Shmuly Yanklowitz Supports Human Organ Sales!

Wow!

Shock and awe!

I checked Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz’s facebook page for I don’t know what reason. I almost never do that. I don’t know why I did just now. And THIS is what I find! Shmuly Yanklowitz now supports a market for human organs! My God. I’m so happy my eyes are welling up. As you’ll see in this paragraph, he also hints he would support the legalization of sex work, which would ALSO save many many lives. Who knows how many. The article is titled “We Badly Need More Donated Kidneys. Let’s Start Paying For Them”. It fills me with hope.

In this worst of all possible worlds, only black-market incentives are offered. Since underground organ sales are happening en masse, we must look deep inside and ask vital questions: how can we re-channel this exploitative industry to one that ensures the health of the donor? How can these people be adequately protected in the procedure in such a way that non-coercive consent is ensured? How can exorbitant profit opportunities for organ brokers be eliminated? How do we ensure a level playing field to ensure fair distribution of donated organs? Those who support the prohibition of offering incentives think it will prevent the enormous ills of this abusive black market. But like the prohibition of sex work, it has failed. Miserably.

I now ask his forgiveness publicly. And I hope that my incessant, and admittedly vicious attacks against him were part of the calculus that inspired this reversal.

 

He still needs to reverse his positions on equal work equal pay, sweat shops, minimum wage and general infatuation with government, but organ sales are much more important than any of that.

The next most important issue is his warmongering and encouragement of weapons trafficking to terrorists. Maybe he’ll reverse that as well at some point, but I’m done attacking him. Mission accomplished.

Even the most ardent Statists can change for the better. There is hope for the world.

Has Someone on Huffington Post been Reading TJL?

This blog on the Huffington Post was published on the same day my blog was published on Times of Israel, and then republished here after the editors there took it down. It supports a free market in organs.

Why We Need a Market for Organs

By Sabrina Zurga

Over 123,000 people in the U.S. need organ transplants. But in 2014, only 28,953 transplants were performed. Every day, 21 people die because they cannot secure an organ for transplant– and this number is on the rise. Even with countless celebrity-backed public service announcements urging the public to become organ donors, the supply of organs is nowhere close to matching the demand. If we continue to rely on donations alone, there is little we can do to help patients in need of organ transplants.

A burgeoning black market for organs fills this gap between supply and demand. Patients from more affluent countries like the US, Canada and the UK travel to countries like China and India to buy organs illegally. In 2011, the FBI discovered the first US based organ ring in Brooklyn, New York. Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, an Israeli citizen, confessed to arranging illegal kidney transplants and pocketing approximately $410,000 in brokerage fees. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. None of the organ recipients were prosecuted…

I can only hope I helped inspire that piece. Thanks Sabrina, in either case.

 

 

A Constructive Idea For Promoting a Free Organ Market: Ask the Patients

I’m not attacking anyone anymore. I’m done. Everyone gets my point. I may be unhinged sometimes, but I can rehinge myself. Now I’m back on the hinge, so here we go.

Here’s a constructive idea. How about someone from the Halachic Organ Donor Society or any other philanthropist interested in promoting a free market in organs, do the following:

How about we go around and ask every single patient in need of a kidney that we can find, in the United States, in Israel, in Europe, in the entire world, just ask them, would they want to buy a kidney on the free market from a willing seller?

My conservative guess is the poll would be, approximately, 100% to 0% in favor of Yes.

Let’s ask them what they think. If we really care about those in need of a kidney, we should commission a global poll. And let’s see how close my estimate is to reality.

People are accusing me of being on a high horse. Fine. I accept. But I dare say all of us debating this issue from a public policy standpoint are on a bit of a high horse too, putting forth academic reasons for support or rejection of a free market in organs, when we all have working kidneys and do not need one. We are all a bit unqualified to submit an opinion. We have to ask the patients what they want.

Now who wants to sponsor that poll?

 

Should I be More Respectful towards Shmuly Yanklowitz?

Update Hoshana Rabba 5776: R. Yanklowitz has reversed his position and I publicly apologize for attacking him on this issue.

