a) Different projects or proposals of law concerning genetic manipulation are now being discussed. One thing in these discussions is immediately striking; appeal is made once again to the tactic of dispensation. They quibble in order to define the condition under which they can evade the law which pretends to assure protection to the embryo.
On the level of principles, these discussions do not differ fundamentally from those that preceded the legalization of abortion. In any case, they attest, more clearly than ever, the fascination that the culture of death exercises. The right of a human being to life, from its most secret beginnings, is more and more dependent on a procedural decision. This decision is taken by laboratory technicians disposed to regard as moral all possible manipulations.
The fascination with death appears here in all its aspects. From its embryonic stage, the human individual is not considered to have any dignity of himself; he doesn't command respect. This denied acknowledgment operates, first of all, on the practical level then on the theoretical -- for the practitioners are anxious to fabricate legitimizing theories. From its most hidden origins, the life of the human being is under a suspended sentence; the embryo is totally disposable. As Professor Jerome Lejeune remarked, the embryo is treated like a product of the human body; it is placed on the same level as the egg or spermatozoa, though it is already a newly produced human being.
The future of this being is hypothetical in the strict sense of the word: The eventual outcome of this future is totally subordinated to the quality recognized or not in the embryo, or in the usefulness it offers.
b) This double criterion -- quality, usefulness -- is one of the major expressions of the morality of lord, that is, of a master before his slave. The master believes that, because he is capable of arousing life, he is justified in dealing death. This lordly morality, whose Hegelian source we have noted, considers the supreme expression of the liberty of the finite being who is man to consist in exercising a mastery as total as possible over life and death.
This "lordly mastery" over life is expressed in various ways.
First of all it gives rise to a cellular cannibalism, a condition preliminary to reconstruction by the manipulator of a being who will be, in rigorous terms, the incarnation of his very own project.
Then it gives rise to a histological cannibalism which -- while awaiting other uses -- has recourse to the brain tissue of aborted fetuses, which is grafted, for example, on to patients suffering from Parkinson's disease.
It still gives rise to "academic" or "scientific" cannibalism in the sense that the human being will be manipulated, ground up, immolated on the altar of scientific research -- all done under the aegis of academic freedom totally liberated from any moral reference, and not having to answer to anybody.
Finally, it gives rise to a technicalized eugenicism, compared to which the eugenicism of history was but pathetic mumbling. This eugenicism, with its frightening performance, opens to the practitioners of ultra-Nazism the horizon of a reckless scientific segregation. In effect, the typology of selection and discrimination is totally at the discretion of the manipulators.