Yesterday Kentucky Senator Rand Paul gave a speech at Liberty University where he warned against eugenics, or the use of scientific biological engineering to selectively breed people. He said that the combination of abortion and advanced medical technology could allow people to selecting “out the imperfect among us.” Paul Warns About Eugenics
It was typical Paul hyperbole, and amusing since it turns out that he lifted much of the speech from the Wikipedia page for the movie Gattaca, which he referenced in his speech. Paul Lifts Anti-Abortion Speech
Paul made the remarks while campaigning for Virginia Attorney General, and gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli. Most of the commentary about the speech accused Paul and Cuccinelli of being anti-science. They noted that Cuccinnelli sued the University of Virginia under state anti-fraud laws to stop research on climate change. There is no doubt that Cucinnelli is anti-science, as is most of the modern Republican Party, and it is more than a little likely that Senator Paul is also anti-science.
But the real issue, in my view, is what this says about Paul’s view (and by implication Cucinelli’s view and the beliefs of much of the conservative movement) about human nature. Paul doesn’t just fear science. What he fears is that people will misuse science. In fact, Paul seems convinced that, given a tool, scientists will misuse it. This shows a deep disdain for human nature. This deep skepticism of human nature is a common current running through much of, if not most of, conservative thought. They are tough on crime because they believe that most people, if given the opportunity and believe that they can get away with it, will commit crimes. They fear government because government is run by people. They fear government most when it is run by liberals, whom they are predisposed to believe are inherently evil.
Most conservative policies are defined by this belief that people are inherently bad. And the one thing that seems to unite all segments of conservatism, from libertarians to free-marketeers to Christian conservatives to the members of the Tea Party, is a deep and abiding fear of humanity.