Should the State Administer Drugs To Control Minds Or Attitudes?

There is a lot of talk of ‘Wrong Think’ just recently, what with James Damore being outed from Google and the alternative social media platform app Gab.Ai being deselected from the Google Play Store. There are many comparisons with Orwell’s 1984 and many obvious parallels with modern day living and dystopian SciFi. The oft-quoted 1984, The Matrix, Fahrenheit 451 and so on. But Brave New World was suddenly brought to mind when a news item caught my eye the other day.

Brave New World was written by English author Aldous Huxley. He was born 26th July 1894 and lived until 22nd November 1963, a short while before the summer of love in 1967. He wrote nearly fifty books, the most famous and well known being Brave New World. It is set in a dystopian future where citizens live in a consumerist world and live a hedonistic lifestyle where they experience the ‘feelies’ and take a feel-good drug called soma (a state provided drug that induces forgetfulness,).

Actually, it is not that dissimilar to the world we find ourselves in today. The point of note in the book is the state uses science to create a ‘happy’ seamless world. It talks of the progress of science. But when we break that down, the state is actually promoting betterment through technology, not science per se. Not advocating exploring through scientific logic and principles but more using tech to maintain a status quo. One of the basic scientific principles is to question phenomena, the environment, cause and effect. That sort of thing.

Here is the article that caught my attention.

The study, originally published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and later reported by Science Daily, involved 183 subjects, each given 50 euros which they could donate to either migrants or locals in need.

Researchers from the University of Bonn, the University of Lübeck and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in the U.S. were “surprised” to discover that people donated around 20 per cent more to migrants than to needy locals to begin with, and when drugged with oxytocin — the so-called ‘love hormone’ — participants already well-disposed to migrants gave even more generously. [Breitbart News]

In fact after dosing was supported by peer pressure, i.e. participants were shown how generous others were, the generosity went up to a staggering 74%! A Professor at the university’s Department of Psychiatry commented that the combination of drugs and peer pressure would be able to change ‘selfish’ motives. 

Well, leaving aside the fact that an estimated 1.2 million migrants had come to Germany at the end of 2016 and only 3% of these had found work, according to the Finance Ministry. Plus the upswing of crime and terrorism by 54% as revealed recently by the Heritage Foundation, one could reasonably question the Professor citing selfish motives. It doesn’t seem selfish to any community spirited person who has paid into the public funds, via tax, to then be expected to fund such a large amount of non-contributors, as well as be at greater risk to exposure to crime as a direct result of this.

In a poll published last week (11th August) by broadcaster ZDF, found that 70% of those polled believe Germany cannot handle the rate of inward migration. The research institute Civey said that 69.8% of Germans do not feel the migrants rescued as legitimate refugees. This seems to show the sentiment of the Germans polled, and by a large margin too.

No, there is a moral dimension to this as well. Should the state use drugs to change its peoples minds? Let’s be clear here. We are not talking about health. The German people are not suffering from a disease or general malaise that is affecting the population as a whole. This is not like fluoride being dosed in to tap water to reduce dental decay or an annual flu jab, although their efficacy may quite reasonably be questioned, perhaps in another blog article.

The point I am making here is one of morals and ethics. The academics are saying that drugs can be used to change attitudes. At what point does free will and cognition cease to be an individual’s choice? And if the academics and, by extension, the state, change this behaviour what else would they like to change? And to whose benefit? This is the scenario alluded to in the dystopian novels mentioned above and the degree of free will being surrendered, I feel, needs to be questioned. It appears that a modern equivalent of soma is being advocated and it may not be beneficial, except from a governmental perspective. And worryingly, it may not stop there.

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