Are adult criminals bred of bad seed and guilty ovum? Are infants born guilty? Is there such a thing as a natural proclivity for the “Infant Criminal” born of color and of poverty that is set, from the day of first breath, to destroy society and its conceits as a rite of birth?
This matter of born-guilty children was raised in a recent Urban Semiotic article called A Badge, a Blood and Orange Bloodshed and the comments at the end of that article became so heated that some of the commenters never came back here again.
Why is there such a need to blame the baby after it grows into the behavior of the adult?
The BBC recently reported there’s a move afoot in the UK to brand “menacing” babies early in their lives so they cannot later disrupt society:
Mr Blair said it was possible to spot the families whose circumstances made it likely their children would grow up to be a “menace to society”. He said teenage mums and problem families could be forced to take help to head off difficulties. He said the government had to intervene much earlier to prevent
problems developing when children were older.
In an article titled, Is Chemistry Destiny?, New York Times writer David Brooks reports:
Now, it is generally believed, our behavior is powerfully influenced by genes and hormones. Our temperaments are shaped by whether we happened to be born with the right mix of chemicals.
Consciousness has come to be seen as this relatively weak driver, riding atop an organ, the brain, it scarcely understands. When we read that male voles with longer vasopressin genes are more likely to remain monogamous, it seems plausible that so fundamental a quality could be tied to some discrete bit of biology.
This shift in how we see human behavior is bound to have huge effects.
Freudianism encouraged people to think about destroying inhibitions. This new understanding both validates ancient stereotypes about the sexes, and fuzzes up moral judgments about human responsibility (biology inclines individuals toward certain virtues and vices).
If we are genetically marked to behave in certain way, should we be finding methods to better identify and prosecute and incarcerate infants — or even mothers bearing “rotten fetuses” — that science and technology reveal to be
“Bad Seeds” in uteri?