IJ Wins Again

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

…in a case we’ll just call “The Department of Justice vs. Cancer Patients.”

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a unanimous opinion granting victory to cancer patients and their supporters from across the nation in a landmark constitutional challenge brought against the U.S. Attorney General. The lawsuit, filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of cancer patients, their families, an internationally renowned marrow-transplant surgeon, and a California nonprofit group, seeks to allow individuals to create a pilot program that would encourage more bone-marrow donations by offering modest compensation—such as a scholarship or housing allowance—to donors. The program had been blocked by a federal law, the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA), which makes compensating donors of these renewable cells a major felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Under today’s decision (PDF Download), this pilot program will be perfectly legal, provided the donated cells are taken from a donor’s bloodstream rather than the hip. (Approximately 70 percent of all bone marrow donations are offered through the arm in a manner similar to donating whole blood.) Now, as a result of this legal victory, not only will the pilot programs the plaintiffs looked to create be considered legal, but any form of compensation for marrow donors would be legal within the boundaries of the Ninth Circuit, which includes California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and various other U.S. territories.

It’s a shame it had to be litigated in the first place. Now, let’s repeal the ban on organ sales, too.

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45 Responses to “IJ Wins Again”

  1. #1 |  Eric | 

    This is a great result for sure. And I agree fully that there be a clearer ability to provide compensation for organ donors.

    But the problem is that some supporters of the marrow donation program come right out and say “this is NOT organ selling; we are not advocating for that and understand why we shouldn’t.” That position is helpful to the marrow position but sets back the organ donor issue in a big way.

  2. #2 |  Matt | 

    You can donate bone marrow from the bloodstream? I’d be interested in doing this. I’ll have to do some research.

  3. #3 |  Radley Balko | 

    That position is helpful to the marrow position but sets back the organ donor issue in a big way.

    Yep. It’s understandable why IJ has to make the arguments that are best for its clients. But nice as this is, we’re probably still a long way from compensation for organ donations. Which means lots of people will die who otherwise wouldn’t.

  4. #4 |  Sam | 

    Finally, somebody courageously goes to bat for the ability of the rich to have yet another decided advantage over the poor, this time when it comes to acquiring life. Heaven forbid we ever find ourselves in a situation where rich and poor alike are treated equally. That would be an injustice worse than anything else imaginable.

  5. #5 |  Jim Collins | 

    If the cells were taken from the blood, I can’t understand why it wouldn’t be considered the same as selling plasma?

  6. #6 |  M. Steve | 

    Sam, just so everyone can be clear, the following is your preference order:

    1. Everyone lives (impossible)
    2. Some people die because organ supply is artificially restricted
    3. Less people die because organ supply is not artificially restricted

    In other words, no one dies > some people die > less people die.

    The true humanitarian left.

  7. #7 |  Sam | 

    1. Everyone lives (impossible)
    2. Some people die because organ supply is artificially restricted (now)
    3. Some people die because the organs they would have gotten are now sold at prices beyond that which they can afford (the result)

  8. #8 |  Radley Balko | 

    Finally, somebody courageously goes to bat for the ability of the rich to have yet another decided advantage over the poor…

    Richie Rich needs a kidney. Pete Poor has one to spare. Pete Poor needs money. Richie Rich has plenty to spare.

    Are you really so hopped up on class warfare that you’d rather see Richie die and Pete stay poor than to allow them to voluntarily exchange in a way that makes them both better off? If you’re so obsessed with equality that you’d rather everyone be equally dead, or equally poor, than have some people live longer than others, or have more money than others, it might be time to reconsider your values.

    BTW, I also dispute your premise. It isn’t difficult to see non-profits and charities spring up to help low-income people acquire organs they need. I could also see contracts where people get paid now for a promise to donate their organs should something happen to them later. Or organizations that collect promises to donate organs in the event of an untimely death in exchange for a guaranteed payout to next of kin.

