The New Mandatory Eugenics: Background
We’ve heard a lot over the past decade from ethicists (so-called) and scientists (don’t laugh) who aren’t satisfied with human nature, they are not satisfied at all, and who wish to change it either chemically or surgically.
This new eugenics movement scored its first successes in killing those with Down Syndrome in Iceland (other places, too). This killing is given the happy name of cure. The same methods are used in China, India, and elsewhere, to cure kids who have the wrong sex. It’s not always legal, but it isn’t so illegal it can’t be done.
Some do in-vitro testing of the genetic material of enwombed kids; those with troublesome genes—besides sex, that is—are killed. Many call for an expansion of these cures for sets of genes that are known only to be roughly correlated to certain undesirable traits.
Others hope to modify the “correlated” genes (if we can call them that) before the kids are pushed out of their mothers, though this is largely in the experimental stage.
Do not get the wrong idea. There is nothing per se wrong with eugenics. After all, everybody who mates with one person and not another practices it. If not in general, there may be something wrong with particular eugenic applications. Consider the same cure above for AIDS. It might be difficult to get people to admit they had it in this scheme.
Eugenics, then, isn’t only possible for kids inside their mothers. It can be applied outside, too. We have to be careful with the term, though, because everything at some level can be said to be eugenic or dysgenic. So let’s save eugenics for state-mandated or -approved programs or methods.
We’ve seen many academics who want to inject various chemicals into us. The Journal of Medical Ethics ran a paper on “Frequently overlooked realistic moral bioenhancement interventions“, which argued to lace water and grains with lithium to prevent fewer MAGA hats, or something. Lithium in water is also suggested to reduce suicides.
Chemical Morality Enhancement
The latest is to suggest “morality pills” to make people more compliant with coronadoom restrictions. An article interviewing academic Parker Crutchfield in The Conversation says “COVID-19 is a collective risk. It threatens everyone, and we all must cooperate to lower the chance that the coronavirus harms any one individual.”
This is false. It does not threaten everyone, and we do not have “all” have to cooperate to lower the chance it harms any individual. If we did, then we would always have to cooperate to lower the chance anything that harms any individual, which is stupid.
Crutchfield disagrees and wants to slip you the needle to make you more compliant to government instruction. Crutchfield’s peer-reviewed paper is “Engendering Moral Post-persons: A Novel Self-help Strategy” forthcoming in Bioethics.
Crutchfield is a utopianist, and begins his paper with the words “Humans are morally deficient in a variety of ways”. Who knew? It isn’t long before he suggests moral deficiency should not be. He suggests chemical means to create “moral transhumans, or moral post-persons”.
These creatures are needed because “we appear to be incapable of responding to climate change in ways that make likely the prevention of suffering that will result.” Now this Crutchfield is, as far as I can tell, ignorant about the physics of climate. He thinks the climate is bad because his fellow academics say it bad, and that is good enough for him. Modern academics are notoriously incurious people and evince strong tribal instincts: it would never do to question his fellow academics on this subject. So he takes it as rote we are doomed to heat death and proposes drugging non-academic humans to make them believe as he does.
It is not only this one academic. He says, and it is true, “The scholarly body of work on moral enhancement is large and growing”, though by scholarly he means academic. The warnings about letting professors off campus have been ignored. We pay the price (here and elsewhere), and will go on paying. The mistake you will make, again, dear reader, is to laugh at this man and dismiss him.
Yet these fellows want to make their experiments compulsory. If we don’t chemically modify certain people, they can “make life for us so miserable that it may not be worth living.” Note the “us”. If enough of “us” graduate and staff government positions, “us” will get their wish.
What makes this a philosophical rather than just an ethical or moral consideration is Crutchfield claims that “moral post-persons” would be “people who are so morally superior to us that they cannot be properly considered human persons.” This is false. Even supposing chemical means existed to make people believe academic theories more strongly, the better believers would still be men. Man is a rational animal. They remain this even if the biological functions associated with rational thought are addled via mandatory chemical or surgical manipulation. The only non-man you can make out of a man is a dead man.
Parts of us can be enhanced or degraded, of course. Following the government rules on nutrition increases fatty tissue. Praying to God boosts morality, but only “up to a point”. Perfection is not ours to have. This is a lesson well taught to us in the Twentieth Century, but it is not one well received in academia.
Another warning: “The moral capacities of moral post-persons are greater than those of mere persons.” Ignoring “post-persons”, there are also disagreements about morality. For instance, some say it’s fine to kill those with Down Syndrome, others say no. In order to be “more” moral the standard of morality has to be fixed, otherwise if these drugging schemes worked we could create armies of moral monsters—like college professors who write papers like this.
Crutchfield does not appear to understand that his chosen morality is not true or that it is subject to dispute. Though he does poll other academics to see what they like, and again, that is good enough for him. This is the Voting Fallacy.
Some readers will believe I am exaggerating or misquoting out of context. So I will let The Crutch, as our man must be affectionately known among fellow academics, have the last word. Here is his Conclusion in its entirety.
I have argued that we should engender moral post-persons, because doing so promotes the interests of mere persons. If moral enhancement is likely to engender moral post-persons, then we should morally enhance mere persons. How this is achieved is another matter. On the one hand, making enhancement compulsory seems more likely to engender more moral postpersons. In turn, the more moral post-persons there are the more the interests of mere persons can be promoted. On the other hand, if every mere person is enhanced to become a moral postperson, then there are no interests of mere persons to promote, because there are no mere persons. It might be that the world in which there are some mere persons is better than the world in which there are only moral post-persons.
Thanks to reader Vince and Marc Morano for the Crutchfield paper.
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