Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bush's First Veto: Centrist Policy Arrived at from Conservative Principles

President Bush's first veto was long overdue. I'd have rather seen his first veto to have been the infamous Farm Bill or the Campaign Finance Reform Act. Nonetheless, Bush's policy direction on stem cell research is perfectly conservative in numerous disciplines within the conservative movement, and his veto should be welcomed by the various streams of conservatism.

1) It is socially conservative, predicated on the sanctity of human life and the unwillingness of the conservative movement to support the financing by tax dollars of morally repugnant research including the destruction of human life, as the President put it, "for spare parts."
2) It is constitutionally/federalistically conservative in that it aims squarely at the federal level. States are free to pursue completely policies. No attempt has or will be made by the President to coerce or blackmail the states on embryonic stem cell policy via federal highway funds or other federal monies.
3) It is economically conservative, advancing and promoting the free market over public entanglement in commerce. Bush's veto doesn't hinder private researchers from conducting stem cell research and that it sends the signal to investors that government will not finance and underwrite any and all research that the private sector can otherwise fund. Liberal critics will warn that funding will dry up without federal involvement, but I very seriously doubt this will be the case. With state, international, and private liberal and corporate financial backing, significant experimentation in embryonic stem cell research can and will continue.

Whether you agree or disagree with the morality of embryonic stem cell research, it's a no-brainer that removing government from interfering in private scientific ventures is crucial to the advancement of science.

At the same time, the federal government setting certain bioethical standards for federal involvement in research can be helpful in guiding the commerical scientific community towards pursuing science under an ethical rubric, comporting voluntarily to moral restraints agreed upon by the body politic.

In the end run, Bush's veto ends up being a moderate, sensible approach to policy that stems from moral, constitutional, and economic conservatism.