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Tag Archives: people
Posted: August 19, 2016 at 4:14 am
We live in a brave new world in which reproductive technologies are ravaging as well as replenishing families. Increasingly common are variations of the situation in which “baby’s mother is also grandma-and sister.”1 Sometimes extreme measures are necessary in order to have the kind of child we want.
This new eugenics is simply the latest version of the age-old quest to make human beings–in fact, humanity as a whole–the way we want them to be: perfect. It includes our efforts to be rid of unwanted human beings through abortion and euthanasia. It more recently is focusing on our growing ability to understand and manipulate our genetic code, which directs the formation of many aspects of who we are, for better and for worse.
We aspire to complete control over the code, though at this point relatively little is possible. This backdrop can help us understand the great fascination with human cloning today. It promises to give us a substantial measure of power over the genetic makeup of our offspring. We cannot control their code exactly, but the first major step in that direction is hugely appealing: You can have a child whose genetic code is exactly like your own. And you didn’t turn out so badly, did you?
Admittedly, in our most honest moments we would improve a few things about ourselves. So the larger agenda here remains complete genetic control. But human cloning represents one concrete step in that direction, and the forces pushing us from behind to take that step are tremendous. These forces are energized, as we will see, by the very ways we look at life and justify our actions. But before examining such forces, we need a clearer view of human cloning itself.
It was no longer ago than 1997 when the president of the United States first challenged the nation and charged his National Bioethics Advisory Commission2 to give careful thought to how the United States should proceed regarding human cloning. Attention to this issue was spurred by the reported cloning of a large mammal–a sheep–in a new way. The method involved not merely splitting an early-stage embryo to produce identical twins. Rather, it entailed producing a nearly exact genetic replica of an already existing adult.
The technique is called nuclear transfer or nuclear transplantation because it involves transferring the nucleus (and thus most of the genetic material) from a cell of an existing being to an egg cell in order to replace the egg cell’s nucleus. Stimulated to divide by the application of electrical energy, this egg–now embryo–is guided by its new genetic material to develop as a being who is genetically almost identical to the being from which the nucleus was taken. This process was reportedly carried out in a sheep to produce the sheep clone named Dolly3 but attention quickly shifted to the prospects for cloning human beings (by which I will mean here and throughout, cloning by nuclear transfer).
Quickly people began to see opportunities for profit and notoriety. By 1998, for example, scientist Richard Seed had announced intentions to set up a Human Clone Clinic–first in Chicago, then in ten to twenty locations nationally, then in five to six locations internationally.4 While the U.S. federal government was pondering how to respond to such initiatives, some of the states began passing legislation to outlaw human cloning research, and nineteen European nations acted quickly to sign a ban on human cloning itself.5 However, the European ban only blocks the actual implantation, nurture, and birth of human clones, and not also cloning research on human embryos that are never implanted. Such research has been slowed in the United States since the president and then Congress withheld federal government funds from research that subjects embryos to risk for non-therapeutic purposes.6 Moreover, a United Nations declaration co-sponsored by eighty-six countries in late 1998 signaled a broad worldwide opposition to research that would lead to human cloning.7
Yet there are signs of this protection for embryos weakening in the face of the huge benefits promised by stem cell research. Stem cells can treat many illnesses and can have the capacity to develop into badly needed body parts such as tissues and organs. One way to obtain stem cells is to divide an early stage embryo into its component cells–thereby destroying the embryonic human being. Under President Clinton, the National Institutes of Health decided that as long as private sources destroyed the embryos and produced the stem cells, the federal government would fund research on those cells.8 During 2001, President Bush prohibited federally-funded research on embryonic stem cells produced after the date his prohibition was announced. In 2002, his newly-formed Council on Bioethics raised serious questions about even this form of embryonic stem cell research, through the Council was divided on this matter.9 These developments underscore that there are a number of technological developments that are closely interrelated and yet have somewhat different ethical considerations involved. While embryo and stem cell research are very important issues, they are distinct ethically from the question of reproducing human beings through cloning. Reproduction by cloning is the specific focus of this essay.
While no scientifically verifiable birth of a human clone has yet been reported, the technology and scientific understanding are already in place to make such an event plausible at any time now. There is an urgent need to think through the relevant ethical issues. To begin with, is it acceptable to refer to human beings produced by cloning technology as “clones”? It would seem so, as long as there does not become a stigma attached to that term that is not attached to more cumbersome expressions like “a person who is the result of cloning” or “someone created through the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer.” We call someone from Italy an Italian, no disrespect intended. So it can be that a person “from cloning” is a clone. We must be ready to abandon this term, however, if it becomes a label that no longer meets certain ethical criteria.10
In order to address the ethics of human cloning itself, we need to understand why people would want to do it in the first place. People often respond to the prospect of human cloning in two ways. They are squeamish about the idea–a squeamishness Leon Kass has argued we should take very seriously.11 They also find something alluring about the idea. Such fascination is captured in a variety of films, including “The Boys from Brazil” (portraying the attempt to clone Adolf Hitler), “Bladerunner” (questioning whether a clone would be more like a person or a machine), and “Multiplicity” (presenting a man’s attempt to have enough time for his family, job, and other pursuits by producing several live adult replicas of himself). Popular discussions center on the wonderful prospects of creating multiple Mother Teresas, Michael Jordans, or other notable figures.
The greatest problem with creative media-driven discussions like this is that they often reflect a misunderstanding of the science and people involved. The film “Multiplicity” presents human replicas, not clones in the form that we are discussing them here. When an adult is cloned (e.g., the adult sheep from which Dolly was cloned), an embryo is created, not another adult. Although the embryo’s cells contain the same genetic code as the cells of the adult being cloned, the embryo must go through many years of development in an environment that is significantly different from that in which the adult developed. Because both our environment and our genetics substantially influence who we are, the embryo will not become the same person as the adult. In fact, because we also have a spiritual capacity to evaluate and alter either or both our environment and our genetics, human clones are bound to be quite different from the adults who provide their genetic code.
If this popular fascination with hero-duplication is not well founded, are there any more thoughtful ethical justifications for human cloning? Many have been put forward, and they cluster into three types: utility justifications, autonomy justifications, and destiny justifications. The first two types reflect ways of looking at the world that are highly influential in the United States and elsewhere today, so we must examine them carefully. They can readily be critiqued on their own terms. The third, while also influential, helpfully opens the door to theological reflection as well. I will begin by explaining the first two justifications. In the following sections I will then assess the first two justifications and carefully examine the third.
Utility justifications defend a practice based on its usefulness, or benefit. As long as it will produce a net increase in human well-being, it is warranted. People are well acquainted with the notion of assessing costs and benefits, and it is common to hear the argument that something will produce so much benefit that efforts to block it must surely be misguided.
Utility justifications are common in discussions of human cloning. Typical examples include:
The second type of justification appeals to the idea of autonomy, an increasingly popular appeal in this postmodern age, in which people’s personal experiences and values play a most important role in determining what is right and true for them. According to this justification, we ought to respect people’s autonomy as a matter of principle. People’s beliefs and values are too diverse to adopt any particular set of them as normative for everyone. Society should do everything possible to enhance the ability of individuals and groups to pursue what they deem most important.
Again, there are many forms that autonomy justifications can take. However, three stand out as particularly influential in discussions of human cloning:
Utility and autonomy are important ethical justifications. However, they do not provide a sufficient ethical basis for human cloning. We will examine them here carefully in turn.
While the concern for utility is admirable, there are many serious problems with this type of justification. Most significantly, it is “unworkable” and it is “dangerous.” It is unworkable because knowing how much utility cloning or any other practice has, with a reasonable level of precision, is simply impossible. We cannot know all of the ways that a practice will affect all people in the world infinitely into the future. For example, it is impossible to quantify accurately the satisfaction of every parent in future centuries who will choose cloning rather than traditional sexual reproduction in order to spare their children from newly discovered genetic problems that are now unknown. In fact, as sheep cloner Ian Wilmut was widely quoted as observing, shortly after announcing his cloning of Dolly, “Most of the things cloning will be used for have yet to be imagined.” The difficulty of comparing the significance of every foreseeable consequence on the same scale of value–including comparing each person’s subjective experiences with everyone else’s–only adds to the unworkability.
What happens in real life is that decision makers intuitively compare only those consequences they are most aware of and concerned about. Such an approach is an open invitation to bias and discrimination, intended and unintended. Even more dangerous is the absence of limits to what can be justified. There are no built-in protections for weak individuals or minority groups, including clones. People can be subjected to anything, the worst possible oppression or even death, if it is beneficial to the majority. Situations such as Nazi Germany and American slavery can be justified using this way of thinking.
