Friday, September 8, 2017

"The Drive for Perfect Children Gets a Little Scary"


 
They don't exist now, but maybe they will. Then again, maybe that's not such a good idea, as "The Drive for Perfect Children Gets a Little Scary" argues. The subtitle sums up the story nicely: "Innovation in genetic engineering is moving faster than ethical discussions about parents' choices.":
If you could directly alter your kids' genetic profile, what would you want? .... I was dismayed to read one recent research paper by psychologists Rachel M. Latham and Sophie von Stumm. The descriptive title of that work, based on survey evidence, is "Mothers want extraversion over conscientiousness or intelligence for their children." ....
Would a more extroverted human race be desirable, all things considered? I genuinely don't know, but at the very least I am concerned. The current mix of human personalities and institutions is a delicate balance which, for all of its flaws, has allowed society to survive and progress. I'm not looking to make a big roll of the dice on this one.
 
The recent demonstrations for and against white supremacist groups has led to more confusion about the phrase "white supremacist." It's being thrown around in a way that undermines its very meaning. This was already a point made last year in Mother Jones by Kevin Drum, hardly a reactionary rag or author.

For what it's worth, this is a terrible fad. With the exception of actual neo-Nazis and a few others, there isn't anyone in America who's trying to promote the idea that whites are inherently superior to blacks or Latinos. Conversely, there are loads of Americans who display signs of overt racism — or unconscious bias or racial insensitivity or resentment over loss of status — in varying degrees.

This isn't just pedantic. It matters. It's bad enough that liberals toss around charges of racism with more abandon than we should, but it's far worse if we start calling every sign of racial animus — big or small, accidental or deliberate — white supremacy.
 
As was to be expected, stories of who failed to do what and when are beginning to litter the media. While the blame game gets tiresome, disasters can wake us up to public policy issues that need addressing. But we might also note who did things right as the hurricane rushed on shore. One is the Texas grocery store chain H.E.B.

The 112-year-old retailer is drawing widespread praise after managing to open 60 of its 83 stores in Houston last Sunday, hours after Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas as a Category 4 storm. (Now, 79 of the 83 stores are open.)

When employees couldn't get to work, some stores still operated with as few as five people: one stationed at the door as crowd control and four working the registers, trying to get people out as quickly as possible.
What news sources often fail to note is the deep Christian faith of the owners. Yes, Christians can do some things right, at least once in a while!
Grace and peace,
 
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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