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Cass Sunstein Advocates for Removal of People's Organs Without Explicit Consent
NetRight Nation ^ | September 4, 2009 | Adam Bitely

Posted on 09/04/2009 11:50:05 AM PDT by NetRight Nation

For the last couple of weeks we have been blasting Cass Sunstein on this blog. Many of you have also picked up the sword and begun fighting this Obama appointment as well.

Now, we need to really stand up. The Senate will be coming back into session next week and Harry Reid has already mentioned that he wants to make confirming Sunstein one of his first priorities. We CANNOT let this happen.

Check out this story today on Sunstein from Matt Cover at CNS News. If this doesn't make you pick up a phone and call your Senator, I don't know what will. We need to be blasting this information to all corners of the internet.

PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR SENATOR NOW TO STOP CASS SUNSTEIN. http://www.capwiz.com/libertyleaders/issues/alert/?alertid=13971556&type=ML

Here is the story from Mr. Cover at CNS News titled OBAMA REGULATION CZAR ADVOCATED REMOVING PEOPLE'S ORGANS WITHOUT EXPLICIT CONSENT:

Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has advocated a policy under which the government would “presume” someone has consented to having his or her organs removed for transplantation into someone else when they die unless that person has explicitly indicated that his or her organs should not be taken.

Under such a policy, hospitals would harvest organs from people who never gave permission for this to be done.

Outlined in the 2008 book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” Sunstein and co-author Richard H. Thaler argued that the main reason that more people do not donate their organs is because they are required to choose donation.

Sunstein and Thaler pointed out that doctors often must ask the deceased’s family members whether or not their dead relative would have wanted to donate his organs. These family members usually err on the side of caution and refuse to donate their loved one’s organs. “The major obstacle to increasing [organ] donations is the need to get the consent of surviving family members,” said Sunstein and Thaler.

This problem could be remedied if governments changed the laws for organ donation, they said. Currently, unless a patient has explicitly chosen to be an organ donor, either on his driver’s license or with a donor card, the doctors assume that the person did not want to donate and therefore do not harvest his organs. Thaler and Sunstein called this “explicit consent.”

They argued that this could be remedied if government turned the law around and assumed that, unless people explicitly choose not to, then they want to donate their organs – a doctrine they call “presumed consent.”

“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,” they explained.

The difference between explicit and presumed consent is that under presumed consent, many more people “choose” to be organ donors. Sunstein and Thaler noted that in a 2003 study only 42 percent of people actively chose to be organ donors, while only 18 percent actively opted out when their consent was presumed.

In cases where the deceased’s wishes are unclear, Sunstein and Thaler argued that a “presumed consent” system would make it easier for doctors to convince families to donate their loved one’s organs.

Citing a 2006 study, Thaler and Sunstein wrote: “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.”

The problem of the deceased’s family is only one issue, Sunstein and Thaler said, admitting that turning the idea of choice on its head will invariably run into major political problems, but these are problems they say the government can solve through a system of “mandated choice.”

“Another [problem] is that it is a hard sell politically,” wrote Sunstein and Thaler. “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.”

Mandated choice is a process where government forces you to make a decision – in this case, whether to opt out of being an organ donor to get something you need, such as a driver’s license.

“With mandated choice, renewal of your driver’s license would be accompanied by a requirement that you check a box stating your organ donation preferences,” the authors stated. “Your application would not be accepted unless you had checked one of the boxes.”

To ensure that people’s decisions align with the government policy of more organ donors, Sunstein and Thaler counseled that governments should follow the state of Illinois’ example and try to influence people by making organ donation seem popular.

“First, the state stresses the importance of the overall problem (97,000 people [in Illinois] on the waiting list and then brings the problem home, literally (4,700 in Illinois),” they wrote.

“Second, social norms are directly brought into play in a way that build on the power of social influences [peer pressure]: ‘87 percent of adults in Illinois feel that registering as an organ donor is the right thing to do’ and ’60 percent of adults in Illinois are registered,’” they added.

Sunstein and Thaler reminded policymakers that people will generally do what they think others are doing and what they believe others think is right. These presumptions, which almost everyone has, act as powerful factors as policymakers seek to design choices.

“Recall that people like to do what most people think is right to do; recall too that people like to do what most people actually do,” they wrote. “The state is enlisting existing norms in the direction of lifestyle choices.”

Thaler and Sunstein believed that this and other policies are necessary because people don’t really make the best decisions.

“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,” they said.

This means that government “incentives and nudges” should replace “requirements and bans,” they argued.

Neither Sunstein nor Thaler currently are commenting on their book, a spokesman for the publisher, Penguin Group, told CNSNews.com.

