by Silviu “Silview” Costinescu Please support there work.
Every day I woke up hoping to find out Covidiocracy was but a nightmare, and every day I discover Humanity is more degenerated than I previously thought.
What you are about to read… I couldn’t conceive presenting this to people even as a dark joke, but a reputed American ethics professor and a publication called “The Conversation” think this is feature-worthy.
Fifty years ago, Anthony Burgess wrote “A Clockwork Orange,” a futuristic novel about a vicious gang leader who undergoes a procedure that makes him incapable of violence. Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 movie version sparked a discussion in which many argued that we could never be justified in depriving someone of his free will, no matter how gruesome the violence that would thereby be prevented. No doubt any proposal to develop a morality pill would encounter the same objection.New York Times, 2011
This was published one day prior to this article and I’m not going to comment much on it because you can’t handle it if I start, probably even I can’t. Just read what these people put out and the functional literates will be able to pull enough lessons from this.
The author is Parker Crutchfield, Associate Professor of Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law, Western Michigan University.
I have just one detail to highlight: The Conversation cites Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as “strategic partner”.
And now the original article as of August 10th, 2020:
‘Morality pills’ may be the US’s best shot at ending the coronavirus pandemic, according to one ethicist
A PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCE TO MAKE YOU ACT IN EVERYONE’S BEST INTEREST?
“COVID-19 is a collective risk. It threatens everyone, and we all must cooperate to lower the chance that the coronavirus harms any one individual. Among other things, that means keeping safe social distances and wearing masks. But many people choose not to do these things, making spread of infection more likely.
When someone chooses not to follow public health guidelines around the coronavirus, they’re defecting from the public good. It’s the moral equivalent of the tragedy of the commons: If everyone shares the same pasture for their individual flocks, some people are going to graze their animals longer, or let them eat more than their fair share, ruining the commons in the process. Selfish and self-defeating behavior undermines the pursuit of something from which everyone can benefit.
Democratically enacted enforceable rules – mandating things like mask wearing and social distancing – might work, if defectors could be coerced into adhering to them. But not all states have opted to pass them or to enforce the rules that are in place.
My research in bioethics focuses on questions like how to induce those who are noncooperative to get on board with doing what’s best for the public good. To me, it seems the problem of coronavirus defectors could be solved by moral enhancement: like receiving a vaccine to beef up your immune system, people could take a substance to boost their cooperative, pro-social behavior. Could a psychoactive pill be the solution to the pandemic?
It’s a far-out proposal that’s bound to be controversial, but one I believe is worth at least considering, given the importance of social cooperation in the struggle to get COVID-19 under control.
Public goods games show scale of the problem
Evidence from experimental economics shows that defections are common to situations in which people face collective risks. Economists use public goods games to measure how people behave in various scenarios to lower collective risks such as from climate change or a pandemic and to prevent the loss of public and private goods.
The evidence from these experiments is no cause for optimism. Usually everyone loses because people won’t cooperate. This research suggests it’s not surprising people aren’t wearing masks or social distancing – lots of people defect from groups when facing a collective risk. By the same token, I’d expect that, as a group, we will fail at addressing the collective risk of COVID-19, because groups usually fail. For more than 150,000 Americans so far, this has meant losing everything there is to lose.
But don’t abandon all hope. In some of these experiments, the groups win and successfully prevent the losses associated with the collective risk. What makes winning more likely? Things like keeping a running tally of what others are contributing, observing others’ behaviors, communication and coordination before and during play, and democratic implementation of an enforceable rule requiring contributions.
For those of us in the United States, these conditions are out of reach when it comes to COVID-19. You can’t know what others are contributing to the fight against the coronavirus, especially if you socially distance yourself. It’s impossible to keep a running tally of what the other 328 million people in the U.S. are doing. And communication and coordination are not feasible outside of your own small group.
Even if these factors were achievable, they still require the very cooperative behavior that’s in short supply. The scale of the pandemic is simply too great for any of this to be possible.
Promoting cooperation with moral enhancement
It seems that the U.S. is not currently equipped to cooperatively lower the risk confronting us. Many are instead pinning their hopes on the rapid development and distribution of an enhancement to the immune system – a vaccine.
But I believe society may be better off, both in the short term as well as the long, by boosting not the body’s ability to fight off disease but the brain’s ability to cooperate with others. What if researchers developed and delivered a moral enhancer rather than an immunity enhancer?
Moral enhancement is the use of substances to make you more moral. The psychoactive substances act on your ability to reason about what the right thing to do is, or your ability to be empathetic or altruistic or cooperative.
For example, oxytocin, the chemical that, among other things, can induce labor or increase the bond between mother and child, may cause a person to be more empathetic and altruistic, more giving and generous. The same goes for psilocybin, the active component of “magic mushrooms.” These substances have been shown to lower aggressive behavior in those with antisocial personality disorder and to improve the ability of sociopaths to recognize emotion in others.
These substances interact directly with the psychological underpinnings of moral behavior; others that make you more rational could also help. Then, perhaps, the people who choose to go maskless or flout social distancing guidelines would better understand that everyone, including them, is better off when they contribute, and rationalize that the best thing to do is cooperate.
Moral enhancement as an alternative to vaccines
There are of course pitfalls to moral enhancement.
One is that the science isn’t developed enough. For example, while oxytocin may cause some people to be more pro-social, it also appears to encourage ethnocentrism, and so is probably a bad candidate for a widely distributed moral enhancement. But this doesn’t mean that a morality pill is impossible. The solution to the underdeveloped science isn’t to quit on it, but to direct resources to related research in neuroscience, psychology or one of the behavioral sciences.
