Claude Cartaginese

Cass Sunstein Believes Your Internal Organs Are Government Property

Posted on September 8 2009 1:25 am
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Van Jones, one of President Barack Obama’s controversial czars, is out. Now, barely two days later, the radical views of another Obama nominee are coming to light. As reported Monday on Fox News by Brian Sullivan, host of Your World, Cass Sunstein, Obama’s choice to head up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is advocating a plan whereby Americans would automatically have their organs harvested after death. (Sunstein has already raised eyebrows with his extremist views on regulating human behavior and his belief that animals should be able to sue humans).

Under Sunstein’s latest proposal, you could become an organ donor and not even know it.

The way organ donation works today, doctors and hospitals can only harvest your organs when you (or a spouse or relative of yours after your death) issue specific authorization (such as checking the organ donor box on your driver’s license) allowing them to do so. Sunstein wants to make it an “opt-out decision,” whereby your organs would be taken after death whether it’s what you wanted or not, unless you specifically opt-out.

The idea of automatic organ harvesting was outlined last year in a book Sunstein co-authored with Richard H. Thaler entitled Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Sunstein and Thaler argue that not enough people are donating organs because the decision to donate is left up to them.

That, they say, is why doctors and hospital officials would be better able to make the choice for you. Their doing so would spare you from having to make the decision and would not place your loved ones in the difficult position of trying to determine what your wishes would have been. From the book:

  • “The major obstacle to increasing [organ] donations is the need to get the consent of surviving family members.”
  • “Presumed consent preserves freedom of choice, but it is different from explicit consent because it shifts the default rule. Under this policy, all citizens would be presumed to be consenting donors, but they would have the opportunity to register their unwillingness to donate.”
  • “The next of kin can be approached quite differently when the decedent’s silence is presumed to indicate a decision to donate rather than when it is presumed to indicate a decision not to donate. This shift may make it easier for the family to accept organ donation.”

This idea of a “mandated choice,” where the government will force you to make a decision or will decide for you about such an important issue, is something that would bring tears of admiration to the members of the National People’s Congress in Communist China.

Sunstein and Thaler admit that there will be opposition to this idea, but nothing insurmountable:

Another [problem] is that it is a hard sell politically. More than a few people object to the idea of ‘presuming’ anything when it comes to such a sensitive matter. For these reasons we think that the best choice architecture for organ donations is mandated choice.

The bottom line, then, is that under Sunstein’s plan, the government would have the last say in what should happen to your organs after you die, as you are deemed too stupid to be trusted to make the right decision:

The false assumption is that almost all people, almost all of the time, make choices that are in their best interest or at the very least are better than the choices that would be made [for them] by someone else.

The president has asked us to judge him based upon whom he surrounds himself with.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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