Google+
Close

The Corner

The one and only.

Gattaca



Text  



I was happy to see that Wesley J. Smith included Gattaca on the list of best recent conservative movies. The movie seems to me the most compelling dystopian fantasy about the kinds of evil and control that government could get up to, precisely because the technology for screening DNA before birth seems pretty close, if not already here. The idea of a government that discriminates between the genetically perfect and the rest, reserving all perks for the gifted, also doesn’t seem too far-fetched in our era of brave new government by Ivy League technocrats.

A free society can tolerate genuine diversity–of talents and physical condition, as well as the usual ethnic attributes, and free markets will find places for most people who are willing to work. But a genuinely socialist, post-industrial society will inevitably find the less-productive burdensome. How many burger-flippers and octuplet-producers can we support? Ask Nancy Pelosi why she wanted to give out contraception to those getting government money. The babies they might produce are just costs, in her calculus. In a future world of inherently limited resources, (once the Democrats have truly tanked free markets and, thus, the economy for some time to come) national health-care might be converted easily enough into a winnowing mechanism. 

Let me emphasize that I do not think that the Obama Administration is planning to build the Brave New World, of which Gattaca is a concrete (fantasy) example. Only that, when you watch a movie like this, (or read any analogous book) you always wonder how things might have gotten from here to there. And some of what they are planning is part of that process, whatever the intent.

So, when we talk about that hi-tech computerized data base with everyone’s health records and, later, genetic codes on it that the President is so very enthusiastic about, I can’t help envisioning a Gattaca-like application. If you see the movie, I bet you will too.

I await with interest the rest of the list. I’m curious to know whether my favorites made it.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review