Another Glass Of Wine, Sir?

by Jeremy Hetherington-Gore

It's not worrying that researchers have now located at least one neural pattern associated with pedophilia, but it raises the thorny issue of how far it is legitimate to go in terms of 're-engineering' the human brain to make it conform to some idealized model.

Of course even most pedophiles would prefer to be different, and most would presumably opt for treatment if the hypothalamus could be chemically tweaked to cure their condition; but should they be forced into it? Society has worked itself into such a fever over pedophilia that it is all too easy to imagine legislators and judges imposing such treatments.

Society's current list of hate conditions which it would like to 'cure' includes also smoking, drinking, drug-taking, obesity, violence and aggression. All of these conditions will no doubt yield to research eventually (much work has already been reported on the neural correlates of drinking, for instance).

So, when your great grand-child is five, will she be inspected, neurologically speaking, for the patterns associated with these tendencies, and given appropriate implants to stem them? Or will her embryo have been genetically modified to remove them before birth?

I have never killed anyone and my sexual proclivities are very normal, as far as I can tell; but I have enormously enjoyed smoking and drinking. I stopped smoking 25 years ago, but I watch the anti-smoker pogrom now taking place in Europe with horror. And some amusement, to be fair: it is ludicrous to see that all pubs and restaurants are building 'rooms' on the sidewalk or in their gardens with awnings, halogen heaters, etc, in order to defeat the anti-smoking laws. The streets are full of cigarette ends which used to be collected in ashtrays indoors. Skirts will probably lengthen this winter as girls tog up against the outdoors and hats will come back into fashion.

Anyway, I am just pleased to have had my nicotine fun while it was still allowed, and probably I will be able to keep on enjoying too much red wine during my dotage before 'they' make it a crime! Sorry about you children, though.



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