Today's podcast takes up the question of the Howard Schultz candidacy and whether it's frightening Democrats more or thrilling conservatives more. And then we bring up the brave new world of surrogacy, parenthood, and partial birth abortion and wonder whether what we need is an updating of the Oral Law. Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
well come to the commentary magazine. Podcast today is Thursday. January 31st, two thousand and ninety nine John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine the seventy year old, monthly of intellectual analysis, political probity and cultural criticism from a conservative perspective. We invite you to join us. A commentary magazine com where we give you a few free reads and ask you to subscribe. Nineteen five for a digital subscription, two thousand nine hundred and ninety five for an all access subscription, including beautiful? Monthly magazine in your
box eleven times a year with me, as always fresh from two days of controversy on morning, Joe surrounding his hot new book, unjust, nor Rothman associate that or high Noah Hi John, so tired, so tired of spending an hour talking about his book on television on national television uh next to me, senior editor a ring while high a hi, John and in Washington twenty four hours before her official coming on board as senior writer commentary, Christine Rozum hi, Christine hi, dad Okay, so the political news of the week seems to be the candidacy of Howard Schultz, the supposedly independent possible, considering seriously the independent bid for the presidency uh and I think it's safe to say that in stream media
end. From mainstream media to the left, or am I being redundant? Has had a cow for seventy two hours at the very prospect of it's being in the race at all on the ground. He will you know hand the presidency to trump if he runs as a third party candidate shoes on the other foot here, because in one thousand nine hundred and ninety to nineteen. Ninety six. And even in two thousand, There were such fears connected to Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot among gives Perot argue. We did have the presidency to Bill Clinton. Pat Buchanan, arguably handed the presidency to George W Bush, not through any active his own, but through the design of the butterfly ballot Imp. Each county. Right of so that was just
Three thousand elderly Jews voted for Pat Buchanan thing that remains one of the savage ironies of our time anyway. So is precedent for third party spoilers. And then of course, two thousand and sixteen, where six percent of the votes went to third party candidates. That's Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, and certainly had some effect on and Ralph Nader in two thousand also taking votes away from Al Gore. So anyway, you slice it. Third parties can be dangerous to the aspirations of the party that seems to align more clearly with their predilections They can then, then, then, the opposite party uh Ann, there's a lot of glee on the right like if you look at the Wall Street Journal editorial page today. There's all this. Why are Democrats so afraid of Howard show
Sorry, they frayed of having a serious conversation about healthcare spending. In the debt I mean, I feel, looks like they're kind of scared. You know how Schultz is bringing up issues that the Democrats don't want to talk about. This strikes me as a little similar to the glee, with which mainstream media in the left elevated rand. Paul in twenty thirteen and two thousand and fourteen Rand Paul is raising issues in the Republican Party about Imperial Overstretch and blah blah blah, It's more similar to me that with two reaction from some uh Too clever by half quarters of the Democrat opinion opinion commentary it in response to Donald Trump early in the republican primary, because he was going to both render the Republican Party Unelectable, and he was serving a very important role in while demonstrating that the Republican Party was uh.
Anti Diluvian and its racial views, but also he was really lead to a concept like keeping the social safety net intact and he wasn't a he didn't, favor repealing the individual mandate, so he was like republican foreign policy, so people like Jonathan shaped and medically CS were very coyly saying you know. Well, the the person should really fear is Marco Rubio, his presidency? yeah. Absolutely horrific. Donald Trump is not the biggest threat in this race, and it was Political positioning if you'd see adorable right out like trolling laughing in your hands, and some of this really is trolling on the part of the right big. As if you really think that Howard Schultz talking about the debt is that the debt is going to be an issue that is going to worry, moderate democratic vote or was going to really have an effect on the on the democratic primary. You are living in a dream world and they know that, but
but his his reluctance to be a mouthpiece for the class warfare stuff on the left, I think, is. Actually not nothing that it'll it'll change. Any minds on the left, but that I think it it it it forces them to have to defend those positions. No, that's! Okay! If it's a that's a really good point, though in fact he's he said that himself, several times ready said the Democratic Party. I I won't call my. I won't run as a Democrat, though he doesn't He was the party shifted too far to the left. That's right! He cites all the big things that the the flavor of the moment you know progressives are touting like Universal free healthcare guarantee jobs, free college he's he's actually holding his own side to account, and I think that I mean that's why the best they have is to like gotcha him on questions of how total acts of Cheerios cost
I mean that there for it. I think there are a little nervous about this, but there is a constituency for that sort of thing in the Democratic Party, and it's just that no one is servicing at. There is a constituency that is for fiscal responsibility less so than the Republican Party and no one's talking about these issues on either side of the aisle. But there is a constituency that he's serving and to the and that I mean I don't think it's so much as a spoiler, but it's also the fact that he's irritating Democrats by the attacking Democrats. I mean people have said well how centrist are you? The only thing you've done is criticize. Democrats, ok, uh There are two things that I really enjoyed. I mean there are two things I will I will confess to enjoying, which is Alexandria, Qazi over TES saying these billionaires. What do they know about? You know life of real people and Howard Schultz? Have many problems with grew up in projects in Canarsie and had a father who is driver in a truck driver who beat him up as a kid