In a question-and-answer section on the Amazon.com Web site, Thaler and Sunstein answered a few questions about their book.

When asked what the title “Nudge” means and why people need to be nudged, the authors stated: “By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front.

“We think that it's time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gently nudging them in directions that will make their lives better,” they wrote.

“…The human brain is amazing, but it evolved for specific purposes, such as avoiding predators and finding food,” said Thaler and Sunstein. “Those purposes do not include choosing good credit card plans, reducing harmful pollution, avoiding fatty foods, and planning for a decade or so from now. Fortunately, a few nudges can help a lot. …”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bhoczars; bioethics; czars; government; health; obama; organharvesting; sunstein

1 posted on 09/04/2009 11:50:06 AM PDT by NetRight Nation
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To: NetRight Nation

Ugh - pet peeve of mine:
If someone is appointed to a statutorily created position and subject to confirmation by the senate they are not a “czar”. They are accountable to the congress and have specific authority and responsibility.

That said - she sounds like a loon and should be resisted.


2 posted on 09/04/2009 11:53:07 AM PDT by BlueNgold (Have we crossed the line from Govt. in righteous fear of the People - to a People in fear of Govt??)
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To: NetRight Nation

All your organs are belong to us.

I immediately thought of Monty Python’s organ donor scene from “The Meaning of Life”


3 posted on 09/04/2009 11:53:28 AM PDT by Inclines to the Right (http://www.fightfoca.com/ www.jillstanek.com)
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To: NetRight Nation

He’ll take my organs over my dead body...


4 posted on 09/04/2009 11:53:34 AM PDT by Texican72
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To: NetRight Nation

‘REMOVING PEOPLE’S ORGANS WITHOUT EXPLICIT CONSENT’

That sounds about right. Since, your not free to sell your body parts, why would you also have the idea that they are yours?


5 posted on 09/04/2009 11:54:14 AM PDT by BGHater (Insanity is voting for Republicans and expecting Conservatism.)
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To: BlueNgold

You are correct. The position however, was dubbed the “Regulatory Czar” by many inside the White House.


6 posted on 09/04/2009 11:54:44 AM PDT by NetRight Nation
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To: NetRight Nation

Good! Let’s start with him now.........


7 posted on 09/04/2009 11:57:18 AM PDT by Dem Guard
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To: NetRight Nation

I just think the over-use of the term is diluting the discussion. We can and should be concerned about this WH, or any other for that matter, over-stepping their constitutional boundaries.

When we start using the same terms to describe the un-confirmed special advisers with policy portfolios (unconstitutional and illegal) as the people who face senate scrutiny (however thin) and confirmation the issue becomes confused and the heart of the argument is lost. We either need to clean up the discussion or we need to come up with a better name for these unconfirmed advisers and change the conversation altogether.


8 posted on 09/04/2009 12:00:44 PM PDT by BlueNgold (Have we crossed the line from Govt. in righteous fear of the People - to a People in fear of Govt??)
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To: NetRight Nation
I think he also favors removing Free Republic without explicit consent also.

Here's how President Obama's pick to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and author of "Repulblic.com," Cass Sunstein, describes FreeRepublic.com as "group polarization," where people segregate themselves so effectively online with other like-minded thinkers that they create an echo chamber where the group's worst and most malevolent opinions get reinforced and strengthened.

9 posted on 09/04/2009 12:03:04 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: NetRight Nation

I have read about this happening elsewhere on the globe. The problem is, the attempts to save the life of a person who is dying diminish, because the organs are needed as soon as possible for someone else.

I have a problem with a medical professional not doing everything in his power to save a person’s life...


10 posted on 09/04/2009 12:04:32 PM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: NetRight Nation

The movie “coma” comes to mind...


11 posted on 09/04/2009 12:05:17 PM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: NetRight Nation

I might have to have an organ removed so that they can shut the lid on the casket.


12 posted on 09/04/2009 12:08:05 PM PDT by Sig Sauer P220 ("Peace" is that brief, glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading - Anonymous)
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To: BlueNgold
I just think the over-use of the term is diluting the discussion. We can and should be concerned about this WH, or any other for that matter, over-stepping their constitutional boundaries.

Absolutely right. I can't use the "More Czars than the Romanovs" until I have time to go through the list of alleged czars and verify which ones actually ARE unconfirmed. I expect to have that much free time right after the 2010 election.

