[Made a couple of revisions for clarity and added in Book’s link]
In the wake of Sarah Palin’s appearance on the national political scene, some Obama supporters made some pretty deranged statements about the Palin family decision to go ahead with a pregnancy when they knew that the baby would have Down Syndrome. There was a lot of eugenics-type talk about the social utility of handicapped children (none) and the societal wisdom of destroying them (huge).
To those of us who have been paying attention for periods longer than this political season, these ugly outbursts weren’t surprising. After all, Pete Singer, “dean” of American ethicists (with a chair at Princeton), and founder of the American animal rights movement, has long advocated that it is ethical to give parents a 30 day window after a child’s birth within which to destroy the child should the parents deem it defective. Singer, like others with his statist views, have a peculiarly Utopian view of the perfectibility of humans, one which depends, not on moral growth, but on government force.
And yes, you’re not imaging it — Hitler did in fact put this ideology into effect. Aside from trying to kill entire races he deemed defective, such as Jews and Gypsies, he was also big on genetic management, which involved prostituting German women to SS forces to make “perfect” Aryan babies and, on the flip side, killing those Aryans he deemed defective. My uncle on the Christian side of the family was gassed because he was a manic-depressive. This is what happens when the state makes decisions because, as I’ve said before, the state has no conscience.
Source courtesy of Shrinkwrapped
Y’all got on this boat for different reasons, but y’all come to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. I aim to misbehave.
Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) Serenity
I can’t say much without spoiling the movie for others, but folks here who have watched Serenity knows.
Another of Shrink’s post on Firefly, you should read for background either now or later.
This relates to some of the things I’ve written about ethics, free will, and macro scale planning. To a certain extent, “perfectibility” is a bad state to be in. In the universal laws of physics, the “perfect” is the unchanging and the static. The static is the stagnant and the stagnant is the dead or soon to be dead and replaced.
Once the nuclear fusion inside a star goes out of balance, meaning the pressure coming in exceeds the pressure going out from the fusion, the star collapses and dies until a new equilibrium is reaches. The key note here is “equilibrium”, “balance”, and “harmony”. These things are not the same thing as stagnancy, static things, and perfect things/states.
If you recognize the free will of each individual, you can reach a state of harmony but not a state of perfection. A star does not collapse because of its mass due to the fact that its fusion provides a counter-balancing force against gravity’s pull. But once things are made “perfect” and unchanging, then it will collapse. It has to. That is why the longer lasting the star is, the more it tends to produce less energy. Static states of equilibrium tends to stay longer if it uses less energy. “Perfect states” only exist for the dead. Once a star’s material is dead and unable to initiate fusion of iron or fall inwards to form a black hole then it can be that way for almost forever.
The same is true of human hierarchies and weather patterns (Chaos Theory’s butterfly effect). The Left believes the optimal state of things is reached by forcing people and things to their will. People like me believe that the optimal state of things for the human species is reached through the competition of people’s free wills. The goal is similar, in that I want a state of constructs that operate more efficiently than the sum of its parts. But my way does not require the “perfection” and stagnancy of each individual component in that super structure. I don’t need to increase the endurance by decreasing the power and vitality of people. THe Left doesn’t know how to compete fairly so they jack the system up by cheating, by making their individual units “perfect”. Redistribute the wealth will certainly make the poor last a whole lot longer.
But it doesn’t work. You cannot create harmony or any great super structure more effective than the sum of its parts by locking in stasis the state of every component. That’s not just me, as a single human, saying that. Those are the laws of the universe itself. You cannot have “stuff” going on in the universe, planets, stars, and galaxies without things that change: often they change unexpectedly along unpredictable routes. Quantum theory even posits that things change based upon perception, not just luck. Evolution also demands that cells cooperate together. There is no such thing as a “super cell” that can’t get any better cause it is now godlike”. There is such a thing as symbiosis, cooperation, and competition between cells, however, that create higher level organisms and species.
The Left cannot tolerate how human beings can change their mind and decide to do things contrary to this perfect ideal of utopia held by the state or Great Leader. They see this as an obstacle to perfection and stasis. I see it as the requirement for a healthy and vital system of interlocking parts.