When utility is our basis for justifying what is allowed in society, people are used, fundamentally, as mere means to achieve the ends of society or of particular people. It may be appropriate to use plants and animals in this way, within limits. Accordingly, most people do not find it objectionable to clone animals and plants to achieve products that will fulfill a purpose–better milk, better grain, and so forth. However, it is demeaning to “use” people in this way.
This demeaning is what bothers us about the prospect of producing a large group of human clones with low intelligence so that society can have a source of cheap menial labor. It is also what is problematic about producing clones to provide spare parts, such as vital transplantable organs for other people. Both actions fail to respect the equal and great dignity of all people by making some, in effect, the slaves of others. Even cloning a child who dies to remove the parents grief forces the clone to have a certain genetic makeup in order to be the parents’ child, thereby permanently subjecting the clone to the parents’ will. The irony of this last situation, though, is that the clone will not become the same child as was lost–both the child and the clone being the product of far more than their genetics. The clone will be demeaned by not being fully respected and accepted as a unique person, and the parents will fail to regain their lost child in the process.
To summarize: The utility justification is a substantially inadequate basis for defending a practice like cloning. In other words, showing that a good benefit, even a great benefit, will result is not a sufficient argument to justify an action. Although it is easy to forget this basic point when enticed by the promise of a wonderful benefit, we intuitively know it is true. We recognize that we could, for example, cut up one person, take her or his various organs for transplant, and save many lives as a result. But we do not go around doing that. We realize that if the action we take to achieve the benefit is itself horrendous, beneficial results are not enough to justify it.
As significant a critique as this is of a utility justification for human cloning, there is more to say. For even if it were an adequate type of justification, which it is not, it is far from clear that it would justify human cloning. To justify human cloning on the basis of utility, all the consequences of allowing this practice have to be considered, not only the benefits generated by the exceptional situations commonly cited in its defense. What are some of the consequences we need to be concerned about? There is only space here to note two of the many that weigh heavily against human cloning.
First, as suggested earlier, to allow cloning is to open the door to a much more frightening enterprise: genetically engineering people without their consent, not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of particular people or society at large. Cloning entails producing a person with a certain genetic code because of the attractiveness or usefulness of a person with that code. In this sense, cloning is just the tip of a much larger genetic iceberg. We are developing the genetic understanding and capability to shape the human genetic code in many ways. If we allow cloning, we legitimize in principle the entire enterprise of designing children to suit parental or social purposes. As one researcher at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations has commented, Dolly is best understood as a drop in a towering wave (of genetic research) that is about to crash over us. The personal and social destructiveness of large-scale eugenic efforts (including but by no means limited to Nazi Germany’s) has been substantial, but at least it has been restricted to date by our limited genetic understanding and technology.12 Today the stakes are much higher.
The second of the many additional considerations that must be included in any honest utilitarian calculus involves the allocation of limited resources. To spend resources on the development and practice of human cloning is to not spend them on other endeavors that would be more beneficial to society. For many years now there have been extensive discussions about the expense of health care and the large number of people (tens of millions), even in the United States, that do not have health insurance.13 It has also long been established that such lack of insurance means that a significant number of people are going without necessary health care and are suffering or dying as a result.14 Another way of observing similar pressing needs in health care is to survey the specific areas that could most benefit from additional funds.15 In most of these areas, inadequate funding yields serious health consequences because there is no alternative way to produce the basic health result at issue.
Not only are the benefits of human cloning less significant than those that could be achieved by expending the same funds on other health care initiatives, but there are alternative ways of bringing children into the world that can yield at least one major benefit of cloning children themselves. If there were enough resources available to fund every technology needed or wanted by anyone, the situation would be different. But researching and practicing human cloning will result in serious suffering and even loss of life because other pressing health care needs cannot be met.
An open door to unethical genetic engineering technologies and a misallocation of limited resources, then, are among the numerous consequences of human cloning that would likely more than outweigh the benefits the practice would achieve. As previously argued, we would do better to avoid attempting to justify human cloning simply based on its consequences. But if we are tempted to do so, we must be honest and include all the consequences and not be swayed by exceptional cases that seem so appealing because of the special benefits they would achieve.
Many people today are less persuaded by utility justifications than they are by appeals to autonomy. While the concern for freedom and responsibility for one’s own life in this way of thinking is admirable, autonomy justifications are as deeply flawed as utility justifications. More specifically, they are selfish and they are dangerous.
The very term by which this type of justification is named underscores its selfishness. The word autonomy comes from two Greek words, auto (meaning “self”) and nomos (meaning “law”). In the context of ethics, appeals to autonomy literally signify that the self is its own ethical law that it generates its own standards of right and wrong. There is no encouragement in this way of looking at the world to consider the well-being of others, for that is irrelevant as long as it does not matter to me. Although in theory I should respect the autonomy of others as I live out my own autonomy, in practice an autonomous mindset predisposes me to be unconcerned about how my actions will affect others.
As long as the people making autonomous choices happen to have good moral character that predisposes them to be concerned about the well-being of everyone else, there will not be serious problems. In the United States to date, the substantial influence of Christianity–with its mandate to love others sacrificially–has prompted people to use their autonomous choices to further the interests of others alongside of their own. As Christian influences in public life, from public policy to public education, continue to be eradicated in the name of separation of church and state, the self-centeredness of an autonomy outlook will become increasingly evident. Consciously or unconsciously, selfish and other base motives arise within us continually, and without countervailing influences, there is nothing in an autonomy outlook to ensure that the well-being of others will be protected.
When autonomy rules, then, scientists, family members, and others are predisposed to act on the basis of their own autonomous perspectives, and the risk to others is real. Herein lies the danger of autonomy-based thinking, a danger that is similar to that attending a utility-oriented outlook. Protecting people’s choices is fine as long as all people are in a comparable position to make those choices. But if some people are in a very weak position economically or socially or physically, they may not be able to avail themselves of the same opportunities, even if under more equitable circumstances they would surely want to do so. In an autonomy-based approach, there is no commitment to justice, caring, or any other ethical standards that would safeguard those least able to stand up for themselves.
An autonomy justification is simply an insufficient basis for justifying a practice like human cloning. In other words, showing that a freedom would otherwise be curtailed is not a sufficient argument to justify an action. We have learned this lesson the hard way, by allowing scientific inquiry to proceed unfettered. The Nuremberg Code resulted from research atrocities that were allowed to occur because it was not recognized that there are other ethical considerations that can be more important than scientific and personal freedom (autonomy).16
While the autonomy justification itself is flawed, there is more to say about it as a basis for defending human cloning. For even if it were an adequate type of ethical justification–which it is not–it is far from clear that it would actually justify the practice. An honest, complete autonomy-based evaluation of human cloning would have to consider the autonomy of all persons involved, including the people produced through cloning, and not just the autonomy of researchers and people desiring to have clones. Of the many considerations that would need to be taken into account if the autonomy of the clones were taken seriously, space will only permit the examination of two here.
First, human cloning involves a grave risk to the clone’s life. There is no plausible way to undertake human cloning at this point without a major loss of human life. In the process of cloning the sheep Dolly, 276 failed attempts occurred, including the death of several so-called “defective” clones. An alternative process used to clone monkeys added the necessary destruction of embryonic life to these other risks. It involved transferring the genetic material from each of the cells in an eight-celled embryo to other egg cells in order to attempt to produce eight so-called clones (or, more properly, identical siblings). Subsequent mammal cloning has continued the large-scale fatalities and deformities that unavoidably accompany cloning research. Were these experimental technologies to be applied to human beings, the evidence and procedures themselves show that many human embryos, fetuses, and infants would be lost–and many others deformed–whatever the process. This tragedy would be compounded by the fact that it is unlikely human cloning research would be limited to a single location. Rather, similar mistakes and loss of human life would be occurring almost simultaneously at various private and public research sites.
Normally, experimentation on human beings is allowed only with their explicit consent. (Needless to say, it is impossible to obtain a clone’s consent to be brought into existence through cloning.) An exception is sometimes granted in the case of a child, including one still in the womb, who has a verifiable medical problem which experimental treatment may be able to cure or help. However, human cloning is not covered by this exception for two reasons. First, there is no existing human being with a medical problem in the situation in which a human cloning experiment would be attempted. Second, even if that were not an obstacle, there is typically no significant therapeutic benefit to the clone in the many scenarios for which cloning has been proposed. For the experiment to be ethical, there would need to be therapeutic benefit to the clone so huge as to outweigh the substantial likelihood of the death or deformity that occurred in the Dolly experiment. To proceed with human cloning at this time, then, would involve a massive assault on the autonomy of all clones produced, whether they lived or died.
