Eugenics is pernicious. Its core philosophy holds that some human beings are better than others based on invidious categorization of human capacities and characteristics.
Eugenics leads to oppression and even, killing. The old eugenics unleashed involuntary sterilization in the USA–as well as infanticide and the murder of disabled adults in Germany.
Those horrors put eugenics into hibernation, but it has awakened in the very places it started in the first place–among the intelligentsia.
Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu is a leading neo eugenicist. Now, he proposes screening embryos for intelligence–for them, of course–because, poor things, the less intelligent have “worse” outcomes in life. From, “Genetic Screening to Enhance IQ Should be Embraced:”
A common objection is that being smarter does not make your life better. In this study, researchers were concerned with those with an IQ between 70-85. Below 70 is classified as intellectual disability but an IQ of 70 to 75 is similar to mild intellectual disability.
Even for individuals with an IQ between 75 and 90 there are still significant disadvantages. Job opportunities tend to be the least desirable and least financially rewarding, requiring significant oversight…Individuals with this lower level of intelligence are at significant risk of living in poverty (16%), being a chronic welfare dependent (17%) and are much more likely to drop out of school (35%) compared to individuals with average intelligence.
Studies show that there is also an increased risk of incarceration and being murdered.
So make sure they have zero chance for a happy life. What a compassionate guy!
The answer? Make our babies through IVF and then toss those that would appear genetically to be destined for lower intelligence:
In my view, we ought to test embryos for such gene variants. Imagine you are having IVF and produce ten embryos. They are all clear of major diseases, but one of them has two copies of the Thr92Ala gene. Given that there are 9 others that don’t have this potentially disadvantageous trait, why not select one of them?
Of course this does not guarantee that the embryo you do choose will have normal intelligence, but based on the information you have, it reduces the chances. Given that the outcomes are so much worse than their alternatives, we should reduce the chances even by a small account, provided the costs aren’t great. But given that whole genome analysis is likely to be used in the future, why not use the information that is available to try to at least start off with a higher chance of a better life?
Here’s the thing: Eugenicists always think people “like them,” are best. Savulescu is very intelligent, and so he values intelligence.
Here’s the other thing: Even if people have no problem discarding eugenically incorrect embryos as medical waste, it wouldn’t stop there. Eugenicist bioethicists generally accept personhood theory under which being human is morally irrelevant. What matters morally are mental capacities, such as being self aware.
This means that all embryos, fetuses, and newborns aren’t persons. So, why restrict the eugenic cleansing to embryos in a dish?
Once the principle was accepted that we can morally stop the less intelligent from making it fully into life, it wouldn’t. As Margaret Sanger once put it, we have to pull the pernicious weeds.
Notice these guys never write about increasing our capacity for love. What a sterile, heartless society these eugenicists want. If their targets were gays or people of color, they would be rightly called bigots. Here too, just different victims.
Nor would the new eugenics long remain restricted to private decisions. Eventually, the government would either require–or give positive and negative incentives to parents–to make the eugenically correct “choices.”
This much I know: If Savulescu values prevail, we will descend into tyranny.