Tracing consequences both seen and unseen.
Sarah BrodskyBodies
Posted at 1:39 pm on September 14, 2010, by Sarah Brodsky

The company behind “Bodies… The Exhibition,” which is coming to Missouri in October, has received a lot of criticism for displaying cadavers it obtained from the Chinese Bureau of Police. At least one Missouri congressman has tried to prevent the exhibit from appearing at a mall in his district. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that “Bodies” will take place as planned, because Missouri’s Attorney General is letting the company get away with a wimpy disclaimer:

“Premier cannot independently verify the complete provenance of the human remains in this exhibition,” reads the disclaimer, which must be displayed at the mall and on the exhibit’s Web page.

It can’t verify the provenance? Are we talking about oil paintings and wine bottles here, or human bodies? The disclaimer would be clearer if it read, “We have no clue whether anyone would have wanted their body parts to be displayed here, but since they can’t speak for themselves, we’re happy to cash in.”

It seems particularly jarring that this company is allowed to blithely collect admissions fees when you think of all the people who would like to purchase human organs from consenting donors, but are forbidden by law. There are people who would sign and notarize all the consent forms, and who are not Chinese political prisoners, and who would receive some personal benefit from the transaction. So why don’t we let them go ahead and sell their organs, with a disclaimer that they can’t verify… what? Their own free will?

No, that’s illegal, because the government has decreed such a transaction so morally hazardous that even saving a life doesn’t outweigh the danger. But when someone wants to tack human remains up on a wall and sell tickets, they can do that if they just mouth the right words. After all, the show must go on.


Filed under: Culture, Health Care
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Henry Hazlitt"[T]he whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
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