Another challenge is that the defectors who need moral enhancement are also the least likely to sign up for it. As some have argued, a solution would be to make moral enhancement compulsory or administer it secretly, perhaps via the water supply. These actions require weighing other values. Does the good of covertly dosing the public with a drug that would change people’s behavior outweigh individuals’ autonomy to choose whether to participate? Does the good associated with wearing a mask outweigh an individual’s autonomy to not wear one?
The scenario in which the government forces an immunity booster upon everyone is plausible. And the military has been forcing enhancements like vaccines or “uppers” upon soldiers for a long time. The scenario in which the government forces a morality booster upon everyone is far-fetched. But a strategy like this one could be a way out of this pandemic, a future outbreak or the suffering associated with climate change. That’s why we should be thinking of it now.”
You may say to yourself this is an accident, an isolated voice, whatever… it’s not. The article was republished by a ton of mainstream media outlets, from Foreign Affairs to Yahoo!
The system is backing the concept.
What The Hack are “Morality Pills” Anyway, You May Ask
Researchers say morality treatments could be used instead of prison and might even help humanity tackle global issuesThe Guardian, April 2011
Yes, you read correctly, this is prison in a pill, prison for the mind, and the ethics professor finds it ethical to treat all mask-opposition as convicts.
<<Ruud ter Meulen, chair in ethics in medicine and director of the centre for ethics in medicine at the University of Bristol, warned that while some drugs can improve moral behaviour, other drugs – and sometimes the same ones – can have the opposite effect.
“While Oxytocin makes you more likely to trust and co-operate with others in your social group, it reduces empathy for those outside the group,” Meulen said.
The use of deep brain stimulation, used to help those with Parkinson’s disease, has had unintended consequences, leading to cases where patients begin stealing from shops and even becoming sexually aggressive, he added.
“Basic moral behaviour is to be helpful to others, feel responsible to others, have a sense of solidarity and sense of justice,” he said. “I’m not sure that drugs can ever achieve this. But there’s no question that they can make us more likeable, more social, less aggressive, more open attitude to other people,” he said.
Meulen also suggested that moral-enhancement drugs might be used in the criminal justice system. “These drugs will be more effective in prevention and cure than prison,” he said>>, according to The Guardian.
If you have my type of ethics and morals, you’re probably very sickened and angered and it takes time for judgement to cool off and ask the practical question:
If these are mainstream media reports of 2011, how long have Covidiocracy and the planetary Auschwitz been in the making though?
Long enough, answers New York Times in an 2011 issue:
“Why are some people prepared to risk their lives to help a stranger when others won’t even stop to dial an emergency number?
Scientists have been exploring questions like this for decades. In the 1960s and early ’70s, famous experiments by Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo suggested that most of us would, under specific circumstances, voluntarily do great harm to innocent people. During the same period, John Darley and C. Daniel Batson showed that even some seminary students on their way to give a lecture about the parable of the Good Samaritan would, if told that they were running late, walk past a stranger lying moaning beside the path. More recent research has told us a lot about what happens in the brain when people make moral decisions. But are we getting any closer to understanding what drives our moral behavior?”
But if our brain’s chemistry does affect our moral behavior, the question of whether that balance is set in a natural way or by medical intervention will make no difference in how freely we act. If there are already biochemical differences between us that can be used to predict how ethically we will act, then either such differences are compatible with free will, or they are evidence that at least as far as some of our ethical actions are concerned, none of us have ever had free will anyway. In any case, whether or not we have free will, we may soon face new choices about the ways in which we are willing to influence behavior for the better.New York Times, 2011
“The infamous Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments showed that given the right circumstances, most of us act monstrously. Indeed, given pretty mundane circumstances, most of us will act pretty callously, hustling past people in urgent need in simply to avoid the hassle. But not all of us do this. Some folks do the right thing anyway, even when it’s not easy. Singer and Sagan speculate that something special must be going on in those peoples’ brains. So maybe we can figure out what that is and put it in a pill!
If continuing brain research does in fact show biochemical differences between the brains of those who help others and the brains of those who do not, could this lead to a “morality pill” — a drug that makes us more likely to help?
The answer is: no. And I think the question invites confusion. Morality is not exhausted by helping. Anyway, help do what?
Singer is perhaps the world’s most famous utilitarian, so maybe he’s got “help people feel more pleasure and less pain” in mind. Since utilitarianism is monomaniacally focused on how people feel, it can be tempting for utilitarians to see sympathy and the drive to ease suffering as the principal moral sentiments. But utilitarianism does not actually prescribe that we should be motivated to minimize suffering and maximize happiness. It tells us to do whatever minimizes suffering and maximizes happiness. It’s possible that wanting to help and trying to help doesn’t much help in this sense.”
“Clearly, the science behind moral drugs has some credibility. It seems possible that one day we’ll live in a strange utopian or dystopian world that takes morality pills. But until that day comes, we’ll have to try being good on our own.”Michael Cuthbertson, THE UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN, September 14, 2011
The only glimpse of reason from an ethics professional I found came as late as 2017, and THAT’s an accident, as opposed to the media onslaught that has just re-started on the topic.
“There’s nothing moral about a morality pill. We can’t even agree on what morality requires, so designing a morality pill is a conceptually impossible task”, writes Daniel Munro, who teaches ethics in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.
Professor Munro shows that two different “morality pills” induced opposite reactions in test subjects.
Then which one is the morality pill?
“We could have different pills—lorazepam for consequentialists, citalopram for Kantians, and something else for Aristotelians—but this would amplify, not resolve, moral disagreement. In short, if we can’t agree on what morality requires, then designing a morality pill is a conceptually impossible task.”
Munro’s impeccable demonstration won’t stop anything, though, because Covidiocracy has never been about the common or individual good, but about domination. And domination ends when submission ends.