—————

This is a question I’ve been pondering seriously for a few days. Admittedly, I have a natural tendency towards sarcasm and cynical writing. That’s where I go. But I’ve been struggling over the last two days, because I thought perhaps those arguing for a more civilized debate had a point.

But I have now rejected that position. Here’s why.

Respectful disagreements should be reserved for purely intellectual or ritualistic arguments. What’s kosher, what’s not, what happened 3,000 years ago at Sinai and what didn’t. Is there only One God or 17 Gods? Is He physical or not? Those that cannot conduct themselves respectfully in those realms, their arguments will be lost, because nobody will pay attention to two people yelling at each other over issues that do not involve life and death, and they will relegate them to two curmudgeons yelling at each other in an alleyway. Respectful debates over purely religious matters will outlast, in books, treatises, and debates. People will read and think about them for centuries.

A teacher of mine implicitly compared me to one of Rebbi Akiva’s students that disrespected his peers and died without having made any influence. But that does not apply here. Why? הכא במאי עסקינן? There, Rebbi Akiva’s students disrespected each other over purely intellectual matters. They all died without any influence. But Shmuly Yanklowitz’s positions are life and death. And he is on the wrong side.

People will die TODAY because they cannot purchase a kidney on the free market. People will die TODAY because they cannot sell their kidney on the free market. People are dying NOW. And Shmuly is egging it on.

If you, dear reader, were on dialysis, and you needed a kidney, would you not purchase one one the free market from a willing seller?

Would Shmuly Yanklowitz, if God forbid Chas Veshalom his remaining kidney malfunctions, want to purchase one on the free mraket if no one donated to him? Or would he rather die for his anti market principles?

When it involves life and death, you throw out diplomacy. With life and death, you go for the jugular and you hold nothing back. That is what I have done and that is what I will do, whenever life and death comes up again with Shmuly.

What’s my evidence? Rashi called the Biryonim, those that wanted war against the Romans during the 2nd Temple Period, אנשים ריקים ופוחזים למלחמה. Empty worthless warmongerers. That was their argument. Even though the Biryonim had a moral position, to get rid of the invaders, Chazal had to delegitimize them because it was a life and death issue.

Shmuly has no moral position, so Kal Vachomer he deserves no respect.

If it were just minimum wage, I wouldn’t scream. If it were just equal-work-equal-pay, I wouldn’t single him out. If it were just Rubashkin’s, I wouldn’t take him into the ring and challenge him publicly. If it were just Pollard, not a word from me. None of that is life or death.

I didn’t even yell at him when he came out against organ sales, when he called that “shameful” in a 2009 article in HaAretz. Even though that is a life and death issue, because many people can make that mistake, and I know what fights to pick. Nobody who said that those Rabbis were shameful for trafficking kidneys was being manipulative. They were simply understandably mistaken.

I DID publicly attack Shmuly when he advocated sending weapons over to Syrian terrorists, because not only is that life and death, it’s MY OWN life and death, because I LIVE HERE. He doesn’t.

But when that artificially sweetened article came out about Shmuly donating his kidney to an orphan was published, that was it.

Shmuly isn’t just another Statist who makes mistakes sometimes about his positions. There are people who are for minimum wage who I still respect, because that mistake, while resulting in an immoral position, is common and understandable. Equal-work-equal-pay I also get, even though it still results in an immoral position, I wouldn’t say anyone who holds those is immoral to his core.

But once you combine no organ sales with a manipulative publicity stunt via donating an organ, if you don’t have the courage to come out and support a free market in organs, I’m coming after you for everything.

Shmuly Yanklowitz embodies everything I am against. He is essentially political, with everything he does. He is a perfect target, and I will use him for publicity just like he uses publicity for himself. If I can get him to publicly support a free market in organs, I have succeeded. I will publicly apologize for everything I have said, take it all down, and become his loyal supporter, even though he still is against sweatshops, for equal-work-equal-pay, and for minimum wage – which by the way all stem from a minimum wage argument and are all the same issue anyway.

So once I was going to attack him on organ donation, everything else came with it.

Support a free market in organ sales Shmuly. And donation. And I will be on your team. And I will beg your forgiveness and God’s.

