from The betrayal of Hippocrates WorldNetDaily
The betrayal of Hippocrates Geoff Metcalf interviews author, bioethics watchdog Wesley Smith
WorldNetDaily's Editor's note: "Unbeknownst to most Americans, a
small but influential group of philosophers and health care policy makers are
working energetically to transform our nation's medical practice and health care
laws." So goes the introduction of Wesley Smith's book, "The
Culture of Death -- The assault on medical ethics in America."
In his book, Smith argues that, at the urging of an elite group of bioethicists, the health care industry is moving away from the "do no harm" model established by Hippocrates and toward a stark utilitarian system that would legitimize medical discrimination against -- and even in some cases, the killing of -- the weakest and most defenseless of society. World Net Daily staff writer and talk show host Geoff Metcalf recently interviewed Smith about his book and the growing bioethics movement.
Geoff Metcalf's daily streaming radio show can be heard on TalkNetDaily weekdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time. By Geoff Metcalf © 2001
from Geoff Metcalf interviews Wesley J. Smith
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 11 2001 SUNDAY Q&A
Q: How is the medical community's society changing?
A: What's happening is we have this ideological movement called the "bioethics movement," which is moving us from the Hippocratic type of "do no harm" medicine that most people want their doctors to pursue to one which is based on the so-called "quality of life."
Q: One of the chilling things you mention in your book is all this talk about the "right to die." We have living wills; we don't want to be hooked up to life support machines; we have a right to die. You write that the newest trend is not only the "right" to die, but a "duty to die."
A: Yes. The bioethics movement is moving us towards a duty to die. The reason I start by talking about philosophies is because this is what undergirds the very horrible policies that I will describe in a moment. You and I would think, I believe, that being human is something unique and special in the world. According to the bioethics ideology, that isn't so, because we are mere biological life. There is nothing special about being human. Therefore, the bioethicists -- not every bioethicist, but the primary movers and shakers in the movement -- have determined we have to distinguish what makes human life -- or any life -- special. And they have come up with a conclusion, which is truly harmful and discriminatory.
It's not whether a human being matters, but whether you are a "person." So there are some humans who are persons, and all persons would have what you and I call human rights. But the human non-persons do not have human rights.
Q: And who gets to make the determination of who gets to be labeled what and
A: The bioethicists are coming up with the determinations themselves, and they are teaching it at the highest universities.
Q: Who made them the sheriff?
A: That's a good question. Who decided that philosophers -- because that's primarily who they are -- should decide what our medical ethics are and what our health care public policies are? But if you take a look at the president's commission on bioethics, guess who is manning these positions? Take a look at the most elite bioethics university positions. It is people like Peter Singer at Princeton.
Q: That guy is a wacko!
A: Peter Singer epitomizes the movement I'm talking about.
Q: For the benefit of those readers who have been spared my previous Peter Singer rants, please explain who this pretentious, arrogant, twisted academic is.
Q: For the benefit of those readers who have been spared my previous Peter
Singer rants, please explain who this pretentious, arrogant, twisted academic
A: Peter Singer is an Australian, what they call a "moral philosopher." But in his case, it is an oxymoron. He is known for two things primarily. First, he is the creator of the modern animal rights movement. He wrote a book back in the '70s called "Animal Liberation," and the premise behind it is that humans and animals have equal inherent moral worth. Therefore, we can't use animals in animal research and things of that sort.
Q: If only their parents had practiced what the offspring now teach.
A: Peter Singer has said in the past that parents should have 28 days within which to keep or kill their children. He has since expanded that to one year. It is based on his idea that a newborn infant is not a person. Because a person, according to Peter Singer, is an entity who is self-aware over time. Some other bioethicists talk about it differently. Some believe in "moral personhood," that a person is a being that can make moral decisions and be held morally accountable, for example, in a crime. But what this gets down to is deciding which of us is better than others.
Q: These bioethicists -- is there an actual, for-real academic track for that? Or are they kind of self-anointed?
A: Mainly what it is, is philosophy. There is no licensing to become a bioethicist. A hairdresser has to be licensed; a bioethicist doesn't. There are about 30 university postgraduate courses where people can get masters in bioethics, and the movement is only 30 years old.
Q: So it is not unlike being a reporter. You get to be one by calling yourself one?
A: That's right. It's not like being a lawyer or a doctor. You are one because you call yourself one, and I guess if people pay attention and listen to what you have to say, you're right. And if people don't pay attention to what you say, I guess you're wrong.
Q: Why not just write the Singers of the world off as radical left-wing
wackos and abandon them to their screams in the wilderness? What kind of impact
can these bioethicists have on you and me?
A: They are the ones who are making policy. If you go to court in a fight over a bioethics issue, guess who is testifying in court? The bioethicists! When President Clinton was determining what to do about stem-cell research, guess who made those decisions based on the recommendations of bioethicists? The person who chairs the president's bioethics commission is the president of Princeton University, who is primarily responsible for bringing Peter Singer to that university.
Q: So it's an incestuous little club?
A: You have a very elite group. They are at Harvard; they are at Yale; they are at Georgetown University. Georgetown puts out the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, which is one of the primary bioethicists' journals in the whole world.
Q: I'm absolutely flummoxed that people could even waste a moment listening to that jerk Singer.
A: He is more tactless than some of the others. However, he is not an aberration. He epitomizes the movement. He has been the president of the World Bioethics Association. That may not be the exact name of the organization, but he is at the second most prestigious university in this country, one of the most prestigious in the world, holding one of the most prestigious bioethics chairs, with tenure.
. . .
Q: Has anyone suggested to these academicians that perhaps it might be just a
skosh pretentious on their part to try to abrogate 2,500 years of tradition with
their own personal politically correct agenda?
A: That's what I'm trying to do with "The Culture of Death." I'm trying to alert people that this is going on so that they can talk to their own doctors about these issues. I'm trying to alert legislators that this stuff is going on, so that when a bioethicist comes to testify before Congress and says, "Well, we've studied this very carefully and we have determined A, B, C. ..." that maybe the congressman might know to ask, "Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? Do you believe there is a difference between a human person and a human non-person?"
. . .
Q: You have some awful stories in the book about intentionally dehydrating
A: That's right. And it is a terrible situation -- especially if you are conscious. You can heal dehydration. It takes 14 days to die. They take away your food and water, and it used to be based on the decision of family to do it. Now with these futile care protocols, it's a different story. For example, at a hospital in San Jose, Calif., I had a futile care protocol leaked to me that said you could not get those tube feedings if you were in a serious, cognitive incapacitated state.
Q: Is there a website where people can get this protective medical decision document?
A: Yes. There is a website and an 800 number. It is http://www.iaetf.org/index.htm or they can call 1-800-958-5678 and ask for a Protective Medical Decision Document. They've got them for all 50 states.
. . .
|CHN wishes to thank WorldNetDaily, for permission to post excerpts
from The betrayal of Hippocrates Geoff Metcalf interviews author,
bioethics watchdog Wesley Smith -- To read the entire
interview go to:http://www.WorldNetDaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=21677|
WorldNetDaily's Home page: http://www.WorldNetDaily.com/
|See press release, Peter Singer asked to resign - go to In a press release|
|Photo and Wesley J. Smith's bio|
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