A few days back Wired Magazine posted an article called "Transplants Are a Crazy, Wildly and Unethical Idea". Yes. That magazine. Now why would a technology magazine going off the rails so to speak and move into a theme for which it is clearly not qualified at all? Well, because just like any other so-called "outlet" Wired magazine is not in the business of technology but in the business of making money. Therefore, any subject that will become controversial or unique, anything that will attract readership it's a go. Whether or not they are qualified to issue an opinion in said subject is irrelevant. However, not everything is a loss. It gives us yet another opportunity to understand how the mainstream (which is to say the average) people think. Let's get to it.
The so-called journalist that wrote this article begins the offensive with a comparison that is specifically designed to alienate people. If not, why would the author begin with a reference to Frankenstein? Of course this was intentional with the desired effect of setting the tone for the article.
The author of the article paints the surgical procedure in a horrific light, conveniently forgetting to mention that just like any other surgical procedure; they all look horrific when looked at with laymen's eyes. The article goes on and on blabbering about severing spinal cords, repairing nerves, placing the patient in comma, and a very lengthy recovery. Conveniently sprinkled throughout the article we find more references to Frankenstein, from the application of electrical currents to more scary images.
As if all of this would not be enough, the author then states that the plan is "insane". Apparently this is not so because the plan seems like something developed for a bad Hollywood script, but because "his plan could maybe work". Funnily enough then the author spends a considerable amount of time explaining why exactly it would not work. And then just not to be outdone by his own contradictions, the author jumps again to the contrary opinion explaining at length why it could work (but this time using a different technique). And again, funnily enough, this latest technique which could potentially work (although within a few years) is surprisingly similar to what the original Italian doctor is proposing!
Once this wonderful groundwork is laid out then the fool barrage of stupidity begins. The problem does not seem to be that the procedure may not work which again it may, the problem seems to be that according to the author, who is certainly not qualified in this area to issue a professional opinion, the process is not "ethical, safe, effective". What has this author all wind up is the fact that Canavero (that's the name of the Italian doctor) proposes to experiment on live people for the next two years or so to perfect this process. Aha. Uhu. And this process would, according to the author, leads to "cadavers, cadavers, and more cadavers". Yes, this coming from the same author who is not qualified to issue a professional opinion in the subject. So much for his opinion.
He offers as a basis of his opinion that the neurosurgical community is not impressed. This is so because medical science has so far failed to cure millions of people with spinal nerve damage. But then again Canavero will speak (as a keynote speaker -yes, you heard correctly-) in an upcoming American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeon's annual meeting. Yes. The big thing. Sooooooo… The person proposing this procedure is sort of a crackpot who is worth taking seriously and he is proposing a technique that can't work but it may. Got it.
The main sticking point does not seem to be that the science is unproven but the fact that the whole procedure is "unethical".
And here is where we, as libertarians, enter into the picture. We have to again, remind people that property rights are absolute. And what has this to do with anything? A great deal! Think about it. Would you volunteer for such operation? Probably not. Why? Because you're not crazy. But how about if you paralyzed? How about if you're a quadriplegic? How about if your life is pure misery and, thanks to the government, you can't even die because it is against the law! Then, would you consider this procedure? The chances that you would say yes are pretty high! Why? Because you have nothing to lose. Yet, for some strange reason, people that are not there, people to whom you owe nothing, people that are actually strangers to you, get to decide what you may or may not do with your body. Does this sound something you can accept? Of course not!
The whole point here is that although the procedure may in fact be ridiculous (according to some scientists) it is not up to us to to decide what it is that other people may or may not do using their will and their own property. So, if there are people out there that are willing to take a gigantic risk with their property, this is literally none of our business. Let's say this again. The point is not whether or not the procedure is scientifically sound or whether or not the procedure has a ridiculously low chance of success, but whether or not people decide, voluntarily, to undergo this procedure.
This is nothing different than people volunteering for other experimental procedures. This happens every day in medical science. There are so-called "heroic" surgeons that even as we speak perform last resort surgery with little or no chance of success on patients. Yet, strangely enough, we don't hear authors blasting these surgeons. Why is this? Because it is routine. Let's say this again. Because it is routine. And routine stuff is not news.
This is a clear example of current political thinking. The author is assuming automatically that people would agree that the procedure is unethical just because people have been brainwashed to believe so and just because it is "illegal" without the previous approval of regulatory agencies.
Let's be clear again. We are not saying that the procedure lacks risk, and we are not saying that we don't have an opinion one way or another. The procedure is extremely risky and we do have an opinion against. However, all that is irrelevant, because we are not, repeat, not, volunteering our body for the procedure. As such, our opinion is worth exactly zero.
This is the very same way of thinking that ensures that our medications are horrifically expensive, that causes medical procedures costs to grow exponentially, resulting in the so-called "social health care" system becoming progressively unreachable. Under a free market, where free people make free decisions unhampered by apparatchiks following invalid rules and regulations, the medical and pharmaceutical sciences become progressively better, cheaper, and thus accessible. Why? Because medical sciences, just like any other things, are products. Yes. Products. And in a free market the cost of products follows only one direction; down, while the quality of products follows only one direction; up.
If you believe that this little example it's irrelevant to your daily life, you are grossly mistaken. It is not. The issue itself it's irrelevant. What it is highly relevant is that this article represents a pattern of submissive thinking which is common everywhere and in most people.
The main problem with this article is not that the author is unqualified (when was the last time you heard of a journalist that was actually qualified in a subject?), nor than the science it's flaky at best, nor that the Italian doctor seems to be quite pushy, nor than the subject is "out there". No. The problem with this article is that it represents the artificial limitations that governments -i.e. democracies- artificially impose upon us, upon our rights.
Let us remind you that because we own our bodies absolutely our capacity to contract it's also absolute. We can contract and bind ourselves to do anything no matter how ridiculous or ludicrous it may seem. That is our right. Of course, if we contract for something so incredibly stupid we are also liable for the consequences if we don't deliver. This goes without saying. As such it is our inalienable right to get our head transplanted into a different body if we choose to do so, however idiotic the idea may seem. Yes. It is our right. This is the very concept that most people don't grasp. Governments have stolen our rights to make decisions. They have entitled themselves with the fake right to be the ones who get to decide "what's best for us". We must never forget that political theories are easy to support for as long as the subject is not controversial. However, the litmus test for political theories it's in watching how they resolve very problematic issues. Current social political systems resolve problems by not resolving them. The solution is always to impose arbitrary rules that are supposedly "fit" for everybody, regardless of whether or not this may or may not be true (typically it's not).
This type of political systems are not repeat, not there to guard our best interest but to oppress us by denying us our inalienable choices. Our inalienable right to make choices however stupid and ill-advised they may seem to other people, as long as they are voluntary and they strictly involve our own property.
Unfortunately, there is always a different opinion. There are always people out there that have been trained to think like Pavlov's dogs. Politicians ring the bell of a juicy and semi-controversial topic and these people begin to salivate. This is so because most of us have been trained to respond in this manner. If you are one of those people that's okay, it is also your inalienable right to believe that you are right. However, if you think so, you should also know that then, following the same train of logic it's our right to believe that we are right and therefore we have the right to impose on you whatever we think it's right! Happy now? Thought so.
Yes, in the end everything is connected. There is no free lunch. Think about it!
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.