and you Know- was the first person in his family to attend college, and so he is literally an american pull yourself up by the bootstraps success story. He took a small coffee shop, basically in Seattle and turned it into a massive global multi billion dollar business. So you know, did he do that all himself? Yes, he did and so that would that's a foolish line of argument. It's actually the first, I would say successful. It's the first! thing that Alexander Kazio Cortez has done aside from her making mistakes and stuff, which I don't think, really hurt her. That really does suggest she. You know she doesn't understand that she needs to bone up a little bit on these things before she goes out and starts. You know making You know: illiterate attacks on people without just sort of reading their Wikipedia entries for ten seconds you So I enjoy that that that was good and I and it's fun to see how
you know a guy go on on gun, Stephen Cole Bear and say that you know socialized healthcare is on American. Like it's it's striking. When was the last time anybody said anything was on American, I'm cold air. That wasn't really It's Trump That is also part of the social as I'm inside of it aggression, but the Medicare for all it'll boom lick on the democratic left that engaged with a skeptical electorate for the first time this week and blew up on the tarmac. I I don't Now that it pulled up on that, I know I know I know their arguments to be said, that you know that when Kamala Harris said she's done with private health care, and then you, Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg, billionaire. In the race or whatever said you know, look we want to destroy America by going this route. We could look like Venezuela if you want that. Like I said that's like That'S-
that's fine, we're sitting there going ok, but it's not a stupid, so great, a critical mass of Democrats in the Senate caucus who said? Oh, no, I'm not on board with this, which has been a part of feature of Bernie Sanders, Medicare for all plan for three years that everybody knew is there who decided to look at it more than skin deep into the plan. All of a sudden, they said, oh, my gosh. I had no idea, that's horrible. We can't do that. Ok, so you know- Years ago. I don't remember even when it was maybe it was. It was twenty ten two thousand and eleven Tevi Troy did a big piece for commentary on how People misunderstand healthcare as a political issue. Healthcare has been devastating had and he said devastating to Democrats in every major election that where Healthcare, after one thousand nine hundred and ninety two were healthcare. Ninety four in two thousand and two thousand and eight and two thousand and ten, that the that the
Thomas. The Democrats, thinking that healthcare care such a popular issue that they should hammer it home was really going to help them help Not to be true, and arguably you could say that about two thousand and sixteen. I think in that hill Clinton also thought somehow that, because Republicans were bad on health or they were afraid to talk about health care in twenty sixteen right, that was actually the story. They were afraid to talk about in twenty sixteen, but two thousand and eighteen they forty seats. So now it's all changed and now not only don't they, so they don't have to defend. Democratic candidates were on board with I care for all, but they don't have to defend Obama CARE, which If they'll go there, not a lot job there. Hacking open right here. This is the big Rivers radiology report Republicans are going to be forced to defend to upon the right if they jump to beyond Obamacare to Medicare. For all, then that raises to interesting questions politically. So there's the Howard Schultz there's the you. People are all crazy, and this is
off the way you're going to either get elected, or it's not going to happen or it's bad right and then there's. What's the matter, we passed Obamacare. It means to be fixed up, because the funding mechanism is all screwed up now, but you know it People off the it put people on the rolls more people have insurance, blah, blah, blah blah blah right and that's Biden. What is Biden if Joe Biden gets in the race he's. How to defend of care and what if that turns out to be the moderate democratic position here, but not going have a problem doing that he's? Alright, I'm gonna say he is I'm saying it may be. It may be because the other, because Kamel Harris's now established Medicare for all as baseline and opposition to private insurance, even though she's backed off a little bit in the last couple of days. This then
Obamacare the prudent moderate position? Well, here's the thing is that- and we said this in the pre- show that James Penn the reporter who posited an interesting theory yesterday, and that is that the front runner in the race for the democratic nomination in two thousand and twenty is my Bloomberg because anybody likes him, but because he is the only candidate in a race clogged with progress. Aspirants, who have all signed on to this variety of progressive positions, Medicare for all the green new deal, it have you and he only person who occupies a more centrist lane and that's interest lane if it has the appeal of maybe twenty percent. Twenty five percent of the democratic electorate prevail as long as it maintains that twenty five percent all done, trump that about thirty percent over the course of an entire year, because the the whole race was clogged with conservative, so they were all splitting up the bird. The vote similar dynamic, might prevail with Democrats, but the way that that's another humorous thing that the attack on Schultz is that they say well, while
you don't want to pick apart. You you don't, you don't want to be Democrat, because, because you know you know that you can't sell your your agenda, it's Democrats right, so you just buy your way into into the into the end game. They don't want him- is identified as a Democrat because because he would. He would occupy the the place that note that that that lane all to himself as I was talking about well- and it's also I've been reading now amazing book. So I know that, other things I'm just now available on Amazon, I'm just it's available. You should buy armed and Barnes Noble in your local bookstore. Well, here's what I've learned from reading no is excellent book. Is that one of the interesting things we were talking about, shelters, background John, you said earlier: it correctly that you know first to go to college is a really good up by his bootstraps story, but this is another aspect to that of the Democratic Party. That's changed in recent years, which is that if you're a white male you don't get to use your boots
that story anymore right I mean, I think, the progress that the progressive wing would say he's still a white man he still had privilege of. If he was coming out of the projects- and you know I had a tough childhood, so I think that that that's another example where I think no, it's right that we're seeing a lot of internal party turmoil among the Democrats that, although on different issues, is similar to what the Republicans have been going through under Trump and and look at me chilled his instincts are, are certainly questionable. You remember his reaction to the arrest of the two african american patrons at a Adelphia Starbucks, you know he he shut down all Starbucks stores and everybody had to have a kind of you know. Group therapy session I mean so he's he's he's a little wacky, let's, let's posit that, but I do think that it's fascinating to watch him Royal Internal Party dynamics as they try to figure out just how far to the left, they're gonna move for the next election, I mean I hate to be blunt and vulgar about this, but Schultz is also not allowed to have a up from your bootstraps story, because he's jewish
