There seems to be a growing interest in Ayn Rand, particularly the principle character in Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Sure, they may be ready to accept the Objectivist view on government. But are ready to also accept other Objectivist views on other subjects, particularly in the life sciences? I’m going to take select quotes from the various commentators from the Atlas Society
In the case of human embryos there can be no debate. They do not possess, in any form, any sort of awareness whatsoever. In fact, it is precisely because embryonic cells have not yet differentiated (into nerve cells, for example) that they are of value in medical research. Embryos-unlike sharks, chickens, and even mosquitoes-have absolutely no awareness at all. Embryos have the same moral status as zucchini.
So do they support federal funding of stem-cell research? No
According to Ayn Rand, “the recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships…the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.” The government’s function is therefore to act against those who use physical force and endanger the peaceful affairs of others. In accordance with this principle, the only area of scientific research that clearly lies within the proper sphere of governmental activity is research for national defense. Therefore it must conduct its own research in military R&D.
However this does not extend to the funding of scientific research in unrelated areas where a great deal of federal money is presently devoted. Not only does the government overstep its boundaries by doing this, it violates the very freedom it is supposed to protect.
The point here is not to argue for or against any of these positions, but to show born again objectivists what they are getting themselves into.