Sometimes it comes from the right, sometimes from the left
November 2, 2007
And sometimes it’s both. Rather than bore you with the whole ‘where have you been, why don’t you write me anymore’ I’m just gonna jump in with the word-ifying.
There’s a new article in the American Journal of Bioethics by Moreno and Berger on the roots of the neocon opposition to biotech (tip of the hat to Kelly over at IMAARS for bringing the article to my attention). Basically the article is about what intellectual frauds most neocons are in their inability to own up the inherent problems in capitalism and the fact that they basically act like frightened children at the prospect of scientific progress, particularly in the area of biotechnology.
The article itself is excellent and does a good job calling out neocon bioconservatives for both ignoring their own intellectual roots in Marxism and for playing fast and loose with philosophy. All that is fine and good but what struck me was something else entirely.
What really jumped out to me was that the philosophical argument being presented by both the bioconservative right and the bioconservative left is that there is something inherently human in being human and that any sort of modification is a discarding or at the very least a modification of this humanity into something else, something less than human in the minds of the bioconservatives. This is truly frightening since it opens up all sorts of possible nastiness. If I get a genetweak and I’m no longer human in the way that the scared masses whipped into a fervor by the bioconservative crowd define ‘human,’ then I automatically become a target for persecution. This can be ‘mild’ in nature — I don’t get full legal rights, I have to register myself with local gov’t agencies, I have special sections reserved for where I can sit/eat/excrete/etc (because it could be contagious you know) — or it could be more repressive. Pogroms, deportations, killings, etc. The first step to creating a despised minority has always been to make them less than human. It seems to me that’s exactly what the bioconservatives are attempting to do, preemptively, to those that seek positive self-enhancement or to use genetic means to address human frailties.
Please note that this entry originally appeared about two weeks ago but due to technical errors got deleted and it took me a bit to get back around to it.