Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) speech at Jerry Falwell’s college yesterday, on behalf of gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli (R), turned out to be far more problematic than one might have guessed. For one thing, Paul seemed to draw a connection between reproductive rights and eugenics.
For another, the Kentucky senator seemed a little too preoccupied with the 1997 sci-fi cult classic “Gattaca.” Making matters much worse, the portion of Paul’s speech on the movie were apparently lifted verbatim from the film’s Wikipedia page. Then, complicating matters further still, the plagiarism revelations led to additional discoveries about Rand Paul, shall we say, creatively borrowing from other Wikipedia entries in his speeches.
But at their root, the senator’s concerns seemed to be focused on genetic discrimination and privacy risks, as outlined in the movie. The speech was a little vague about remedies and the scientific nature of his fears, but it seems Rand Paul took “Gattaca” quite seriously.
With this in mind, it’s worth looking back at this 2010 gem from Adam Serwer.
[Policy analyst Jay Stanley wrote a 2002 paper for the ACLU that] imagines what could happen when human reproductive cloning is perfected – “what enforcement action would be taken when, say, a sixth-grader is discovered to be an unauthorized clone of Jennifer Lopez?” Could genetic enhancement inspire a kind of neo-eugenicist society where social classes are determined by access to the kind of wealth one needs to take advantage of such technologies? If humans succeeded in splicing their own DNA with that of animals, where would the line of “personhood” be drawn?Citing a scenario out of the 1997 movie Gattaca, Stanley expresses concern that the growing ability to remove genetic defects prior to childbirth might lead to employers collecting hair or skin cells from prospective employees. (On this last point his concern was prescient: In 2008, Congress outlawed genetic discrimination nearly unanimously. In the House, Ron Paul was the only dissenting vote.) [emphasis added]
I guess Rand Paul had a far different reaction to the movie than Ron Paul?