  9. #9 |  Eric | 

    Sam – how is “treated equally” better if the equal treatment is that everyone dies on a waiting list?

    And separately from that, there are many different proposals out there that are funded in a way to allow for equal treatment and that come well short of the doomsday “organ harvest from the poor” scenarios that are always trotted out. Like a private fund that pays funeral or death benefits for deceased organ donors or allows some reasonable honorarium for donations between matching relatives or acquaintances.

    The undeniable fact is that there is currently little or no incentive (outside of the desire to be charitable) to be an organ donor even after death, and several disincentives for live donors. Any measure that increases the number of available organs will improve the situation for everyone on the list.

  10. #10 |  M. Steve | 

    Alright, so you don’t understand basic economics. That’s fine. Ignorance is a lot better than malice.

    Can you appreciate this concept: with an incentive to donate organs, there will be *more* organs available for transplant, and therefore, less people would die?

    Can you also appreciate this concept: there is already a black market for organs, which only the super-super-rich can access, and if you open access, the non-1%ers might have a chance to get at those organs, whose cost is now *reduced*?

  11. #11 |  Michael Magnus | 

    So whether a child on a waiting list dies of cancer depends on the method in which the marrow used to save his life is extracted?
    Thanks 9th Circuit for doing the right thing… almost.

  12. #12 |  Eric | 

    One more point – several years ago my dad donated a kidney to a family friend and saved her life. He was very happy to do it. But it came at the expense of (1) his time for various tests, for the procedure, and for recovery, (2) his employment relationship in that his workplace grumbled about the time off required, (3) (marginally) his future health prospects in that he has only one kidney left, and (4) his actual pocketbook, as he incurred several expenses that he could not get back (like some time off work, extra costs for prepared foods or conveniences during recovery, etc.)

    Insurance paid for medical treatment but the donee family wanted to pay some of his non-medical costs to at least make him whole. The hospital forcefully prohibited it – threatening to refuse to do the procedure if there was any indication of a monetary exchange.

    When I tell people this story, they generally say “well in that situation of course the family should have been able to give him something.” But my dad’s experience is the status quo for living donors. The fear of complete chaos and the general ick factor that people feel over the idea of selling body parts prevents even reasonable thinking.

  13. #13 |  Dal | 

    “Doomsday “organ harvest from the poor” scenarios” are always trotted out for a reason..because it would pretty much be inevitable, and that “already existing black market” is proof of that. Though your arguments about increased availability and such are entirely “rational”, so were the positions put forth in Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.

    Hey I know, since Mexicans are the new Irish, why not offer a program that grants citizenship in exchange for organs? Better yet, I’m sure legalized organ sales would provide some great incentives for the Coyotes to divert their cargo to underground harvesting centers. Illegal immigration solved!

    You’re welcome.

  14. #14 |  Tim P | 

    Selling organs is OK? Hmmm? Let’s start harvesting aborted fetus parts and cells also. Life is worth so little no days.

  15. #15 |  DarkEFang | 

    One obstacle to legalizing the sale of organs in the US is that we all hear the horror stories of organ harvesting operations in China, where it is de facto legal. Has anyone run across any research that looks at how much truth is behind those stories? If people aren’t actually disappearing off the streets of China for their organs, it would go a long way towards alleviating people’s concerns.

  16. #16 |  M. Steve | 

    Dal, if you are seriously comparing compensating organ donors with EATING BABIES…

    You know what? No, I’m not going to bother. Go fuck yourself.

  17. #17 |  Michael Magnus | 

    @ Tim. Funny you bring that up. Tissue and cells from aborted fetuses are already in cosmetics and lotions. Pepsi even used aborted fetus cells in research.
    So, you can abort a child and sell the parts, but if the child lives, grows to be an adult and has a kidney that can save my life, tough luck. I get to die.

    Here’s an idea, how ’bout we let adults in a free country make their own decisions in their own lives?

