25 Years of Wishes
Restrictions on individual liberty are sometimes justified on the basis that their purpose is really to protect others, even when the argument is a bit strained. For example, unhelmet motorcyclists could be a threat to others because of the possibility of their losing control if hit by flying debris. Unhelmet cyclists and unbelted motorists, severely injured in road accidents, drive up insurance rates for others and in extreme cases may become expensive wards of the state.
Alcoholics and drug users bring harm to their families and are a nuisance to their neighbors. The cattle will starve, and the herdsmen will be ruined. Another way the administration sought to distort scientific information, according to the UCS report, was by packing scientific advisory committees with ideologues and industry representatives.
For example, the President’s Council on Bioethics was created to consider research on embryonic stem cells, which offers the hope of curing many degenerative diseases, but has been strongly opposed by abortion opponents. President Bush dismissed two of the members, scientists who were supporters of such research. “It seems like an act of desperation to keep the bioethics commission from coming up with advice [the president] doesn’t want to hear,” said a Nobel Prize winning geneticist.