if you actually dig down and what people will say is this goes on, is well. You know he may have been Here- white privilege. Also because he was jewish. She had special white privilege because you know Jews are so serious about education and they're so interested in there, but the the you know they have a cultural background that emphasizes education and that's a form of privilege and stuff. Like that and here I mean there's sort of OJ stuff going on in the Democratic Party, bloom will bring this up to a few runs. Bloomberg will be running as a rich jewish billionaire friend, and you think in the in the Democratic Party today that that won't be the sort of underground assaults. I was not even gonna, be under Robert, I'm in you know, I've been doing the rounds after this thing in the attack. On my perspective is that I can't possibly share that the
experience that. Allow me to opine on the issues I do with any authority because I've I've just been privileged, my whole life, and yet in the back of my head, I'm like well, you know the guy, the blindingly jewish last name does experience bigotry in the United States has happened. It's just that. It's not supposed to be the centerpiece of the of the book, but but that's just it doesn't occur, just really doesn't register nobody. Far from registry, it's supposed to write, but in his case it will be we'll go around and say you know, as say: underground it'll, be you can't let this you can't let this jewish guy who wins as from Israel, take This party is a party angle. This is a party now of progressives of minorities and and Jews, are that one of the great unexamined terra- things about the whole white privilege
minority thing. Is this notion that, because Jews and uncommonly successful in the United States. They know const. We no longer constitute a minority when in not only are we going to we're shrinking minority Jews made up four percent of the population of the United States in nineteen fifty and two percent today, most of those about population growth summit is about is about out of my out migration. Right, I mean Jews leaving Judaism, but the only minority group in America that is not allowed to be a minority group is, are: are Jews uh, unless, of course, they attacked by the alt right, in which case they're attacked by the all right, so we're terrible threat minority. You know that's but I'm saying in the delta dental, but that's but then that's that's our fault, because supposedly we supported the whole movement that that brought the alt right. You know right to the four I mean
this is a this is a minor point on the on the way station, but you know that this I am not an admirer of of of Howard Schultz. I think he's a silly person and and vainglorious and and the idea that he, a man with absolutely nothing of interest to say things that he should be present in states. The only interesting thing that he's done in the last three or four days is draw this in his pull in his life, as a public figure is to draw some line between him and progressive left in the United States, which he, as Christine mentions with the stuff with the, and it wasn't the stuff at the Starbucks in, in Pennsylvania and the closing down in the stores. But things he's done across the years with Globe environmentalism and this and that- and you know, it's on the stupid coffee cups and all that he is nothing but cater to
understandably too, because the Starbucks brand is this kind of term invented millennia. You know it was. It was Seattle, it was grunge, it was you know it, as that that was GEN x. Nx onto millennials, like it has this a cultural stamp on it. That is not. You know. Hi I'm owned by a billionaire. It's like come in. You could listen to you know Mexican, you know our song of the day is an email so can you know drumming band is by the Putumayo record dvd CD at the counter. You know: that's that's what Starbucks is not you know a defender of capitalism? Well, I'm just waiting for the the the feminist left to. Finally, you know dethrone the Starbucks mermaid, because she's topless, you know it's very objectifying this this logo
Oh, my goodness also I mean Starbucks is named after a character in Moby, Dick think about that Moby. Dick No one any! No, I just think it in general way. I I'm I'm finding shields were more interesting because the Democratic Party and left generally they wanted these class warfare heroes. They wanted class warfare, they want to punish the, and they never thought they would have to deal with any backlash from with any pushback and he's just saying look, I I was one of you and you and you've lost me and and that and they're trying to silence that, because it has to be smooth sailing all the way for their agenda without any interruptions right now, so I was on MSNBC yesterday, not defending my book, but I was on a segment msnbc talking about Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax and what struck me with the very progressive
Zerlina Maxwell's Maxwell as my sort of counterpart and what struck me was the assumption was being made on the show that Elizabeth, well, facts which is two percent overall holdings, not earnings, not annual earnings but holdings over fifty million dollars in the United States which, startlingly, it turns out would affect seventy five thousand families, which means, if you think about this, the United States has generated seventy five thousand families with uh that's over fifty million dollars. That is a down that that fact alone is a city. You want to look at that and say that America is terrible because of terrible economic inequality, or you want to say that America is a wealth generator. Unlike anything, the world has ever scene and that all we're doing right now is having debates over how to how to
up the wealth generation or or freeze it in its tracks, and it was striking to me- was that it simply the presumption that it was fine to do this. And so I said like will not you know, income taxes are taxes on income, meaning your it's on the money you make during that year to help defray the list of running the government in that year, so that the services that you get in the things that are provided to you and all of that you help a four to make the guy The going concern. It's not to expropriate money to redistrict read, we distribute. That is not what the income tax system is, for. It's called an income tax, not a wealth. Edgy Warren is honest enough to call it a wealth, tax 'cause. The ideas, don't worry, you're, not it's them
