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The Proposed Amendment 2 is Mercantilism at its Worst
Missourians have been appalled over the misuse of the people's power of eminent domain for the private gain of a few. Some have even labeled it for what it really is - mercantilism, the system of government and economics we rejected in our war for independence in 1776!
In 16th through 18th century Europe, mercantilist policy used the power of government to provide favored status to an elite class at the expense of the “common people”. Today mercantilism might be in the form of eminent domain for private gain, or a protected monopoly, or restrictions on market access or other restrictions to open competition. Mercantilism is the antithesis of capitalism.
proponents of Amendment 2, the so-called “Missouri Stem
Cell Research and Cures Initiative”, have elevated
mercantilism to a whole new level – a constitutional
They are trying to dupe the people into providing perpetual protection to an evolving industry that is already venturing into areas producing serious ethical concerns.
That flies in the face of the only principle of governance more important to the founders than capitalism, that of justice and righteousness. This proposed constitutional amendment would subvert those principles through the very document that is designed to protect them in our state – the Missouri Constitution.
On the surface the amendment seems to be about promoting technology that will provide cures for disease while outlawing something that is abhorrent to almost all of us – cloning. What it really does is ensure a ready flow of taxpayer dollars into embryonic stem cell research; an ethically problematic field that hasn't produced a single cure in the last two decades. Taxpayers would not only be forced to fund research that violates their conscience, but resources would also be drained away from the field that HAS produced a number of cures and therapies – adult stem cell research.. Even adult stem cell projects that are funded totally through private sources will be affected, since they will have to compete with the seemingly limitless general revenue funds of the state government. So much for fair competition!
Another mercantilistic aspect of the amendment is a clause that protects the researchers from civil suits brought by citizens and limits penalties when the attorney general files a suit. This special treatment violates the basic premise of government. Notice that Article I, Section 1 of the Missouri Constitution lays the foundation for all the subsequent sections:
That all political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. (emph. added)
To use this very document to secure special rights for a special interest is subversion of the constitution in the worst way.
DANGERS OF DIRECT DEMOCRACY
Thanks to the wisdom of the funding fathers we live in a constitutional republic and NOT a pure or “direct” democracy. In fact, they considered pure democracy among the greatest forms of evil because the misinformed masses can be so easily led astray from justice and righteousness. Powerful special interests can gain advantage through deception as readily as a general with a great army.
In spite of that, the framers of our state constitution recognized a need for the people to override their elected officials when the latter failed to do the will of the people, so we have the initiative and referendum. That is how Amendment 2 made it to the ballot, not though studied consideration of our elected representatives. It wasn't even through a genuine grass-roots effort, but this amendment is primarily the result of a lot of money spent my one billionaire couple, Jim and Virginia Stowers, who have a personal vested interest in its passage – The Stowers Institute of Kansas City. The tens of thousands of signatures required to secure ballot access were not collected by ordinary interested citizens, but by paid circulators who, at least some of the time, used deceptive tactics to dupe people into signing the petitions.
Not only did
this proposed amendment NOT originate from the desires of the
masses, it will prevent their elected representatives from doing
their will in the area of regulating unethical bio-medical
research in the future.
There are two problems with their definition. 1) It constitutionally protects killing embryos created by either cloning or fertilization of an egg with a sperm before implanting them in a uterus, and 2) it constitutionally protects the practice of growing a cloned individual outside of the womb and harvesting his body parts. That might sound like a futuristic concept, but they are closer to “success” than you might imagine. The “future” will some day be here and the amendment is forever. Remember, the majority of our current constitution was written in 1875!
Redefining the obvious meaning of words goes beyond “cloning”, the amendment also purports to prohibit paying “valuable consideration” for humane eggs, but then says “valuable consideration” does not include payment “to a donor of human eggs”. All one can conclude is that the drafters of the amendment have been purposefully deceptive because they know Missourians wouldn't support their true agenda.
Anyway you slice it, Amendment 2 doesn't belong in our constitution. The manner in which is was written isn't even appropriate. Constitutional clauses are supposed to be short, concise and dealing in principles, but this amendment is written more like a detailed statute that micromanages the issue and ties the hands of future legislative efforts to fix unforeseen problems.
Cloning in Missouri's Future?
Although growing cloned humans in tanks, like depicted in the 2000 Arnold Schwarzenegger film "The 6th Day: Special Edition", is not technologically possible yet, Amendment 2 will create a constitutionally protected "right" to try!
"Economic development has become our sacred cow." - Rep. Jim Lembke
Representative Lembke is right, and some people have mastered the use (actually, misuse) of governmental powers to foster economic development at the expense of much more important principles. If bringing research money to Missouri means accepting unethical practices, we don't want the money!
is running out!
By: Ron Calzone
Missouri First, Inc.