Applications

Radical whole-tradition communitarianism results in the most radical prescriptions, since it nullifies all rights claims and counsels a return to separate communities to work out a shared ethic. As we have seen, most communitarians have far more subtle prescriptions for facilitating the kind of public deliberation that they seek.

There are few attempts in the literature by communitarians to directly deduce conclusions from communitarian premises. One might expect that communitarians will be more sympathetic to the common good in weighing solutions to ethical problems. It is true that some communitarians have favored aggressive approaches to organ procurement for transplantation (Nelson), mandatory rationing to resolve resource-allocation problems (Callahan, 1990), and public health concerns over individual privacy and choice (Etzioni). However, none of these positions are necessarily entailed by communitarian sympathies as one can easily argue that these same policies foster values the community should reject. As a result, communitarianism continues to be an approach to bioethics that is more about process than particular outcomes.

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