History is strewn with many forms of Eugenic related programs, that have or tried to change human evolution by means of compulsory sterlisation, marriage restrictions, genetic screening, birth control, immigration control, segregation and extermination. A group of individuals sharing one ideology and claiming that as “human progress”. Casepoint: The Nazi’s, who forcibly sterilised hundreds of thousands of people who they deemed “unfit” to reproduce and killed tens of thousands of disabled people through “euthanasia” programs:
^Above: “This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Fellow German, that is your money, too.”
It wasn’t just the Nazi’s that passed compulsory sterilisation legislation, the following countries passed it: The United States, The United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Iceland and some countries in Latin America including Panama.*2
Let’s not also forget that the Jews, Gypsies and “sexual deviants” AKA anyone who wasn’t hetero was exterminated for “human progress”.
Now that the Human Genome has been mapped and advances in genetics are made, the inevitability of the moment where we can manipulate and alter human traits will be upon us. The concept of “designer babies” probably sickens me most, mainly because it’s purely superficial and based on aesthetics alone. I dislike it most because i don’t like the idea of ANYONE sculpting and desiging another sentient beings appearance.
You could argue that we never had the choice of deciding what we would look like, so the same would apply to the child. Yet to be born. However, my argument is that, yes That is true. We accept what we look like, because we had no control nor choice to decide what we would look like. But fundamentally, If this were possible the option of choice would be introduced. It’s that choice that bother me most. We in western societies make countless decisions every day, because we have choice and for the most part everyone respects that, because freedom of choice is part and parcel of living in a Westernised society.
So walking around with physical features all your life that were conciously chosen by another person, doesn’t really appeal to me, because you didn’t have a choice, someone else did.
What of hereditory diseases? Would everyone be okay screening those out? What about “bad” human behaviour, such as alcoholism, gambling, smoking, sexual orientation, deafness, blindness. Should they all be screened out permanently? Where exactly would you draw the line, and who should be in control of Genetic Eugenics if it came to pass?
I’m sure the vast majority of people who read this have/had loving parents, so this question is posed at you. How much control do you think is appropriate for parents to have in relation to their childs “design”, if any.
This is a hypothetical scenario:
The parents of the said child to be, are both athletes, have good stamina and excellent performance. They can decide if they want their child to have enhanced physical stamina and muscle mass as he/she grows up. Is this ethical? Just because the child’s parents are athletes who is to say that the child who will grow up wont be a doctor, archeologist teacher. In essence you’ll be passing on a set of genetic characteristics that wont be used.
- Enhanced class – Natural class
Some may dismiss the conceit that allowing genetic eugenics will set up a two-tier system, of “them vs us”, but i’d like to give good merit for it. Realistically speaking, no-way will everyone have access to genetic eugenics the cost alone would mean that it would only be able to cater for the super-rich. At least initially. Would this not form a kind of “Enhanced” aristocracy? where upon “naturals” would find it progressively harder to get a good job as those of the “enhanced” nature would have had their IQ quota set pre-birth? It’s a scary thought, realistic? unknown.