There is also a second way that human cloning would conflict with the autonomy of the people most intimately involved in the practice, that is, the clones themselves. Human cloning would radically weaken the family structure and relationships of the clone and therefore be fundamentally at odds with their most basic interests. Consider the confusion that arises over even the most basic relationships involved. Are the children who result from cloning really the siblings or the children of their “parents”–really the children or the grandchildren of their “grandparents”? Genetics suggests one answer and age the other. Regardless of any future legal resolutions of such matters, child clones (not to mention others inside and outside the family) will almost certainly experience confusion. Such confusion will impair their psychological and social well being–in fact, their very sense of identity. A host of legal entanglements, including inheritance issues, will also result.
This situation is problematic enough where a clearly identified family is involved. But during the experimental phase in particular, identifying the parents of clones produced in a laboratory may be even more troublesome. Is the donor of the genetic material automatically the parent? What about the donor of the egg into which the genetic material is inserted? If the genetic material and egg are simply donated anonymously for experimental purposes, does the scientist who manipulates them and produces a child from them become the parent? Who will provide the necessary love and care for the damaged embryo, fetus, or child that results when mistakes are made and it is so much easier just to discard them?
As the U.S. National Bioethics Advisory Commission’s report has observed (echoed more recently by the report of the President’s Council on Bioethics), human cloning “invokes images of manufacturing children according to specification. The lack of acceptance this implies for children who fail to develop according to expectations, and the dominance it introduces into the parent-child relationship, is viewed by many as fundamentally at odds with the acceptance, unconditional love, and openness characteristic of good parenting.”17 “It just doesn’t make sense,” to quote Ian Wilmut, who objected strenuously to the notion of cloning humans after he succeeded in producing the sheep clone Dolly.18 He was joined by U.S. President Clinton, who quickly banned the use of federal funds for human cloning research, and by the World Health Organization, who summarily labeled human cloning ethically unacceptable.19 Their reaction resonates with many, who typically might want to “have” a clone, but would not want to “be” one. What is the difference? It is the intuitive recognition that while the option of cloning may expand the autonomy of the person producing the clone, it undermines the autonomy of the clone.
So the autonomy justification, like the utility justification, is much more problematic than it might at first appear to be. We would do better not even to attempt to justify human cloning by appealing to this type of justification because of its inherent shortcomings. But if we are to invoke it, we must be honest and pay special attention to the autonomy of the person most intimately involved in the cloning, the clone. Particular appeals to “freedom” or “choice” may seem persuasive. But if only the autonomy of people other than clones is in view, or only one limited aspect of a clone’s autonomy, then such appeals must be rejected.
As noted near the outset of the chapter, there is a third type of proposed justification for human cloning which moves us more explicitly into the realm of theological reflection: the destiny justification. While other theological arguments against cloning have been advanced in the literature to date,20 many of them are somehow related to the matter of destiny. According to this justification, it is part of our God-given destiny to exercise complete control over our reproductive process. In fact, Richard Seed, in one of his first in-depth interviews after announcing his intentions to clone human beings commercially, made this very argument.21 No less a theologian, President Clinton offered the opposite view when he issued the ban on human cloning. Rather than seeing cloning as human destiny, he rejected it as “playing God.”22 Whether or not we think it wise to take our theological cues from either of these individuals, what are we to make of the proposed destiny justification itself? Is human cloning in line with God’s purposes for us?
To begin with, there are indeed problems with playing God the way that proponents of human cloning would have us do. For example, God can take utility and autonomy considerations into account in ways that people cannot. God knows the future, including every consequence of every consequence of all our actions, people do not. God loves all persons equally, without bias, and is committed and able to understand and protect the freedom of everyone, people are not. Moreover, there are other ways that the pursuit of utility and autonomy are troubling from a theological perspective.
The utility of human cloning, first of all, is that we can gain some benefit by producing clones. But using other people without their consent for our ends is a violation of their status as beings created in the image of God. People have a God-given dignity that prevents us from using them as mere means to achieve our purposes. Knowing that people are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), biblical writers in both the Old and New Testaments periodically invoke this truth to argue that human beings should not be demeaned in various ways (e.g., Gen. 9:6; James 3:9). Since plants and animals are never said to be created in God’s image, it is not surprising that they can be treated in ways (including killing) that would never be acceptable if people were in view (cf. Gen. 9:3 with 9:6).
An autonomy-based justification of human cloning is no more acceptable than a utility-based justification from a theological perspective. Some Christian writers, such as Allen Verhey, have helpfully observed that autonomy, understood in a particular way, is a legitimate biblical notion. As he explains, under the sovereignty of God, acknowledging the autonomy of the person can help ensure respect for and proper treatment of people made in God’s image.23 There is a risk here, however, because the popular ethics of autonomy has no place for God in it. It is autonomy “over” God, not autonomy “under” God. The challenge is to affirm the critical importance of respect for human beings, and for their freedom and responsibility to make decisions that profoundly affect their lives, but to recognize that such freedom requires God. More specifically, such freedom requires the framework in which autonomy is under God, not over God, a framework in which respecting freedom is not just wishful or convenient thinking that gives way as soon as individuals or society as a whole have more to gain by disregarding it. It must be rooted in something that unavoidably and unchangeably ‘is.” In other words, it must be rooted in God, in the creation of human beings in the image of God.
God is the creator, and we worship God as such. Of course, people are creative as well, being the images of God that they are. So what is the difference between God’s creation of human beings, as portrayed in the book of Genesis, and human procreation as happens daily all over the world (also mandated by God in Genesis)? Creation is “ex nihilo,” out of nothing. That means, in the first sense, that God did not just rearrange already existing materials. God actually brought into being a material universe where nothing even existed before. However, God’s creation “ex nihilo” suggests something more. It suggests that there was no agenda outside of God that God was following–nothing outside of God that directed what were acceptable options. When it came to the human portion of creation, God created us to be the way God deemed best.
It is no accident that we call what we do when we have babies “procreation.” “Pro” means “for” or “forth.” To be sure, we do bring babies “forth.” But the deeper meaning here is “for.” We bring new human beings into the world “for” someone or something. To be specific, we continue the line of human beings for God, in accordance with God’s mandate to humanity at the beginning to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). We also create for the people whom we help bring into being. We help give them life, and they are the ones most affected by our actions. What is particularly significant about this “procreation,” this “creation for,” is that by its very nature it is subject to an outside agenda, to God’s agenda primarily, and secondarily to the needs of the child being created.
In this light, the human cloning mindset is hugely problematic. With unmitigated pride it claims the right to create rather than procreate. It looks neither to God for the way that he has intended human beings to be procreated and raised by fathers and mothers who are the secondary, that is, genetic source of their life; nor does it look primarily to the needs of the one being procreated. As we have seen, it looks primarily to the cloner’s own preferences or to whatever value system one chooses to prioritize (perhaps the “good of society,” etc.). In other words, those operating out of the human cloning mindset see themselves as Creator rather than procreator. This is the kind of aspiring to be God for which God has consistently chastised people, and for which God has ultimately wreaked havoc on many a society and civilization.
Leon Kass has observed that we have traditionally used the word “procreation” for having children because we have viewed the world, and human life in particular, as created by God. We have understood our creative involvement in terms of and in relation to God’s creation.24 Today we increasingly orient more to the material world than to God. We are more impressed with the gross national product than with the original creation. So we more commonly talk in terms of re”production” rather than pro”creation.” In the process, we associate people more closely with things, with products, than with the God of creation. No wonder our respect for human life is deteriorating. We become more like that with which we associate. If we continue on this path, if our destiny is to clone ourselves, then our destiny is also, ultimately, to lose all respect for ourselves, to our peril.
Claims about utility, autonomy, or destiny, then, are woefully inadequate to justify human cloning. In fact, a careful look at any of these types of justification shows that they provide compelling reasons instead to reject human cloning. To stand up and say so may become more and more difficult in our “brave new world.” As the culture increasingly promotes production and self-assertion, it will take courage to insist in the new context of cloning that there is something more important. But such a brave new word, echoing the Word of old, is one that we must be bold to speak.
Posted: August 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm
The Libertarian Party is your representative in American politics. It is the only political organization which respects you as a unique and competent individual.
Libertarians believe in the American heritage of liberty, enterprise, and personal responsibility. Libertarians recognize the responsibility we all share to preserve this precious heritage for our children and grandchildren.
Libertarians believe that being free and independent is a great way to live. We want a system which encourages all people to choose what they want from life; that lets them live, love, work, play, and dream their own way.
The Libertarian way is a caring, people-centered approach to politics. We believe each individual is unique. We want a system which respects the individual and encourages us to discover the best within ourselves and develop our full potential.
The Libertarian way is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government’s only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud.
The Libertarian Party is for all who don’t want to push other people around and don’t want to be pushed around themselves. Live and let live is the Libertarian way.