  18. #18 |  M. Steve | 

    “Here’s an idea, how ’bout we let adults in a free country make their own decisions in their own lives?”

    Because, if that happened, the results might look different from the way leftist social engineers dream of, and we can’t have that, nosiree Sam.

  19. #19 |  Michael Magnus | 

    Don’t give the social engineers from the right a free pass… They’re every bit as bad. To ignore that, is to continue down the same path we’ve been on for 80 years. The way I see it, if you want to vote for “Limited Government” and “Individual Freedom” you can vote for a Libertarian or you can stay home.

  20. #20 |  M. Steve | 

    Oh, no no no, I would never, it’s just this particular version of social engineering is leftist. Rightist social engineering is just as frightening… maybe even more so, when threats about eternal damnation enter into it.

  21. #21 |  Sam | 

    Radley,

    Richie Rich willfully destroys organ, say, by drinking. Pete Poor has organ failure by natural causes. Richie Rich buys organ. Pete Poor cannot. Richie Rich lives on, despite irresponsibility. Pete Poor does not. The market wins, because Richie Rich person enriched the person who donated while Pete Poor dies. Sure seems just and fair. How could anybody possibly object?

  22. #22 |  Michael Magnus | 

    I don’t mean to jump in line here, but how is that scenario any more valid than, say, this one:
    Pete Poor makes bad decisions in life. He has dreams, but as a result of past mistakes, no money to fulfill them. Richie Rich is a Doctor who invented vaccines that saved countless lives. But his kidneys are failing, and we will soon die. Richie Rich buys a kidney from Pete Poor. Pete Poor uses the money to get his life on track and fulfill his dreams. Richie Rich goes on living to help countless more people.

    The way it is now, Richie Rich either dies or breaks the law by buying a foreign organ. And Pete Poor goes on living in debt, not fulfilling his ambitions.

    That scenario is every bit as likely to happen as the one laid out by Sam.
    How about we don’t worry about what if crazy scenarios and we just agree that free people can, well, be FREE!

  23. #23 |  Radley Balko | 

    Sam:

    Yes, the world is unfair. The current system is no different. How do you think lifelong alcoholic Mickey Mantle got a liver?

    Without question the current policy causes more people–rich and poor–to die than who otherwise would. An organ market would drastically increase the amount of organs available across the board. Yet you want the government to use force to prevent people from doing what they please with their own bodies, causing more people to die. And the underlying principle for your position is, what? That any police that benefits rich people more than poor people should always be opposed?

  24. #24 |  Dal | 

    Well, Mr. Steve, I was actually just using Swift as an example of how rational arguments can be used to justify just about anything. But now that you mention it, there does seem to be something of a parallel between poor people selling off their body parts to sustain affluent clients and Swift’s Proposal – far more resemblance than the one you just drew between a person SELFLESSLY donating to help another and a fucking for-profit organ market (which aside from encouraging desperate people to make really bad decisions, creates a venue for some extreme civil-liberty-violating organ harvesting by force scenarios). Nice try though (but your really should have tried to work “what about the children” in there somewhere too…).

  25. #25 |  OldGrump | 

    Wow – you can donate via the arm? Way better than how I donated back in the day – large-gauge needles into your iliac crest via your lower back.

    While I wouldn’t have minded being compensated, under the old donation method I think compensation wouldn’t have made much of an impact in donation rates – it hurt and put you out of commission for a while. But a new, easy way to donate, coupled with at least some compensation? This should only do good things for donation rates.

  26. #26 |  Dal | 

    Really Radley? You don’t see the potential here for some really horrific abuses , that could mar if not outright negate the benefits? I think you would certainly agree with the sentiment that its better for 100 guilty men to go free than 1 innocent to go to jail. Likewise, isn’t it better that 100 sick people die (from the same bad luck that has inflicted humans for untold ages..as you pointed out, life is unfair), than one person to be abducted, strapped to table, and have their eyes, kindeys, heart, etc. cut out of them so the perpetrators can make a not-so-tidy profit?

