Last month, my daughter’s ballet class had a parents’ open house. Five year olds in tutus struggle through basic steps, but it is to share a Kodak moment. Across the floor my daughter and the handful of other girls moved. She laughed with a little towheaded girl when a specific song came on, and that girl and my daughter both really loved the part of the class I can only describe as rhythmic gymnastics. When class was over, my daughter and the little blonde waved goodbye to one another. I sent photos to my parents and hugged my daughter before taking her home. I bring this personal story up because it relates to the latest public debate over scientific ethics and gene editing. That towheaded child has Down Syndrome.
A Chinese scientist claimed to have created gene edited embryos, Harvard has jumped into the fray saying they will edit human sperm to fight Alzheimer’s and the conveniently timed science conference stated that gene editing would be irresponsible. Since the Chinese announcement, the left has published articles stating how horrific the potential eugenics would be. Their imagination of horror limited to raising IQ. The progressive bubble is so thick they can only see tinkering with IQ upwards as a horror, unlike say the system requiring or backdoor government mandating editing embryos to be passive, extroverted, open to new experiences, dumb and prone to impulse purchases. The genetic alterations may be wide open, which we do not even know at this moment without research.
Ethically, the primary fear is the rich will only have access. This is rather short sighted as the journalists crying over edits would be the same journalists advocating for gene editing subsidies for the poor. There could be a great private market for specific safe edits with broad appeal. Brazilian sperm donor selection history keys us onto a few basic ones. There would also be a medical market for this. How many individuals with mental illness family history or chronic illnesses avoid having children due to the fear of passing the disease onto their kids? Could the Down Syndrome little girl I watched perform ballet be cured in utero or after an early screening if genetic therapies were developed? We would want to cure Down Syndrome.
The left was cheering on how Iceland had cured itself of Down Syndrome. American progressives cheered how we were almost there! There is no cure. It is merely the pre-screening techniques (that have false positives) that alert couples who say no thanks and kill their children with Down genetic markers. The left is caught in another contradiction, which means nothing when said to them but to others. The left’s voting power literally rests on allowing women to kill unwanted children. The hypocrisy of denouncing the reckless Chinese who edit for disease prevention or whatever else they have been doing behind the scenes is spoken by the same couples who test and kill their kids.
They do not want a defective one. Not their kid. This is also because they probably only want to have one, and they will be damned if their one is a mentally challenged one. These fools will signal all day long that the Chinese are unethical, but when the chips are down in 2028, their forty-six year old near barren wombs will be carrying the top of the line, most advanced screening and editing available embryos.
This cuts at a deeper concern these anxious denouncers have. Who makes the cut? If editing and screening will be refined by 2030, we will see traits and combinations selected that will support long proven advantages and some will be fashionable. Some people born pre-editing may find that they do not make the cut. Forget something basic like blue eyes or height. Set aside the Asian proclivity for aborting girls. What about chronic illnesses? This is something pro-life supporters have pushed with the margins of error on screenings. How many false positives are causing women to kill kids who might possibly have something that is livable? You may not abort a child with a 75% chance of developing Crohn’s disease by age 30, but we all know there are persuasive doctors and friends who could coax a woman into an abortion. One could eventually be known as having an elderly disease or legacy condition that no one born after X date has anymore.
What livable irritations cause edits? Will there be trade offs? Does the price tag matter? “I’m not paying $2,500 for the anti-Crohn’s edit for a 5% risk.” If genetic screening leaps ahead of editing or screening is the only procedure allowed, which ethically could happen in PC straight-jacketed America, we could see a rise in abortions for mundane things like chronic migraines. You may not do this, but there is always someone out there who could be persuaded. These women, or couples, think nothing of killing the little girl with Down Syndrome who can enjoy a ballet class and breathe the same fresh air we all get to breathe because it is their choice to not have what they deem a substandard child. We already allow the greatest genetic edit of all, death, with no progressive supporting any limit to it.
This could be the left’s goal (screening without editing) as another reason for informed, striver class couples to abort their kids. These same polite society types will discuss the ethics of genetic editing while glibly passing over how they tested their kid just in case they had to perform the most unethical act parents could do. Do not place one’s faith in the remaining Christians of America. Each time a pregnant Christian says she just could not selectively abort one of her quintuplets to defy the Lord’s will, she is dancing around the fact that she used medical technology to become pregnant and defy God’s will.
This all reeks of impotence and false holiness. There is no concern over ethics but a concern that this will lay bare everything rotten about the world the progressives built. Fashionable edit selections may reveal the bioleninist core of their current ideology. The technology will be there, and when have we said no to using any tech? Abortion has been around for centuries but Roe v. Wade only happened once it was medically safe for women. Ask any of these people why this specific technology should be an evil. Why is it evil for people to have the power and choice of a genetic edit or modification when for one of their children not one American was given the opportunity to say no to genetically modified (edited) crops building a monopoly on America’s food supply?
Monsanto’s design sounds insane when broken down to its core. We built a pesticide that kills every weed and does not require targeted spraying as crops can be hit with it because we genetically altered the crops to survive the spray. We forgot… the spray is an endocrine disruptor, too. In one generation, this locked down our food supply. We live with the consequences of this forced genetic editing science with not a single debate about the ethics involved. It was simply a matter of private business. Ethics did not matter.
America should not fear China sending super genius spies or an army of Yao Mings to conquer America in 2040. The fainting by the progressives shows how America will be hamstrung in its genetic scientific work all because of the devotion to human neurological uniformity. A private market could spring up. The demand will be there, but can it outrun the regulatory machinations of the progressives?
As the discussion continues and the progressives refine their narrative, I will use my daughter’s classmate as a guide. Does she become a rarity? Does she become rare because only screenings are available, and we will know where her peers have gone? Does the new tearful story I hear go, “I thank God we paid for the editing so we could see this wedding day“? The future does not have to be Gattaca, but we can make certain it is not just a monstrous extension of today.