Actually I’ll make it even easier for you. Publicly admit that maybe you are mistaken about organ trafficking, and say that only people who steal organs and sell them are shameful, but not people who traffic voluntary sales on the black market. Say publicly that you will consider the position, and take back your shameless reproach of those Rabbis, assuming they did not steal or traffic any stolen organs.

Tell us, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, if you needed a kidney God forbid, and you could either purchase one from a willing seller, or die, would you rather die for your principles? Tell us. Answer me. I want to know.

And even if you would rather die, what right do you have to condemn death on others?

More on Shmuly Yanklowitz Why I Attack Him Personally, and Defanged Rabbis

Update Hoshana Rabba 5776: R. Yanklowitz has reversed his position and I publicly apologize for attacking him on this issue.

———-

Hehe…now I’m having some fun.

The responses to my post about organ donation have been bifurcated into two general camps. The first are academics who accuse me of jealousy and don’t deal with any of my logic, but merely fling academic jargon at me while calling me uneducated. I am uneducated, and proud of it. I have no doctorate and will never get one. They say Shmuly is amazing. They think I’m obsessed with him. The truth is I haven’t even thought of the guy for a year or more.

The last interaction I had with him was on Facebook, maybe a year ago, where he started advocating sending more tax money and deadly weapons to a bunch of Islamic terrorists right on my border (Israel) because he thought it was “social justice” to do that. So I got pissed because he was advocating putting my life in danger by putting other people’s money in the hands of insane murderers in Syria caught eating people’s hearts on camera. So I responded, saying he was irresponsible, and that arming Islamic terrorists on MY border while HE sits across an ocean is dangerous and infuriating.

So he defriended me, which was probably a good thing for my stress level, but then I saw that sycophantic hypocritical hack piece on Times of Israel, which I don’t read, but I saw this huge smug picture of Shmuly on my Facebook page and was drawn in and my fire was lit again. (Again, Shmuly did a great thing donating. Good for him. He saved a life. But he’s still a hypocrite because he is against making it legal to save so many others.)

Oh sure, he couches all of his funneling and directing of tax money to his pet causes in wonderful “social justice” language using catchphrases like “Tzedek” (justice) and “lovingkindness” and whatever other sophistry he weaves up to drug his audience into complacency with his pinpoint good deeds of selflessness. This is how you control the masses and I don’t buy it.

That brings me to the other camp of responders. Those who applauded me and thanked me for calling this fraud out, and said to me that Shmuly totally rubs them the wrong way. I AGREE. Something’s off about him. It’s a sort of overbearing fakeness couched in this overly sweet and enormously generous artificial persona, that on the very klipa (shell) of it looks so giving and wonderful, but you know there’s something dark underneath there that you dare not go near. I’ve always sensed it and it always scared the shit out of me especially because the man is so physically big and strong as well, but it only scared me subconsciously. Those who feel this know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a sixth sense about people, some have it, some don’t.

I’m the exact opposite of Shmuly. On the outside I’m biting, sarcastic, cynical, and not very warm at all. But on the inside all I want is FREEDOM. For EVERYONE. Because I really love humanity. To know that about me, to see my deep caring for the liberty of every single person on this planet, and my insane dedication towards that goal, takes a lot of deep understanding, it takes time. But once you understand the beauty of liberty, it will make you cry in its sheer beauty and in total pain because everyone lacks it due to government. That’s what’s at my core. Don’t believe me? Fine.

Those that don’t sense this, look at his klipah (outer shell), his donating and his political work that no matter the consequences of it, people see the “motivation” behind it, the klipah, and then say whatever the consequences of it, the motivation was good so Shmuly’s an angel. Who cares about consequences, they all say. What counts is the intention. It doesn’t matter how many people die in the middle as long as you felt you were doing something good. That’s the message from our “Rabbis” these days.

Here’s one example. He destroyed Rubashkin’s because he felt the workers there were being mistreated. So he shut the place down. He makes his living destroying things that he personally finds objectionable without a second thought about the consequences of his actions.

Did he ever do a follow up on the Rubashkin workers he put out of work? (I realize that if he did, I’m going to look pretty stupid, but I’m so confident he doesn’t care, because mission accomplished he shut down Rubashkin’s, that I’m putting myself on the line here.) Did he make sure they had work to replace their jobs? Did he ever give two shits about their future? I seriously doubt it. He “ended injustice” even though those workers chose to be there and could have quit at any time, but never chose to. And nobody else cares either. It’s not about the workers. It’s about a fake persona of “justice seeking”.

