Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Forced charity

I've long been an admirer of John Stossel, and I agree with him word for word regarding the "charitable giving" forced on debt-ridden California voters regarding controversial stem cell research:

Last November, the people of California decided to contribute $3 billion to stem-cell research. More precisely, 6.48 million people in California decided to do that; another 4.5 million voted not to, but they lost. Since California voted, other states are moving in the same direction. The Associated Press reports officials in Illinois, Wisconsin, New York and Connecticut are promoting state funding of stem-cell research. Last week, the acting governor of New Jersey, Richard J. Codey, announced that his state would spend $150 million to 'build and equip' an institute for stem-cell research, which he asked New Jersey's voters to 'put their faith behind' and fund with another $230 million. *** I happen to think stem-cell research is a good idea: Take an embryo that hasn't come close to consciousness and never will, harvest its stem cells, and work to save the lives of people who are desperate to live. But many Americans think that an embryo is already a person with a right to life and that to kill it is murder. Why should people who think abortion is murder be forced to pay for research that involves abortion? Robert Klein thinks he can answer that question. "As a democracy," he told me, "we vote for public schools, and everyone contributes tax dollars to public schools. What we're doing here is really no different." If that's true, where does it stop? California is already $53 billion in debt. This will add billions more. And it's completely unnecessary. Many of the referendum's backers are among the richest people in America. Bill Gates has given billions to charity, but he and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar are so rich, they could pay the entire $3 billion themselves and still have $52 billion left. So why didn't they?
There's more and it's definitely worth reading. I'm always surprised at how people, lamb-like, accept celebrities' exhortations that they should put their hard-earned, scarce money to pay for things that celebrities could support entirely with the interest on one year's income! Of course, I find it surprising that so many Americans let celebrities, who are often ill-educated and under-informed, set so much of our public discourse and agenda.