Gee, Could Massachusetts Democrats Come Up With A MORE Unethical Bill?

[You know,  writing this blog of late has made me feel like I’m Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill I,” fighting O-Ren Ishii’s (Lucy Liu) personal army, The Crazy 88’s. The ethics stories just get worse and worse, especially from the world of government and politics, and they keep on coming. The mission of this blog is to, in some small way, try to encourage ethical analysis and sensitivity in the culture of a nation uniquely dependent on it, and all I see is the ethics in our culture, especially in the professions (which exist to be trusted) and our institutions (all of them) deteriorating rapidly and seemingly deliberately. The effort feels hopeless. Maybe a better analogy than The Bride’s mass battle in “Kill Bill I” is Viking king Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine) fighting gleefully and futilely in a pit full of hungry wolves in “The Vikings.” After all, Uma wins her fight. But Ethics Alarms is not directed by Quentin Tarantino.

What prompts these musings? This item from the State of my birth: Massachusetts Democrats have offered a bill giving prison inmates reduced sentences when they donate their kidneys and bone marrow. State Reps. Carlos Gonzalez and Judith Garcia came up with this monstrosity, which aims to create “The Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program” within the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Prisoners would be able to shave between 60 days to a year off their sentences. 

Talk about killing bills—I’d love that bill as a hypothetical in an ethics class, though I would think it might be too easy for anyone old enough to vote. In The Guardian’s story, we read that the bill “has raised ethical concerns.” YA THINK???

Rep. Gonzalez is evidently an ethics dunce. He says he was inspired to introduce the legislation after visiting a friend who suffers from a failing kidney. “He’s a father of three children, and he’s in his stage 4 of kidney failure. Unless he can obtain a kidney at 40 years old, life expectancy is about 10.4 years for men and 9.1 years for women. I love my friend and I’m praying through this legislation we can extend the chances of life,” he told reporters. So he’s concocting this scheme to help his friend, and the many ways it abuses government power and prisoners’ rights while distorting the justice system are just collateral damage. The legislator doesn’t appear to comprehend such basic ethical concepts as “conflicts of interest” and the problem with “the ends justify the means.”

His co-sponsor, Rep. Garcia, might be worse: its a close call. She actually tweeted that the program would “restore bodily autonomy” to those she referred to as “incarcerated folks.” Making those under the control of the state choose between their freedom and surrendering their body parts is “autonomy”! That’s an example of Yoo’s Rationalization (# 64 on the list) for the ages.

Heck, why stop at kidneys and bone marrow? What about eyes? Especially both eyes: give the prisoners extra years off for that. After all, how much trouble can a blind murderer cause? They do face transplants now: what’s a prisoner’s face worth? Surely more than a few months. They do lung transplants; a prisoner could give up pieces of his liver for several patients in need of livers. If  we’re going to do this, let’s do it. Besides, these aren’t good human beings that we are forcing into compelled consent to trade their body parts for liberty. They’re just prisoners being used as a means to a useful societal objective, right?

Mr. Kant would like a word…

What is particularly depressing regarding the general level of ethics ignorance among elected officials is that the same people supporting this bill are simultaneously decrying “over-incarceration.” They think prisoners are being excessively punished, but they are happy to turn those same “victims of systemic racism” into convenient organ farms. The bill’s supporters offer as a justification the fact that there is no current way for prisoners to donate organs and bone marrow to family members. Fine, you idiots…then pass a bill permitting prisoners who choose to do so to donate organs and bone marrow to family members. You don’t have to turn the prison system into a sick version of “Let’s Make a Deal” to solve that problem.

16 thoughts on “Gee, Could Massachusetts Democrats Come Up With A MORE Unethical Bill?

  1. Absolutely disgusting.

    This is legislation worthy of China or North Korea (though they probably can receive such donations without legislation or compensation).


    • China plans executions around organ donation schedules.

