Imagine a hand palming a human face forever
posted by Winston Smith at
I actually have a post I was working on over at my site regarding this issue.I think the author here is correctly identifying a problem, but sloppily addressing it by seeming to devalue the obvious value of intelligence.The problem as I see it is that we live in a society where many unintelligent people must coexist with intelligent people. We agree, theoretically, that people are morally valuable independent of their intelligence, and yet our economic system is currently heavily slanted in favor of the intelligent.Some slant is just going to happen; any valuable advantage possessed by an individual will better that individual's condition, and it's not likely that we can or even should iron that completely out of the equation. What we do need to do, however, is make sure that we're not condemning the lives of less-well-endowed folks to economic slavery and misery.We suck at that, if you ask me. Folks with less intelligence are stuck working menial jobs for unlivable wages, and they already have a tough enough time navigating life without the additional stress of dire economic straits. I think it's actually one of the more pressing issues of our time that we ensure more prosperity for the less-capable, and a lack of intelligence is probably the foremost issue in those who are among the less capable. We don't need to pretend that the less intelligent and the more intelligent are equally capable or valuable to society in a practical way, but our society is aimed at least in part at recognizing that might does not make right, and so ensuring that those with less capability are still provided good and reasonable opportunities to live comfortable lives given that they exhibit good moral strength in the use of what capability they have is likely an obligation we must fulfill.However, that brings up the troublesome need to find a way to avoid exacerbating the issue... In the natural world, the less capable are less likely to breed and to whatever extent their lack of capabilities is genetic, the risk of perpetuating those inferiorities is lessened. We can't go all eugenics on our asses or anything, but I do suspect that a society ensuring more equal opportunity at stable, comfortable lives for a population with a broad capability spectrum will gradually weaken its population simply by virtue of the enhanced survivability of the less capable.It's a hard issue to address. The only morally sound way that I can imagine is for the less capable to recognize the predicament and voluntarily self-select out of procreation, and that would seem to require that we recognize "stupidity" in a way that is not simply a reference to being objectively less intelligent than others, since that sort of stigma will likely prevent less-intelligent individuals from comfortably recognizing the predicament and performing that self-selection I mentioned..But whatever the case, I do think it's important that we ensure we don't condemn the less intelligent to poverty and misery. Whatever your stance, surely that's unacceptable.
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