One of my favorite rabble rousers here on Steem posted his daily rant, today 'Crisper-Babies', and my reply grew into this post. @freebornangel is well able to inspire my best ideas and writing, and I feel strongly that this reply he drew out of me really represents my best thoughts on why our freedom and our kid's futures depend on our taking advantage of recent tech advance. It follows below.
"I, personally, am conflicted about letting this technology out into the wild."
The truth is that every human capability has benefits and drawbacks. To point out the ubiquity of this fact I will provide a ludicrous example: every breath every individual draws consumes O2, which decreases the O2 available to us. While this is of utterly negligible impact, it is a negative impact, and proves the principle.
"It's not like the genie will get back in the bottle"
Besides, as you point out, it's in the wild now.
In regards to more relevant human capabilities, such as bearing personal arms, or this example of ability to bioengineer living organisms, including themselves, it is important to recognize that there are also benefits that accompany the drawbacks.
"...better we have folks ready to go in the event of another escape from the biolabs of the world."
You clearly understand that benefit in regards to this human capability, and this reflects your intelligence and breadth of understanding. The essential signature feature of humanity is the ability to solve problems with technological advance, or meet our challenges innovatively. Certainly this is as important today as it has been since the greatest advance in technology was sharpening sticks, chipping rocks, or starting fires.
Insofar as individuals are prevented from adopting the current level of technological advance, they are subject to oppression by persons and entities that do have access to that technology, and today the technology that most empowers people to meet challenges and solve their problems is undoubtedly bioengineering. Little could have more import to people than the control of their genetics.
Presently our societies are very strictly controlled in significant ways by overlords that use their economic power to influence institutions and actors able to deploy force and violence to compel obedience in order to increase, improve, and maintain their power. This oppression is applied variably, and the response of individuals to such pressure is variable, with some people far more willing to comply than others, who may find oppression others find acceptable utterly intolerable.
Across every class and group of society, the degree of control exercised over people is essentially identical to that undertaken during the domestication of livestock, and includes mechanisms for culling the individuals that are less suitable for profitable husbandry, such as executions, imprisonment, and economic deprivation. Unless you believe that people should be cash cows for banksters, this situation is utterly insuperable.
But it's also compulsory. One aspect of domestication is reducing aggression. No farmer wants a bull that attacks farmhands or destroys stalls, and no overlord wants serfs that resist in any way their depredations. In addition to evolutionary force, such as culling to remove those genetics from the herd, institutional controls are also deployed, and these include disarming populations, chemical/pharmaceutical treatment, such as flouride and endocrine disruption, and armed thugs like cops.
Finally, we are heavily trained to submit to our husbandmen. Public education is primarily indoctrination to submit to domestication, and it is often noted that preventing learning is the chief function of public education.
For folks that grasp how these factors reduce our prosperity and felicity, and who consider that unacceptable, those that have less interest or comprehension of these effects are frustrating, to say the least, and those that cause them are highly offensive. Some assert they are evil, and there is research that shows empathy is not the strongest feature of CEOs and other socially powerful individuals, supporting the theories of those that claim psychopaths tend to seize social power.
These circumstances are therefore intolerable to people that want to realize their full potential to enjoy the felicity of expressing their sovereign right to conduct their affairs and live their lives to the fullest, and it is appropriate to consider how to best mitigate, or even end their impact on our lives.
As human beings, using modern technology is our signature human trait, and insofar as our felicity and prosperity is actually utterly dependent on our own acts and competence, it is critical that we recover from our indoctrinations that most of us have suffered in childhood and undertake to become well and functionally educated regarding modern technology. We also need to ensure our kids are not domesticated as were we, but appropriately educated from the outset.
We also need to well understand the institutional controls inflicted on us to prevent our self service, and both implement nominal measures available to us individually, and mutually support and aid our fellows. Clubs and societies that focus on technologies and services that are insufficiently available to serfs, such as self defense, health, investment, and lifestyle tech are one potential mechanism whereby we can mutually prosper.
This particularly includes CRISPR, and today we see that failing to seize our ability to well use this technology renders us vulnerable to nefarious actors that have it. Genocide is a potential consequence of our failure to have the ability to use CRISPR. That consequence is claimed by some to be happening today, as the Kung Flu.
Whether that is the case or not, it is demonstrable that overlords domesticating serfs will not provide suitable education and tooling to enable us to secure our own health. Big pharma wants to keep it's Big profits, and they don't want us to be secure from their oppressions. We not only have a right to be secure, we have the proven need today.
We also have the ability.
The only possible way sovereign people can secure their selves, families, and communities from bioweapons and natural plagues is by controlling their personal biome. That means all the biological inputs that affect our bodies, and the environment, both chemical and physical, that happens in. While most of us see gaining the requisite education to even understand that requirement daunting, or even laughably implausible, we are far more competent that we suspect. Our ancestors killed mammoths with pointy sticks, survived Toba, and every cataclysm in history. That's who we are, and it is only our indoctrination that leads us to doubt our capability.
Additionally, AI has produced the feasibility of automating many processes, and many biotech processes are conceivably rendered far less intellectually complex with appropriate artificial intelligence support. I see today that these technologies are continually being developed, and doubt using CRISPR in 20 years will be harder than using a smart phone today.
Frankly, even if it's hard. Even if it's scary. We need to do this to keep ourselves from being the victims of catastrophic plague, or genocide. History reveals that mass murder is not rare, and often is the price of weakness relative to aggressive and acquisitive institutional power.
This kind of decentralized tech directly reduces institutional power, and increases not only our own individual power to secure our lives, but our fellows as well. It may be scary to consider what the lazy kid that watches tv shows or listens to music we don't like might do with modern tech. It's a lot less scary than what the next Nazis, Bolsheviks, or smallpox might do. If instead of social division on trivial issues we engage with our communities substantively on security and economic mutually beneficial matters, we might find we are damn glad that clever geek that listens to crappy music is whipping up antibodies in his garden shed.
Every capability has benefits and drawbacks to having it, and not having it. The drawback of not having CRISPR is susceptibility to genocide or catastrophic plague, and the drawback of getting CRISPR is trusting our neighbors, and the learning curve. The benefit of not having CRISPR is having more time to serve our overlords, or watch TV. The benefit of having CRISPR is controlling our own security, prosperity, and felicity.
Somewhere in the Old Testament there's a verse along the lines of 'I offer you life or death, for you to choose.' CRISPR is life.