Healthcare and the Perils of Marginal Cases

It is no inconsiderable part of wisdom, to know how much of an evil ought to be tolerated.
(Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents)

Animal rights advocates use the argument from marginal cases to show that the distinctions we draw between human and animal life are baseless: if some animals have greater cognitive ability than some humans, how can we justify privileging the latter over the former? But I think it’s instead an example of what can go wrong in this fallen world when we pay too much attention to marginal cases: by focusing on outliers (humans with severe learning disabilities and genius animals) we can lose sight of the centre (the fundamental differences between humans as a class and all other animals). As Rep. Tim Valentine (D-NC) once said, “You don’t have to tell me that a ’possum’s not a person”.

The utter debacle that is the Affordable ... Read More