INDEPENDENT NEWS

Lindsay Perigo: Recycling GE Arguments

Published: Thu 1 Nov 2001 09:57 AM
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Today I'm cheating. My editorials are written the night before they appear, in my own time, in my private capacity. It's been a long day at the office, & I lack the motivation to produce a fresh opinion piece, basking instead in the glories of red wine & Tchaikovsky. So I'm going to recycle an old one. The day at the office (Parliament) was dominated by the genetic engineering debate. It occurs to me that it would be timely to reproduce my editorial on the Politically Incorrect Show of March 13 on a related subject, cloning. Similar arguments apply, & the same enemy - mystic-socialist greenies - has to be confronted. In any event, most of you here will be reading it for the first time. So - enjoy!
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Every advance in mankind's conquest of nature has been resisted by those who believe NATURE should not be conquered. This has been especially true in the field of health & medicine. Anaesthesia, Pasteurisation, penicillin, herbicides & pesticides, vaccination, irradiation &, latterly, genetic modification of food ... all have been clamorously resisted by the religious devotees of a lifestyle of deprivation, disease & dirt. Now the spectre of human cloning looms large, & the same bleaters are wailing their chorus from the caves. Labour MP Diane Yates has a bill to ban cloning before a parliamentary select committee. Green MP Sue Kedgley also favours prohibition. "I am concerned," she says, "that some fertility specialists & researchers seem not to want legislation, preferring to work in an essentially unregulated environment in which the community has very little, if any, say over issues that have profound ethical issues for society."
WHAT profound ethical issues for society? It is a matter between a man, a woman & the relevant specialists. If a man is willing to donate a cell, a woman an egg & her uterus, the specialists their expertise, then that should be the end of the matter, barring any issues of force or fraud. It's said that a human clone might age prematurely, like Dolly the sheep. Frankly, I doubt that any couple, or anyone taking responsibility for the child, would proceed with the exercise until that possibility - & others like it - has been resolved. But the same bleaters against human cloning don't want sheep cloning either - they want to stop the research that would best enable these matters to be ironed out.
Another concern is that an Adolf Hitler might be cloned. So what if one were? The clone might resemble the Hitler in looks & certain personality characteristics, but his behaviour would be over to him. A cloned human being will have exactly the same attribute that sets every human being apart from every other one - a rational faculty & the free will to exercise it as he chooses. A clone of Adolf Hitler would be no more disposed to hate Jews & set about exterminating them than you or I. To say that a clone's behaviour would be identical is to say that Hitler himself had no control over his behaviour - that because of HIS genetic make-up he could not do other than hate Jews & kill them. That's absurd on its face - if it weren't we wouldn't pass judgement on him the way we do.
Scientists, as I say, have always had to contend with religionists who object to tampering with nature in any way. Environmentalism is the new face of the religionists. I like Llewellyn Rockwell's in-your-face response to them, to be reproduced in the upcoming issue of my magazine: "Do killer bees & killer bacteria have 'integrity' worthy of religious respect? To my mind, nature is only valuable if it serves man's needs. If it does not, it must be transformed. ... From time immemorial until the day before yesterday, Western man has seen nature as the enemy, & rightly so. It is dangerous & deadly. For the sake of our own survival, it must be tamed, cut, curbed, controlled." To which I say, Amen! And send in the cloners!

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