Shmuly goes from cause to cause, either funneling tax money (other people’s money) or destroying entire industries. He never creates a damn thing.

It breaks my heart though. Because to see such on-the-surface superficial goodness being used so manipulatively really hurts. It just hurts.

And that takes me to defanged Rabbis. One guy contacted me on Facebook, some modern orthodox Rabbi in his words, and said that I spoke the truth, but wouldn’t be popular for going against mom-and-pop apple pie issues like organ donation.

I mean what guy in his right mind would go after a Rabbi who donated his kidney to a dying man for God’s sake and call him an immoral hypocrite? Nobody but me. NOBODY but me. The naysayers say I’m insane. I guess I am, in that sense.

More importantly, after that, I said to this Rabbi that I was looking more for notoriety than popularity. And he responded that he “can’t do controversial issues because it’s against his line of work”. How true.

And that’s the point. Chazal (the Rabbis of the Talmudic era) are very against using Torah to earn a living for that very reason. TO BE CLEAR, I am not against anyone who trades Torah for money. It is fine and good and great. My father accepts money for teaching Torah. I am alive because of that. Every Torah teacher I ever had does the same. It’s fine. (Unless it’s government money. Then it’s not fine.) I’m just saying Chazal are against it, because when you accept money to be a Rabbi, or teach Torah, you are inherently limited by your employer and you can only challenge evil so far until it threatens your job.

No paid Rabbi can go after a kidney donor and call him a hypocrite. I can. The most important thing about being a Rabbi, I think is challenging evil. But if it’s hidden by a paper thin veil of goodness that looks so beautiful, forget it. Try to lift that baby up, expose the ugliness under that shiny red sheet, and you’ll get fired in a second, and never rehired as a Rabbi anywhere, ever again.

I am not limited. I can lift up the satin red stain, because I do not accept money for teaching Torah or Rabbi’ing. I wonder if, theoretically every single paid Rabbi were suddenly unemployed, how many would be telling me that I should tone it down? They’re used to toning it down, because they have to tone it down or lose their jobs. I would be getting a lot more vocal support, because all the Rabbis would suddenly be economically able to lift up that glorious red sheet and expose the rot underneath it. They could finally talk about real stuff instead of feel-good mom-and-pop superficial vague mussar (morality speeches) that’s obvious to everyone.

I don’t have to tone it down. So I won’t. Shmuly Yanklowitz is a dangerous man who destroys without thinking, and couches it in terms of chessed (generosity) and lovingkindness. He uses tiny acts of real beautiful good (saving one life) to legitimize big acts of evil – preventing dying people from buying organs freely. And nobody sees it and I’m the only one calling out Emperor Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz for strutting around nude in the town square.

Finally, let’s deal with one more thing. Am I jealous of Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz? Do I really secretly want to be the one who bounces around trafficking tax money from cause to cause, did I really want to be the one to gloriously destroy Rubashkin’s, send money to terrorists without thinking of the consequences, force women out of work with equal-work-equal-pay schemes, and unskilled people out of the job market by jacking up minimum wage?

No. I don’t want to be any of those things. All I want to do is promote liberty. It is my single-minded insane goal in life, forever, for the rest of my life.

Shmuly is an enemy of liberty. He is a very efficient, shrewd enemy of liberty, because his causes seem so damn wonderful. But they are all based on theft, taxes, regulation, social and economic controlNone of them are based on production of any kind, or standing up for the Non Aggression Principle.

And the saddest part is I bet he doesn’t even realize it. He’s not some malicious guy trying to hurt people. He’s a tinok shenishba (a baby taken captive), but instead of mi’bein hagoyim (taken captive by non-Jews), he’s mi’bein ha’academics (taken captive by academics). He has no idea of the damage he causes. He really thinks he’s doing good. Because he cannot think more than one single step deep. He sees an “injustice”, he doesn’t analyze what’s going on, he immediately wants to send weapons to syrian islamists, or destroy rubashkins, or forbid dying people from buying organs, he never thinks about or even acknowledges that there MAY BE consequences. He just attacks.