these guys over here and they can afford it and we're telling you that they can afford. So can I go to share one thought from that segment is a spectacular segment you should set to get out of you haven't seen. It is really interesting. So the second that Alexandria, because the accord has proposed her seventy percent marginal income tax rate. I started researching the wealth tax because it was obvious that pretty soon people were going to figure out that wasn't me the testimony, tiny spool of money for the sixteen thousand people in the United States filed a tax return that back nobody's going to pay that tax. So it was eventually they're going to get to the wealth tax, and then you, research, how works in in Europe and people move assets away. You'd have to declare every asset you own to the IRS. So people hide assets, the off shore it that's just human nature and, response that you got is when I've heard a lot
Oh so we're going to Taylor Tax policy, NATO at rich people want no you're going to tell your tax policy to human nature, because people are going to invade these taxes. Elizabeth Warren says we're going to find those assets if they park. She's address this we're going to find those assets somewhere wet. This is entirely theoretical and unconstitutional. Besides, which and besides, which we do Taylor, it's not to Taylor to human nature. It's to tailor it to effectiveness. Government is suppose, to be effective and, as I sat on the segment when, when tax reform bill of nineteen, eighty six was passed. Completely overhauled the tax system in order to prevent the creation of MOE of tax sheltering that were legal, because no one had made them illegal, so the idea was yeah. Well, you know what maybe it would be great if you could make sure Rich people didn't do this or that or the other thing, but
what you need to do, then, is you lower the tax rate? And you eliminate? so you make sure that every Each person's dollar is taxed at twenty eight percent, in that they can't escape by using tax shelters so that their dollars, accident fourteen percent so that we don't have a situation in which middle class people are paying a higher level of taxation than rich people, that that is the whole and that's in order to make government effective
so not to make the laws a mockery by writing laws that are easily evaded and yet but you're not allowed to say that either apparel and a half almost half of Americans don't even pay income tax. Right I mean this is the other thing is that you know we're talking about. You know that this infinite- that is no, so the Infantil infinitesimal number of billionaires it in these well taxes. But just look at I mean it's. It's the reason that tax policy, I would argue, should be targeted at the riches of the rest of the want to pay the taxes I mean we did. There is a large. There are a large number of families who don't know any income tax. Yes, they still have withholding and and what not, but that's the other part of the tax debate. That's that that's so unbelievable, and I think it's also why you get it, as John did on a second on MSNBC got this weird over reaction when he mentioned the phrase middle class middle class has now become, you know like a ski
re phrase for for progressives, because it it undermines their argument about about. Basically, taxing, you know billionaires what what what what precedes talking about is that that someone on the segment said well, the middle classes, the bit basil, there's no middle class in America any longer! So I was like I might. I might taking crazy pills, were right. Earth are you that not only not only according to the All surveys are fifty one to fifty three percent of Americans quote are classified as middle class. That does mean that fifty percent are poor by the way means another. Twenty percent are classified as the law as a higher than a little class. Right? Well, it is the middle. Therefore, by definition, the middle class will occupy a larger space than anybody else, But it's also that their way, many more people that are in the upper middle classes than every used to be the case, but
So I was thinking well. Why is it that people think that the middle class doesn't exist anymore? So one thing was said, which is that people are living paycheck to paycheck, which has to do with assuming that not with you know yeah. There was a time when American saved a lot more, but that's also 'cause. They were living. They were living much more frugally than they do now and believed in saving and the the inflation of the 1960s and 1970s put an end to that, because anybody who saved their money found out that you know their money was worth half what it was once they wanted to take it out, because it had been sitting in a savings account. Second, so there's that, think about the middle class. On the second thing about the middle This is the middle classes. Is it doesn't exist anymore, because there are way more rich people. And so. In other words, the inequality has the this.
Used to be an argument about economic inequality which I will grant. You is philosophically a difficult and complicated problem. But the idea that people are impoverished. We They are in the middle class, because people have warm Rich people have more money than they did before. That's what's wrong with a system that might have severe inequality. It's not that it's not the privation that is caused by rich being richer. It is the it is it. Is the you know, isolation of Americans living lives that have no bear, have no reflection on anybody else's. There's I think, there's a third reason. But it's also not a good reason to make make the claim that there middle class, which is that the middle class? have been shrinking, didn't disappear had been shrinking.
A few years ago, but for the past two or three years, it's actually been increasing all right across the country? Well, it's so nice and then income levels yeah, absolutely right right. So there there there was a sort of political talking points to be made a few years back about the shrinking middle class, but it doesn't, it doesn't plan on was never about that. It's disappearance, a live with Warren herself said when she declared for president that she was running to help, american middle class that her and by the way, that's a total sensible thing to say, because if you win, classy win the election edit it in the oddly enough one of the interesting openings the Trump is provided to Democrats is. Republican Party was the party of the of the middle last for a long time because The Republican Party was the party of the small businessman and someone who served Like that, and then Trump Trump
come along. This is a longer story and being very vulgar and caricatures, but Trump came along and said. The tribune for the for basically for the white Working class that is really is falling behind and that as the core constituency of the Democratic Party for a hundred years. We're poor people. I mean that was, the Democratic Party was the party of the poor and when the poor numbered way more than The poor were much more potent that's how you could have a weird party where you had poor southern racist white, and poor racially aggrieved. Acts in the north in the Midwest and all that forming of forming a coalition together to but you know basically dominate the Congress for almost half a century and to have when the presidency, I don't know, uh how many terms did republic Republicans had the presidency for eight year.
