Scientific issues become - inevitably - political issues because of one principal fact: they put in focus the extent to which the government can restrict private medical research undertakings - either in the name of generational safety, morality or the public good. The multiple and varied concerns of applying the New Medicine, derived as such from the New Biology, conduce - essentially - to a suspicion continued reductionism in the biological analysis of humans will erode the notions of autonomy, dignity and personal integrity that have traditionally justified the constitutional protection of civil liberties. Driven by painful technologies and sciences, the new medicine runs the risk of being seen as no longer patient based. The ideal of philosophical reasoning and meanings for such ethical terms as responsibility, rights, duties, interests, beneficence and justice is mired often in confusion and conjecture. Indeed, many of the ethical questions raised from the development and practice of the new medicine are set within a blurred outline. Perhaps all that can be hoped for is that the Cartesian aspiration of reaching a clear and distinct idea be pursued with objectivity. And, from this may well come acceptance of an informed and educated societal obligation not to achieve all the good that can be achieved, but - rather - to effect all the good that can be done within the limits morality imposes upon the development and use of the technologies of the new medicine.
George P. Smith, II, Policy Making and the New Medicine: Managing a Magnificent Obsession, 3 J. HEALTH & BIOMEDICAL L. 303 (2007).