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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

The Illiberalism of the Left’s Eugenics Prejudices



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I am a man with deep connections to the political left, for example, writing four books with Ralph Nader. But those Movement (not Nader) ties frayed and then snapped, first due to the Left's embrace (before the disability rights movement engaged the issue) of assisted suicide, reinforced subsequently by its (general) support for eugenics ideas and disdain for what I now call human exceptionalism.

These prejudices have infected the health care and governmental systems in the West, as we have discussed here repeatedly, a point also made in a column published in the very left wing UK newspaper The Independent by a columnist who tends to push against the leftist tide. In "Shame on the doctors prejudiced against Down Syndrome,"Dominic Lawson writes:

For make no mistake: despite all the progress which children with Down Syndrome are now making in schools and homes up and down the country, the medical profession in general still has a visceral bias in favour of eugenic termination, which its practitioners are often startlingly crude in expressing. This is not based on a realistic and up-to-date assessment of the possibilities open to those with Down Syndrome, still less of the happiness which such people can and do bring to families and even communities as a whole: it is a function of the fact--which is undeniable--that people with Down Syndrome are likely to cost the NHS more in subsequent medical treatment than a child without any disabilities.
Yes! And while the Left complains when corporate medicine exhibits such attitudes, nationalized health care also boosts eugenics thinking.

There are other reasons the Left has drifted toward eugenics, primarily I think, having to do with its now core foundational values of utilitarianism, hedonism, and anti-human exceptionalism, which adherents perceive as the antithesis of Judeo/Christian moral philosophy (and its moralizing), values that I believe now provide the emotional fuel that drives the Left. (Never mind that Judeo/Christian philosophy provided the intellectual foundation for universal human equality, as in the Abolitionist and Civil Rights Movements).

But make no mistake: Eugenics attitudes--not just government action in pursuance thereof--are decidedly illiberal and should be so denounced. Good for Dominic Lawson.


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