Is between one thousand nine hundred and thirty two and one thousand nine hundred and sixty eight eight years. That's it so that was, democratic Party in the great depression, its aftermath. It was a party of the poor. For no longer Trump took Of the poor now and there aren't enough poor in the you know, states weirdly enough to to to get anybody elected which, by the way, should another be another thing that we should be celebrating about being american. You know is that the middle class is vastly larger than the poor. What country that's what are you gonna north of revolution since the late nineteen eighties late seventies in the case of China, mostly the late nineteen eighties, as the market revolution all over the world which has made people now start, to whisper about the prospect of eliminating poverty legitimately
averted. Extreme poverty is so low globally. At this point that it's exceeded well, the wildest expectation will we have eliminated poverty in the United States under in in those in those terms, stream and- and so is Western Europe right, I mean meaning who die of starvation, meaning people who you know preventable diseases yeah. Exposure exposure you know stuff like at which you know doesn't me now in the United States. We have an epidemic of obesity, not starving. You know somebody said if you, if you took from the 19th century, and you put them. You know when the time machine and you and then they landed in twenty nineteen at I don't know where a dog track right or or or like a third rate casino in Pahrump. Father and you told them these are actually America's poor. A lot of these people are America's poor and that, like two thirds of them are, are morbidly obese.
That would be impossible for anybody to understand at any point in world history exam. No, they used was but now the so there's. This is sort of changing goal, post situation where they're they they use the term food security. A lot now, which doesn't mean what you think or Foods Desert's. That's the right yeah. It's means that there's no supermarket and right right right right. It doesn't mean which, by the way I I again I don't think that's not. I think the It's a problem sure! I don't think that it's not a problem. It's a different! It's it's a weird social problem born of abundance not You know an and born of weird distortions in the market. Not from you know, for food insecurity. It's kind of crazy, I think so before we get to our next topic. I am. I have to look up our bar ad, so give Uh, oh it's quip
I love doing quit, because this is, I do quit by use quip everyday. I use quick twice a day. That's the twenty, be electric toothbrush with the bristle with the you know. Has battery in the it tells What to do you know? who, from Quadrant a quadrant over two minutes every thirty seconds it buzzes and you move, and I feel like I ever since I got a much better dental hygiene, you know The sensitive sonic vibrations give me an effective clean. That's gentle on my genuinely sensitive gums goodbye It's certainly true that I brush too hard Before I got the quip and the built Two a timer, as I said, pulses every thirty seconds remind you the switch sides, most people, don't. Brush evenly multi, it's covered. This is the great thing where you go on a trip and you can take the covered. Stick it to the mirror and say you have a tooth brush right there that doesn't, you know, have to
sit on the train. You have to put a towel on it, so it doesn't didn't get gross dirty from the thing and close. Your sink, the my sink now at home, with the mirror And the brush heads are automatically delivered a three month schedule so get a new brush head in the mail you put pop it on, and you have like a whole new toothbrush every three months and that's only five dollars. So that's why I love quip and why, over one million happy healthy males do too so quit start to just twenty five bucks go to bed Dot, com, slash commentary right now! You can get your first refill product for free that your first refill pack free at GT, yp dot com commentary Ok, so we're go a little far. We're little go a little field here and talk about a weird story that pop on CBS News about a
woman out of Texas, name: Danielle Teuscher, who, basically had a baby with a sperm donor. He's five years old. Nor, West Cryobank was this. Was the company that supplied the supplied, the sperm and she decided to test her daughters. Genome, I guess using the 23Andme uh. Company, where you do the thing where you scrape your, what I does screw. They don't advertise, so you can say. Well I don't know what do you think you put stuff in it too, but if your people like us that comes back your ninety nine percent jewish, that's all. I know thanks. And so ah but so she sent this in and One of the it appeared that there was some kind of very close match with one of the sperm donors anonymous one of the sperm donors. Relatives
And she wanted to contact the relative uh and she said can can we talk the relevantly, contacted the Anthony Northwest Cryobank, bank, said that this, in violation of her contract with cryobank. They could see. Images and they took back for additional vials, of the same sperm that toy had purchased She planned to use it to have our daughters have fully. Full genetic siblings with the same sperm donor. So, was devastated, she said she was shocked. She was crying today she could barely eat. I thought I was the thing was in the best interests. My daughter, made me feel like I'm, a I'm a criminal and then she said you know
She didn't really read what she had agreed to when she signed the contract with Nw Cryobank, who said you are not allowed to try to contact donors. That's have part of our system. If you're going to agree to we're going This transaction, you leave the donors alone. And then she said. Well I mean I just click the boxes. So what did I know? And then she says, look my daughter is an actual living, breathing feeling human being who did not sign that contract so based, Klay her daughter. She is arguing since her daughter didn't sign the contract. Your daughter has a right to know who her father is as a sperm donor. Okay, so this is fascinating, because this is one of the I get another one of these stories that is to the limits of our ethics and how science is pushing the limits of our ethics. To a point where we have no moral guidance whatsoever about what to do in these cases.
Team view Azar.
