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We're not taking responsibility now. Don't make it worse.

If you have some time on your hands, read this post on Crooked Timber praising Michael Sandel's The Case Against Perfection.

Harry emphasizes Sandel's point that enhancement technologies might plausibly erode our understanding that many of our talents are gifted, and that this wouldn't be a good thing. Our talents and handicaps would become someone's responsibility, rather than something that we're just "given" by God or Fate.

Because we're failing to acknowledge the responsibilities we already have, I worry that giving us a whole new realm of things to be responsible for is a bad idea. It could further trivialize the importance of responsibility. It's hard enough to take proper responsibility for the effects of our technology now; adding new areas over which we're supposed to be responsible is likely to turn us off to the very idea of responsibility. We'd ask ourselves "how can anything that's so commonly observed in the breach be that important?"

The analogy is illegal marijuana, which erodes our respect for the effectiveness, and sometimes the wisdom, of law enforcement every time we smell the aroma of kine bud wafting over the walls of the neighborhood high school. The kids look like criminals, and the police look like idiots. The best solution seems to be to give up our silly and half-assed marijuana prohibition.

I'd hate to have us say the same thing about the idea of taking responsibility for our actions.

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