Right of transcendence

When we look back through history, there are certain individuals who stand out. William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Virginia Woolf, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — these are among a pantheon of individuals who have, each in their way, had a positive impact on the culture of future generations.

It is now well known that genetics is mostly random, and inheritance a crap shoot. Any child born into the world might grow up to be a luminary who can positively influence the course of history and culture, if given a chance. This possibility is a sort of human birthright, which might called a “right of transcendence”.

But of course that last part is key: “if given a chance.” There is a tendency in many modern societies to systematically exclude entire groups of people, based on nonsense. This person happens to be a Jew or Muslim, that one a woman, another one has some irrelevent characteristic such as skin color, or eye shape, or sexual preference.

Unless you are a complete idiot, or are ideologically willing yourself to impersonate a complete idiot, you know that those are all smoke screens. And they are astonishingly damaging smoke screens. Somewhere, a child who was born with the genetic predisposition to be a great writer, or inventor, or philosopher, or healer, is being denied reasonable health care, or has been thrown in prison because he happened to be in the wrong place for somebody with his skin color, or is part of an entire community of children whose IQs have been lowered by lead poisoning.

I think any society that cares about its own future should recognize the right of individuals to be protected in childhood from being thrown onto the ash heap of history, and to make sure that each child is given a fair chance to become the next great contributor to his or her culture.

Is that asking too much?

One Response to “Right of transcendence”

  1. Jason Smith says:

    No. It’s not.

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