At first glance, bioethics might seem like just another branch of ethical philosophy where academics endlessly debate other academics about how many angels dance on the head of a pin in far-out, science fiction like scenarios.
What many do not know, however, is that the seemingly benign academic study of bioethics has its roots in the dark history of eugenics. With that knowledge, the dangers inherent in entrusting some of the most important discussions about the life, death and health of humanity in the hands of a select few become even more apparent.
Concluding Comments of the Corbett Report on Bioethics
From its inception, the field of bioethics has taken its moral cue from the card-carrying eugenicists who founded its core institutions. For these academicians of the eugenics philosophy, the key moral questions raised by modern medical advances are always utilitarian in nature: What is the value that forced vaccination or compulsory sterilization brings to a community? Will putting lithium in the water supply lead to a happier society? Does a family’s relief at killing their newborn baby outweigh that baby’s momentary discomfort as it is murdered?
Implicit in this line of thinking are all of the embedded assumptions about what defines “value” and “happiness” and “relief” and how these abstract ideas are measured and compared. The fundamental utilitarian assumption that the individual’s worth can or should be measured against some arbitrarily defined collective good, meanwhile, is rarely (if ever) considered.
The average person, however—largely unaware that these types of questions are even being asked (let alone answered) by bioethics professors in obscure academic journals—may literally perish for their lack of knowledge about these discussions.
All things being equal, these types of ideas would likely be treated as they always have been: as a meaningless parlor game played by ivory tower academics with no power to enforce their crazy ideas. All things, however, are not equal.
Perhaps taking a page from the notebook of his brother, Rahm, about the utility of crisis in effecting societal change, Ezekiel Emanuel declared in 2011 that “we will get health-care reform only when there is a war, a depression or some other major civil unrest.” He didn’t add “pandemic” to that list of excuses, but he didn’t have to. As the events of the past year have borne out, the public are more than willing to consider the previously unthinkable now that they have been told that there is a crisis taking place.
Forced vaccination. Immunity passports. The erection of a biosecurity state. For the first time, the eugenics-infused philosophers of bioethics are on the verge of gaining real power. And the public is still largely unaware of the discussions that these academics have been engaged in for decades.
At the very least, Bill Gates can relax now: We can finally have the discussion on death panels.