I get mad at anti-vaccers. I get frustrated with extreme conservatives and overly religious people. Not necessarily because of their beliefs, but because of what their beliefs lead them to – like anti-abortion, anti-stem cell research and, in general, anti-technology and anti-science.
But, from now on, I’ll stop getting mad, and I’ll welcome my frustrations. I just realized that I need to take the consequences from advocating the right to say “no” to technology. I believe the right to say “no” or more importantly, accept this “no” as just as fair and worthy a choice as “yes”, is the only way to protect ourselves from the perils of technology, be they merely ethical or plain deadly. My motto has long been, and still is: Equal rights for tech-denialists.
Why I realized ? I read two H+ magazine columns, one on correcting color blindness and one in athletic enhancement, both predicting the imminent arrival of the slippery slope genetic sorting future. A slippery slope I have done much thinking on myself, and now some re-thinking.
I very strongly believe that the only way to avoid the pitfalls at the end of the slippery slope is by giving everyone the irrefutable right to refuse to use all or any technological (including biomedical) advancement. And then to respect their choice. Only by giving equal rights to naysayers and tech-proponents will you avoid that any potentially society-threatening technology becomes pervasive and/or all-dominant. There will always be “anti-vaccers” to any new technology, and if the technology proves dangerous, they will, like it or not, become humanity’s saviors.
The consequence is that I need to accept the existence of anti-vaccers, I even need to respect their personal choice.
This does not mean that I will stop arguing my own beliefs, nor should anyone else. I still think the anti-vaccers are crazy, no offense !, and achieves only evil by allowing all but eradicated diseases to re-emerge. But, it means that I need to argue from a respectful perspective. Respectful because the principle of “the right to say no” is more important than any single cause, regardless how worthy.
Let this be my new-years resolution.