And all of the people applaud.

Last thing. Here’s proof that Shmuly is 100% against a free market in organs. Not only that, but he calls it shameful that Rabbis engaged in a black market organ trade. What does that mean? That Rabbis matched dying people with organs, and saved lives. They just got money for it. And what’s black about it? That the government says you can’t do it. And these Rabbis went against the evil laws of the Malchut (State) to save lives.

Chazal (the Rabbis of the Talmud) do not say you should not get money for organs. They DO say you should not get money for Rabbi’ing. If Shmuly thinks those kidney-trafficking Rabbis are evil for saving lives just like he did, he is even more of a hypocrite than I thought.

And if you say that those Rabbis are shameful because they broke a law and you pull dina demalchuta dina (the halachic principle that the law of the State is the law) on me, because they were not doing honest business, then as a friend of mine aptly wrote:

“When the Talmud spoke of “honest business”, it cannot possibly have meant, “obeying unjust laws”. By that logic, Shifra and Puah (the two Egyptian midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh when he ordered them to murder all newborn Israelite boys) were guilty of dishonest business practices.”

In that article, Shmuly begins by quoting the Talmud. Says Shmuly:

According to the Talmud, the very first question one can expect to be asked at the gates of heaven pertains not to belief or ritual, but to whether one acted honestly in all of one’s business dealings.

Yes. That IS the non aggression principle. That IS libertarianism. Did you steal? Did you take other people’s money without consent? Did you live off taxes? Did you destroy other people’s jobs in the name of justice without giving a damn about what happens to them next?

HY-PO-CRITE.

 

On Organ Donation, Organ Sales, and Hypocrisy

Update Hoshana Rabba 5776: R. Yanklowitz has reversed his position and I publicly apologize for attacking him on this issue.

—————-

I wrote a post on Times of Israel accusing someone of hypocrisy for supporting organ donation but opposing free market organ trade. It was taken down.

Here is the full post.

Let me preempt this blog with a few sentences.

First, I’m clearheaded and calculated. I know what I’m writing, and I won’t take any of it back, except on one condition. My argument is those who support organ donation, or even themselves donate organs, but are against free market organ trade, are hypocrites. Shmuly Yanklowitz donated a kidney, and that’s great. He is also against free market organ trade.  (UPDATE: Here is proof.) He is therefore a hypocrite. If he supports free market organ trade publicly, I will take back my attack and issue an apology.

Second, I am not against organ donation. I’m totally for it, I believe anyone should be able to donate anything he wants to anybody, and I believe it is a positive mitzva (commandment from God) to do so. What Shmuly did was an objectively good thing, and he deserves credit for saving a man’s life at the risk of his own.

Third, I personally would not donate a kidney unless it was for immediate family (certain) or even extended family (possible), because I love them more than others. I would, however, sell a kidney of mine of it were legal and I needed the money to survive or for my family to survive. So I’m not claiming anyone would donate a kidney and it’s no big deal. It’s a big deal. He did it. Good for him.

Fourth, I carry a Halachic Organ Donor card (a card that says I am willing to donate upon death) in the event I am killed, Chas VeShalom (God forbid), and can donate.

THAT SAID…

Here’s the background. On June 19th an article came out on Times of Israel about Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, who donated a kidney to save a Jew’s life. The article was, I would say, pretty much the mirror image of a hatchet job. It was so clearly structured to make Shmuly look like a saint with a halo that it’s almost hard to read in its saccharine sycophantic tone, showering Shmuly with praise and flattery.

I know Shmuly. Not very well, but I know him. For a year I learned with him at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, which I left after a year to move to Israel. He continued on to get Smicha (Rabbinic ordination). I didn’t. Back then I was not a libertarian, but I was moving in that direction. I was always amazed by Shmuly’s undying energy. The man could never tire. He was like superman. He still is. But I was always uncomfortable with how he made use of his energy, mainly his politics. I hate politics. All politics. And Shmuly was always, and still is, very political. I would say it is his essence. See my article “Politics is a Dirty Word” for more on that.

