Log Cabin Chronicles

Lamb Separation delayed not necessarily separation denied

Quebec's separatists must be ecstatic today, now that Scots scientists have discovered how to produce an infinite number of dyed-in-the-wool French-speaking Québécois who will be ready to vote Oui as soon as they turn 18.

Appropriately, the first viable cloned being is a lamb as in, like a lamb to slaughter, or, given Quebec's historic Catholicism, Blood of the Lamb.

Quebecers no longer replace themselves every generation La Belle Province has one of the lowest birthrates in the industrialized world. The gene pool of the original French-speaking Québécois is shrinking. To keep their numbers up they must recruit from the Francophonie, that group of nations whose primary language is French.

But apart from France the mother country and Belgium part French, part Dutch the immigrants come from small, poor places like Haiti and Vietnam and Burkina Faso. Needless to say, both the complexion and the cultural values of many of the new immigrants is not that of pure laine (pure wool) Québécois extolled by the political Tiny Brains.

Actually, the Tiny Brains accept ethnics-of-color, as long as they become separatists and vote the Parti Québécois line. Bad ethnics are federalist ethnics, those who feel Canadian.

Of course, Scientist Ian Wilmut and his research team at Scotland's Roslin Institute didn't have in mind producing a small army of Jacques Parizeaus or Lucien Bouchards when they fused two cells from two different ewes, then implanted the cell into a third ewe's womb. No, they were trying to produce a cloned animal that could be beneficial to the world in production of "health-care products."

Which they did, as the world has learned. They call the lamb Dolly.

Indeed, Wilmut says he is opposed to creating cloned humans: "Any kind of manipulation with human embryos should be prohibited."

But others see the first successful animal cloning in a different light.

"I could see it going on surreptitiously," says Professor Lori Andrews of Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is a legal academic who specializes in reproductive tissues.

"There's no way to stop it," says Dr. Lee Silver, a Princeton University biologist. "Borders don't matter."

"The genie is out of the bottle," says Dr. Ronald Munson, a medical ethicist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

"It's a scary new world unless we take great care," adds Medical Ethicist Margaret Somerville, director and founder of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics, and the Law at Montreal's McGill University. "It's mind-blowing."

Yes, Dolly raises all sorts of questions questions that have been dismissed in the past as science-fiction, as time-wasting speculation about things that could never be.

Would cloned human beings own their personal identities? Would they have inherent rights to their genetic memories, inherited talents? Could they sue their DNA source for genetic defects passed on, knowingly or unknowingly?

Would they have separate souls? (This does not address the questions of how new souls get in the host cells, or when, and will cloned souls have the same capacity for grace as uncloned souls?)

No matter. All that really will count is whether the clones will vote to leave Confederation and create a new unilinqual Paradise on Earth between Ontario and New Brunswick, where all the signs will be in French and there will be no visual Anglo pollution.

And nary a discouraging word in the mother tongue of Shakespeare, either.

Laissez les bons temps rouler, et

Bring on the clones....

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Copyright © 1998 John Mahoney/Log Cabin Chronicles/2.97