Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Monday warned a crowd at a religious college in Virginia that advances in biology could lead to a society that weeds out people deemed to have undesirable traits. http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20131028/NEWS01/310280057/Sen-Rand-Paul-warns-science-could-used-alter-gene-pool
Campaigning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, with Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Paul said those who are considered less intelligent or overweight, for example, could be eliminated from the gene pool, according to an Associated Press report.
“In the not-too-distant future, eugenics is common. And DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class,” he said in reference to the 1997 movie Gattaca.
“In your lifetime, much of your potential — or lack thereof — can be known simply by swabbing the inside of your cheek,” the senator said. “Are we prepared to select out the imperfect among us?”
The theory of eugenics, the control over the breeding of humans with supposedly more preferable traits, was popular among some scientists and social activists in the early 20th century but discredited once it became associated with the mass murders of Jews and others in Nazi Germany. However, modern scientists continue to debate the ethics and morality of altering human genes, whether for medical purposes or for trying to enhance things like height or appearance or intelligence.
Paul previously has discussed his concerns about the possibility of pre-selecting people based on genetic testing.
At an event in Owensboro, Ky., this month, he referred to a 1997 science fiction film, “Gattaca,” in which scientists screen embryos for diseases before implanting them.
“Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if we decided only those with perfect DNA could be born?” Paul said, according to The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. “Would we eliminate part of our humanness, part of our specialness? Would we be flying too close to the sun?”
Paul also has opposed government efforts to use DNA testing on individuals accused of crimes.
In a June article in The American Conservative magazine titled “Big Brother Says ‘Open Your Mouth!’” Paul wrote: “The problem with allowing DNA to be forcefully taken from accused individuals is that people wrongly accused could be made part of a national registry. … The Founding Fathers knew that the protection of liberty was contingent upon never giving government too much power or trust.