I never identified with his interpretation of “social justice” and “civil rights” that seemed to me, even back then, to be covers for political power. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and said to myself it just wasn’t my taste. Or that I didn’t have the energy for all this stuff. That Shmuly was better than me and more dedicated, and I was just lazy. Or at least just normal. (Many people on reading this will conclude I’m just jealous.) I can think of very few people who can match Shmuly’s dedication. (In his case, dedication to politics.)

Well, then things started to click in my ideological life, and I found the principle that would guide me for the rest of my life. That principle is the Non Aggression Principle, otherwise known as the NAP. It is an extremely simple thing. It says no human being should ever exert violent force against any other innocent human being. Any human being who does, is, to the extent that he violates that principle or advocates violating that principle, immoral. The NAP is a principle most would agree with. It sounds fairly straightforward. But everyone always finds exceptions, especially Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowtiz.

Before I go into the more esoteric violations of the NAP that Rabbi Yanklowitz engages in, the most pertinent is this, and here, I admit, I am making an assumption, but I think it’s an accurate one.

Shmuly is against a free market in organs. He is therefore a hypocrite, because on the one hand he believes everyone who needs a kidney should have a kidney, but he doesn’t believe in allowing the market to reach the clearing price for such a good. The clearing price is the price where the amount of sellers equals the amount of buyers, where everyone willing to trade for a kidney can get one. When the market price for a good like a kidney is set below the market price, shortages develop. A shortages is when not everyone who is willing to trade for a kidney can get one, due to the fear of government reprisal by force. The government-mandated price for a kidney is ZERO, because one is only allowed to donate rather than sell.

When shortages develop in the organ market, people die. As the article on Shmuly and his heroic deed states, there are 101,662 people in the US awaiting a kidney transplant. Only 17,000 free transplants took place last year, most from deceased people. That means about 85,000 people, most if not ALL willing to trade for a kidney, will definitely have to go through another year of painful dialysis not knowing if they will survive, and many of them will die, because they cannot legally purchase a kidney.

But that’s just one side of it. There are millions of people in the world with extra kidneys. Shmuly is quoted in the article as saying God put two kidneys in his body, so he was meant to give one away. And what about the other 6 billion people on the planet with two kidneys? Should they not be allowed to sell one of them voluntarily to save a life? Is that somehow not as good as donating? Either way you’re saving a life. In one case you get money. In another case you don’t. Either way the life is saved.

The other side is the billion or more (I don’t know these numbers, I’m sure Shmuly does though) people starving around the world, or living in shanties off a dollar a day, mothers who throw babies they cannot afford to raise out into the forest to die. These destitute people, all of them have two kidneys. But they are not allowed to exchange them for desperately-needed money that they need to support their families and survive. And so their families die. And so do the people that could have used a kidney, that they were willing to exchange money for but could not do so for fear of government violence against them.

Being against voluntary organ sales violates the Non Agression Principle, because it employs force against innocent people who want to engage in a voluntary exchange, and threatens them with violence if they do. It also violates the NAP because it advocates violence against innocent sufferers of chronic kidney disease like the man Shmuly saved, because they would be VERY willing to purchase a kidney on the free market to save their lives, but if they do so they are threatened with prison.

Digressing a bit, Shmuly is also against so-called sweatshops in the Third World. Some of his political activity is directed against low-paying (by our standards) factory work in the Third World, and forcibly shutting it down. People who work in sweatshops at low pay by our standards are doing it because it is the best of all possible alternatives. The alternatives in those countries are prostitution or starvation. Those who advocate forcibly shutting down sweatshops without providing an alternative are condemning children to prostitution and death.

Shmuly is also an advocate of the minimum wage, and even raising it. The minimum wage makes it illegal to employ people whose labor is valued below an arbitrary number of dollars. It says that anyone whose labor is not worth X dollars an hour is not allowed to work. And if he works, voluntarily, for anything below that number, he or his employer or both will be put in prison. This hurts the weakest sectors of society, the unskilled, who must then resort to crime to survive because they cannot get jobs at all.