Posted: August 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
And yet, for years, those 27 brief words have been the source of contentious debate — seen by some as an inalienable protection against tyranny; by others as a dangerous anachronism.
Here’s a look at the Second Amendment, its phrases parsed and placed in legal and historical context.
Our guides will be Constitutional experts Jeffrey Rosen and Jack Rakove.
What is a militia?
At the time of the American Revolutionary War, militias were groups of able-bodied men who protected their towns, colonies, and eventually states. “[When the Constitution was drafted], the militia was a state-based institution,” says Rakove. “States were responsible for organizing this.”
What did it mean to be well regulated?
One of the biggest challenges in interpreting a centuries-old document is that the meanings of words change or diverge.
“Well-regulated in the 18th century tended to be something like well-organized, well-armed, well-disciplined,” says Rakove. “It didn’t mean ‘regulation’ in the sense that we use it now, in that it’s not about the regulatory state. There’s been nuance there. It means the militia was in an effective shape to fight.”
In other words, it didn’t mean the state was controlling the militia in a certain way, but rather that the militia was prepared to do its duty.
What type of security was referred to here?
To get to that, consider the climate of the United States at the time. The country had just fought a war, won its independence and was expanding west. There were plenty of reasons to feel unsafe, and so “security” had a very palpable meaning.
“You have an expanding country, and the principle defense use of the militia would be to protect local residents from attack and invasion,” Rakove says.
It also meant physical protection from government overreach.
“The idea of a state militia would also be attractive because it serves as a deterrent against national tyranny,” says Rakove. “At the time, if government forces tried to take over land or overstep their boundaries, you’d have an institution in place — the militia — that would outnumber any army.”
Of course, with the size and scope of the modern United States military, and the fact that militias as we know it no longer exist, that notion is hard to imagine today.
In the debate over the Second Amendment, this phrase, “a well regulated militia,” remains one of the most cited and argued parts of the sentence.
What did a free state mean?
It may seem obvious, but Rosen and Rakove agree the Constitution bore a lot of contemporary moralism and not every word is well-defined.
In this case, the meaning of “state” is what it appears to be.
“This is referring immediately to ‘state’ as in one of the states of the original colonies,” Rosen says. “James Madison had the 1777 Virginia Declaration of Rights by his side when he wrote the Bill of Rights and he essentially copied and pasted language from it.”
But it could also speak to a larger understanding of liberty.
“So here,” Rosen continues, “George Mason (the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights) is talking about not only the free state of Virginia.” He is also talking about a broader state of freedom.
What kind of rights?
This is another highly-contested area where it helps to know more about how the framers of the Constitution thought about complex ideas like “rights.”
“When we think about ‘rights,’ we think of them as regulations and exemptions,” Rakove says. “Back at the birth of our nation, they had a different quality. They were more moralistic.”
Rosen says this viewpoint is reflected in the Declaration of Independence:
“The framers definitely believed in natural rights — that they are endowed by a creator,” Rosen says. “They believed we are born into a state of nature before we form governments, and that we are endowed with certain fundamental rights.”
These natural rights included the right to religious expression, free speech, property and more. But they did not, Rosen says, specifically include the tenets of the Second Amendment.
“The framers did not talk about the right to bear arms as one of the set of natural rights,” he says. “But it is fair to say that the right to alter and abolish government — to the degree that modern people claim they have that right — the framers certainly believe it.”
“In that sense, it is historically accurate to say that the framers did recognize a natural right of self-defense.”
Who are the people?
Even the term “people” — the most basic catch-all — has limitations.
“You say people, you mean individual persons,” says Rakove. “But, if you go to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, it says the House of Representatives will be chosen by the people — who are the persons? Who are entitled to exercise that suffrage? You see, you can use the term ‘people’ to imply a collective mass, but there are some categories of people that can be excluded.”
After all, when the Constitution was written, slaves were considered property and women were not allowed to vote.
In addition, there is a more basic question of semantics: By “the people,” is the Second Amendment referring to people as private entities, or as participants in the militia?
The legal consensus is that the Second Amendment applies to individual rights, within reasonable regulations. More on that below.
What are Arms in this context, and what is the scope of bearing Arms?
The decision struck down the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, which heavily regulated owning and keeping firearms in the District of Columbia.
In the above excerpt, we can see the Court considered the awkward phrasing of the Amendment. The Justices divided the Amendment into an operative clause: “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” and a prefatory clause: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” The court determined the relationship between these phrases, as well as the historical context of the Constutition’s creation, clearly provided an individual right.
The term “arms” is also an ever-changing one, and there are ongoing debates about assault weapons and emerging firearm technologies.
“One thing people disagree about is whether assault weapons bans are constitutional,” says Rosen. “They also disagree about how we should interpret the constitution in terms of history or in light of new technologies.”
What does it all mean?
“It’s really striking that since these Supreme Court decisions… lower courts have upheld almost all of the gun regulations they have asked to review,” he says.
Rakove thinks the framers of the Constitution would be surprised at the conversations we are having today.
“While there is a common law right to self-defense, most historians think that it would be remarkable news to the framers of the Second Amendment that they were actually constitutionalizing a personal right to self-defense as opposed to trying to say something significant about the militia,” he says.
Words like “militia” and “rights” are loaded with historical context and nuance that can act as a Rorschach test, leading even the best-intentioned interpreters to different conclusions. If there were any clear answers, these 27 words wouldn’t be so incendiary.
Jack Rakove is the William Robertson Coe Professor of History at Stanford University. His book “Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution” won a Pulitzer Prize in History.
See more here:
Deconstructing the Second Amendment – cnn.com
Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:10 pm
by Gregg Prescott, M.S. Editor, In5D.com
While there are many movies that expose the globalist agenda, four movies particularly caught my attention.
There seems to be several agendas going on simultaneously, such as the alien agenda and the New World Order agenda, but one other agenda is being shoved down our collective throats for at least 30 years: The transhumanism agenda.
The premise of transhumanism dates as far back as mans first search for the elixir to immortality and in recent years has segued into glorifying the idea of combining man with machine.
IMDb describes Chappie as:
In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.
Chappie is glorifying the transhumanism agenda in conjunction with artificial intelligence where people will soon be offered to live as immortal gods in exchange for being hooked up to the matrix, which inevitably, will make these same people perpetual, subservient slaves.
We are starting to see the beginning of this through digital tattoos, smart tattoos, ingestible RFID chips, and nanoparticle RFIDs. Globalist shill Regina Dugan, former DARPA head who now leads advanced research for Motorola stated, It may be true that 10-20 year olds dont want to wear a watch on their wrists, but you can be sure that theyll be far more interested in wearing an electronic tattoo if only to piss off their parents.
For many people, The Matrix was just another science fiction movie but for even more people, this is the initial movie that truly woke the masses out of their collective stupor.
IMDb: A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
Thomas A. Anderson is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines that live off of the humans body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents: super-powerful computer programs devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion.
More and more people are beginning to realize the many truths in this movie which basically shows how we are living in a simulated reality while our bodies are living as an energy source for our overlords.
Similar to Chappie, transhumanism takes precedent as a means of going in and out of the matrix. While caught within the matrix, we all assume that this is real but relatively few people question why we need to work for money and cannot comprehend the premise behind the question, If there was no such thing as money, what would you be doing with your life? Weve been brainwashed for millennia about living in this false reality constructed to keep us living in subservience, control and conformity to a system designed to keep us living in fear as economic slaves.
When you look at it from this perspective, does it make sense to waste the majority of your life working some job that you hate for a boss whos an a*hole, only to get that 1 or 2 weeks off a year to enjoy as a vacation while your literally recharge your battery? Theres a reason we look forward to the weekend because by the weekend, we are weakened.
Mark Passio does an amazing job analyzing The Matrix trilogy:
IMDbs description of Network: A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchors ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.
In the 1970s, terrorist violence is the stuff of networks nightly news programming and the corporate structure of the UBS Television Network is changing. Meanwhile, Howard Beale, the aging UBS news anchor, has lost his once strong ratings share and so the network fires him. Beale reacts in an unexpected way. We then see how this affects the fortunes of Beale, his coworkers (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen), and the network.
The star of the film, Howard Beale, even hinted at transhumanism:
The whole world is becoming humanoid creatures that look human, but arent. The whole world, not just us.
The bottom line is how the nightly news influences and persuades public opinion, even through blatant lies. Youll never feel good after watching the nightly news. Why? Because when you live in the lower vibration of fear, you can be easily controlled and manipulated. The current terrorist agenda is the perfect ploy by the globalists because its a war that can never be won. Additionally, people will gladly give up their civil liberties and freedom in exchange for perceived protection by the government to fight these non-existent entities.
David Icke calls this Problem. Reaction. Solution in which the government creates a problem through false flags, we react by saying the government needs to address the problem and the government has a solution to the problem, which ALWAYS involves the loss of civil liberties and freedom.