      Politicians need a “ICDTWIWTDHWWRCIAEHRA” (If China did there what I want to do here, would we rightly call it an egregious human-rights abuse) test. It is distressing how many such proposals would fail (pass?) the test.

  2. How horrific. And, of course, there would never be pressure put on law enforcement or the justice system to increase arrests, prosecutions and sentence lengths whenever there’s a shortage of body part donors, right?

    All those deplorables who oppose climate change hysteria, abortion or gun confiscation are just horrible people anyway so, when we finally start arresting people for what they think, at least they can exist to save the bodies of those who are on the right side of history!

    • You are being way too kind. Since the government has our DNA profiles, they may be able to find out who are good potential donors. If a powerful politician or billionaire needs a kidney transplant and you are a potential match, do you think a police officer might be ordered to pull you over for a ‘taillight out’ or ‘seatbelt violation’, search your car with a drug dog, ‘find’ drugs, and arrest you? You might be given a deal where you can ‘donate’ your kidney in return for no jail time and a reduction to a misdemeanor charge.

  3. I’ve seen this concept used in TV shows. I couldn’t remember which one, but I found a Grey’s Anatomy Episode (Sympathy for the Devil) that deals with a similar concept: Death row inmates as donors. I think the reason these episodes are appearing more and more in TV is because legislation like this is being considered and people don’t think long enough about why it should be rejected. Anyway, I haven’t seen Grey’s Anatomy so I can’t personally comment on this episode, but I will say that when most TV deals with difficult subjects, they tend to barely scratch the surface other than, “this is right” or “This is wrong.” I don’t really blame them, TV afterall should be entertaining, but its nice that some of it makes you think about the stuff that’s going on around you.

    Aside: I think its Kill Bill vol. 1 you’re referencing.

    • > …when most TV deals with difficult subjects, they tend to barely scratch the surface other than, “this is right” or “This is wrong.”

      Years back, I watched an old rerun of MacGuyver where they were justifying no-knock raids on homes in order to catch drugs “before they were flushed.” That same night watched 24’s treatment of “enhanced integration” where Sutherland’s character is electroshocking his ex wife’s husband in order to locate a bomb the poor man had no knowledge of.

      The story justifications of both scenarios really ruined my enjoyment of each show.

  4. Incredible. Aren’t most inmates of color? What about “The Black Body” don’t these people understand? Isn’t Tahinisi Coats residing in Boston? Has Massachusetts been taken over by the Chinese Communist Party? Not just the schools in Massachusetts?

  5. If a human can’t recognize perverse incentives, I want them barred from public office.

    From the TVTropes article on Larry Niven’s Known Space setting:

    “At one point in the history of Known Space, almost every crime is punishable by death, including multiple traffic tickets. The reason is due to the perfection of organ transplant technology. Once the government adopted “involuntary organ donation” as its official means of execution, all state executions are done in hospitals, and people started voting to make more and more crimes capital crimes to keep up with the demand for transplant material.”

    Science fiction helps us learn from mistakes we haven’t made yet.

    • Not only that but improved technology leads to a black market in organs, with organlegging as a new type of criminal activity.
      Then there is the ultimate in plastic surgery disguises – a brain transplant.
      Niven takes this idea to a lot of strange places.

    • Haven’t read Niven in a while, but there goes my plan to ask if it would be wrong to wonder if making this policy non-optional might be warranted for certain crimes. 😉

  6. Perhaps one day the banquets of the woke elites will serve “Bar-B-Que’d Ribs Of Thought Criminals”, that were sustainably fattened on crickets, (the food of choice for “correct thinkers”.

    The movie “Soylent Green” was set in the year 2022, under conditions similar, it is claimed, to those seen today. (overpopulation, pollution, global warming, food shortages, etc.)

  7. Only a year off your sentence for a kidney? Never mind if this system is unethical (which of course it is), it’s a ridiculous low-ball. That seems awfully cheap for giving up a vital organ. I doubt you’d get many takers for a scheme as ill-conceived as this. Why take the risk to your future health for such a paltry sentence reduction?

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