Contra Mozilla

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lithium and Technical Solutions

David Warren's excellent anti-blog has a post of sorts about the question of finding a good technical solution to the age-old moral problem of happiness--well, self-satisfaction, at least:
Today, after the discovery of how useful lithium can be in helping to settle “bipolar” and similar psychiatric cases, the proposal to add it methodically to the water supply, along with fluoride, is coming into vogue. It may soon be a “progressive” cause, such that no one will be asked to vote on it. What better way to deal with a general population which, thanks to the success of other progressive causes, is now going insane?... 
There is, of course, a little problem with lithium as a catch-all cure for ambient mental illness, for while the “don’t worry be happy” response to increased lithium doses is a commonplace of current psychiatric medicine, it does not have the same effect on all customers. Some, reasonably tame before, flip right out upon receiving it. Others are inspired to feel better about themselves while committing major crimes. Yet the prevailing statistical utilitarianism continues to insist on “the greatest good for the greatest number,” and it is the presumption of modern technology that exceptional cases may be overlooked.
And therein lies a limit of sorts to the usefulness of science as a solution to all the world's problems.

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