Shmuly is an advocate of “equal pay for equal work,” which is an Orwellian euphemism for “women should be paid more than they are on the free market”. If women are paid a certain amount for whatever work and voluntarily agree to it, stopping that relationship is immoral. The market price for whatever work by whoever is doing it is already set by free agreement. Pushing it higher by violent force will put women below that arbitrary point “discovered” by university academics, out of work, and hurt the weakest of them.

I am aware that Shmuly is not a malicious person. But the things he advocates for are malicious and immoral. He just doesn’t understand why. It’s not because he’s stupid. It’s because if he does recognize it, he will realize the damage he has caused throughout the years and he will have to face it and do teshuva (repentance), which is very difficult to do.

Are there ways to advocate for issues of true justice around sweatshops and women’s issues and wages? Sure. If a sweatshop is caught offering children $1 an hour but only paying $0.50, Shmuly could start an organization fighting for the rights of these sweatshop children to get the amount of money they voluntarily contracted for. If a woman is offered $30,000 a year to be a manager of whatever, Shmuly could start an organization that makes sure she gets the amount of money she contracted for, and make it only for women if he wants. That would be fine.

Shmuly could start an organization that helps low-wage workers gain more skills so their labor can be more valuable. But no. He simply wants to outlaw their jobs, because advocating for political force is so much easier than doing actual work that helps people economically.

And that takes me to the kicker. Here’s the kicker. Shmuly is an incredibly ambitious man. There is no problem with being ambitious. It’s a good thing. The problem is when you use unjust laws, like the law against selling organs, to further your agenda of political force.

Now, please, imagine for a moment that selling organs on the free market were legal. If you wanted to sell your kidney to a dying man on dialysis, nobody would stop you. Women can sell their eggs already. There is no difference. Now, in that case, the supply of those willing to sell a kidney at whatever price agreed upon greatly exceeds those who need them. One could even theoretically contract people to sell their organs upon death with the money going to their heirs. Imagine the enormous amount of kidneys that would result from just that.

If that were the case, if people all over the world, destitute starving weak people, could sell a kidney for money voluntarily, then how much publicity do you think Shmuly Yanklowitz could get for donating a kidney?

The answer is ZERO. The price of kidneys would be low enough that whoever needs one would buy one immediately rather than wait for a donor at the risk of his life on dialysis.

If Shmuly donated in a world where there was a free market in kidneys, donating one would just be viewed as idiocy. There would be no need to do so.

But instead, in the world we live in, it is illegal to exchange a kidney for money. That DOES NOT mean that nothing is exchanged when someone donates a kidney. Shmuly gets a LOT out of donating a kidney. He gets publicity. He gets recognition. He gets reverence. He gets a following. He gets all that, and more. These are very valuable goods. This is VERY valuable to him personally, because he knows how to use all of these goods. To further his goals. To broaden his name. To further his own career.

In the same way that computer parts are only valuable to someone who knows how to put them together, so too publicity is only good for someone who knows how to use it. But it is a good nonetheless, just like money, only less marketable, and only marketable by publicity experts. 

Am I saying it was not selfless of Shmuly to donate a kidney? It was certainly selfless, in a very shallow strictly monetary interpretation of selflessness. It was selfless only in the sense that he did not get actual money for the kidney. But he got other things, other goods, less marketable for others, but very marketable for him. He got a barter exchange – a kidney for publicity – instead of a monetary exchange – a kidney for money. Anyone can use money. Money is the most marketable good, by definition. But only very skilled people, like Shmuly, can use publicity. It is a very specific kind of economic good. He will take this publicity and exchange that for money instead to complete his barter, for donations to his causes, for better job opportunities as the Rabbi who donated a kidney, for further publicity advocating for violence against women and the poor, by outlawing voluntary employment relationships for women (equal work equal pay) and low-skilled workers (minimum wage).

But even then, it is not a moral problem to exchange publicity for a kidney. That’s perfectly fine and moral. What is IMMORAL, however, is to exchange publicity for a kidney when at the same time you advocate outlawing any monetary transactions for kidneys, thereby jacking up the value of the publicity you obtain from donating, and then using that to further your own goals at the expense of the starvation of others, who cannot legally sell their kidneys for money when they desperately need to do so.

