PJ O'Rourke Pulls Not a Punch – UPDATE

PJ O’Rourke is dealing with cancer, right now, so if he wanted to, he could defend the president’s recent executive order promoting (with his typical strawmen and ungenerously snide references to his predecessor) the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. He could wail and weep “poor me, I might need this research. I might get healed with it, and since the world is all about me, me, me, we should take this big moral jump and try! For me!”

O’ Rourke could ignore the fact that embryonic stem cell research (which did go on during the Bush years, despite the false narrative that is never corrected) has thus far yielded no effective therapies (but plenty of nightmares, despite the false narrative that is never corrected).

He could ignore the fact that if anything good was coming out of Embryonic stem cell research private capital would have been fighting all along (as they were perfectly, legally, able to do these past 8 years) to invest in the game instead of avoiding it like plague, while calling the president “heroic” (as the WH did) for “flicking his wrist” and creating a law.

He could do that, and immediately some “compassionate” sorts would jump on the opportunity to cry for him and bolster their case against lives less obvious.

But to his immense credit, O’ Rourke goes in the other direction and chooses to engage in some intellectual honesty. Brutally.

He doesn’t even mention his illness. He simply, flat-out savages the president’s reason, rhetoric and reliability.

O’ Rourke essentially calls the president a liar.

Of course, for the past 8 years, that’s been a noble and patriotic endeavor, but in the current climate, O’ Rourke is dancing with a charge of “treason,” at least from the Jon Stewart set.

So, come you ladies and gents – if this be treason make the most of it – read every brilliant, scathing word, and then pass it on. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Speak them to your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.

The piece is too good, too powerful to excerpt in any measure.

Read it. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Speak them to your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.

Truth. Brilliant, light-filled and transfiguring. And it has nothing to do with the usual pro-life cant. His is not a religious argument. It is the stuff that can reach the broken human heart and rouse it with reason, when all the “stale-seeming” religious arguments have merely slammed the chambers shut.

Go, PJ.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more, and some of the comments are interesting. There are a few suggesting that O’Rourke is “against science.” That’s one of those absurd straw men. O’ Rourke is merely pointing out that in every age, the scientific community claims – by virtue of it BEING the “scientific community” with an assumed corner on reason – that it has the most correct, up-to-the minute understanding of things. And then succeeding generations prove that what science “knew” all those years before was “bunkem.” Just as one does not have to be “against modern Western medicine” to recognise that its “primacy” is only about 130 years old, one does not have to be “anti-science” to suggest that “science” gets plenty of things quite wrong. One need only be honest.

But who wants to be honest when it’s so much easier to smear anyone who disagrees with a succinct “hater” label. It’s not honest or accurate, but it is expedient, after all. And the current zeitgeist seems to be about expediency over honesty or reason.

By the way, religion is not against science, either. Science is against religion, but the feeling is not mutual. Religion just wants science to consider balancing itself with reason and philosophy, while science wants the see-saw all to itself.

Related: Sorry Mom, can we use part of your baby?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://newine.wordpress.com ultraguy

    Even the word ‘liar’ has come to mean something new in the moral-relativism-on-speed narrative according to Obama and his Marxist acolytes. In his world, lies are that which impedes ‘progress’ as they define it (and they change its meaning routinely, without notice, to fit their agenda).

    Anything offered in its service is ‘truth’, even if it is more akin to the way Dan Rather, Tim O’Brien meant or LBJ meant it (i.e., counter to the facts but fitting with current popular belief and thus likely to be accepted as truth).

  • culperjr.

    While not dealing with anything as terrifying as cancer, I do suffer from adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes. My doctor was very blunt and to the point, and made it clear that, without drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle, I would be a dead man (my cholesterol was 1900, for example.)Since being diagnosed almost 6 years ago, I have been living a perpetual Lent: I rise at 3am each day so that I can exercise for an hour before leaving for work. I can eat no sugar, baked goods, potatoes, rice, beer, eggs, bacon, etc., etc.

