Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age<br> By Bill McKibben. | Henry Holt. $25.


Asked to name “the most technologically sophisticated people on this continent,” few would short-list the Amish. But Mother Jones contributing writer Bill McKibben praises these considered Americans in Enough, his rumination on science and selfhood. McKibben doesn’t want his readers to drive buggies, but he does want to slow the “all-out race to technologize” that has gripped the Western world. He admires the Amish for eschewing technologies that threaten their community’s cohesion, while embracing others (say, mechanical manure spreaders) that prove useful tools.

The Amish show that “technological discrimination” is still “within the realm of human possibility.” And Enough argues that we need such powers of discernment, now more than ever, as we face innovations — cloning, genetic engineering — that challenge our very understanding of humanity.

In the opening chapter, McKibben recounts his elation at pushing his physical limitations to complete a marathon. But what if those limitations ceased to exist — if his genetically engineered great-grandson could run 26 miles without difficulty? Enough asks simply, earnestly whether better race times (or longer life spans, higher IQs, more symmetrical jawlines) will, in fact, make us better people.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.