Neo-con logic: Designer babies for all

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on September 10th, 2008

Neo-conservative pundit and former Bush speech writer David Frum, credited for having coined the phrase "axis of evil" to bolster extremist foreign policy, has another bright idea.

In the course of warning fellow conservatives to heed rapidly expanding inequality (not because it's unjust but because it might cost them votes), Frum suggests that his political compatriots tackle the problem by supporting inheritable genetic modification.

Frum begins by acknowledging that the genetic enhancement of future children and generations would be almost sure to further exacerbate inequality:

It is probable that the trend to inequality will grow even stronger in the years ahead, if new genetic techniques offer those with sufficient resources the possibility of enhancing the intelligence, health, beauty and strength of children in the womb.
But Frum, though worried that inequality is leading to "The Vanishing Republican Voter" (the title of the New York Times Magazine article in which his musings appear), is not deterred. Conservatives need not object to genetically super-endowed humans, he asserts. Relying on an idiosyncratic interpretation of statements by Pope John Paul II, he proposes that genetically manipulated children could be made "laudable" by arranging their availability to everyone.

Frum's fantasy vision of designer babies for all is shared by a few outliers, such as self-described transhumanist James Hughes. Just about everyone else who has ever commented on re-engineering humanity - skeptics and boosters; observers of the left, right, and center - conclude that it would all too likely create a future of new discrimination and deep social divides.

Posted in A "Post-Human" Future?, Biopolitics, Parties & Pundits, Inheritable Genetic Modification, Marcy Darnovsky's Blog Posts


Add a Comment
  1. Comment by demned, Nov 29th, 2016 1:01am

    The President also unequivocally condemned human reproductive cloning, both for safety and social reasons.

  2. Comment by kokim89, Mar 10th, 2016 4:04am

    great thanks



  3. Comment by cpascal, Jun 20th, 2012 1:30pm

    Although many people fear that genetic technology might lead to a future of inequality, genetic inequality already exists, and has since the beginning of time. Nature hasn't been fair in handing out the good traits, as some people are more gifted with health, strength, beauty, and intelligence than others. I see the coming genetic technologies as an opportunity for those of us who didn't get a good hand of cards to get a second chance.

  4. Comment by underkläder online, Feb 10th, 2011 5:07pm

    Great post anyway thanks for posting...

  5. Comment by Bilety lotnicze, Jun 8th, 2009 2:41am

    Frum, apart from being an idiot really knows how to stir up the crowd. His axis of evil "term" though is taken from some history book IIRC describing germany, italy and japan back in the days



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