Yeah, the picture above is real, in fact taken by yours truly in my very own neighborhood grocery store. For those of you who make your own TikTok videos or think Demi Lovato is a thought leader, this reference may need some explanation. Back in the early 1970’s, a thoroughly depressing sci-fi film called “Soylent Green,” starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson, depicted a society so overcrowded it was consuming itself – literally. Protestors, vagrants, and those welcomed into special suicide wards were all collected and sent to processing plants to be recycled into the eponymous food bars. So I took the above to be an example of impressively horrible marketing. A chef relative of mine did some digging, and discovered this: “Our founders named the product Soylent, in homage to the novel ‘Make Room!’ by Harry Harrison…that explores population growth and the world resources (Yes, we know that there is a Hollywood adaptation of the book that involves people).” “Involves.”
Okay, so that’s a funny aside that is just poetic license, or dark irony. It’s not like we would ever tolerate processing humans as a commodity.
Even if a bioethicist named Matthew Liao has been out there rattling around since at least 2012, arguing in favor of reengineering humans as a way to fight climate change. In ‘Human Engineering and Climate Change’, Liao argues “for the use of radical biomedical interventions on humans so as to create people who are literally physiologically-environmentally-friendly.
These biomedical interventions involve three approaches: a voluntary eugenics program against tall people, inducing intolerance towards dietary-meat, and radically lowering birth rates by altering women’s cognitive abilities.”
While I could certainly do with a lot fewer people on a voluntary basis, we are on real war crime-footing with this one: “As for inducing dietary-meat intolerance, Liao argues that the reason this is necessary is because livestock farming accounts for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. To offset this, Liao proposes measures to make humans allergic to meat, like stimulating the immune system against common bovine proteins, which would prime the immune system to act against these proteins, so that consuming meat would induce unpleasant experiences.” Anyone trying to come between me and the 16-oz medium rare ribeye I gleefully gorged on last night is evil incarnate.
Of course, this stuff is ridiculous, and has no place on blog about “Authentic Medicine.” It’s not like physicians would accept and promote medically unnecessary, quite possibly morally objectionable technologies just to adapt to social pressures, right?
It’s not like we would treat eating disorders by radical, permanent disordering of the digestive tract, leaving the altered with a plethora of chronic health problems from anemia to recurrent pancreatitis, and a permanently deprived sense of self-achievement.
It’s not like we would ever create a fertility industry, feeding people’s genetic narcissism by hyperstimulation resulting in needlessly high-risk multiple-gestation pregnancies (And what to do with the leftover embryos? There’s one for bioethicists with if they can take a break from solving less defined calamities).
It’s not like we would treat mind-body gender dysmorphia with hormonal and surgical mutilation, just to assuage the feelings of a society too cowardly to offer real compassion for tortured psychiatric conditions.
The scary part about this Mengele 2.0 and his kind is that their truly awful ideas are seen as just that…until they aren’t. The medical community rejects screwing around where it ought not, until someone invents a way to, funding and media follow, then aggrieved support groups make noise, and finally there is irresistible momentum toward a bad outcome. Maybe fertility treatments made sense for young couples having trouble conceiving (who could afford it!). But before you knew it, the technology created the Octomom, flooding the local pediatrician with an entire brood, at least half of which will undoubtedly end up on ADHD meds if they’re lucky. Along with fantastic, even miraculous new interventional and pharmacological technologies, medical schools and residency programs for all their blather about medical ethics and cursory classes, have internalized some pretty iffy stuff as well. This is later promoted by specialty boards and the politically corrupted organized medicine, until the individual physician who questions the newest conventional wisdom is damned as an apostate. The AMA, AAFP, et al that repackages trendy political/cultural topics as “medical” can be pressured into seriously considering absurd ideas from fruitcake academics. My point is that for all of its ongoing advances, the next truly bad idea in medicine is always right around the corner, and we should all be prepared to resist it. We are already allowing dishonest, harmful things in medicine, and should be terrified of engineering humans to serve the collective, especially if it interferes with enjoying a nice steak.
As Heston chillingly screamed while they carted his broken body off-camera,” You gotta tell ‘em…!”