Isn't luddite. What do you I'll fight you for that title? It's a fascinating case, remember reading reasons I mean first, there's there's an obvious clear, cut legal contractual issue here and we won't even get into the issue of why someone who won't read a legally binding contract is then gonna. You know, which is about becoming a parents, now claims she's too irresponsible to have read the contract that made her apparent, but we'll set that aside, the Cryo bank is absolutely within its rights to withhold for their sperm. She broke her agreement with then she put the anonymity and privacy of a sperm donor at risk and and she's in the wrong legally contractually, but that's a completely separate issue from the ethical issue right and these because we have an unregulated fertility industry in this country. Unlike other countries, you know in the U K, they have a lot more regulation of this sort of thing in the US. It's if it's a free for all to free market and each clinic can decide for itself hot what its procedures are going to be, and if you participate in them, you agree to them as she did, but the ethical issues are fascinating, and this idea that you know she said, for example, this clinic has stolen her future babies. You know as if there's this right for her to be able to conceive using someone's spark someone's donor sperm. She talks about her daughter's right to know her genetic heritage, but the interesting thing from a kind of bioethics perspective is that, by what does this have been arguing against yeah rushing into genetic manipulation using IVF and pre implantation genetic diagnosis? By saying children have the right to an open future, meaning they have the right to not let their parent, not let the parents choose characteristics that they can't be changed, but this is kind of coming out of from the other direction right, which is saying my child has a right to know everything about her GINO and everything about her parentage, even if I've chosen to bring her into the world with donor sperm- and I think the real issue now from a practical standpoint is whether the donor sibling registry- this is a this- is a group that exist just to connect donor, conceived, kids with their families and the woman who runs it has had a donor conceived child and found like eighteen of his half siblings by using this dna testing. So we know that you can track these people down, but from a practical standpoint, we have to decide if this is what we're gonna do going forward, because certainly men are going to be much less likely to
the anonymous sperm donors, if there's a risk of them being tracked down when they don't want to be right, we either have to treat this a little more like adoption and say that people have to choose whether they agree when donating to be contacted later on and all the responsibilities and emotional challenges that might come with it, or we have to just decide that we're going to make all of this transparent. And if you, if you have donor sperm, you register with the donor sibling registry so that, for example, that half siblings don't end up accidentally marrying each other. There have actually been cases of the auto, so they're all these practical questions, but what I think is most important as these. These fertility clinics avoid the ethical questions because their profit, making institutions that are generally Trying to help men and women conceive children, obviously right and the reason that Northwest Crow Bank is so, but you know, Determined on this issue is precisely that this,
threatens their economic model right. It's not because they're like this is that you know you're, raising moral quandaries that we can't possibly answer as a as a it's like no one's going to want to donate sperm were at a business. You violated the terms we have to hit. You with a two by four and make an example out of you, so that nobody does this again to us exactly know exactly right. Christine at that sounds like you've thought about this. I have opinions. I think you should yeah. I think you should first assignment for senior writer Abe Please share your letters in with us now: okay, I'm I've waited all the evidence and I'm going to now weigh in with my The with the wisdom of Solomon, here's what I believe I do not sperm, I do not fault the woman, I do not call the woman at all for. Pursuing the the the donor, in the name of
figuring out, what's wrong with her child. Apparently there they, they were health issues that the to begin with with her child right. So I would I would, I would have a hard time managing that anyone would the stuff. She brought that up. After though it said she and her family were doing 23andme and she was like I'm going to do. Zoe too. From the story that that that the health issue that the health issues with their first but by the way so- but we hear me out so that So I would have a hard time imagining that any any parent would be job, even if they had recognized that they were violating the contract but so then you do that. So then you you pursue that route. If you find a relative You then broke the contract that you signed. I don't sympathy for her in terms of her crying and being outraged about having having the at having to, damages, and Getting the other vials of sperm pulled. I mean at point. So what you you did this to find out who the who the
who the father was. You gave it a shot and you violated the terms. That's that's that I mean distress is no reason to violate the terms of the contract. Right, no court is going to hear that acknowledgement. Ok, but I don't even spend my fingernails deeper. I think what is happening here with These cases that started, if I remember correctly, the kind of the the the moral conundrum cases started with the baby and story. Remember which I see. If I I think it's baby, I'm right was the story of the. Surrogate mother, who decided to keep the kid, wasn't that it right yeah, Even though there was a contract, she was like man I'm going to keep them, I'm going to keep the baby. Therefore the entire industry overhauled itself, and it became the case that it we're going to do some kind of surrogacy? The egg had to come that that
need to find a surrogate mother who's willing to have an egg a fertilized egg implanted, so that, while she care read the child to term. She was not it's by. Color, genetic parent- and thus That would have no legal claim, except for having how's the baby in her in her womb. Being the mother and so that was. There was an early moment in which the entire this for profit industry figured out how to correct for a terrible moral deficiency that it happened. You know sought, but- everybody's in the right here, like the court, Northwest Cryobank is in the right to say you violated a contract in your threatening, not only our business but the entire tire way in which sperm donation and this this thing that allowed you to have a baby is done is threatened by what you're doing here so you know you are doing something that is injurious to.