For all these reasons, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is a hypocrite. He saved a life, yes, but that’s only because selling kidneys on the free market is illegal, and that is in violation of the NAP. If Shmuly donating a kidney were a truly selfless act, we would not have seen the article on Times of Israel. We would not have seen him claiming he knows what God wants from him, personally. We would not have seen a picture of him davening (praying) out of a Siddur (prayer book) right after surgery. We would not have known how many Smichas (Rabbinic Ordinations) he has or anything else and from whom. He would not have told anybody.

And if exchanging a kidney for money were legal instead of only exchanging a kidney for publicity, nobody would have cared.

And nobody should, except for the man he saved.

 

On Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Hypocrisy, Organ Donation and Exchange

UPDATE: READ THE FULL POST HERE. SHMULY HAS SINCE REVERSED HIS POSITION AGAINST A FREE MARKET IN ORGANS AND I HAVE APOLOGIZED.

Oh boy. I’m gonna get it for this one.

I wrote a blog for Times of Israel that dumped on a Rabbi, one who I do not respect very much, Shmuly Yanklowitz, for donating a kidney to a dying man. That sounds bad even to me, and I wrote the thing. The problem is not the donating. Donating is good. The problem is donating in the face of advocating against a free market in organs.

If Shmuly publicly supports an absolutely free market in organs, I will retract my criticism and issue a public apology.

Some of the sharper points. Read the rest at the link above:

And that takes me to the kicker. Here’s the kicker. Shmuly is an incredibly ambitious man. There is no problem with being ambitious. It’s a good thing. The problem is when you use unjust laws, like the law against selling organs, to further your agenda of political force.

Now, please, imagine for a moment that selling organs on the free market were legal. If you wanted to sell your kidney to a dying man on dialysis, nobody would stop you. Women can sell their eggs already. There is no difference. Now, in that case, the supply of those willing to sell a kidney at whatever price agreed upon greatly exceeds those who need them. One could even theoretically contract people to sell their organs upon death with the money going to their heirs. Imagine the enormous amount of kidneys that would result from just that.

If that were the case, if people all over the world, destitute starving weak people, could sell a kidney for money voluntarily, then how much publicity do you think Shmuly Yanklowitz could get for donating a kidney?

The answer is ZERO. The price of kidneys would be low enough that whoever needs one would buy one immediately rather than wait for a donor at the risk of his life on dialysis.

If Shmuly donated in a world where there was a free market in kidneys, donating one would just be viewed as idiocy. There would be no need to do so.

But instead, in the world we live in, it is illegal to exchange a kidney for money. That DOES NOT mean that nothing is exchanged when someone donates a kidney. Shmuly gets a LOT out of donating a kidney. He gets publicity. He gets recognition. He gets reverence. He gets a following. He gets all that, and more. These are very valuable goods. This is VERY valuable to him personally, because he knows how to use all of these goods. To further his goals. To broaden his name. To further his own career.

In the same way that computer parts are only valuable to someone who knows how to put them together, so too publicity is only good for someone who knows how to use it. But it is a good nonetheless, just like money, only less marketable, and only marketable by publicity experts. 

Am I saying it was not selfless of Shmuly to donate a kidney? It was certainly selfless, in a very shallow strictly monetary interpretation of selflessness. It was selfless only in the sense that he did not get actual money for the kidney. But he got other things, other goods, less marketable for others, but very marketable for him. He got a barter exchange – a kidney for publicity – instead of a monetary exchange – a kidney for money. Anyone can use money. Money is the most marketable good, by definition. But only very skilled people, like Shmuly, can use publicity. It is a very specific kind of economic good. He will take this publicity and exchange that for money instead to complete his barter, for donations to his causes, for better job opportunities as the Rabbi who donated a kidney, for further publicity advocating for violence against women and the poor, by outlawing voluntary employment relationships for women (equal work equal pay) and low-skilled workers (minimum wage).

But even then, it is not a moral problem to exchange publicity for a kidney. That’s perfectly fine and moral. What is IMMORAL, however, is to exchange publicity for a kidney when at the same time you advocate outlawing any monetary transactions for kidneys, thereby jacking up the value of the publicity you obtain from donating, and then using that to further your own goals at the expense of the starvation of others, who cannot legally sell their kidneys for money when they desperately need to do so.