    One can even imagine a scenario where some cops start deliberately killing suspects so they can later collect the organs from the forensics lab to sell on the underground market. They probably would even consider themselves (“Hey I just removed scumbag from society and saved a dying kid, and paid off my mortgage in process. Win-win-win…”)

  27. #27 |  Dal | 

    *edit: “…consider themselves heroes…”

  28. #28 |  Radley Balko | 

    Likewise, isn’t it better that 100 sick people die (from the same bad luck that has inflicted humans for untold ages..as you pointed out, life is unfair), than one person to be abducted, strapped to table, and have their eyes, kindeys, heart, etc. cut out of them so the perpetrators can make a not-so-tidy profit?

    One can even imagine a scenario where some cops start deliberately killing suspects so they can later collect the organs from the forensics lab to sell on the underground market.

    The latter is absurd. The decedent’s next of kin would own the body and the organs, not the police department.

    You use the word “underground.” Which is the right word to use. All of the horribles you mentioned are illegal now, and would still be illegal if we legalized organ markets. You can sell your own organs. You can’t sell someone else’s organs. Also, what makes you think having a free and open market would make killing someone to steal their organs more likely than the current system? If anything, it would become less likely. Under a legal system, there would be a hell of a lot more organs available. Which means they’d be cheaper. Which would cut into the risk premium you get with a black market.

  29. #29 |  M. Steve | 

    I think Dal has shown me the light. In fact, I am now against drug legalization. After all, if we legalize drugs, then what happens when black-markets set up to avoid the taxes start to bring violence into our otherwise peaceful inner cities?

  30. #30 |  Dal | 

    You use the word “underground.” Which is the right word to use. All of the horribles you mentioned are illegal now, and would still be illegal if we legalized organ markets. You can sell your own organs. You can’t sell someone else’s organs. Also, what makes you think having a free and open market would make killing someone to steal their organs more likely than the current system? If anything, it would become less likely. Under a legal system, there would be a hell of a lot more organs available. Which means they’d be cheaper. Which would cut into the risk premium you get with a black market.

    Ah but you’ve just creates a huge front industry for the blackmarket . Right now I imagine its incredibly hard to find and utilize such a system…you’d have to know just the right people, the recipient and/or family members have to become willing accomplices, you’d need a medical facility and doctors who don’t ask questions about where the organ came from, etc. But all those problems go away in a legitimate market. Easy enough for some clerk to fake an invoice to some transient who walked in to sell his kidney (to cover for said transient being jumped in a alley, for example). The hospital and patient would certainly have plausible deniability, if not legitimate ignorance of the crime. You can make claims about failsafes, record checking, etc., but that would require government regulation, and how long before the soon-to-be-very rich organ collecting companies bought off the watchdogs (eagerly aided by libertarian stoolies)? The free market can not solve every fucking problem…it just can’t…and sometimes it can make things way worse.

    And yeah that cop scenario is just totallly nuts,right? Not like the ME could just toss in some other unusable (or animal) organs before returning the perp’s body to his family or anything. I mean, that’s almost as crazy as, say, judges putting children in jail just to get kickbacks from the prison industry…or cops planting drugs at traffic stops in order to seize expensive vehicles. Just couldn’t happen.

    Also, the drug analogy does not apply here, Mr. Steve…unless they come up with a recreational drug that requires some vital part of the human body, in which case I would have to reconsider my own position in favor of legalization (because I do try to consider the greatest good, and not blindly adhere to idealogical dogma no matter what the consequences…)

  31. #31 |  Michael Magnus | 

    I’m still fairly young in life, so perhaps I’m missing something here. A free person in a free country decides to consensually sell a kidney to another free person in a free country who consensually decides to buy it. Both parties way the risks and make their own free decisions with their own property (money/kidney).
    Where the hell is there a problem? All the different scenarios people come up with, valid or otherwise, amount to little more than control freaks wanting to push their morals, their opinions, their worldview on everyone else.
    Who owns my kidney? I do. End of story.

