In the summer of 1987, the Iran-Contra Congressional Hearings held the nation in thrall. Brendan V. Sullivan, attorney for Lieut. Col. Oliver North, exasperated at being disrespected by the Congressional questioners, dramatically declared, "I am not a potted plant."
If Sullivan were a potted plant today, he would be respected a great deal more if the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-human Gene Technology have their way.
Plants deserve respect, a group of Swiss experts said Monday, arguing that killing them arbitrarily was morally wrong -- except when it comes to saving humans or maybe picking petals off a daisy.Wow. Who knew that plants had moral value and moral rights? How long til plants have legal and civil rights?
In a report on "the dignity of the creature in the plant world," the federal Ethics Committee on non-human Gene Technology condemned the decapitation of flowers without reason, among other sins.
Still, commission member Bernard Baertsche suggested at a press conference the body weighed such cruel acts on a case-by-case basis, noting "the simple pleasure of picking the petals off a daisy might suffice as a reason."
Similarly "all action that involves plants in the aim to conserve the human species is morally justified," the commission, tasked to offer an ethical take on all areas of biotechnology and genetic engineering, said in its report.
Nor did the commission object to genetic engineering, since this did not threaten plants' "autonomy -- that is their capacity to reproduce or their capacity of adaptation."
And only a minority of the group's members objected to patenting plants, with the majority ruling the action did not infringe on "their moral value."
I'm a bit concerned about the acceptability of picking the petals from daisies, though. First, it's plucking petals from daisies, then it's plucking wings from butterflies. From there it's a short hop, skip, and a jump to torturing animals, and then people. Before you know it, mass killing is commonplace. And wars.
Soon someone, an environmental hippie probably, trying to end the madness, will tell us that war is not healthy for children and other living things. Before long, non-human animals will gain significant rights and then plants.
The insanity ... it never ends.
And Brendan Sullivan - in the months after the Iran-Contra Hearings, Sullivan received 170 potted plants.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.