There is a Twitter thread about the potential horrors of gene editing going viral:
An old line says “Roman Matriarchs used to say “Come back with your shield or on it”. As this tradition declined, so did Rome”
And this is absolutely accurate. The traits that make a mighty people are not the traits that anyone would select for.
No one is going to pick a gene where the doctor says “This gene makes it 53% more likely your son will sacrifice himself for the sake of his friends”
The people who are going to gene edit their children will by their very nature be the most selfish and conniving in our society.
They’re going to select for beauty. And intelligence. And focus. And dedication. And there will probably be entire gene suits around “Executive” or “Athlete” or “Artist”
No one is going to select for “Hardworking Farmer” or “Religious Leader”
And there will be an arms race, like there already is in many ways. Everyone will seek to maximize traits, to make their child the 1% of the 1%.
And you’ll end up with beautiful people who are complete monsters inside; hollowed out vessels of humans, meant for only one thing.
And you’ll also see psychopathy run rampant.
If you think they won’t make children capable of lying without a tinge of guilt, you’re wrong.
They’ll call it something like “Business sense” but they’ll be a race of amoral exploiters like you can’t even imagine.
There will be Byzantine labyrinths of betrayal, deceit, double dealing, and fraud, perpetuated by these empty vessels.
In a sense, they’ll become automata, unable to not lie and deceive and cheat any system they’re put into.
Very soon, you won’t be able to trust anyone who’s gene edited, at all.
After all, how would you know if you have a super-predator in your midst?
Don’t worry, they’ll exclude non-edited people as quickly as possible.
It’s easy to look at depictions like Gattaca and come away with a positive impression, but much more likely it’ll resemble Chinese courts, with infinite complexity and plots.
They will still have uses for normal people though.
I’m certain they’ll be eager to realpolitik their way into sacrificing normal people as pawns in war or as labor.
They won’t even be capable of feeling guilt for getting you killed.
Congressmen now always make sure to keep a good distance from the consequences of their policies; the members of these new ruling classes would be able to watch you blown apart, leaving behind a widow and grieving children without an ounce of emotion.
The first step needs to be, for the rest of us, to immediately exclude these people from any dealings. Never let them into your life or your work.
This will center around religion, for reasons that are clear to me.
None of these people will be religious.
Everyone who will do this will select against “religiosity” as soon as they possibly can.
Science is the God of transhumanists and like Yahweh, science tolerates the worship of no others.
We will eventually win, as these parahumans destroy themselves in endless brutal selfishness.
The side of God always triumphs. No doubt, we will pay the cost of victory in the same old fashioned way; with rivers of our blood.
Those of us who can cooperate, who’s mother’s understand the words of the Roman Matriarchs, we will extinguish this rogue satanic branch of humanity; it will take us time to identify it, time to band together, and time to hunt them down, but we will win.
So, my advice is to refuse when Satan offers you the world; it is a devil’s bargain and the cost will be the extinguishment of your entire line. You must think to your distant descendants, not just to tomorrow.
It makes a ton of sense. Gene-edited people will be monsters.
But what really scares me is not the potential to create a “master race” of beautiful, soulless psychopaths. These are always the people who rise to the top of society and organizations. It’s nothing new.
What really scares me is the potential to gene-edit our way to a subservient slave class of serfs who are genetically wired to never rebel or question authority. I’m sure governments are already dreaming of mandatory gene editing for all the peons. It will be like India’s caste system on steroids.
I do have enough faith in humanity remaining in me that I don’t actually believe this will ever happen, though. I just don’t think people would embrace gene editing in mass numbers, or at least to the extent where they are predetermining their child’s entire personality.
People might gene-edit “around the margins” like with eye color, or possibly to remove the gene that causes male pattern baldness, or even to remove the gene that causes suicidal ideation (there are a lot of people that believe depression and suicidality run in the family). People will also use gene-editing to remove possible deformities I think.
But more than this, I just think the laws of nature are too strong and unbending for humans to overrule them for any meaningful amount of time. A master race of highly intelligent, selfish, unemotional, psychotic, soulless psychopaths will eventually implode on itself. They would eventually be killed by people who are wired to care for their fellow man and who have the capacity for empathy and self-sacrifice.
Like the beginning of the Twitter thread said, great empires are often led by selfish and ambitious men, but the battles to build and establish those great empires are fought and won by selfless soldiers who are willing to pay the ultimate price for the Glory of Rome (or in America’s case “Freedom”)
As I said earlier, what really scares me is the creation of a permanent slave race of subservient sheep who will never rebel or question authority, but I don’t see any way the masses will willingly allow themselves to be turned into gene-edited cattle. There would be a revolution before it happened. Any government that tried to demand people gene edit their children into subservient sheep would face tremendous opposition–at least any Western government, that is. People in the West believe that they are free and that they should always be free, so they would not be receptive to this type of thing. I do, however, wonder if they’re already doing this type of gene editing in China….
Ultimately, while I think this Twitter thread on the potential horrors of gene editing is important, and serves as a reminder that we must be ever vigilant against the potential evils of science-without-ethics run amok, I think more than anything it would make a great movie.
This would be an incredible screenplay idea, honestly. In the future, say the year 2099 or something, gene-edited psychopaths run the world. They’re tall, beautiful, intelligent, cunning–but completely soulless. They are cruel, exploitative, selfish beyond belief, and wholly incapable of empathy.
But then the non-edited, who are for better or worse everything the gene-edited are not, rise up and destroy the gene edited master race of oppressors.
It would be a great movie.