We are just starting to see a group of disgruntled reporters leave the industry because they do not agree with how the news is scripted or the propaganda that is being pushed by the CIA in order to influence public opinion regarding everything from how well the economy is doing to why we should start yet another war. Unfortunately, there are plenty of buffoons in search of fame and notoriety (ego) who are willing to take the places of these reporters who have left the business, and they will conform to whatever their overlords desire, even if that means hurting their friends and family by reporting lies to the masses.
John Carpenters 1988 cult classic, They Live combines an alien agenda with how the mainstream media is brainwashing the masses.
IMDb describes the movie as A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.
Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like Stay Asleep, No Imagination, Submit to Authority. Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued.
An intriguing part of the movie is when the aliens throw a party for their human collaborators who agree to push the alien agenda. This is very reminiscent of lobbyists who push agendas for Monsanto, Big Pharma, etc.. The bottom line is that if you support the alien agenda, you will be generously compensated to keep your mouth shut. Does this sound familiar to you?
A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor, a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector Kyle Reese also sent from the future. The Terminator uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to find Sarah, but is there any way to stop the seemingly indestructible cyborg?
It was supposed to be a simple job. All Lucy had to do was deliver a mysterious briefcase to Mr. Jang. But immediately Lucy is caught up in a nightmarish deal where she is captured and turned into a drug mule for a new and powerful synthetic drug. When the bag she is carrying inside of her stomach leaks, Lucys body undergoes unimaginable changes that begins to unlock her minds full potential. With her new-found powers, Lucy turns into a merciless warrior intent on getting back at her captors. She receives invaluable help from Professor Norman, the leading authority on the human mind, and French police captain Pierre Del Rio.
While it may seem like a glamorous idea to have infinite knowledge, there will be a price to pay. For example:
Its not enough to expose these agendas. One needs to be cognizant of what is being forced upon us and be willing to make decisions that are proactive, such as refusing any RFID chip implantation or simply not buying into the false promises of how great your life will be as a cyborg. By choosing artificial intelligence, there is no spiritual progression for the soul, if any part of the soul remains.
The power of thought can also create the world you want to see. Try envisioning a world without transhumanism, money or globalist agendas. Replace the negative things in this world, such as nuclear energy, gas or coal, with free energy. We have the ability RIGHT NOW to create a world where everyone can live in abundance and prosperity without the need for economic subservience.
You were born as a PERFECT soul and upon returning to the Creator, you will remain in complete perfection without the need for artificial intelligence or transhumanism.
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About the Author: Gregg Prescott, M.S. is the founder and editor of In5D and BodyMindSoulSpirit. You can find his In5D Radio shows on the In5D Youtube channel. He is also a transformational speaker and promotes spiritual, metaphysical and esoteric conferences in the United States through In5dEvents. His love and faith for humanity motivates him to work in humanitys best interests 12-15+ hours a day, 365 days a year. Please like and follow In5D on Facebook as well as BodyMindSoulSpirit on Facebook!
Tags: agenda, artificial intelligence, chappie, gregg prescott, lucy, movie, movies, network, propaganda, RFID chip, the matrix, the terminator, they live, transhumanism, transhumanism agenda
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Posted: at 9:05 pm
Incompatibilism is the view that a deterministic universe is completely at odds with the notion that people have a free will; that there is a dichotomy between determinism and free will where philosophers must choose one or the other. This view is pursued in at least three ways: libertarians deny that the universe is deterministic, the hard determinists deny that any free will exists, and pessimistic incompatibilists (hard indeterminists) deny both that the universe is determined and that free will exists. Some of these incompatibilistic views have more trouble than the others in dealing with the standard argument against free will.
Incompatiblism is contrasted with compatibilism, which rejects the determinism/free will dichotomy. Compatibilists maintain free will by defining it as more of a ‘freedom to act’a move that has been met with some criticism.
Metaphysical Libertarianism argues that free will is real and that determinism is false. Such dualism risks an infinite regress however; if any such mind is real, an objection can still be raised using the standard argument against free will that it is shaped by a higher power (a necessity or chance). Libertarian Robert Kane (among others) presented an alternative model:
Robert Kane (editor of the Oxford Handbook of Free Will) is a leading incompatibilist philosopher in favour of free will. Kane seeks to hold persons morally responsible for decisions that involved indeterminism in their process. Critics maintain that Kane fails to overcome the greatest challenge to such an endeavor: “the argument from luck”. Namely, if a critical moral choice is a matter of luck (indeterminate quantum fluctuations), then on what grounds can we hold a person responsible for their final action? Moreover, even if we imagine that a person can make an act of will ahead of time, to make the moral action more probable in the upcoming critical moment, this act of ‘willing’ was itself a matter of luck.
Libertarianism in the philosophy of mind is unrelated to the like-named political philosophy. It suggests that we actually do have free will, that it is incompatible with determinism, and that therefore the future is not determined. For example, at this moment, one could either continue reading this article if one wanted, or cease. Under this assertion, being that one could do either, the fact of how the history of the world will continue to unfold is not currently determined one way or the other.
One famous proponent of this view was Lucretius, who asserted that the free will arises out of the random, chaotic movements of atoms, called “clinamen”. One major objection to this view is that science has gradually shown that more and more of the physical world obeys completely deterministic laws, and seems to suggest that our minds are just as much part of the physical world as anything else. If these assumptions are correct, incompatibilist libertarianism can only be maintained as the claim that free will is a supernatural phenomenon, which does not obey the laws of nature (as, for instance, maintained by some religious traditions).
However, many libertarian view points now rely upon an indeterministic view of the physical universe, under the assumption that the idea of a deterministic, “clockwork” universe has become outdated since the advent of quantum mechanics. By assuming an indeterministic universe libertarian philosophical constructs can be proposed under the assumption of physicalism.
There are libertarian view points based upon indeterminism and physicalism, which is closely related to naturalism. A major problem for naturalistic libertarianism is to explain how indeterminism can be compatible with rationality and with appropriate connections between an individual’s beliefs, desires, general character and actions. A variety of naturalistic libertarianism is promoted by Robert Kane, who emphasizes that if our character is formed indeterministically (in “self-forming actions”), then our actions can still flow from our character, and yet still be incompatibilistically free.
Alternatively, libertarian view points based upon indeterminism have been proposed without the assumption of naturalism. At the time C. S. Lewis wrote Miracles,quantum mechanics (and physical indeterminism) was only in the initial stages of acceptance, but still Lewis stated the logical possibility that, if the physical world was proved to be indeterministic, this would provide an entry (interaction) point into the traditionally viewed closed system, where a scientifically described physically probable/improbable event could be philosophically described as an action of a non-physical entity on physical reality (noting that, under a physicalist point of view, the non-physical entity must be independent of the self-identity or mental processing of the sentient being). Lewis mentions this only in passing, making clear that his thesis does not depend on it in any way.
Others may use some form of Donald Davidson’s anomalous monism to suggest that although the mind is in fact part of the physical world, it involves a different level of description of the same facts, so that although there are deterministic laws under the physical description, there are no such laws under the mental description, and thus our actions are free and not determined.
Those who reject free will and accept Determinism are variously known as “hard determinists”, hard incompatibilists, free will skeptics, illusionists, or impossibilists. They believe that there is no ‘free will’ and that any sense of the contrary is an illusion. Of course, hard determinists do not deny that one has desires, but say that these desires are causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. According to this philosophy, no wholly random, spontaneous, mysterious, or miraculous events occur. Determinists sometimes assert that it is stubborn to resist scientifically motivated determinism on purely intuitive grounds about one’s own sense of freedom. They reason that the history of the development of science suggests that determinism is the logical method in which reality works.
William James said that philosophers (and scientists) have an “antipathy to chance.” Absolute chance, a possible implication of quantum mechanics and the indeterminacy principle, implies a lack of causality. This possibility often disturbs those who assume there must be a causal and lawful explanation for all events.
Since many believe that free will is necessary for moral responsibility, this may imply disastrous consequences for their theory of ethics.
As something of a solution to this predicament, it has been suggested that, for the sake of preserving moral responsibility and the concept of ethics, one might embrace the so-called “illusion” of free will. This, despite thinking that free will does not exist according to determinism. Critics argue that this move renders morality merely another “illusion”, or else that this move is simply hypocritical.
The Determinist will add that, even if denying free will does mean morality is incoherent, such an unfortunate result has no effect on the truth. Note, however, that hard determinists often have some sort of ‘moral system’ that relies explicitly on determinism. A Determinist’s moral system simply bears in mind that every agent’s actions in a given situation are, in theory, predicted by the interplay of environment and upbringing. For instance, the Determinist may still punish undesirable behaviours for reasons of behaviour modification or deterrence.