13 posted on 09/04/2009 12:13:43 PM PDT by nina0113
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To: Atom Smasher

Talk about costly! To “harvest” organs from a donor, the organs do indeed have to be “alive”. In order to keep them that way the dying individual has to be placed on life support machines. Currently, the person has been declared “brain dead” in order to do this. After the person is on the machine, a team of “harvesters” are called in and the person is taken to surgery where all of the necessary and usuable organs are removed. I am a nurse. The first time I was involved in this I found it to be rather frankensteinish...and it just upset me so profoundly even though I know that transplanting organs from a person who is officially declared dead or dying helps another to live, it still is just simply yukky. To think that the government would allow this type of thing and really rather mandate it is really objectionable. Who is to say that an unscrupulous doctor would not remove organs from someone living and not dying is certainly not without thought. There are plenty of people in our country who wouldn’t mind doing anything in order to gain what they want...so, why not? Does one really think that if Ted Kennedy could have been saved by a brain transplant, that a brain would not have been produced? All I have to say is...OMG!!


14 posted on 09/04/2009 12:19:49 PM PDT by imfrmdixie
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To: nina0113

I did some background work on the supposed Bush era ‘czars’ in order to help clear the air - this might give you a head start.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2326954/posts?page=30#30


15 posted on 09/04/2009 12:21:48 PM PDT by BlueNgold (Have we crossed the line from Govt. in righteous fear of the People - to a People in fear of Govt??)
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To: imfrmdixie

Well stated! Yes, by all means...to save Kennedy, they would have found some unsuspecting person, who walked into an emergency room with a runny nose, & ended up going into some medically induced coma - here’s your new brain Teddy!

The thought is quite sickening!


16 posted on 09/04/2009 12:27:16 PM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: BlueNgold

That’s very helpful, thanks. I have a link somewhere to the list of Obama’s czars. After the March, and the Virginia election, I might have time to compare’n’contrast.


17 posted on 09/04/2009 12:27:41 PM PDT by nina0113
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To: Atom Smasher

If is easy to decide who has to die to save a politically connected politician when you have the obamacare national database...


18 posted on 09/04/2009 12:28:01 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael
Oh, my goodness. Sounds like he'd be much better off without eyes. Then he coldn't read our stuff.

Speaking of opinions, he doesn't have any that are worthwhile ~ just another typical Leftwingtard!

19 posted on 09/04/2009 12:28:28 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: NetRight Nation

I vote to remove a particular organ of his right now (if he has one).


20 posted on 09/04/2009 12:31:24 PM PDT by beethovenfan (If Islam is the solution, the "problem" must be freedom.)
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To: NetRight Nation
"We've come for your liver."

"But I'm still USING it!"

Monty Python reference

21 posted on 09/04/2009 12:32:17 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: Inclines to the Right

Well, if the government is going to pay for the maintenance of said organs, shouldn’t they have first dibs?


22 posted on 09/04/2009 12:32:20 PM PDT by keepitreal ( Don't tread on me.)
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To: longtermmemmory

I’m inclined to agree with you here...


23 posted on 09/04/2009 12:40:21 PM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: NetRight Nation

I wonder if Sunstein and Thaler could be Nudged toward lobotomies? They are obviously a danger to others, and quite likely themselves.


24 posted on 09/04/2009 12:42:22 PM PDT by lrb111 (resist)
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To: Sig Sauer P220
I might have to have an organ removed so that they can shut the lid on the casket.

LOL. At least you'll have died with a smile on your face.

25 posted on 09/04/2009 12:44:36 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: NetRight Nation

http://www.collinsreport.net/2009/09/04/from-gore-to-richardson-holder-keeps-proving-democrats-have-%e2%80%9c-no-controlling-legal-authority%e2%80%9d/


26 posted on 09/04/2009 1:11:09 PM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: muawiyah
RE: "Speaking of opinions, [Sunstein] doesn't have any that are worthwhile ~ just another typical Leftwingtard!"

Yes, but with the czar comes the fetters.

27 posted on 09/04/2009 1:13:19 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: BlueNgold

“When we start using the same terms to describe the un-confirmed special advisers with policy portfolios (unconstitutional and illegal) as the people who face senate scrutiny (however thin) and confirmation the issue becomes confused and the heart of the argument is lost.”

Perhaps the argument that officials with absolutely no relation to Congress, either prior to or during their tenure, are a special problem is lost. And certainly, we need to highlight the danger promised by members of the executive branch who operate without the least reference to a Constitutional mandate.

However, on the flip side, it’s not just Czars that operate extra-Constitutionally. We shouldn’t allow ourselves, for the sake of precision, to slide into defending officials that have gotten a nod from Congress and that base their power in some part on federal statutes, just because they’re not technically Czars. Especially since no one’s holding a gun to Congress’ head to insure it sticks to the Constitution, let alone the people Congress in turn hands its repsonsibilities.

