregation. It's a delicate balancing act when it comes to funding unpopular programs or making unpopular laws. Sometimes, they just have to be done. We shouldn't look at stem cell research as popular or not, but whether it offers the chance for a cure or treatment. I have no doubt that for most of the opponents of this research are agonizing over a false message. Do they allow reasearch that might potentially find cures for horrible diseases and destroy babies along the way? Or do they save babies that might grow up to be the next Mozart or Einstein, but let people suffer with Parkinson's or ALS? Some inspired leadership on this subject would go along way toward breaking the impasse.  

        Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

        by corwin on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 04:18:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  heh (12+ / 0-)

      under that argument, can I please have a refund for the Iraq war?

      The reality of our government is that you money is going towards ALL sorts of thing you may find morally reprehensible--like, for example, Karl Rove's salary, or flying the President to Indiana for a campaign rally, or illegal wars, or testing pesticide on children, or "faith based initiatives."  

      If we allowed people to "opt out" of specific uses of their tax dollars, that would literally cripple our government.

      And so, we pay taxes. And we must accept the good and the bad, and work every election to choose those who will spend our money according to our political/moral philosophy.

      •   ..."can I please have a refund for the Iraq war? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SLJ, Coherent Viewpoint

        I'd like a refund for what Bush and his cronies have done with my money on almost every issue you can name.
        They have NEVER been right and I want my money back for all of it, not just the war!

        I'm sick of calling them.
        I'm turning their account over to the collectors,

        Democracy is coming to the USA.

        "We're the people who live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why we're the people--we go on." -Ma Joad in "Grapes of Wrath"(Steinbeck)

        by Ma Joad on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 04:45:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fine. Pay no tax - but get no benefits. (5+ / 0-)

      Let others who don't share their faith get on with the research.  The evangelical Christians can have an annual tax rebate paid to their nominated church of $11.89 each (or whatever tiny sum it would amount to). No problem with that.  

      But here is the deal: they must sgree to never use the resulting treatments this technology unlocks - to save their parents, their children, their siblings, their spouse - or themselves.  Not one of them, not ever.  It must become part of their faith, in the same way that Jehovah's Witnesses eschew blood transfusions.  The JW's search for bloodless treatment options has been a catalyst for research and development of bloodless surgery techniques.  

      If evangelical Christians want to fund their own medical discoveries to treat diseases and cure cancer without blastocytes, fine - I hope it leads to advances for the general scientific good.  But they should NEVER prevent a cure that might save the suffering of millions by utilising a tiny number of blastocytes.  

      The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying bastards.

      by Last Best Chance on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 03:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So do you also believe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RevJoe, SLJ

      people shouldn't be forced to have their tax dollars go to the Nastional Weather Service since its atmospheric measures will provide data scientists will use to support their annoyingly persuasive arguments about global warming?

      Or perhaps the CDC should have to pass the hat for funding, since some people think that AIDS exists as God's punishment for immoral behavior.

      You can't pretend that decisions affecting national policy are neutral.  They represent a choice between two options.

      In this case, by suggesting that people shouldn't be forced to pay taxes to support stem cell research, you are making a value judgment between two choices.

      You are privileging a minority's religious beliefs over someone else's quality of life.  Even the ability to have a life at all.

      How is someone's few moments of psychological comfort - probably a completely nonexistent element of their daily life once they leave the voting booth - to be compared with life-saving medical research that can affect the lives of millions now and yet unborn?

      That's a libertarian argument?

      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      by vernonlee on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 03:30:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're funding a damn war that 50% + (5+ / 0-)

      of Americans think is wrong.

      And some of us think what we're doing in Iraq amounts to war crimes and, yes let me say it, murder.

      So I think my tax money is going for murder. For an immoral war. A war with absolutely no hope of a good outcome.

      Unlike bush's war, embryonic stem cell research offers some semblance of a good outcome.

      Try that for intellectual honesty.

    •  Hmm. That's tough. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SLJ, milton333

      Try as hard as I can, I cannot imagine myself an evangelical Christian. So with me your hypothetical question is going to have to remain unanswered.

    •  No, I don't have to admit that!!! (5+ / 0-)

      I'm a vegetarian. I have a strong morally- and ethically-grounded belief that it is wrong to raise animals to then murder them and consume them. Our government is an active participant in that process. It spends Billions of dollars a year (directly or indirectly) supporting that practice.

      I'm a pacifist. I have a strong morally- and ethically-grounded belief that it is wrong to kill other people under any circumstances. I likewise believe that capital punishment is wrong. Our government spends Billions of dollars a month on policies that run directly counter to that belief.

      I'm an environmentalist. I have a strong morally and ethically-grounded belief that the collective actions of the human race are damaging to the delicate balance of this planet's eco-system. I find the level of species extinction that our society tolerates to be reprehensible.

      I could go on and on with similar statements about human rights, worker rights, corporatism, fair trade, and all sorts of other government policies that I have strong disagreements with. For each of those issues there is a significant minority of Americans that share my beliefs.

      Still, I don't get to opt out of paying taxes. In fact, I gladly and willingly pay my taxes. I fully embrace my role as a tax-paying member of society. I want to contribute to the greater good. I also believe that government is a necessary player in contributing to the greater good.

      Yes, part of my vision of an effective society is listening to minority viewpoints. To that end, ultimately building conensus, not winning a bare majority of votes, leads to sustainable policies.

      Nonetheless, part of being a member of a Democracy/Republic is agreeing to abide by the decisions of the Democracry/Republic. The power that netroots is showing--people-powered politics--is that people, you and I, can insist on a stronger voice in this process.

      Finally, the stem cell veto is about what science can be done at all, not just public funding. The intellectually honest approach is to use objective criteria, like a broad range of scientific evidence informed by open public oversight, to determine ethical approaches to allowable research and public funding priorities.

      Help Expand Dem House Control! Elect Mike Callaghan (WV-02)

      by SLJ on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 04:17:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. (0+ / 0-)

      ....I've heard that line of reasoning many times before.
      So, I ask, how many adopted children DO you have?
      They never do.
      Then they start deteriorating the quality of the discussion into just who and who should not be having s-  e-  x.

      If they want to be the s- e  -x police, they need to pick another venue, because I'm talking about government, not your bedroom antics, you closet perverts.

      End of discussion, as far as I am concerned. They don't have the intellectual honesty to admit that war is mass murder.

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