In a 2008 paper titled, “Fluoride and the Future: Population Level Cognitive Enhancement,” Oxford bioethics professor Julian Savulescu claims that water fluoridation may be key to the “future of humanity.” He argues that “fluoridation may not merely be about tooth decay… [but] the drive to be better.”
Drugging the population’s water supply, Savulescu claims, is a form of “enhancement” that can pave the way to a future where mental abilities and other functions could be improved with drugs. Savulescu writes:
Fluoridation is the tip of the enhancement iceberg. Science is progressing fast to develop safe and effective cognitive enhancers, drugs which will improve our mental abilities. For years, people have used crude enhancers, usually to promote wakefulness, like nicotine, caffeine and amphetamines. A new generation of more effective enhancers is emerging modafenil, ritalin, Adderral and ampakines and the piracetam family of memory improvers.
But once highly safe and effective cognitive enhancers are developed – as they almost surely will be – the question will arise whether they should be added to the water, like fluoride, or our cereals, like folate. It seems likely that widespread population level cognitive enhancement will be irresistible.