Conquering the Dismissal of Human Rights

I was recently having a conversation with a young friend who is in his first year of college studying biology. I was reading aloud an article recently published in The New Yorker discussing the possibility of rewiring a mosquitoe’s DNA to lessen the chance that the insect could carry harmful diseases, such as malaria or Zika. My friend purported that altering an insects DNA could have unforseen impacts on an ecosystem, and therefore was too risky. I argued that the risk may be worth all of the human lives that could be saved. He then proceeded to lament to me about problems that we are having around the world due to over-population. Overall, he seemed to be suggesting that mosquiotes having the about to carry deadly diseases is a good thing. I retorted with, “that’s easy to say when it’s not your family getting malaria.”

It got me thinking more personally about people around the world, and how easy it is to lump everyone you don’t know in the category “strangers I don’t give a fuck about”. Yes, people die all day every day and no, we don’t have the emotional energy to expend deeply caring about each and every case. But I think that in terms of humanity as a whole, it would be incredibly helpful if we at least remember people’s families. Remembering that every person is a mother or father, son or daughter, brother or sister, aunt or uncle or cousin or godfather or what have you — this is to help us remember that although we don’t personally care about that person, someone does care.

In Gandalf’s wise words: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”