Will Wilkinson has dismissed Justin Barnard’s recent piece in Public Discourse (of which I am managing editor) by mocking Barnard’s academic affiliation with a stiff mix of elite credential-checking and anti-religious prejudice.
Setting those matters aside, I can’t blame Will Wilkinson for wanting a world in which human bodies can be treated more and more like machines that need to be calibrated for maximum efficiency. Wilkinson’s essentially economic viewpoint sees man as a producer and consumer actualized by choice and validated by his productivity.
CEDs are the perfect pills for a society that has trouble assigning value on any basis other than productivity. They do for work what the pill did for sex: free it from the constraints of human life. Work will become detached from a larger framework of rest, nutrition and leisure. This imperative is already pervasive on college campuses. During my not-too-distant days on campus I had several friends who took Adderall and others aptly-named study drugs. The chemical tools of the ’60s counterculture have been commandeered by the elite to squeeze more work out of the youths they were supposed to liberate. Opium ended up being the opiate of the masses, and escape became enslavement. We have now reached the point where we would actually have a richer view of human experience if we returned to the days of recreational drug use.
(cross-posted at EA)