Bioethicists and Activism: Should They Rock the Boat?
We are all bioethicists because we all have views and opinions about things bioethical in our country and world. And with these opinions we set our behavior about those things. But there are bioethicists and there are bioethicists. There are bioethicists who have studied philosophy and ethics and are actively participating within the discipline of bioethics through consultation and teaching. It is with regard to these people who spend their lives immersed in bioethical thought and investigation that I find something missing in their role and goals.
That missing function is the lack of a spirit of activism. Activism represents the need and desire, not just to sit and contemplate but to act on their ethical conclusions. If a bioethicist finds that his or her view is the ethical path for change that would benefit both the individual and/or society, that ethicist should join others with like views and actively try to change things in the most appropriate and effective manner. What things are going on in the world that should be considered? How about inadequate healthcare in the United States and other countries, inadequate nutrition and water for people in many parts of the world, misuse of resources, pollution, torture and many more?
But is that happening in bioethics? No. Why not? I think it is because the discipline is still relatively new and I guess bioethics has been derived from a more academic, sedentary, introspective discipline of philosophy and bioethicists are still caught in that environment.. think things out, give advice but don’t rock the boat. On the other hand, maybe the true value of a bioethicist’s conclusion is, along with others, to rock the boat.
What do you think? ..Maurice.