President Obama just abruptly and unceremoniously put his Bioethics Council to rest and our own Peter Lawler, a member of the commission, writes its eulogy explaining the importance of its work and of the issues it addressed. While the website still exists, I encourage any and all to take a look at the reports it has already published here . The philosophical rigor and depth of the reports are truly astounding and it would be hard to find comparably impressive reflections issued from any other govermental advisory board. Its general purview, questions regarding the intersection of ethics, biotechnological innovation, and public policy are as pressing as any that face us today and speak to the broader issue of the compatibility between liberal democracy (and modernity itself) and human dignity. My fear is that Obama’s “non-ideological” approach to the very same questions is really an attempt to furtively import his own preferred ideology under the radar of public deliberation and consent.
We all owe Peter our thanks for his service.