A new way of creating life. You better, you know, walk it back. Person that Danielle Teuscher contacted the family member of the sperm donor. It's totally in the right to say: wait. What the hell is. This like he didn't know that I don't have any you know I don't even know who this is. I just went to twenty three and me, and you know, and get my genetic stuff done and now someone's emailing me saying. Can I contact you to find out who the father of my father of my baby is? and in some sense Daniel Teuscher. Despite I think, what is a kind of nauseating sense of entitlement, and also This notion somehow that, because she wants something, she just should get it she's also sort of in the right in when she says that her daughter didn't sign the contract like her daughter, came into
Justin and most until the 20th century. You know until the late 20th century everybody kind of knew who their father was or beat out some some person who could be claimed to be their father and now suddenly that is not there's a whole class of people who come into existence without paternity except genetically and that It's kind of horrifying and you understand the notion that will if my child deserves any? I didn't she didn't pick. She, get to know who her father is, but her father did this. Basically went in a room put sperm in a cup for one hundred dollars and the whole deal was going to give you a little money and what happens after that is not your concern, you know there could be a thousand children that come from your sperm donation or none and you're never going to know, and it's not, but
you knew that this was going to happen well and that you know there's an interesting thing right, because most of the sperm, the sperm clinics will take. Tell the donor. You know we're going to give the anonymity and you're free from any responsibility for this child right, but the state has different rules in some states. If you are the biological parent of a child, you might be obligated to pay child support for that child. Even if you're you're, it didn't know they existed or were raising them. So what right? What these private clinics can guarantee is is not what this, what the law actually always covers. The second thing is that I don't think, there's a there's, a funky fertility clinic anywhere that doesn't have a cabbie out for women seeking sperm donors that they cannot guarantee the genetic health of the sperm. They can't they will not guarantee that there's not a risk of disease
or genetic genetically compromise firm. So if you go, if you go that route, if you choose to be a single parent who use a sperm donation, that is one of the risks and their risks with parenthood in any form, you of course right. So I think that's why? I'm being I, I might sound like I'm being kind of harsh on this particular woman, but she is an adult who chose to parent in this way and that's great, but there are risks to all avenues, parenting, and this is one of the ones with the route you to a match and how the courts are going to have to adjudicate the the three genetic parent children. Exactly I mean you can't even I mean so. It's like a year or two down the road? The one thing that occurred to me is that this shows, the genius of the jewish process of the or a law. That has come to be known, that the Talmud, because What the Talmud was was a bunch. Authorities sitting around for hundreds of years in different places in a different times.
Sitting around thinking up the most extreme cases that the law written law had not did not provide sufficient guidance to cover right. And- and so the idea was what, if your oxen, you know, dumped in a tree like do you have to do you the pay, the tree owner for the it's done to his branches. Does the tree order than only oxen, you know, and then they bait it and they know necessarily come to any resolution. Sometimes they do sometimes they don't and that the only way to solve something like this is what you know is like that. Uh, We are pushing the limits of what it means to be human. You know here and have had no, I mean I don't care to say we are. We are having the debate about genetic engineering, that's right and and and multiple yeah, but the debate, the debate goes no, where the
absolutely nowhere because kind of download it too. I mean it's not like we're reaching a conclusion right, but I mean no one. I say the debate goes nowhere. I mean that that which can be done, is done. And you know, a lot of law is about making sure that that which can be done isn't done because it has delayed Tereus social, political and moral consequences. You know that you were straight, you can, you know, drive a car two hundred miles an hour, but we let you- because what you do may have a fee may affect its only that you could be injure yourself, which we don't aren't happy about, But who knows what you could do to other people? It's theoretically, you could drive your card two hundred miles an hour and kill somebody else, but you might and therefore better. That you are restrained from your impulse to do that, by the law, so that you know become second nature that you don't do it anyway right so I'm saying here.
Every five minutes, we have these terrible things, and you know I remember when, option which was please closed. People started going to the courts to force an open and they use. This argument, which is it I agree you know there's a legal contract between you know my mother or my parents and this adoption agency. I would not a party to that contract, I'm twenty two years old, I should be able to go in and find out who that who, who that person is and it doesn't matter that the object of closed adoption, which is or tampering with this phenomenon of people who are willing to build a family that is not simply created by, You know genetic matching They are willing to do it in this other way. I and went so when all that stuff became open.
I mean I don't know now it's open, and I know people who are happy to have found there there. By logical parents and people who are very unhappy to have found their biological parents. Do you have advanced beyond. Have we somehow advances civilization? Because we've made this sir force this opening I think. So I think another way of kind of fraying family bonds by by making people, feel like family.
Isn't about responsibility. It's just about genetic connection. You know, I don't know alright. Well, if there's also, I mean the funny. The interesting thing is that you know it did. This is particularly tough issue if you're a free market conservative right, because the the whole fertility industries unregulated this country, surrogacy relationships, for example, which also raise a ton of ethical questions. Those are unregulated and because we believe in individual autonomy in a person's right to decide their own reproductive fate and to pursue if they have the means to do so to pursue that to the best of their ability. So we don't place limits, for example, on the number of IVF cycles a will, but a couple can pursue or things things of this nature. But the question, especially as we know it alluded to some of the gene editing, questions that are coming around and that due to crisper and other techniques, I think we are going to have to start thinking about a an oversight mechanism. It doesn't have to be federal regulation, but some sort of oversight mechanism such as the one that already exists it in hospitals with institutional review boards, for example, where we, where people can bring these tough cases before expert
could judge the the long term consequences, hopefully and ideally bring in an ethical perspective, rather than just simply at a focus on individual autonomy and affordability. That perhaps I'm sorry that it that it it's a little bit to something that we should probably touch on before the the podcast ends, which is the Fuhrer that erupted over the comments made by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, responding to some proposed legislation in solving ethical over site of the live a birth abortion, I'm not sure what you would call it just well. That's a tough question right, so there was a so the the Virginia heard Ella gets took up on right. We took up a late term abortion bill about loosening the restrictions on late term, abortion right that those restrictions being multiple positions, overseeing that's right, they're approving of this pathway, for a woman who has a child that is born alive. That is possibly that a viable may
he, but is also suffers from severe defects and in a variety of other hype that right. So this is the situation. We're in is this right, so late term, abortion has been controversial. You know from from the get go in a lot of states, including New York, limited at New York, which just over overturn this limited abortions to twenty four weeks and beyond and that It's been supported, pod, by again medical advances right that we now know That it is very possible for a a be born at twenty five, twenty six twenty seven weeks. To survive all but possibly with you know, occultes later in life, but but that but something that twenty years ago would have been science fiction, which is that a that a baby that somehow emerged from from the womb at twenty four weeks? become a living, breathing human being deliver full life.