  32. #32 |  Dal | 

    Also, how is it that y’all can put forth the most outrageous slippery slope worst case arguments about government overreach, but become the most staunchly unimaginative pragmatists in regards to potential private for-profit abuses. That only serves to continually legitimize you cause in the mainstream. Nothing sabotages idealism quicker than hypocrisy…

  33. #33 |  Dal | 

    er..”continually DElegitimize”… (long day)

  34. #34 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #15: “If people aren’t actually disappearing off the streets of China for their organs, it would go a long way towards alleviating people’s concerns.”

    If humans were rational that would work, but the fact that children aren’t actually being abducted to be sex slaves doesn’t do beans toward decreasing either “human trafficking” hysteria or “child abduction” hysteria.

    #30: You scenario smells exactly like those used by prohibitionists to argue that decriminalized prostitution increases sex trafficking, when in fact it does nothing of the kind.

  35. #35 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #15: “If people aren’t actually disappearing off the streets of China for their organs, it would go a long way towards alleviating people’s concerns.”

    If humans were rational that would work, but the fact that children aren’t actually being abducted to be sex slaves doesn’t do beans toward decreasing either “human trafficking” hysteria or “child abduction” hysteria.

    #30: Your scenario smells exactly like those used by prohibitionists to argue that decriminalized prostitution increases sex trafficking, when in fact it does nothing of the kind.

  36. #36 |  Nick T. | 

    Dal,

    Perhaps a better analogy is alcohol prohibition. You keep speculating that these negative effects will be more likely if organ sales were legal. But why is this likely? Your talk of people stealing kidneys and cutting corners left and right would be analogous to people selling poisonous moonshine, or robbing eachother to secure a stash of booze. But we saw that alcohol legalization essentially elimianted moonshine and basement-made poisons because people coudl legally get a beer or a bourbon.
    Similarly, the market for questionably obtained, non-organ-owner endorsed organs would be essentially zero if people could go to reputable hospitals and obatin organs where the source was known (especially re: their medical past), available for tests or whatever such things they wouldn’t choose back-alley organs. You might argue that somehow back-alley organs could be cheaper, but that just isn’t likely given the premium black-market activity places on the final product.
    I think it is assuemd that organs could not be sold legally if the source of the organ did not sign proper paperwork consenting, so I could not show up with a bag of organs, source unknown, and sell them to my local clinic for $500.
    considering all fo that the simple, undeniable fact is that organs like kidneys would be far more available with a financial incentive to donate and that would save a lot of lives. I’m not sure that a 100:1 ratio (if that’s even accurate), as you posited, is undesirable.

  37. #37 |  M. Steve | 

    “(because I do try to consider the greatest good, and not blindly adhere to idealogical dogma no matter what the consequences”

    In other words, you have no solid philosophical grounding for your political beliefs, which means that anything (a charismatic speaker, an emotional plea, a strong wind) can get you to change your beliefs. In your self-righteous rush to be a utilitarian pragmatist, you blinded yourself to the most obvious of flaws: ideology and consequences are inextricably linked. You cannot, in other words, play “results politics”. Further, given the complexity of large systems, to suggest that you can even properly operate in the “consequence” realm simply suggests that you are not nearly as smart as I am sure you suppose yourself to be. It’s okay, though; none of us are. That’s why we tend to side with the “ideology” of freedom, because we *know* we aren’t smart enough to design a social eutopia. Instead, let each man and women define their own eutopia, so long as they respect the non-aggression principle.

    Here’s your homework assignment, Dal: write a 10,000 essay objectively defining “the greater good”.

  38. #38 |  Dal | 

    Thank you for the reasoned response, Nick T. And let me state for the record that I generally agree with and advocate libertarian ideals in regards to many many things. But this organ market idea just seems like a scary and inherently bad idea.

