Patti Davis, whose father Ronald Reagan died of a disease stem cell research claims to hold a key to curing, writes today in Newsweek that the Bush stem cell veto doesn’t matter because we don’t care about Bush.
Well, she’s right. It doesn’t matter. But it’s not because Americans don’t care about Bush. It’s because science doesn’t care about Bush. And it doesn’t care about America all that much, either.
There is no reason why stem cell research has to be done in America. It can be done in Europe. It can be done in Costa Rica. It can be done in Brazil, Korea, China, India, and Singapore. It can be done in Russia, or in Vietnam. This is an important area of scientific research and discovery. Whether America lets its people donate their zygotes to the cause, or whether it even allows Americans to invest their money in it, does not matter.
If America rejects science, in whole or in part, science will move elsewhere. And the intellectual property from that science — the patents and the invention and the therapies and the drugs — well that money will move overseas as well.
The Bush Theocracy can’t stop science, and it can’t stop democracy,
because science and democracy no longer depend on America, as they did
during the Cold War. During the Cold War Russia and China practiced faith-based science, in which most areas of inquiry were forbidden, in
which truth was determined by The Party.
The Republican Party has sought, in this decade, to recreate that framework here in America. In some ways, it has succeeded. But that doesn’t matter. Democracy and science can now thrive elsewhere.
At some point Americans must realize that, if they wish to remain
economically competitive — if they wish to keep their houses and cars
and flush toilets — that they must do everything they can to encourage
democracy and science. They must learn what Russia and China learned in
the Cold War, that believing in something doesn’t make it right, that
the small experiments of lab-coated men and women, and the larger
experiments of societies and history, make for right.
And right now we’re wrong.