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re: Eugenics



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“Some people objected it to it because it involved the state, some because it involved the reduction of human life to the status of a product of manufacture, some for both reasons, some for …”

Possibly so, Ramesh.  I can tell you, though, that everyone who emails in to tell me about the horrors of eugenics–so far, without exception–raises either (a) state-sponsored eugenics (with “state” including some state-level programs of, e.g., forced sterilization here in the US), or (b) uncertainties and dangers associated with genetic intervention.  Nobody has yet raised the issue of “reduction of human life to the status of a product of manufacture.”  If anyone did, I would ask them why the ordinary kind of mate selection we humans have been engaging in for the past 100,000 years should not be placed under that heading.  The logical endpoint of your argument seems to be that mate selection should be banned–that we should all be assigned mates at random by the authorities, lest we attempt to influence the outcome of our mating, thereby “reducing human life to…” etc.

If genetic interventions for “cosmetic” purposes–to make kids smarter, healthier, prettier–are made as safe as the surgical procedures we are all accustomed to (none of which is totally safe–people die having a tooth pulled), it is very hard to see why, in a free society, they should be banned.  Or, if they should be banned, why should not other means of attempting to maximize the health, intelligence, etc. of one’s children be banned–ordinary mate selection, for instance?  The marketing of eggs and spern?  (Both well established now.)

And if you consider what unfree societies might do, it becomes even harder to see why we should ban intervention.  It is not at all unlikely–as best I can judge, it is highly probable–that in a decade or so, it will be possible to ensure than no child born will, barring accidents, arrive at adulthood with an IQ below 130.

If that is the case, which future do we want?

FUTURE A:  The nation of Unfreeland embarks on a massive state program to administer the appropriate procedures to all infants.  The USA bans all such procedures by law.  Result after a generation:  Unfreeland mean IQ 130; US mean IQ 100.

FUTURE B:  The nation of Unfreeland embarks on a massive state program to administer the appropriate procedures to all infants.  The USA permits any citizens who are so inclined, and willing to spend the dollars, to submit their infants to these procedures at private clinics.  Approx. 90 percent of parents ARE so inclined.  Result after a generation:  Unfreeland mean IQ 130;  US mean IQ 128.



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