While hard determinism clearly opposes the concept of free will, some have suggested that free will might also be incompatible with non-determinism (often on the basis of lack of control associated with pure randomness). This is hard incompatibilism, and has been used as an argument against Libertarian incompatibilism.
Under the assumption of naturalism and indeterminism, where there only exists the natural world and that the natural world is indeterministicevents are not predetermined (e.g., for quantum mechanical reasons) and any event has a probability assigned to itno event can be determined by a physical organism’s perceived free will, nor can any event be strictly determined by anything at all.
Hard incompatibilism differs from hard determinism in that it does not commit to the truth of determinism. By and large, supporters of hard incompatibilism accept both libertarian critiques of compatibilism and compatibilist critiques of libertarianism.
In recent years researchers in the field of experimental philosophy have been working on determining whether ordinary people, who aren’t experts in this field, naturally have compatibilist or incompatibilist intuitions about determinism and moral responsibility. Some experimental work has even conducted cross-cultural studies. The debate about whether people naturally have compatibilist or incompatibilist intuitions has not come out overwhelmingly in favor of one view or the other. Still, there has been some evidence that people can naturally hold both views. For instance, when people are presented with abstract cases which ask if a person could be morally responsible for an immoral act when they could not have done otherwise, people tend to say no, or give incompatibilist answers, but when presented with a specific immoral act that a specific person committed, people tend to say that that person is morally responsible for their actions, even if they were determined (that is, people also give compatibilist answers).
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Incompatibilism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Posted: August 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm
Have you ever had a red, itchy rash that does not go away? Chances are, it may be eczema. While mild eczema is not life threatening, it may be extremely uncomfortable with an itch. Symptoms usually vary depending on the individual, and may include dry, scaly, red and itchy skin. If left untreated, constant scratching may lead to bleeding, crusting, or broken skin open to possible infection. It is usually easily diagnosed by doctors by a physical check-up, and most of the time, does not require biopsies or additional testing.
According to the National Eczema Association, the term “eczema” is a general term used to describe dermatitis and can be interchangeably used. Although it comes in many forms, eczema mostly describes a dry skin condition that may be relieved by moisturizers and emollients. This skin condition is not contagious, so you cannot pass it on to other people or catch them from someone else.
A specific cause for eczema has yet to be identified. Many believe that this skin condition is attributed to a combination of factors that include:
Many of these factors are still speculation, with further research needed to confirm a specific cause for eczema. Factors like asthma and hay fever that are often associated with eczema could pose as possible leads. However, not all people who have been diagnosed with eczema have shown these particular medical conditions.
Since eczema can refer to various types of irritated skin, the types can almost be endless. Here are some of the more common types of eczema:
The most common symptom of eczema is red, swollen and itchy skin. The symptoms may vary depending on the specific type of eczema you are dealing with. Blisters and scaly patches are also possible symptoms of eczema. These blisters might also ooze, crust and even bleed. Skin color may also change, and can even become thick and leathery. These outbreaks can appear practically anywhere on the body, and the location of the affected area can be used to classify the particular type of eczema that the person is suffering from.
Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for eczema, but there are many ways to relieve symptoms. For example, there are several easy home remedies that can help relieve itch and irritation should a breakout take place.
Read the rest here:
Eczema, Causes, Tests, Diagnosis & Treatment
Posted: at 4:30 pm
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common condition where there is inflammation of the skin. It typically develops as patches (plaques) of red, scaly skin. Once you develop psoriasis it tends to come and go throughout life. A flare-up can occur at any time. The frequency of flare-ups varies. There may be times when psoriasis clears for long spells. However, in some people the flare-ups occur often. Psoriasis is not due to an infection. You cannot pass it on to other people and it does not turn into cancer.
The severity of psoriasis varies greatly. In some people it is mild with a few small patches that develop and are barely noticeable. In others, there are many patches of varying size. In many people the severity is somewhere between these two extremes.
There are different types of psoriasis. However, chronic plaque psoriasis (described below) is by far the most common and typical type.
Between 8 and 9 out of 10 people with psoriasis have chronic plaque psoriasis. The rash is made up of patches (plaques) on the skin. The picture shows typical plaques of psoriasis next to some normal skin.
Each plaque usually looks pink or red with overlying flaky, silvery-white scales that feel rough. There is usually a sharp border between the edge of a plaque and normal skin.
The most common areas affected are over elbows and knees, the scalp and the lower back. Plaques may appear anywhere on the skin but they do not usually occur on the face.
The extent of the rash varies between different people and can also vary from time to time in the same person. Many people have just a few small plaques of a centimetre or so when their psoriasis flares up. Others have a more widespread rash with large plaques of several centimetres across. Sometimes, small plaques that are near to each other merge to form large plaques. Chronic plaque psoriasis can be itchy but it does not usually cause too much discomfort.
There are two variations of chronic plaque psoriasis:
This type of psoriasis usually just affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In this situation it is sometimes called palmoplantar pustulosis. Affected skin develops crops of pustules, which are small fluid-filled spots. The pustules do not contain germs (bacteria) and are not infectious. The skin under and around the pustules is usually red and tender. Pustular psoriasis which just affects the palms and soles is the second most common type of psoriasis.
Rarely, a form of pustular psoriasis can affect skin apart from the palms and soles. This more widespread form is a more serious form of psoriasis and needs urgent treatment under the care of a skin specialist (a dermatologist).
About half of people with any type of psoriasis can have fingernail psoriasis. In some people toenails are also affected. Nail psoriasis may also occur alone without the skin rash. There are pinhead-sized pits (small indentations) in the nails. Sometimes, the nail becomes loose on the the nail bed. Nails may also change colour and the area around the bed of the nail can become orange/yellow. See separate leaflet called Psoriatic Nail Disease for more details.
This typically occurs following a sore throat which is caused by a germ (bacterium). Round/oval plaques of psoriasis are small (less than 1 cm – drop size) but occur over many areas of the body. Guttate psoriasis normally lasts a few weeks and then fades away. However, it may last for three to four months in some people. In many people, once it goes it never returns.
This type of psoriasis causes a widespread redness (erythema) of much of the skin surface, which is painful. Individual plaques of psoriasis cannot be seen because they have merged together. There is still redness and scaling of the skin and the skin feels warm to touch. A person with erythrodermic psoriasis may also have a high temperature (fever). This type of psoriasis is rare but it is serious and needs urgent treatment and admission to hospital. This is because it can interfere with the body’s ability to control temperature and it can cause excessive protein and fluid loss, leading to lack of fluid in the body (dehydration), heart failure and severe illness.
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Itchy hands , feet and more
About 1 in 50 people develop psoriasis at some stage of their life. Psoriasis is more common in white people. It can first develop at any age but it most commonly starts between the ages of 15 and 30 years.
Someone with psoriasis may have other family members with the same problem. Also, one large study found that smokers (and ex-smokers for up to 20 years after giving up) have an increased risk of developing psoriasis compared with non-smokers. One theory for this is that poisons (toxins) in cigarette smoke may affect parts of the immune system involved with psoriasis.
Normal skin is made up of layers of skin cells. The top layer of cells (horny layer of the epidermis) is flattened and gradually sheds (they fall off). New cells are constantly being made underneath (in the basal layer of the epidermis) to replace the shed top layer. Cells gradually move from the basal layer to the top horny layer. It normally takes about 28 days for a cell in the basal layer to reach the top layer of skin and to be shed. The diagram shows a cross-section of normal skin.
People with psoriasis have a faster turnover of skin cells. It is not clear why this occurs. More skin cells are made which leads to a build-up of cells on the top layer. These form the flaky patches (plaques) on the skin, or severe dandruff of the scalp seen in scalp psoriasis.
There are also some changes in the blood vessels that supply the skin in people with psoriasis. Small blood vessels can widen (dilate) and increase in number. This is why the skin underneath a patch of psoriasis is usually red. Cells involved in inflammation also increase in number in the skin of people with psoriasis.
The cause of the increased cell turnover and skin inflammation of psoriasis is not known. Inherited (genetic) factors seem to play a part, as about 3 in 10 people with psoriasis have a close relative also affected. It may be that some factor in the environment (perhaps a virus) may trigger the condition to start in someone who is genetically prone to develop it. Another theory is that the immune system may be overreacting in some way to cause the inflammation. Research continues to try to find the exact cause.
In most people who have psoriasis, there is no apparent reason why a flare-up develops at any given time. However, in some people, psoriasis is more likely to flare up in certain situations. These include the following:
People with psoriasis are more likely to have or develop some other problems. However, just because you have psoriasis does not mean that you will definitely develop these. The problems include the following:
Some people with psoriasis may feel embarrassed about their skin problem and develop a negative body image. They may avoid certain activities such as swimming because of fear of uncovering their skin and of other people seeing it. Personal relationships may be affected. Some people with psoriasis develop anxiety and depression.
