NRO 2-Fer

Outrageous Lefty comments got you down? Not to worry says VDH, "biteback" will get 'em in the end.

And my hero, Hadley Arkes, defends James Dobson from David Gelerntner's recent column against him re: stem cell research. I like Gelerntner, but that column seemed out of place in his oeuvre. Here's Hadley:
Gelernter's reflexes, in the past, have been reliably right, but in this case, he was not his usual, precise, just self. In fact, as he accused Dobson of sweeping judgments, without discrimination, he swept quite injudiciously himself. He remarked that "morally serious persons" will be sensitive to the differences between the killing of embryos and "full-fledged human beings." Just where the difference finally turns he did not finally say, but he remarked that, "It's not just that embryos ... feel no pain when they are destroyed. Not just that they leave no grief-stricken survivors in the sense that full-fledged human beings do, and rip no comparable hole in the community and the universe when they are murdered." We gauge persons as "morally serious" when they offer morally serious reasons, but surely Gelernter must be aware that these grounds of distinction are patently untenable: The victim who is anaesthetized and feels no pain; the homeless person without relatives who leaves "no grief-stricken survivors" or rips no hole in the memory, and stirs no sense of loss — nothing in these features would establish that these people have lost their standing as "full-fledged human beings." If the embryonic Joe DiMaggio had been swept away, he would not have left the enduring memory, and sense of loss, that David Gelernter and I may share. But that embryo was distinctly, solely, identically the same being, and he was never anything other than human at any stage.