Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’
FDA transparency

Six scientists are suing the FDA for spying on them after they informed congress of their concerns about the approval of medical devices.

Scientists, doctors sue FDA for monitoring their private e-mail

After the employees voiced concerns to the incoming Obama administration in January 2009, the FDA began intercepting the e-mails they sent using their private Google and Yahoo! accounts on government computers, Reuters reported.

The FDA also used spyware to capture screen shots of staff computer screens to obtain stored whistleblower reports and identify others involved in whistleblower activities, Reuters reported.

The information the Administration gathered in this way led to the harassment or dismissal of all six FDA employees, according to the lawsuit. The scientists and doctors worked in an office which reviewed devices for cancer screening and other purposes, the Post reported.

The employees flagged a computer-aided detection device used with mammograms as dangerous, among other devices. The staff members claim that the FDA approved the device for sale despite their warnings that it could significantly harm women.

In case you were unaware, the FDA proudly claims to be “Protecting and promoting your health”. It matters little the ostensible goal, eventually bodies are corrupted. Their senior personnel come to prioritize the good of the organization over that of some people. They still believe the organization as whole is working for the greater good. They can’t allow one bad incident to sour its reputation. To harm its funding. This would be bad for society. They need to lie, hide, harass or whatever to ensure they can continue on their wonderful mission. In this case “Protecting and promoting your health”.

It’s easy to understand how Stalin could kill the Kulaks, for the greater good. What’s the value of an individual, class or race compared to that of all people for ever more? It is not just fully fledged socialism that is evil. It is anyone or any system that is slave to the cost-benefit calculation. If you are willing to trample on an individual for the greater good, then no individual, class or race is safe. All can be killed, for the sake of all others for ever more.

The Greens removed the discounting of future benefits from cost-benefit calculations so they could harm people today on the basis of all the good it will do tomorrow.  I kid you not. Read the Stern Report. It even received support from assorted economics noble laureates. Some of whom have written some pretty smart stuff. But alas, once you are morally unmoored it matters little how smart you are. You are mentally unhinged. Your society becomes mad. Stark raving mad. Try putting a dollar figure on that in your cost-benefit calculation and I can tell you now who will be thought unhinged.

But once the connection to a moral code that protects individuals rights is severed, any moral compass becomes unhinged. Eventually individuals actions and whole societies become unmoored. Once that happens, anything goes.  And I mean anything. The Germans instituted the final solution for the greater good. Pol pot killed a third of his population:

The Left are Scum

It is our altruistic motives that turn the world into a charnel house – our desire to merge with a larger whole, to dedicate our lives to a higher cause, to serve cosmic powers…

Khmer Rouge soldiers occasionally sliced open the bellies of pregnant women, in front of terrified spectators, and ripped the fetuses from them.

I remember when it was cool to support Pol Pot. When our intellectual left lionized the Cambodian regime. As they did that of Mao. As I said, mad. Stark raving mad. The product of unhinged minds. Sometimes very smart, very well educated minds. But unhinged none the less. It’s as if they totally lack the ability to discriminate between right and wrong. As if they lack good judgement.  No doubt many of them do. They believe their own lines.

The left have long preached the evils of discrimination. The left have long tried to make being judgmental a sin. It’s is a lack of good judgment and ability to discriminate between right and wrong that makes the left’s pet policies such abject failures. They are not based on reality. But civilized society requires an ability on the part of its citizens to discriminate between right and wrong. To have good judgement. To have some semblance of a handle on reality.

Progressives like to lay claim to a scientific mantle. Marx espoused “scientific socialism”. The modern left tend to claim to be reason based and proudly reject belief systems be they based on faith or tradition. They then succumb to the lure of the cost-benefit calculation. They become enslaved by it. After all, what could be more reasonable than doing the greatest good for the greatest number? Surely it is evil to stand in the way of progress. To stop them from helping someone?

But their view is built on amoral foundations. The cost-benefit calculation is a great servant and a poor master. By all means make your calculations. But never forget that once you start depriving people of their rights you are on a slippery slope.  A slippery slope that always seems to end in charnal house.

If this is too long a bow to draw from some alleged minor malfeasance on the part of the FDA. How about the case of Thomas Drake?

The Federal Government’s Vindictive Legal Assault On NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Whistleblowers

The story has many more details not just on the program itself, but also on the attempts by a few to make it legal and on the NSA’s and the White House’s resistance (under both Bush and Obama) to actually bring the program into agreement with the law. But the worst part is the excessive aggressiveness with which the feds then tried to bring charges against the various whistleblowers, attempting to reinterpret the Espionage Act in a way that was never intended. The people involved brought up serious concerns over both government law-breaking and over the massively wasteful spending of US taxpayer money in the process. These are classic whistleblower issues — and not issues of state security. And yet, the whole thing gets twisted, in a clearly vindictive way, to make it out as if national secrets were revealed.

While the post has concentrated on the US, the underlying problem is a general one.  The text on the book used as the picture for this post states:

Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower

Time and again the government allowed dangerous drugs, agricultural practices, and carcinogenic pesticides to enter the food supply. Here is the full account of how government corruption endangers the food supply and how Dr. Chopra and his colleagues continue to speak the truth.

Labour-Green Government tyranny

CS Lewis summarises the problem with the Australian ALP-Green government:

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidi…ty may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell on earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
C. S. Lewis God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (p.292)