    To address your points…the fundamental flaw in prohibition comparisons is the product in the latter case does not originate from a human body. The poison moonshine analogy doesn’t work because the issue would not be that of organ quality (a blackmarket market organ could be just as functional and healthy as a legit one), so there’d be no market balancing from consumer backlash. The other problem is that, while booze and drug production is effectively unlimited (so there is no incentive to but higher priced blackmarket products when there’s the legal cheaper alternative), human organ availability will always be restricted (especially organs that require the donor to be deceased). Finally, a illegitimate organ vendor could still be competive because his “production cost” is negligible (just find supply of unwanted and/or forgotten poor people), compared to the high fees paid out by legit suppliers

    Its no great leap to consider the rise of specialized providers in a legal organ market. Hospitals (who are better off focusing on treating patients rather that running an organ mill) would obtain the product from these vendors and assume they are legitimate, and the hospital and patient would never be the wiser. And again, insuring things stay on the up-and-up would require rigorous and well-funded regulation (and how soon after organ sales were legalized would conservatives and libertarians start chipping away at that?). And we ain’t talking investment bank regulation where the worst case is losing your life savings or bankrupting the country (which is bad enough). Here deregulation could result in wholesale slaughter of poor populations for body parts (just imagine an unholy alliance between a third world tyranny that wants to be rid of undesirable certain ethnic groups or aboriginals, and an ammoral organ warehouse….). I’d say that would be pretty effing undesirable….

  39. #39 |  Dal | 

    So what you are essentially saying, Mr. Steve, is that if you are, for example, a Christian, that must adhere to absolutely every aspect of the official dogma or become one of these wishy-washy situational ethics types. Even though the evidence seems pretty clear that the earth is not 6000 old, you must adhere to that because who are you, a mere mortal sinner, to make judgments about “facts” or “scientific evidence” on such a large and complex subject.

    I didn’t realize that the ideology of libertarianism (or any other socio-economic philosophy) had been passed along by a burning bush, and wasn’t actually the subjective and ever-evolving creations of my fellow men. I guess that essay must be my penance then?

  40. #40 |  M. Steve | 

    “if you are, for example, a Christian, that must adhere to absolutely every aspect of the official dogma or become one of these wishy-washy situational ethics types. Even though the evidence seems pretty clear that the earth is not 6000 old, you must adhere to that because who are you, a mere mortal sinner, to make judgments about “facts” or “scientific evidence” on such a large and complex subject.”

    If you belong to a faith whose core tenets are in obvious conflict with reality, my suggestion would be to find a different faith. I hear Catholicism has accepted Darwinian evolution as true for at least a century, and Vatican scientists themselves mock Intelligent Design.

    The whole POINT of Libertarianism (or whatever it is we are practicing here) is that it ISN’T revealed wisdom; it is a set of clearly defined tenets stemming from first principles, NOT from a burning bush. First principles, properly derived and argued, are a pretty amazing thing. They are also Hell for moral relativists (although I imagine living as a moral relativist is a little like being in Hell anyway).

    The essay is not penance, but instructive. See if you can actually put together a concept of “the greater good” that does not depend on your own subjective interpretations of the phrase. If you can’t, well, you might as well replace “the greater good” with “what I think should happen”, since that’s what you are doing functionally, anyway.

    P.S. It’s not Mr. Steve, like Mr. Clean. It’s M. Steve, like M. Bison.

  41. #41 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @8 – And where are these “non-profits” going to find the tens of thousands of dollars per case? It’s already VERY hard in the US for poorer people to afford the kind of after-surgery care needed for transplants.

    There IS a huge ethical difference between it being done in cases with no effect on the donor’s health (blood, bone marrow) and ones without (kidney).

    Try, oh, putting an organ donation check-box on the driving licence application form. It’ll actually help.