    All that preamble is to help me make a simple point–I don’t give a damn what embryonic stem cells can or cannot do for me. I don’t want anyone else’s life to be sacrificed so that mine may be prolonged. This is especially true with “lifestyle” ailments like mine, brought on by too much good living in my younger days. I don’t deserve to take a human life for my convenience. And here’s the part that will label me as a terrible, hateful person: I don’t believe Christopher Reeve deserved such a sacrifice, either. He was living a rich, playboy life and he took his chances. That doesn’t mean that we should be carving up human beings to give people like him–or me–a second chance.

    The priests of Baal and Moloch also killed babies to achieve their desired ends. It was a bad deal then, and the passage of a few thousand years has not improved the equation any.

  • Bridey

    I can’t say it as well as culperjr, but I must echo, as someone who has a serious chronic illness myself: It doesn’t matter whether therapies based on embryonic stem cells work or not.

    That attempts to exploit this have actually done harm is tragic. But even if the benefits were myriad and proven, it would justify nothing. To prolong lives and to relieve suffering are obviously noble and laudable things — but not at the cost of turning human lives into a product or a “therapy.”

    (We all know that, of course — but sometimes the argument does get sidetracked toward “and it doesn’t even work.”)

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  • amba12

    Speaking of false narratives, that Gina Kolata story about writhing Parkinson’s patients with fetal cells in their brains may be a fake. Can anyone produce the original?

    I’m not saying this to prove any larger point except that double standards for truthfulness are self-defeating.

    [Amba, I wondered about that too, which is why when I quoted it I also linked to this study from the New England Journal of Medicine which seemed like credible support to me at the time, but upon re-reading...seems different than my memory. But I am getting old. Perhaps I will do some investigating. - admin]

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  • Deana

    culperjr -

    Wow. Beautifully expressed. Thank you.


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  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com/ Bender B. Rodriguez

    So I watched The Brain That Wouldn’t Die on TCM tonight. You know, the classic movie about this doctor whose fiancee is decapitated in a car accident, but he saves her head and keeps it animated while he goes looking for a live body to attach it to. And he is able to do this because of the various medical transplantation experiments he has been doing in his secret lab (which has resulted in, among other things, the creation of a monster that is kept imprisoned in a closet).

    Whatever happened to all the movies about evil mad scientists?? There used to be a lot of them, movies about scientists engaged in all sorts of horrific experiments, scientists who were unconcerned with concepts of good and evil, and cared only about what could or could not be accomplished. Whatever happened to the universal acknowledgement that Victor Frankenstein was evil and what he was engaged in was evil?

  • Hantchu

    PJ rocks. His intellectual honesty, even with himself, is even more formidable than his sense of humor, his timing, his set-ups, and his wide-ranging erudition, always worn lightly.

    Obama, nebech (poor thing), went to Harvard; it tends to blunt the savage edge of the intellect. Give me a graduate of Miami University (Or Eureka College, or the University of Idaho) any day.

    A prayer for PJ, for sure. He reminds me of Elijah making cynical jabs at the priests of Ba’al as they try to ignite their sacrificial bar-b-q at Mt.Carmel.

  • Gayle Miller

    And lost in the rancorous babble emanating from the Left is the solid FACT that research with ADULT stem cells is leading to improved therapies for various diseases, whereas embryonic stem cell research has yielded virtually nothing of value.

    When did we begin to believe (and act) in this country as though anyone who has an honest difference of opinion with us is somehow evil or the enemy? That is so not an American vibe!

  • cathyf

    Ditto to what Bridey said. We have a straightforward and consistent morality of organ transplantation which looks at the injury caused to the donor: where loss of the organ in question causes death or serious injury (e.g. heart transplants), the donor must be brain-dead before donation; in other cases where there is no harm or minimal harm to the donor (e.g. blood transfusions), we’re there having the blood drive after mass and supplying the juice and cookies. Killing people to take their body parts and give them to others is an abomination whether it works or not.

    There is a science fiction short story which is set in a future where criminals who are convicted of capital crimes and executed have their organs harvested for transplants. The protagonist is a prisoner, sure to be convicted and executed, who escapes from jail, is hunted down and recaptured. At the end of the story he stands up in court as the charges are read: four unpaid parking tickets.

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