Ethical Narcolepcy: Stephen Sackur`s BBC `Hardtalk`interview with Barbara Harris

Narcolepcy is associated with pleasurable activities. Sufferers become paralyzed and even unconscious at the excitement or anticipation of pleasure. I observe the same in human ethics. When we find something directly pleasurable, or a convenient means to satisfying our wills, our desires, and hence indirectly satisfying and pleasurable, or simply a means of avoiding displeasure, we tend to `switch off´ethically.

Stephen Sackur, during his BBC `Hardtalk`interview with Barbara Harris, crticized her actions in offering drug addicts money as an incentive to consent to sterilization or long-term contraception, to avoid the predictable health and social consequences of them becoming pregnant and having more children.

Sackur focussed on what he saw as the woman`s right to have children, completely side-stepping the issue of the rights of the not-yet-conceived. He simply dismissed the not-yet-conceived as `non-existent`. He asserted that as they didn`t exist yet, it was absurd to consider their interests in any way.

Please allow me an anology. We already regulate for people and situations that do not yet exist. We do so in order to prevent them from coming into existence. Consider all motor vehicle regulations aimed at preventing accidents, and then limiting the damage that will be produced by them. We accept such reasonable regulations as preventing predictable and preventable misery.

As such the precedent for regulating things that do not yet exist already exists. I am very dissappointed in Sackur`s failure, or unwillingness, to maintain the sort of intellectual rigour I generally associate with him. All regulations in fact deal with non-existent situations.

That is the entire point of regulation. To prevent not-yet-existent situations arising in the first place, by providing deterrents, limits, boundaries, restrictions, controls, and restraints. Such regulations gets people to act as if they were holistically enlightened, as if they cared about others. This is the basis of all social and economic progress.

The lives of many people can be seen to be slow-motion car accidents. Seen on a larger scale, they are mass scale train-wrecks. The life experiences of most people are easily predictable. We like to imagine we have free will, and live in a land of opportunity, but the reality is otherwise. We live in a deterministic universe. Our life experiences are determined by our holistic inheritances.

One reason this is denied, is that the most powerful members of our society benefit from this denial. They are the beneficiaries of inherited inequality. In fact most of you reading this belong to this beneficiary class. You desire, consciously or otherwise, that the inequality you benefit from should be reproduced, so that you can continue benefitting from it. If everyone was at least as intelligent, well-educated, healthy, and attractive as you, then you would lose all the economic and social advantages that you enjoy over them. You would have to pay them at least what you earn to fix your car, look after your children, clean your toilets, cut your hair, produce all the products you consume, and provide all the other services you enjoy. Thus the ethical narcolepsy.

Sackur went on to state that he `liked to think`that the children of drug addicts would be taken care of by the British Welfare State. Of course he did not indicate in any way that he himself was prepared to pay higher taxes to ensure that the children that would be born as a result of his position would in fact be taken care of.

Like most people he was happy to take advantage of inequality, but unwilling to compensate the victims of it for society`s lack of reasonable regulation of reproduction, and the resulting `reproductive anarchy`.

The children of drug addicts, for example, are likely to end up in foster-care. 70% of children who grow up in foster care in the U.K end up in prison. 50% become homeless when they turn 18, and the `Welfare State`ceases caring for them. This is why, despite what Sackur imagined, most people would support Harris`s scheme. They realise that they pay for the consequences of drug addicts having children. Thus they have a a self-interested motive for this form of eugenics. They are unlikely to benefit from this form of inequality. They are likely to be paying for these children`s misfortune, in terms of social welfare, crimes, and imprisonment.

However in general we benefit from other people`s misfortune in terms of unequal holistic inheritances. The unlucky become our beasts of burden. We exploit their misfortune to our our own benefit. This is in fact the true concern of society as a whole with the actions of such Saints as Barbara Harris. If we accept in principle that not-yet-conceived persons have rights, then the door is opened to my Protocols.

Sackur defined the drug-addicted mothers as the weakest members of our society. However surely it is a human fetus, with no legal protection against being killed, that occupies this rank. After this group of course come non-human animals.

And this brings me to the Southpark episode which attacks Peta and its leadership. This episode was completely devoid of anything resembling wit or humour. It was pure venom, targetted at a group of the most compassionate, self-less, caring, kind, and gentle people you could imagine. What motivated this vile, invidious, vicious attack?

This Southpark episode of course continues in the tradition of Greek Tragedy in which the audience insists that their `betters`be punished for daring to be be better than themselves. Thus Socrates and Jesus must be punished, and must die for daring to be `better`.

From a Freudian perspective the writers are clearly attempting to deny their own sense of guilt for their own cruelty towards animals. What else could account for their childish depictions of Peta members tongue-kissing and having sex with animals? The tone was violently angry, agressive, and vicious. What, other than projected self-loathing could prompt such venom? Surely it is the expression of a deep unconscious sense of guilt and self-hatred.

And on a lighter note, I wonder why it is not possible to buy Stevia, the natural sweetener so popular in China in Europe or Australia. It is 400 times sweeter, and containes 85% fewer calories than sugar.

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