There is a wide gap between the law as laid down by Congress or the Courts, and the law in practice, as it’s executed by even such old and venerable offices as Attourney General, let alone the “Green Jobs Czar”. There’s a body of theory known as “legal positivism” appropriate to the subject. Maybe we should come up with a term that anyone who follows its precepts, be they technically “Constitutional” or not. “Czar” is a pretty decent one, since it already has a sour connotation in the public’s ears.


28 posted on 09/04/2009 1:26:32 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: BlueNgold

To put it shorter, I guess the main point with me is not whether the executive is a dictionary “Czar” or not. The problem is the pernicious nature of executive power, be it statutory or not. I fear the executive branch more than the legislative and judicial combined, be it under a Republican or Democrat (obviously, since neither party ever does much clearing out, and mostly spend time figuring out how to add to the heap). For those guys spend their time pushing out reams of paper and/or blabbering about arcane interpretational issues. Both leave it to the other branch to bring government to bear on the people.


29 posted on 09/04/2009 1:33:29 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: NetRight Nation

From my cold dead.... guts? Sick stuff. Respect the animals... give ‘em an attorney, but human bodies belong to the State.


30 posted on 09/04/2009 1:36:39 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine (Is /sarc really necessary?)
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To: NetRight Nation

When I get terminated by the death council, I just hope that the add-a-dicktomy (Rush’s term) waiting list is empty!


31 posted on 09/04/2009 1:41:20 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: imfrmdixie
How about...

...you know Mr. Conservative, you do have two kidneys?

...plenty of people Mr. Conservative get along quite well with half a liver.

...two eyes! Some people don't have any!

32 posted on 09/04/2009 1:47:21 PM PDT by 11Bush
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To: SuperLuminal

My daughter-in-law just received a heart transplant which saved her life. We are so grateful to the family who donated the heart. I’m not sure how I feel about this policy, but, I sure appreciate the person and family who donated the heart.


33 posted on 09/04/2009 1:47:58 PM PDT by Catsrus
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To: Tublecane

These are different issues to be fought on different tacks.

THe unconstitutional and illegal nature of the unconfirmed advisers with clear policy portfolios can and should be addressed immediately.

Trimming the size and scope of the executive is a longer term fight.

One is immediate, pressing, and tactical in nature, the other is daunting but strategic. I’m not saying we can’t do both at once, but one must establish and focus on the tactical priorities which support strategic objectives.

As for me - I have great fear and unbridled contempt for the appointed for life judges like Sotomayor who think that policy is THEIR job.


34 posted on 09/04/2009 1:59:30 PM PDT by BlueNgold (Have we crossed the line from Govt. in righteous fear of the People - to a People in fear of Govt??)
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To: 11Bush

I can see that happening and especially to us old folks that are going to be gathered up and herded into the desert. We won’t get any health care approved to sustain our lives but we will, unwillingly, be expected to give up our organs at the demand of the government.


35 posted on 09/04/2009 2:03:09 PM PDT by imfrmdixie
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To: Catsrus

That is different. The person and the family did that out of a loving and caring decision did so willingly...and I am a donor...I do so because I choose to.


36 posted on 09/04/2009 2:04:30 PM PDT by imfrmdixie
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To: Catsrus
Certainly you should be rejoicing that a transplant saved your daughter-in-law's lfe! But the decision to make the heart available was made by the donor. How scary the thought is that that decision would be--by law--made by the government!

And--I think this Sunstein guy gives us a new bumper sticker:

Mr. Obama--keep your NUDGE out of my business!

37 posted on 09/04/2009 2:12:43 PM PDT by milagro
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To: BlueNgold

“The unconstitutional and illegal nature of the unconfirmed advisers with clear policy portfolios can and should be addressed immediately.”

You have more optimism than I on the subject. I’ll grant that tackling Czars is easier than attacking traditional posts. Not infinitely easier, but by a wide margin. However, I don’t see any trend that has them losing steam. We can hope for a wave of negative public opinion routing their sofar unstoppable progress. But that hasn’t worked for the Drug War or the border debate.

Even as I type I realize I suffer the fate of cynical ideologues, who shudder to consider the horrors of the reality. Instead of dealing with the myriad little problems piecemeal (which is the only way to deal with anything, really), I curse the decaying world. Which is kinda like wondering why I should bother making my bed in the morning if I’m going to die eventually.

“As for me - I have great fear and unbridled contempt for the appointed for life judges like Sotomayor who think that policy is THEIR job.”

Imagine the worst example of “legislating from the bench”. School busing, perhaps? Affirmative action? Emminent domain? Who was it that implemented the wacky schemes? Not the judges themselves. It fell to state and federal executive officials, all of whom no doubt went further than the judges, even, could have intended.


38 posted on 09/04/2009 2:31:45 PM PDT by Tublecane
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