Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Members of both parties have introduced to Congress a bill that would ban "genetic discrimination". Don't look for our President to veto it, either. He called for such legislation recently in a speech before the National Institutes of Health.
The bill would prohibit employers from using genetic information about an employee's predispositions for certain medical conditions when making hiring, firing or job placement decisions. The bill's proponents paint fears about a world in which genetic risks for certain medical condition will lock people out of jobs. A world where your uncontrollable physical characteristics can keep you out of certain jobs sounds scary. But that is until you realize that we've always lived in that world. You won't find people the size of hobbits in the NBA, and you won't find people with below average IQs as Ivy League college professors (OK, OK, well, not many).And what the bill's proponents do not do is get the picture of what the proper function of government is: namely, the protection of individual rights.
No one has the "right" to a job or service provided by someone else, to set the price another will get for providing a service, to force someone not to avail himself of the best information available when making a decision, or to force someone to do business with someone he does not wish to.
Unfortunately, this bill ignores exactly these things as it threatens the ability of every employer and every insurer to make rational decisions about whom he will do business with.