November 13, 2013
CORE Section 27
The idea of perfectibility is its own monster. Many scientists believe that manipulating genes in order to make an individual healthy is a noble and worthwhile pursuit. Some are against that notion, arguing that historically amazing individuals have sometimes been plagued by genetic mental and physical disorders, which inadvertently shaped the greatness of their lives, such as Albert Einstein who most people thought was mentally handicapped because he had heart issues, was a social hermit, eccentric, and was dyslexic, which led him to go through depression, but he still managed to become one of the nation’s most successful people. Should we rob the human race of character shaping frailty?
In “The Case Against Perfection”, Sandel expands his theory in a particular realm: the control of eugenics by parents, which will presumably conflict morality. If, according to Sandel, children’s genes were mandated and controlled by their parents before birth, their parents have lost the equilibrium between “the two sides of love”, and lost the three key features of parenthood: humility, responsibility, and solidarity. This is the real problem with self-engineering. It seizes control of humanity so radically that humanity can no longer determine what is ethical and unethical. We cannot be certain it’s diminishing us. But we cannot be certain it’s perfecting us, either.
The shadows of eugenics hang over the gap between the rich and the poor. The gap between the wealthy and the impoverished will become even larger. The rich families will have smarter and stronger kids than the poor families. Also, the control of genes will mess up our senses of value because in the past we have not just admired people who are talented, but admired the people who are less smart and yet still succeeded through diligence, such as Thomas Edison who was told that he was not intelligent enough to learn anything in school by...