For you see, Jakob's case is the easy one for us. We understand how we feel about toxoplasmosis, an invading organism that attacked our precious boy while he was still in the womb. We don't hate the organism for the "end result," of course: Our son is just fine the way he is, thank you very much. The fact that Jakob does not see very well and has poor coordination is about as significant to our relationship as the fact that I can't dunk a basketball or win a chess match against any reasonably proficient player. We hate toxoplasmosis and want it abolished from the earth only because of the pain and trauma it has caused our son, not because it has diminished him.
But how are we to feel about Jane's bipolar disorder? That's built into who she is, just as Down Syndrome is built into Pastor Robison's children. We're not going to pray that our daughter be reinvented on the fly. That is a disgusting thought. I would love to see her suffer less, however.
A world without people like Helen Keller, or like Jane and Jakob, would be an impoverished world indeed. May I never live to see it. But what kind of world can I expect to see? Whither are we tending? I have my own reading of the tea leaves, my own decoding of the genome, and I don't like what I see.
Occasionally somebody will timidly approach, as if I had the plague or something, and ask for a flyer. I'll hand them a copy of a review from Slashdot or Kuro5hin or Salon.
"You got reviewed in Salon? I thought you were some kind of crackpot."
"Yes, I know," I say. "I am."
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