In our very commendable concern to give equal consideration and respect to every member of our community, and to avoid the least appearance of bias against those with disabilities, we are in danger of going to what is a truly absurd conclusion: that the abilities we have–to hear, to see, to walk, to speak, to understand and reflect upon information given to us–are of no value. We must not deny the obvious truth that most people, disabled or not, would prefer to be without disabilities. There may be some members of the Deaf community and some people with achondroplasia who disagree, and of course there are many people with intellectual disabilities who are incapable of expressing an opinion, but to the best of my knowledge advocates for people in wheelchairs accept that they would be better off if they could walk; at least I am not aware of them ever calling for governments to stop wasting their taxes by supporting research into ways of overcoming paralysis.
The third and in my view most significant ground for objecting to a genetic supermarket is its threat to the ideal of equality of opportunity. John Schaar has written: “No policy formula is better designed to fortify the dominant institutions, values, and ends of the American social order than the formula of equality of opportunity, for it offers everyone a fair and equal chance to find a place within that order.” It is, of course, something of a myth to believe that equality of opportunity prevails in the United States, because wealthy parents already give their children enormous advantages in the race for success. Nevertheless, the Ron’s Angels slogal of “beauty and brains to the highest bidder” points to a future in which the rich have beautiful, brainy, healthy children while the poor, stuck with the old genetic lottery, fall further and further behind.