Psoriasis is usually diagnosed by the typical appearance of the rash. No tests are usually needed. Occasionally, a small sample (biopsy) of skin is taken to be looked at under the microscope if there is doubt about the diagnosis.
There is no once-and-for-all cure for psoriasis. Treatment aims to clear the rash as much as possible. However, as psoriasis tends to flare up from time to time, you may need courses of treatment on and off throughout your life. There are various treatments options. There is no ‘best buy’ that suits everybody. The treatment advised by your doctor may depend on the severity, site and type of psoriasis. Also, one treatment may work well in one person but not in another. It is not unusual to try a different treatment if the first one does not work so well.
Many of the treatments are creams or ointments. As a rule, you have to apply creams or ointments correctly for best results. It usually takes several weeks of treatment to clear plaques of psoriasis. Make sure you know exactly how to use whatever treatment is prescribed. For example, some preparations should not be used on the skin creases (flexures), on the face or on broken skin, and some should not be used if you are pregnant. Do ask a doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are unsure as to how to use your treatment, or for how long you should use it.
The following is a brief overview of the more commonly used treatments for chronic plaque psoriasis. Unless psoriasis is very severe, treatment tends to start with topical treatments. This means treatments that can be applied directly to the skin, such as creams or ointments. If these treatments are not successful, you will usually be referred to a skin specialist for advice about other treatments such as medicines and light treatments.
If you have psoriasis, you may also get some benefit from quitting smoking and also limiting your alcohol intake. See separate leaflets called Tips to Help You Stop Smoking and Recommended Safe Limits of Alcohol for details. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may also be helpful. This is because, as explained above, people with psoriasis may have an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to prevent these conditions.
Note: treatments of the less common forms of psoriasis are similar but are not dealt with here. Your doctor will advise.
Many people have a few patches (plaques) of psoriasis that are not too bad or not in a noticeable place. In this situation, some people do not want any treatment. If you opt for no treatment, you can always change your mind at a later time if the psoriasis changes or worsens.
These help to soften hard skin and plaques. They may reduce scaling and itch. There are many different brands of moisturising creams and ointments. A moisturiser may be all that you need for mild psoriasis. You should also use one in addition to any other treatment, as often as needed, to keep your skin supple and moist. They can also help to prevent itching, reduce cracking of the skin and can help to remove scales. Using a moisturiser may also mean that other treatments can be more effective. However, apply the emollient first and allow plenty of time for it to be absorbed into your skin before applying any other treatment.
Moisturisers can also be used in place of soap. Be careful when using an emollient in the bath or the shower as they can make the surface slippery.
Calcipotriol, calcitriol and tacalcitol are commonly used and often work well. They seem to work by slowing the rate at which skin cells divide. They are creams, ointments or lotions that are easy to use, are less messy and have less of a smell than coal tar or dithranol creams and ointments (below). However, they can cause skin irritation in some people. There is also a scalp preparation of calcipotriol that can be used to treat scalp psoriasis.
A vitamin D-based treatment is sometimes used in combination with other treatments for psoriasis if either treatment is not sufficient. For example, an ointment that contains calcipotriol and a steroid is sometimes used.
If you are trying for a baby, are pregnant or are breast-feeding, vitamin D-based treatments are only prescribed if the benefits outweigh the risks. You should discuss with your doctor whether you should use vitamin D-based treatment if you are trying for a baby, are pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
Calcipotriol may cause skin irritation which can lead to redness, soreness or itch in around 1 in 5 users. Any skin irritation that does develop usually settles but sometimes a break in treatment is needed. Occasionally, treatment needs to be stopped because of skin irritation. Because of the risk of skin irritation, you should not use calcipotriol on your face and flexures such as the front of elbows, behind knees, armpits, groins, etc.
Generally, calcipotriol is thought to be safe, provided that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The instructions include that you should not exceed the maximum dose. This is:
Note: if you are using calcipotriol as a cream or ointment for your body and you are using a scalp lotion that contains calcipotriol, you need to consider both of these. In this situation, the maximum amount of each is less than stated above. You should follow the instructions given by your doctor.
If you are also using an emollient for your skin, you should make sure that you use this first. Then, wait for 30 minutes before you apply calcipotriol or one of the other vitamin D analogues.
You should wash your hands after applying calcipotriol. This prevents you from inadvertently transferring the cream or ointment to other areas of your body.
Calcitriol and tacalcitol ointments contain different vitamin D analogues to calcipotriol. An advantage of calcitriol and tacalcitol is that they are less irritating than calcipotriol. Therefore, one or other may be suitable for use on the face and flexures if advised by your doctor. You should not use more than 30 g of calcitriol ointment per day and it should not be applied to more than a third of your body surface each day. You should not use more than 10 g of tacalcitol ointment per day.
Topical steroids are other commonly used treatments. They work by reducing inflammation. They are easy to use and may be a good treatment for difficult areas such as the scalp and face. However, one problem with steroids is that in some cases, once you stop using the cream or ointment, the psoriasis may rebound back worse than it was in the first place. Also, side-effects may occur with long-term use, especially with the stronger (more potent) preparations.
Therefore, if a steroid is used, a doctor may prescribe it for a limited period only (a few weeks or so, and less for a strong steroid), or on an intermittent basis. As a rule, a steroid cream or ointment should not be used regularly for more than four weeks without a review by a doctor. Steroid lotions are useful for flare-ups of scalp psoriasis. Only milder steroid creams or ointments should be used on your face or for psoriasis affecting flexures.
These have been used to treat psoriasis for many years. It is not clear how they work. They may reduce the turnover of the skin cells. They also seem to reduce inflammation and have anti-scaling properties. Traditional tar preparations are messy to use but modern formulas are more pleasant. Creams, ointments, lotions, pastes, scalp treatments, bath additives and shampoos that contain coal tar are available to treat psoriasis.
As a rule, do not use coal tar creams or other coal tar treatments on flexures such as the front of elbows, behind knees, groins, armpits, etc. Also, avoid using them on your face, as you need to be careful not to get them into your eyes. However, some of the milder creams can be used on your face and flexures – your doctor will advise. Your doctor will also advise you on whether it is safe for you to use coal tar treatments on your genital areas.
Coal tar preparations can have an unpleasant smell and can stain clothes. They may cause skin irritation in some people and skin can become sensitive to sunlight whilst using them. Coal tar preparations should not be used during the first three months of pregnancy. However, they can be used later in the pregnancy and during breast-feeding.
Dithranol has been used for many years for psoriasis. In most cases a daily application of dithranol to a psoriasis plaque will eventually cause the plaque to go. However, dithranol irritates healthy skin. Therefore, you need to apply it carefully to the psoriasis plaques only. To reduce the chance of skin irritation, it is usual to start with a low strength and move on to stronger ones gradually over a few weeks.
Short-contact dithranol therapy is popular. This involves putting a high-strength dithranol preparation on the plaques of psoriasis for 5-60 minutes each day and then washing it off. Dithranol may stain skin, hair, clothes, bedding, baths, etc. You should not use dithranol on your face unless suggested by a skin specialist.
When using dithranol, you should follow the instructions given by your doctor carefully, and those that come with the packet of the preparation that you are prescribed. Also, persevere with the treatment, as success often takes several weeks. The instructions may include the following:
Salicylic acid is often combined with other treatments such as coal tar or steroid creams. It tends to loosen and lift the scales of psoriasis on the body or the scalp. Other treatments tend to work better if the scale is lifted off first by salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can be used as a long-term treatment. However, it can cause skin irritation in some people. You should not use this treatment if you are allergic to aspirin.
Tazarotene is another cream that is sometimes used. It is a vitamin A-based preparation. Irritation of the normal surrounding skin is a common side-effect. This can be minimised by applying tazarotene sparingly to the plaques and avoiding normal skin. Tazarotene treatment must not be used if you are pregnant, because of potential risks of harm to the developing baby. It should also not be used during breast-feeding.
A coal tar-based shampoo is often tried first and often works well. Some preparations combine a tar shampoo with either a salicylic acid preparation, a coconut oil/salicylic acid combination ointment, a steroid preparation, calcipotriol scalp application, or more than one of these.
If you have scalp psoriasis, you may also find it helpful to wear lighter-coloured clothes so that scales falling from your scalp may be seen less easily. You may also wish to talk to your hairdresser about changing your hairstyle to cover up the psoriasis as much as possible. Be careful to brush your hair gently. Scalp treatments can also stain your pillow/pillowcase. So you may wish to cover your pillow with an old pillowcase.
