It is, for me, hard to define George Bush’s moral center and hard to consider it life-affirming.  This is an administration that would fund, on a massive scale, military operations both in Iraq and Gaza that kill, wound, dislocate and disrupt the lives of so many non-combatants, but will not fund research that uses embryos that would be otherwise destroyed, as a consequence of legal IVF treatments, to conduct research that might eventually save an infinite number of lives. 

Stem-cell development is one of the most life-affirming scientific breakthroughs to come down the pike in a long while.  It is yet another form of man’s ability to make and remake himself in response to an array of environmental variables and contingencies—to change not only himself, but to change the forces that would shape him—to reshape not only himself, but the very biological processes that would undermine or sustain his existence.  It is rather godlike, no? 

Is this what makes this type of research so disturbing to some—that man would presume to reshape his destiny in the face of forces that some would rather submit to?  Or do moral absolutists think it presumptuous to weigh the value of a life that consists of a rapidly dividing bundle of cells to that of a fully-formed person, with a full life both behind and ahead of him, with children perhaps, or grandchildren, with perceptions and sentience and whatever creative forces were given him?  

Is this hubris?  Or is it hubris for one to suppose that he can redraw the lines on a map, as the British did in Iraq and Palestine and as the neo-cons would do now in the entire Middle East, if they could?  Is it hubris to depose the head of a sovereign state because he runs contrary to your will?  Is it hubris for a head of state to hail another head of state as if he were a homie (“Yo Blair!”)?  Or is it hubris for that same head of state to refer to the potentially world-shaping actions of nations and their agents as if they were those of troublesome rugrats:

“. . . to get Syria, to get Hizbollah, to stop doing this shit . . .” ?