July 14, 2005


Puttering around, I run into Ogre's post, and think I could take a stab at it. Then I read the article.

Oh my. Ok, original post, article, questions:

1. Why has our society become less loving, so selfish, so intolerant, so uncommitted to anything outside of individual gain?
2. Why are we so full of selfish ambition and vain conceit?
3. Is this “perfect” society a place where any of us would want to live?

I have not read Ogre's comments, or comments on the site yet, and I may be misunderstanding the point of the questions, but I don't think so. This is going to get very personal, so anyone who doesn't care, skip ahead. And, I'm going to have to delete this if my family ever finds out I blog.

My younger brother is disabled, in ways that are not instantly apparent. Looking back it becomes apparent that growing up I became jealous in several ways of the attention spent on my brother - he speaks slowly, so whenever he started speaking everyone else had to let him speak; I spent a fair amount of time in waiting rooms or in the car at the speech therapist; my sister, playing games, nearly always was on his side -they were good, I was evil. The list goes on. And it's not all one sided - he certainly spent time in the car waiting to pick me up from football practice, for instance.

The patterns continue. One of the things leading to how my life is now is that I really don't want to support him [or my sister, but that's a different story] financially when we're older. Thanks to our dad, my brother should have enough money to support himself, but you never know.

If the technology had existed when he was born to repair what was damaged, would it be selfish to want it done? No. I think everyone can agree on that. If not, tough.

The article hints at some couples choosing to abort children with Down's Syndrome, rather than raising them. Now, I am opposed to requirements for amniocentesis and required abortions in the event of a chromosomal abnormality. Such a requirement after a certain age in the mother can save the state a huge amount of money, which is one reason why socialized medicine is a bad idea. On the other hand, I am opposed to efforts to block the ability to have an abortion.

And certainly some families have ambition, to the point that they have junior's educational life planned before he's born. Which is just stupid, because you're setting yourself up for failure. But how selfish is it to want a family different from that described in the article, in which all the members must focus all of their energy on raising this one child?

So my answers:
1) Our society has been able to spend huge amounts of time, effort and love on the handicapped because of individual gain. When your entire family has to focus on getting the crops in or you'll die of starvation, you have to lock crazy old uncle Albert in the cellar. My brother is able to live a relatively normal life, partially because of some rather expensive therapy.
2) We are not saints. We can just do our best, note our mistakes, and try to do better.
3) A "perfect" society, involving anyone with any handicap, being aborted or killed? No. A better society, in which children with various handicaps get cured using nanotech or gene engineering? Yes.

Posted by Owlish at July 14, 2005 12:31 AM | TrackBack

Nicely done, and certainly MUCH more succinct than my attempt at answering!

Posted by: Ogre at July 14, 2005 10:47 AM

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Posted by: owlish at July 14, 2005 11:36 AM

Nice post. I have you linked. Thanks for joining in to answer the questions.

Posted by: Lennie at July 15, 2005 10:09 PM
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