Some preparations use a combination of ingredients. For example, calcipotriol combined with a steroid may be used when calcipotriol alone has not worked very well. As mentioned, it is not usually wise to use a steroid long-term. Therefore, one treatment strategy that is sometimes used is calcipotriol combined with a steroid for four weeks, alternating with calcipotriol alone for four weeks.
Other combinations such as a coal tar preparation and a steroid are sometimes used. Using both a vitamin D preparation and a steroid preparation at the same time can also be more effective than using either one by itself in some people. Other rotating treatment strategies are sometimes used. For example, a steroid for a few weeks followed by a course of dithranol treatment.
Scalp treatments often contain a combination of ingredients such as a steroid, coal tar, and salicylic acid.
If you have severe psoriasis then you may need hospital-based treatment. Light therapy (phototherapy) is one type of treatment that can be used. This may involve treatment with ultraviolet B (UVB) light. Another type of phototherapy is called PUVA – psoralen and ultraviolet light in the A band. This involves taking tablets (psoralen) which enhance the effects of UV light on the skin. You then attend hospital for regular sessions under a special light which emits ultraviolet A (UVA).
Sometimes people with severe psoriasis are given intense courses of treatment, using the creams or ointments described above, but in stronger strengths and with special dressings.
If psoriasis is severe and is not helped by the treatments listed above then a powerful medicine which can suppress inflammation is sometimes used. For example, methotrexate, ciclosporin, acitretin, etanercept, infliximab, efalizumab, ustekinumab and adalimumab. There is some risk of serious side-effects with these medicines, so they are only used on the advice of a specialist.
Psoriasis affects different people in different ways. In general, plaque psoriasis is a persistent (chronic) condition with flare-ups that come and go. However, some studies have shown that, over time, plaque psoriasis may go away completely at some point in around 1 in 3 people. Some people have a number of years where they are free from psoriasis and then it may flare up again.
As mentioned above, the less common guttate psoriasis usually goes away completely after a few months. But, if you have an episode of guttate psoriasis, you have a higher than usual chance of developing chronic plaque psoriasis at a later time.
Psoriasis at Patient. Symptoms and treatment for Psoriasis …
Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:47 am
Wage slavery is a complicated term that has been used in many different contexts. There have been many references to its concepts by philosophers and the like, but the term is first recorded as used in 1836 by female textile workers in Lowell, Massachusetts, called the Lowell Mill Girls. The women in Lowell factories lived in boarding houses, often owned by the factory owners, and worked (quite frequently at young ages) about 70-80 hours a week. The textile factories tried to strive toward improving some aspects of these womens lives by offering them access to concerts and lectures, and they also insisted on high moral standards and church attendance. They paid relatively good wages for the time, prompting many to sell their freedom to earn a wage, which was resented expressly in a protest song written in 1836 by striking workers.
People tend to contrast wage slavery with chattel slavery, where a persons work and body are owned, not rented by an employer. Being a slave to wages may also be viewed as the condition of most people who earn money for work. In an economy that depends upon people exchanging money instead of a barter or trade system, making money is required to participate in that economy. In this interpretation, anyone who works for an employer is a wage slave, and this means that wage slavery would be common in virtually all places, and doesnt always imply that working for wages means working for less money than you truly deserve.
Some definitions of wage slavery are constructed differently. For instance, some say that wage slavery exists only when people work at jobs where they make just above the subsistence level and must put up with terrible working conditions and inability to create better working conditions due to suppression of unions. Such a definition of wage slavery identifies certain political structures as most common to produce it, including fascism, dictatorships, and some forms of communism.
Actually, a main goal of Marxian communism was to eliminate wage slaves by promoting self or community ownership of working environments, not government or private ownership and exploitation of workers. In all instances though, regardless of who owns the company, most people still had to work to receive necessities, and one definition of wage slave is that the person must work in order to survive. Failure to work limits ability to live in almost all government systems. Wage slavery may be viewed, too, as environments where employees have little to no public or governmental support if they cant work, and where they have little choice about where they can work.
Opponents of wage slavery say no workers can be truly free when there exists inequity in ability own property. While some argue that in capitalist systems, workers are free to use their earnings to buy their own property, produce their own products or start their own companies, its certainly true that many people due to lack of funds and despite hard work will never get there. Even in wealthy and developed countries like the US, it is argued that wage slaves always exist because a small percentage of the population controls the majority of the countrys wealth. Most people must submit themselves to an employer in order to survive, and people with little formal education or training may have the hardest time ever rising above the poverty level, though certainly there are exceptions. However, it is debatable whether having an employer/employee relationship is really comparable to slavery.
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Posted: at 5:44 am
27 Jul. 2016 Change of Command – Director General of the NATO International Military Staff
Lieutenant General Jan Broeks took over the position of Director General of the NATO International Military Staff (DGIMS) from outgoing Director General, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper today (27 July 2016). Lieutenant General Broeks is a three star General in the Royal Netherlands Army who was elected by the NATO Chiefs of Defence in September 2015 and will serve a term of three years.
The NATO Communication and Information (NCI) Agency is announcing business opportunities in cyber, air and missile defence as well as advanced software, worth 3 billion EUR. This comes in parallel to decisions taken at the Warsaw Summit to strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Coalition at Joint Air Base Andrews, Maryland on Wednesday (20 July 2016). Discussions focused on the military campaign against ISIL and reaffirmed nations’ resolve to degrade and defeat the terrorist organisation.
I have spoken to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey. I welcomed the strong support shown by the people and all political parties to democracy and to the democratically elected government. The Turkish people have shown great courage.
I have just spoken to the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. I am following events in Turkey closely and with concern. I call for calm and restraint, and full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and its constitution. Turkey is a valued NATO Ally.
I am appalled and saddened by the terrorist attack in Nice. My thoughts are with the families and loved-ones of the victims and with all those affected.
Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow discussed recent developments in NATO-Ukraine relations with Ukraines Acting Chief of Mission Yehor Bozhok on Thursday (14 July 2016).
On 27 June 2016, on the banks of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, the Head of the NATO Liaison Office (NLO) to Central Asia, Rosaria Puglisi, took part in the opening of the second edition of the International Summer School for Junior Diplomats. The event brought together 21 young representatives from the five Central Asian countries, Afghanistan and Mongolia.
Experts and officials from across the public sector and international institutions gathered to discuss issues related to border security and resolving conflicts in Southern and Eastern Europe at a workshop in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 9 to 10 June 2016.
Over the last years, Serbia has become increasingly active within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme and identified many areas for practical cooperation with NATO. An Information Day in Belgrade, Serbia on 30 June 2016 provided the opportunity to take stock of the successful SPS cooperation, to explore new areas of cooperation and to raise awareness about the Programme.
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Posted: July 29, 2016 at 3:18 am
I have to classify this as one of the more enjoyable movies I have watched. But thats just me.
And I love a good interesting 80’s thriller.
My opinion stems from my experience of the film being immersed in a plot that is simmering and yet not too hot, just relaxed enough to make the pace of the movie good to watch on one of those days where you can’t be bothered what the hell your watching! And also another interest of mine is that of the main subject; art (esp ‘modern’ art). These factors made it quite enjoyable overall for me and I would recommend it for viewing if you feel you may be similarly inclined.
The movie starts off in the thick of one of Louise’s action/suspense- packed gallery-raids (for a modern painting that her husband Terry, played by Craig Berko – who is also in on, and perhaps the most part of, the malevolent force behind the raids – calls ‘talentless’).
From this outset, you kind of begin to touch on the shadow of a doubt that here is a very judgemental and angry man.
Louise, played brilliantly by Debra Sandlund, although engaged in despicable acts of robbery, comes across as lithe and intelligent and caring.
As the movie progresses we begin to understand that the pressure that Louise’s husband puts on her to steal more, and do more, is undue and the audience receives that verification often into the film.
Peter Hawley made everything about this movie awesome for me; the music, the plot, the acting and the biting use of swearing (“We don’t have to do a f**king thing Terry!”)
As a character, I saw Louise progress from a naivete into a woman who is mature enough to seem actually repentant for her mistakes, then take responsibility for having become involved with a disturbed man who shows the ultimate disrespect and contempt for other people’s art.
Louise undertakes a gradual transformation, and eventual emancipation from Terry’s sway which I found a very important aspect of what made this movie so watchable.
In the end, she basically just walks out on him; and he deserves it. And as an audience, I indulged that gratification! Although, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him; he is so obviously feeling afraid.
Everything about this movie just soars for me. The effort of the individual players, invested into their acting just transcribes dramatically into the feature.
In the beginning I was afraid that it seemed to be turning into something tacky but how wrong I was! Regardless of me being a late 80’s child, it is the production value mixed with the story that makes this movie a rare gem from a lesser known period.
I have only watched it a few times but every time it just gives me so much enjoyment.
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