clockwork orange or just a lemon Peter Stenfelds
clockwork orange or just a lemon Peter Stenfelds
clockwork orange or just a lemon Peter Stenfelds
clockwork orange or just a lemon Peter Stenfelds

clockwork orange or just a lemon Peter Stenfelds

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  • 8/7/2019 clockwork orange or just a lemon Peter Stenfelds

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    A Clockwork Orange - Or Just A Lemon?

    Author(s): Peter SteinfelsSource: The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Apr., 1974), pp. 10-12Published by: The Hastings CenterStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3560335

    Accessed: 08/05/2010 19:23

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    ments are weakened by the inherentuncertainty of future events.The truly difficult question is ifthe Masons could morally proceedwith a pregnancy where there wasa chance of having a hemophilicchild. I think they could. Indeed,were she to believe that the possibleambiguities of a carrier test wouldaggravate the psychological burdenof the pregnancy, Ruth Masonmight justifiably even refuse thecarrier test. To refuse, she shouldbe able to justify her presumptiveright to conceive a child wherethere was a substantial risk of hav-ing an infant who would requirespecial and perhaps expensive careon a lifetime basis.

    To do this, I believe that RuthMason would need to examine someor all of the following factors: 1)her valuation of human life; 2) herpsychological ability to nurture achild who will necessarily experi-ence some suffering, both physicaland psychological; 3) her family'sresources-emotional, psychologicaland monetary-to care for thischild; 4) the possibility that herown or her husband's expectationsin having male children are incom-patible with the life style dictated byhemophilia; 5) her recognition thatsuch a child may himself have deeppsychological problems from over-protection affordedby well-meaningothers.

    ments are weakened by the inherentuncertainty of future events.The truly difficult question is ifthe Masons could morally proceedwith a pregnancy where there wasa chance of having a hemophilicchild. I think they could. Indeed,were she to believe that the possibleambiguities of a carrier test wouldaggravate the psychological burdenof the pregnancy, Ruth Masonmight justifiably even refuse thecarrier test. To refuse, she shouldbe able to justify her presumptiveright to conceive a child wherethere was a substantial risk of hav-ing an infant who would requirespecial and perhaps expensive careon a lifetime basis.

    To do this, I believe that RuthMason would need to examine someor all of the following factors: 1)her valuation of human life; 2) herpsychological ability to nurture achild who will necessarily experi-ence some suffering, both physicaland psychological; 3) her family'sresources-emotional, psychologicaland monetary-to care for thischild; 4) the possibility that herown or her husband's expectationsin having male children are incom-patible with the life style dictated byhemophilia; 5) her recognition thatsuch a child may himself have deeppsychological problems from over-protection affordedby well-meaningothers.

    To my mind, a final test for thiscouple is whether or not they cangive the prospective hemophilicchild an assurance of independentexistence, even where risks of hissafety are still apparent. If theycannot, then perhaps they ought toconsider those options which avoidhis birth. They might well decidethat sterilization is the only moralcourse open to them. Or, wishingto avoid the anxiety, costs and pos-sible guilt of an "at-risk"pregnancy,they could adopt a child, especiallyif they consider abortion morallyunacceptable.But assuming they have weighedall the factors, and could accept therisk of a "worst" outcome, I thinkthe Masons could go ahead andhave a child. I know I would. *?

    To my mind, a final test for thiscouple is whether or not they cangive the prospective hemophilicchild an assurance of independentexistence, even where risks of hissafety are still apparent. If theycannot, then perhaps they ought toconsider those options which avoidhis birth. They might well decidethat sterilization is the only moralcourse open to them. Or, wishingto avoid the anxiety, costs and pos-sible guilt of an "at-risk"pregnancy,they could adopt a child, especiallyif they consider abortion morallyunacceptable.But assuming they have weighedall the factors, and could accept therisk of a "worst" outcome, I thinkthe Masons could go ahead andhave a child. I know I would. *?

    Y

    A ClockworkOrange-O r J u s t

    A ClockworkOrange-O r J u s t

    B by PETER STEINFELSehavior control in prisonsdoes not enjoy a very favorablepress. One recent article in a largecirculation magazine warned that"psychotechnologiesare under rapiddevelopment by 'behavioral engi-neers' intent on putting Big Brotherin constant and efficient charge ofup to 25 million Americans whohave either committed crimes orseem 'likely' to do so." And laterthe same writer describes these vil-lainous "behavioral engineers" as"the technologists of a totalitarian-ism that could make those in An-

    thony Burgess' A ClockworkOrange and George Orwell's 1984look whimsically inefficientby com-parison."Are such charges justified? Orare they expressions of that oldtechnological paranoia which onceled a leading science popularizer in19th-century France to predict thatthe railroad would feminize menand suffocate women?

    Popular journalism has not beenthe only arena for concern aboutbehavior control in prisons. A num-ber of programs around the U.S.have recently been challenged bycourt actions. Probably the mostprominent was Project START(Special Treatment and Rehabilita-tive Training), a federally fundedprogram for particularly unman-ageable prisoners. Based on operantconditioning principles, the aim of

    Peter Steinfels is Associate for theHumanities, Institute of Society,Ethics and the Life Sciences.

    B by PETER STEINFELSehavior control in prisonsdoes not enjoy a very favorablepress. One recent article in a largecirculation magazine warned that"psychotechnologiesare under rapiddevelopment by 'behavioral engi-neers' intent on putting Big Brotherin constant and efficient charge ofup to 25 million Americans whohave either committed crimes orseem 'likely' to do so." And laterthe same writer describes these vil-lainous "behavioral engineers" as"the technologists of a totalitarian-ism that could make those in An-

    thony Burgess' A ClockworkOrange and George Orwell's 1984look whimsically inefficientby com-parison."Are such charges justified? Orare they expressions of that oldtechnological paranoia which onceled a leading science popularizer in19th-century France to predict thatthe railroad would feminize menand suffocate women?

    Popular journalism has not beenthe only arena for concern aboutbehavior control in prisons. A num-ber of programs around the U.S.have recently been challenged bycourt actions. Probably the mostprominent was Project START(Special Treatment and Rehabilita-tive Training), a federally fundedprogram for particularly unman-ageable prisoners. Based on operantconditioning principles, the aim of

    Peter Steinfels is Associate for theHumanities, Institute of Society,Ethics and the Life Sciences.

    this program was to alter the con-duct of especially troublesome in-mates so that they could be re-turned to the open prison popula-tion from which the referral orig-inated. Recently the Federal Bureauof Prisons announced the discon-tinuation of START, ostensibly foreconomic reasons, though they re-fused to rule out the establishmentof similar prison programs on avoluntary basis. Shortly thereafterthe House Subcommittee on Courts,Civil Liberties and the Administra-tion of Justice opened hearings onthe extent of behavior modificationprograms in federal prisons. Calledto testify were Norman A. Carlson,Director of the Bureau of Prisons,and Dr. Martin Groder, designateddirector of a new federal facility atButner, North Carolina, which ismandated to conduct research intonew rehabilitation techniques (andwhich is also under court chal-lenge). Whether the subcommitteewill hold further hearings is not yetknown; the chances are good thatit will.

    Institute ConferenceSome perspective on this contro-versy was provided by a conferencesponsored last December by the In-stitute's Behavior Control Research

    Group. Participants included repre-sentatives from START and theButner research center, as well asfrom Patuxent, a Maryland stateprison orga