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Flies to Honey…

Dec
9
2004

This week’s column over at eWeek is about California’s stem cell proposition, the one that raised $3 billion and which is gathering critics like honey gathers flies.
Partly, it’s the money, the public money. But the prop’s backers are playing their politics wrong. This is after all a blue state – that’s how the measure, which allows the use of embryonic human stem cells, passed, you know – so a little sensitivity to all this process-oriented, good government stuff that lefty Democrats so cherish is in order.


Of course, this is almost a classic Progressive libertarian failing: A disregard for those who aren’t like them. The idea that inefficient processes or that blabbermouth civic activists or political appointees who don’t have the research or academic chops should get the same place at the table as the smart, well-educated, get-the-job done business folks is seen as a diversion from the real work at hand. And open-door meetings, financial disclosures and process are how business folks see government wasting time and energy. They simply don’t understand that good intentions don’t always make for good works.
And make no mistake. There are good intentions aplenty here. There can be no better statement of the Progressive libertarian’s desire to do good than their support for Prop 71 and the research, the jobs, the honest-to-god scientific progress it will bring. On this they are absolutely right and it will be a damn shame if their goals are thwarted. That’s why – despite what I suspect will be a fair amount of cleverly executed money-making schemes cooked up by the prop’s financial backers and its research institutions – I supported the measure. It’s got a very good social return on a relatively small financial investment. But all that could go by the wayside – and quickly – if the Prop 71 backers don’t do a little fence-mending.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 10:37 AM | Permalink

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