If you consider Eugenics to be personified by 1800’s western thinking of race and fitness, or the later implementation by the Nazi’s, then no. I’m not in favour. The genetic mixing of races is either a neutral or a good thing, I’m in favour of more mongrels and a greater number of shades of skin.
Especially since seeing lots of ethnic and cultural inter-marrying is a sign that people feel comfortable to do so, that their society doesn’t place any bar on that. Surely that can only be a healthy thing?
I am also a little disturbed by your use of “unnecessary”.
Regardless of the historical application though, we do have a degree of soft-eugenics in society and the ability to select for genetic diseases is only going to increase as the technology to do so matures. That brings with it a host of moral and ethical problems. Each of which is worthy of a thread of its own.
If you test a pregnancy and find a genetic disorder that will ensure a short, painful life then I can’t find a decent argument to say the parents are wrong to abort.
If you test a pregnancy a find it is a healthy boy and not the healthy girl you wanted, then I can’t find a decent argument to say they are right to abort.
Those are my personal feelings and in between those two extremes are myriad complicated cases that are open to argument either way.
I tend to align along humanist principles and freedom of choice so I’m against policies and decisions that increase human suffering. I’m for the most happiness for the greatest number of people and for the golden rule so would tend to approach such arguments by balancing all the above.
I think we’re best off when we practice eugenics at the traditional scale: individuals picking other individuals they feel are “fit” as mates. When society as a whole tries to choose who will mate with whom, we usually do a worse job of it. I think it’s because historically the only people who are obsessed enough with the idea to try to actually enact a large-scale human breeding program are into eugenics for the wrong reasons.
I very carefully used the words I did because I was expressing how I felt personally about it.
If you need clarity on my legal position then I believe a woman has a absolute right to choose abortion up to a suitable cut-off point, for whatever reason. Doesn’t mean* I *believe all such choices made are equally “right”.
World population isn’t expected to keep growing forever. If I’m not mistaken, it’s expected that it will reach a highest point of, IIRC, 10 billions or so, and then to drop. That’s based on the current trends (people are having less and less children mostly everywhere). Even if it’s not a certainty, there’s at least no reason to take for granted that human population will become unsustainably huge.
In any case, limiting human population doesn’t require eugenics at all. Eugenics is picking who gets to live and who doesn’t, be it before or after birth. If for instance every country on the planet decided to implement a one child policy in order to reduce human population, that wouldn’t be eugenics.
The problem here is that women don’t need to have to justify the reasons why they decided to abort. So, let’s assume that a woman makes this decision by reading a tarot deck or even by tossing a coin : head she aborts, tail, she doesn’t. Is it morally more or less justified than deciding to abort on the basis of the gender of the baby? And why? Same question with aborting because the baby won’t look Aryan. It’s difficult to support the concept that a woman can abort for any reason or no reason at all, and then argue that there nevertheless are bad reasons to abort.
And even assuming that we could make such differences, you’re in for a lot of troubles. Would it be right to abort a baby who should have a long life, but will be suffering from some severe chronic condition? What about asthma or peanuts allergy?What about a child with deep mental retardation? Mild mental retardation? Under average IQ? IQ under 140? if it’s OK to refuse to care for a child with intellectual deficiencies, why shouldn’t it be OK to refuse to care for a baby who won’t be as much of a genius as yourself (being a doper, you’re assumed to have a 150+ IQ, based on reliable board polls)?
Human evolution is a comically slow process compared to microbe/viral evolution. If we try to cull some human genes we’ve arbitrarily decided are “unnecessary”, we could easily lose the ones we’ll need to provide resistance to Hepatitis Q when it emerges.
This analogy is problematic because the reason why it’s (generally) wrong to kill an adult is because it’s an harm done to him. We make the assumption that adults have a right to live, and as a result that we (generally) shouldn’t kill them. But we don’t make such an assumption wrt fetuses (society in general, I mean. Obviously some people do think a fetus has a right to life).
You can hardly argue that you’re trampling on the rights of the fetus if you kill it because of its gender (or his eye colour or whatever) but don’t harm it if you kill it just because you don’t want it to live regardless of gender.
To argue that it’s morally wrong to abort female fetuses, you either have to make the assumption that a fetus has rights, and in particular a right to life (and then have to rethink the whole abortion issue) or have to find another party that is wronged by aborting female fetuses. Presumably, that would be a harm done to society at large, since I can’t think of a reason why a specific individual would be wronged by your decision to abort a female fetus. But then you have to tell us exactly why this selective abortion is a social harm.
I see that I should have been clearer in my original post.
What I was trying to get across was the fuzzy and difficult moral quagmire between two positions that represent extremes to me. My gut reaction regarding something like abortion was that I can picture two extremes of reasoning for wanting one. At one end it is totally understandable to me, at the other I simply can’t wrap my head around it and in between is a huge area of messy discussion on hard cases exactly like those you point out here…
In my defence I have clearly since stated
I have a moral queasiness over the reasons behind abortion but no desire to police those reasons.
An analogy is that business owners have a right to refuse service to anyone and I’d back their right to do so but I’m sure you and I can both come up with reasons that we’d be comfortable with and ones that we would be uncomfortable with.
In response to your first statement about the ugly " Racial " history of Eugenics , I am absolutely NOT in favor of that. I think Racism especially the mass produced , everyday type mostly stems from utter insecurity , emotions , inferiority complex and nonsense.
I am however in favor of letting the best among us breed selectively. I have no idea of how to accomplish this but as an abstract idea … I do favor it.
You don’t need to defend yourself. I’m just asking you to try to define what you think is wrong with selective abortion (as opposed to having a gut feeling about it). Your gut feeling might be misguided. If you’re like me and believe that an action must harm someone to be morally wrong, I strongly suspect that you’ll be unable to find a line of reasoning that makes selective abortion morally unacceptable without making abortion in general equally morally unacceptable or making reproduction a social duty (“people must have baby girls because otherwise men will lack sexual partners”, for instance).
And it’s easy to wrap one’s head about the reasons why fetuses would be selectively aborted, it’s not like such reasons aren’t well known : “A boy will take care of me when I’ll get old”, “I already have a daughter, I want a son this time”, “a boy will carry on the name”, etc…
And you are saying those reasons are equally valid to not wanting a child that is crippled and/or would require constant care through out their life? Interesting. Not sure everyone would agree. Please explain your reasoning.
Let me tackle your question from the opposite side . I can define the " best " but it will be perceived as cruel and possibly misanthropic not to mention hubristic on my part as logically it follows that I consider myself as part of that category otherwise why would I post this question at all.
On the other hand , the " others " are pretty self evident. Hordes of humanity who live fractured lives , devoid of progress . You see them everyday . You read about them in the news. An example - habitual and repeat criminals.
A very distinct characteristic of these people IMO is lack of foresight , control and intelligence. They seem to operate at very basic levels of cognition.
I am not in favor of extermination or anything that extreme . I do favor leaving them as is and gradually cease the paternalistic " helping hand " . Let nature take its course.
I think I have said enough. My opinions will not be popular but I stand by them.
I believe in Eugenics . The end.