TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

Obama Administration Cuts Illegitimate Program, Conservatives Complain

The Obama administration finally found a program it is willing to cut, albeit a tiny one. However, the administration is facing opposition to this reduction by. . . conservatives.

As the Washington Times reports, the U.S. government has spent around $2 million per year to facilitate the “adoption” of so-called “snowflake babies,” or frozen embryos left over from in vitro fertility treatments. Typically an in vitro procedure involves creating multiple embryos, then implanting one or more of the most likely candidates in the hopeful mother’s uterus.

Couples who produce extra embryos, of course, should be free to donate them to others for attempted implantation, and private firms should be free to facilitate such donations—but the government should have no role in it. The government’s proper role is not to facilitate the donation of frozen embryos or anything of the sort. The government’s only proper role is to protect individual rights by banning force from social relationships.

The grants obviously were instituted as a way to appease the religious right, which opposes the destruction of any human embryo on religious grounds. For example, as the Loveland Reporter-Herald discusses, the “snowflake adoption” program (instituted under George W. Bush) has been funding Nightlight Christian Adoptions (obviously a religious organization). Further, and unsurprisingly, the paper reports, “Christian and pro-life websites reacted quickly to decry the administration’s funding priorities.”

Though the amount of money involved is small, the case illustrates that some conservatives are interested not in cutting government spending, but in redirecting government spending for religious purposes. If conservatives genuinely cared about liberty, they would instead make the principled case that government should be limited in scope to the protection of rights.

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Image: iStockPhoto

Posted in: Health Care, Individual Rights and Law

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Mike Kevitt

    And that includes the right, in this case, of parents, or of any owners of such embryos, to throw them away in a dumpster.

    What moved Obama in this case?  I’ve not read any coverage on that, and I’ve not covered it, myself.  Maybe Obama made a tactical retreat, just part of a continuing offensive.  But, it was right, in itself, from a rational perspective.  And conservatives gripe about it.

    In attacking irrationality in human relations, meaning, statism, should we merely attack one version of it (liberalism) and try to talk the other version (conservatism) into rationality?  We need to discourage the irrationality, of their thinking and actions, of both, in the strongest terms, and encourage, in equally strong terms, whatever rationality either of them might show, and set it in terms neither of them will buy, publicly: egoism.

  • Anonymous

    Liberalism isn’t trying to end the separation of church and state. Any idea of attacking the tired liberals and “talking” to the religious-right fanatics is ludicrous; they want to impose their religiously inspired rules on the country. I know little about Biblical Capitalism, but, given religious ethics, it’s hard to believe it would amount to much. I’m way more concerned about Seven Mountains and the New Apostolic Reformation than I am about Obama. While I believe the New Atheism is philosophically bankrupt, I’m very happy that they are making religion controversial and that there are organizations bringing lawsuits against the theocrats for infringing the separation of church and state. Peikoff, a few years ago, said, as I recall, that it was time for a direct attack on religion. He suggested a book, but I’ve not heard of anyone picking up the project. For 50 years, conservatism has not been a worthy ally; maybe it’s time to completely give up on it. Religion needs and perpetuates a culture of irrationalism and is becoming more and more dangerous.

  • Mike Kevitt

    A book can make a direct intellectual attack on religion, in all of religion’s aspects.  Physically, any legitimate attack upon it is limited to keeping it out of law & gvt. if it encroaches upon it.  Nobody may encroach upon law & gvt.  They may only establish law & gvt. and/or maintain it, and improve it, in its proper function, on the specific basis of individual rights and egoism.  That’s something hardly any religion or any secular irrationality would want to do.