CRISPR babies! Oh no it’s Gattaca! Oh no the rich will get a huge leg up! Oh no it is eugenics! These fears are actually horribly misplaced and reflect the poor politics of our time. These fears also completely misread the idea that technology and science is downstream of politics. What is our dominant ideology? Progressivism. How is it implemented? Managerialism. What is its unifying glue or pitch to its disparate factions? Egalitarianism. If CRISPR babies become a reality, one has to map this product or service to the progressive run territory.
This approach does not take into account the Chinese dabbling in this already. One can see the Chinese with their one child policy, recently loosened a bit, pushing parents to toy with their kids to brainsmax, looksmax, heightmax, etc. for their children. Rather than saving up to buy some crappy apartment in Shanghai, they can save up for a more perfect child. The Chinese have a less politically blinkered approach to hunting for the genes that control X or Y, and one can see how they could be more willing to take risks considering the recent coronavirus outbreak.
This is about America though and the American obsession with equality. Eugenics is a bad word for humans despite the American focus on breeding horses, dogs, roses, crops and every other artificial selection process to improve for a desired trait in some life form. Women say they want a man over six feet tall and the anti-eugenics crowd nods their head along with their dreams of tall men. The fear with eugenics is that the selection by parents will ultimately reveal what traits are desired and found more frequently elsewhere, which will reveal the inequality of nature that leftists try so hard to suppress exists. Leftists already play into this by stating ‘thinness is whiteness’ despite the fact that graduation photos from 1980 show plenty of thin black women.
What would be the problem with Gattaca kids? It would set some people up with a genetic benefit that they have to act upon. Look at the rich now. Some of their kids waste talents and gifts. Same could happen with CRISPR babies. What was wrong with Gattaca anyway? They could go to the stars because they had brainiacs that could calculate space trips and physically withstand space travel. Pianists with extra fingers for superior piano playing. It is a great film, and even ahead of its time with the archaeo-futurism aesthetic. The problem was that some were given an edge when others were not, and even in the film, they cite how not everyone’s designer kid pans out.
In our world, the rich would afford this at first. Not just the rich. The rich and those who saved and invested in this option. This market would grow and expand, driving down costs. We all know that with progressives in charge, there would be vouchers or mandatory requirements of designer baby firms to provide for disadvantaged parents. Children from the high time preference set who are easily persuaded by marketing fads might birth some curious looking children who become living time stamps for the latest craze like a sci-fi black comedy. Anyone crying about access only has to look at any technology with early adopters. The poorest of Americans owns smartphones and has access to medical technology they cannot afford. The mandarins of our managerial system would find a way.
One outcome is not even considering the Brahmin approach though to CRISPR kids. These people are born and bred in a victim culture. Everyone seeks their victim badge. Would it not make sense to apply this to CRISPR kids? Start thinking of these kids as the world of Harrison Bergeron would. This is a much more SJW and Ibram X. Kendi approach. A good prog parent duo would have a CRISPR kid that would be 6’2″, chiseled, blue eyed, dark haired, with a 160 IQ but also weekly debilitating migraines. Maybe the perfect daughter is designed, in their mind, smart, light haired, green eyed, .70 waist to hip ratio, but she has Crohn’s disease. This is how good lefties would maimgeld their designer babies to deny privilege.
I cited Harrison Bergeron for a reason because there is a far darker application of CRISPR that would be more in line with the story. Why raise everyone up, when leftists can mandate to eliminate every privilege and bring everyone down to a lowest common denominator. Vonnegut’s short story had a society that harmed and limited individuals to take away their God given gifts. This is what privilege talk aims at from a financial perspective. In a woke lens, which is oddly supported by boots straps conservatives, why not start everyone at crap level and force the ol’ A for effort race?
Apply it to genetics. Is this not what the mass immigration and miscegenation aims are for anyway? Meld everyone down into a beige humanity that cannot threaten the ruling oligarchy. There can be no threat to the elite if there is no new rising elite to challenge it. The CRISPR dream is a world of Mozarts, but a dose of cynicism is correct here. No amazing modern tech has reached mass audiences and not been turned into a darker application for more firm elite control.