Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iatrogenic Colonialism and Nihilist Relativism

When do outsiders have a duty to intervene in the lives of private families to protect the interests and even the lives of children? When do nosey neighbours become vigilantes? common citizens become an intrusive state aparatus? a state itself a fascist nightmare? What right does anyone have to do anything about anyone at all? Yes, I'm the one who argues we must invade Sweden and colonize the place as a Western possession regardless of the wishes of the locals; and I am the one who argues we must invade every primitive place on Earth, subdue the locals by force, and then we must marry the local women and raise children to be Americans of the Mind, protected from the vestiges of the past by school teachers with guns. But I ask at what point if ever is it moral to determine that parents are not allowed to raise their children as they would, and at what point is it required of a moral person to kill a child's parents to protect that child from said parents? Or is it ever? Is it really right to live and let live, to gaze at our navels and find we are no better than others, and thus should do nothing at all because there is nothing right and nothing right to be done? In India parents sometimes mutilate their heathy children to make the children acceptable as beggars. The world of Islam raises its children to kill and die for a primitive fascist romantic nostalgia. Whaddaya do?

December 5, 2006
Wanting Babies Like Themselves, Some Parents Choose Genetic Defects

by Darshak M. Sanghavi
The New York Times

Wanting to have children who follow in one's footsteps is an understandable desire. But a coming article in the journal Fertility and Sterility offers a fascinating glimpse into how far some parents may go to ensure that their children stay in their world -- by intentionally choosing malfunctioning genes that produce disabilities like deafness or dwarfism.

The article reviews the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or P.G.D., a process in which embryos are created in a test tube and their DNA is analyzed before being transferred to a woman's uterus. In this manner, embryos destined to have, for example, cystic fibrosis or Huntington's disease can be excluded, and only healthy embryos implanted.

Yet Susannah A. Baruch and colleagues at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University recently surveyed 190 American P.G.D. clinics, and found that 3 percent reported having intentionally used P.G.D. "to select an embryo for the presence of a disability."

In other words, some parents had the painful and expensive fertility procedure for the express purpose of having children with a defective gene. It turns out that some mothers and fathers don't view certain genetic conditions as disabilities but as a way to enter into a rich, shared culture.


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