Therefore it would seem that you would want to kind of keep abortion restrictions limited? Because It was never the idea that you should be able to kill a viable life with abortion. It was that the life of part of the whole thing was, if you accept that it was life it was not viable anyway, and therefore you know, you could believe that it was in sold and all that even in pain, but if it couldn't survive outside the womb. It still was in this weird moral, legal condition in which it was an entirely dependent creature on the mother and therefore it was part of the mothers body and the mother could do it. They wanted the. Decision to. Overhaul that and to make a partial abortion more except acceptable or legal or late term. Abortion more acceptable legal would seem to fly in the face of this markable development in human medicine, and yet this is the logic of the
I think Christine you mention, that the free market consider we called are tearing the radical, libertarian view of the of the female body that is that is part of the pro abortion movement right is that you know the this, this is a. This is a holistic thing that the his body is hers and there is no you any any in violation of her choices relating to a body. And then Northam said this thing, which was the talmudic question that was posed to him right, which is what if the baby is Born alive, for some reason in the course of this, that is actually done to kill it. What if the baby is born alive and basically said well, the baby will sit there and if the mother says okay, that's fine, then we'll resuscitate the baby.
And the baby can live, otherwise the baby will be left to die. Well it it. I mean that literally what was that this controversy is based around an actual legislation and the sponsor letter and was undergoing questioning and committee and so have a little bit more details to the effect of what this, but this would entail. Yeah because get Kathy trend is that was the is the Virginia legislator who who was opposing this and she was asked. Well, you know what what are the? What are the limits? of this. In other words- and she was asked, If the mother is on the verge of giving birth- and declares that she wants an abortion would would would would would the law that you propose allowed and she handed hard and tried to avoid it, and then nutrition with she was put through the questions put their more directly. He said yes, yes, it would allow that so so the question I think, that Norton was responding to came
of that so he responded that, the be, would be you know. As I mentioned, I wrote blog post about yesterday and in all such cases when people talk about monstrous things in sort of very plain, harmless language it defies the the horror right and and and he and that's that's sort of what young wittingly did to guess, the the the baby, the infant he said will be kept comfortable While, while well, while this sort of this discussion over whether or not to kill it, is is being had. This goes I just won't put it on that. This goes on right back to your point about A jewish law, of course, because with the advent of Judaism, was the end of child sacrifice, that's right That is the central get back to that separated Jews from the tribes of the of the of the of the
Middle EAST and was the great advance of monotheism, was the idea that you do not have sex with children, and you don't kill children to appease the gods right well it, and also that the whole point of asking all of these questions, no matter how extreme in advance is that you don't end up where we are today, which is look I've given birth. I wouldn't want to have to answer That question at the moment of giving burden on women like really you're going to know. Do you want your kid to live or die? I mean thumbs up or thumbs down. What is this? This is not the way to run a civilized society. It So we stand in. You know life is given birth. Three times I stand in awe of her is all I can say is all I can say having having been witness and I think so, Christine. We thank you for your service. To humanity is all I could say, but uhm
the thing that is so horrifying. The thing that's interesting about whether or not the Democrats have opened themselves up to an unwitting uh sure war point that they can, that they are that they won't win. Is that if you, look at polling polling is pretty beacon system on this forever, which is to say, but Five percent of people believe in abortion under all also believe in the right to abortion under all circumstances, about twenty five percent believe that abortion should be legal in all circumstances, everybody else is kind of in the middle, so fifty percent or kind of in the middle, and this is the thing that there is very little debate about once you layout the contours, two people, which is sure baby should be okay for a mother to abort a baby at thirty six weeks. You know when your child might have been born at thirty six weeks, people do
this is. You know I mean at Barbara boxer. Faced with the same question ten years ago, somebody said well, when is the baby? You know. Do we consider a baby alive and she said when it comes home from the hospital she's that that so, is that a view that the american people, or that you know, or that the less politically engaged and less focused are going be comfortable with? Is this New York, abortion law, something that people are going to comfortable with now? The fact is that the horrors of full term abortion or partial birth abortion? are literally buried by the Maine dream press, which is, I think, functionally Abortion all circumstances such that the most horrible story of the past decade in America, may be the most horrible story, the the the death clinic of Kermit Gosnell in in in Philadelphia. Was convicted in seven counts of murder, of where they
like fetuses captain. You know: Mason, jars and stuff like that nurses talking about the horrors of safeties babies born alive and then having their spines. You know literally snapped to kill them have been the biggest story in America in the year that it was the trial was, and you know you barely read about it, because there is But there is a conscious media blackout on this, so Maybe it won't be a political problem because the press will not allow it. I did notice is that, like last night, on Fox much of bears show, was dead, hated to this on file
and CNN and MSNBC didn't talk about it at all, so I don't know, but I just think you know we have to wait for which she, what Howard Schultz says and with that and with that we bring. This show to a close, so four Noah Rothman, eight Greenwald and Christine rose- and I am John Paul moritz- keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2019-11-10.