    (Also, allowing funeral costs to be paid for by organ donation? Totally with that as well. The issues are with live donation. And…want to increase the rates? Make people’s own will on posthumous donation overriding. At the moment, if the family objects….no donations. That needs fixing – it’s why for example there’s zero point to me getting a donor card. It wouldn’t happen anyway, because my family WOULD object.)

  42. #42 |  Les | 

    Dal, all the “slippery slope worst case arguments about government overreach” aren’t panic-fueled speculation. They are real. They are happening.

    Look, you have fears about what might happen and many people have pointed out the safeguards that would prevent those fears from coming to fruition. But people dying because there aren’t donor organs isn’t speculation. It is happening. People are dying. And you’re basically arguing that people should continue to die because the idea of compensating organ donors is “scary.”

    That’s exactly the argument for continuing our deadly foreign policies, for locking up drug users and prostitutes, for opposing gay marriage, for building electric walls on Mexico’s border, etc, etc. The denial of liberty is usually based on fear.

  43. #43 |  A Critic | 

    @Radley & all:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/xinjiang-procedure_610145.html?nopager=1

    I don’t plan on buying or selling any organs…but I’d prefer a market over “nationalized organs”.

  44. #44 |  StrangeOne | 

    I sure am glad all the people like Sam and Dal are vigilantly protecting dying people from getting organs because of the potential irresponsible behavior of the recipient or the potential for stolen organs.

    Despite the fact that both of these things already happen with the illegal/state controlled market. They would only become less frequent with a legal one.

    Its like the people who argue against drug legalization because of the “addicts”. They ignore the fact that the current system treats addicts like criminals, gives them next to no medical or psychological treatments, and throws them in prison where near universal corruption makes drugs as easily available as the outside world. In order to treat addiction like a public health issue it must first cease to be treated like a criminal one.

    Well if you want to increase organ donors, you have to stop criminalizing due compensation. Donating an organ is a pretty risky procedure, asking tons of people to risk their lives in giving up kidneys, bone marrow, and half their liver purely out of the kindness of their heart is actually pretty cruel. Their not allowed to get compensation for undergoing a serious personal risk, as well as the many long running medical problems associated with organ donation, because you don’t want them to be exploited? Well aren’t you just a shinning beacon of humanitarianism.

    Lets not save a life and give someone else money because someone, somewhere may be getting treated unfairly. Lets force everyone to not drink alcohol because someone, somewhere may be doing it irresponsibly. Its the same nanniesh philosophy that makes you think you know whats better for other people than they do. How about this, neither you nor the government, has the right to tell people what they can do with their own bodies. Whether its organ donation, the drugs they take, or prostituting themselves its none of your damn business. Whatever problems you have with those activities, anyone with the slightest bit of sense can see that making them illegal, forcing every participant into criminal acts outside the protection of the law, only exacerbates the problems you have with it.

    You can’t control other people, but you can easily ruin lives in the name of “protecting” people from themselves.

  45. #45 |  JOR | 

    “I didn’t realize that the ideology of libertarianism (or any other socio-economic philosophy) had been passed along by a burning bush, and wasn’t actually the subjective and ever-evolving creations of my fellow men.”

    All philosophies are subjective in the literal sense (i.e. the same sense that the theory of evolution or the belief in gravity are “subjective”), but very few are subjective in the pop-philosophy sense (i.e. they make actual truth claims).

    The heart of M Steve’s point is that there is no rejecting ideology. Any notion of “the greater good” is ideological (read: philosophical) in nature.

    That’s really a side issue though. There’s no reason to think legalizing an organ market will cause more organ theft anymore than legalizing prostitution will cause more rape. I agree that in the current culture, it might very well become an acceptable practice to cut up poor people or police suspects to sell their organs in a black or gray market, but that’s more due to the fact that it’s socially acceptable to abuse and violate poor people and police suspects who “brought it on themselves”.

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