Regulating Genetic Engineering and Border Control

I’m not going to tell you what your politics should be concerning Genetic Engineering and Border Control… what I am going to tell you is that politically the two topics are identical.

Should a person be able to import snakes if they want them? An importer could easily let the snakes escape and lose control of them. This would have a huge impact on others that do not consent to the importing of snakes.

In the same way, because GE is self replicating and transferable, Genetically engineered organisms could easily escape from controlled environments into the wild. This would have an impact on people who do not consent to GE.

To be consistent you have to be for unregulated borders and unregulated GE or; for regulated borders and regulated GE.

If you are for one and against the other then you have contradictory political views.

10 thoughts on “Regulating Genetic Engineering and Border Control”

  1. Libertarians will argue that laws which protect Property rights are how such matters ought to be ‘regulated’ in a free society.
    Ie Anyone who import’s snakes must take sufficient measures to insure the snakes remain safely on their property, or face prosecution.
    The same with GE organisms.
    The penalties could be quite severe.

  2. The severity of penalties would be irrelevant. Without regulation there would be no chance of being caught for releasing a damaging organism into the environment.

  3. Fear is not a legitimate basis for Legislation/ prohibition Reed.
    The Idea of having 100% elimination of all hazards is also absurd.
    And there are Non-coercive/ libertarian means of applying social pressure to move society away from undesirable behaviors and promoting good behavior instead.
    Eg you could start a movement whereby all members refuse to buy snakes from people whom have not chipped them, thus making chipping an economic/ social expedient.
    Chipping would make any animals found in the wild tracible to people whom could then be prosecuted.
    You could also run a lobby that exposed horticulturalists whom run risky GE operations, food companies who donā€™t label their products etc so that good practices become economically essential/ expedient too.
    This is just a few example of how to ā€˜regulateā€™ our society without laws.
    Keeping the Government strictly within its libertarian just powers.
    That some people will find my suggestions ā€˜childish/nieveā€™ is really a testimony to how thoroughly entrenched they are in Political coercion as a means to achieve socially desirable endsā€¦ how quick they are to abandon Libertarian principles and employ draconian powersā€¦ out of fear.

  4. Tim
    I gather you are for unregulated borders and unregulated GE – by my argument you don’t have a contradiction.

    Fear and eliminating hazards are not by themselves sufficient to justify force.
    And, an alternative solution is not sufficient to invalidate a justification for using force.

    If someone’s reckless, careless or ignorant behaviour was endangering the well being of you and your family (E.G. your neighbor sets up a shooting range in his back yard, or your neighbor burns some toxic rubbish upwind) would you be justified in using force to prevent that behaviour?

  5. Reed, the NIOF principle has some wiggle room. Libertarians can justify the initiation of force if there is some “clear and present danger” or some “objective threat”.

    So, perhaps a libertarian can countenance the regulation of technologies such as GE … and AI.

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