WiseBites Episode 24: The Return of Eugenics

Nowhere is the Gnostic Heretic more at home than in the shady realms of controversy. And so as we embark on a brand new year, what better way to start than to talk about eugenics? The word eugenics means ‘well born’ but it does not refer to the nobly born members of the Old World Order. No, eugenics is about selecting and deselecting genetic traits in the population via human decisions rather than through natural evolutionary processes. However, the process was considered a philosophy by Frederick Osborn in 1937. He believed that it was a necessary step in order to preserve the social order, to have certain traits preserved and others eliminated. For most of eugenic’s history, this has been done through deselecting people from reproducing either through marriage prohibition or forced sterilization.

 

 

Where did Eugenics come from?

 

Like most unsavory ideas, it formed in Britain and quickly spread to North America and Europe. People from all sides of the political spectrum were in some way favourable to eugenics. As a result, programmes designed to implement eugenic principles were put in place due to mass political consent. This would either take the form of encouraging desirables to reproduce and discouraging undesirables from doing so. However, the criteria deeming some people to be fit or unfit to reproduce varied widely. Typically those who were disabled, had a low IQ or where from a different race or ethnic group tended to be considered unfit. Those of normal health and the ‘right race’ were deemed fit.

 

Is Eugenics legit science?

 

These programmes were based on less than scientific grounds but they were common place in the early 20th century. Even the Nazis in the Nuremburg trials defended the Holocaust on account that it was not so dissimilar to the US eugenics programme. This of course, was entirely true. It was not until the installation of Human Rights that eugenics became in any way taboo. But forced sterilisation programmes were continually carried out in the US and Europe for decades after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was brought into effect. But in modern times, eugenics in the form of assisted reproductive technology, surrogacy and advances in genetic technology could end up bringing eugenics back into the real world. The concept of the designer baby could literally cause the rich to make themselves genetically different from the poor as they are the only people who could afford such treatments.

 

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The science behind eugenics had been questioned ever since the 1930s, but it was the Nazis who made it a widely controversial subject. But Hitler himself got the idea from the US eugenics programme which was designed to eliminate ‘defectives’ from the gene pool. These groups of unfit breeders came to be known as degenerates. They usually consisted mostly of the poor, the mentally or physically ill, homosexuals and undesired racial groups. In Nazi Germany, depending on the time and which subcategory you fitted into, you were either institutionalised, sterilised, euthanised, or in the case of the Jews, gypsies and Slavs – mass murdered. This association with Nazi Germany caused a wave of diehard eugenisists to take it all back. For example, author HG Wells went from desiring “the sterilisation of failures” to wanting “a prohibition on mutilation, sterilisation, torture, and any bodily punishment.” Indeed, forced sterilisation began to be considered punishable under sterlisation law, although there are many examples of government ignoring this.

 

Could Eugenics be on the come back?

 

Many modern scientists are concerned that eugenics is returning through modern genetic engineering. Government Official Tania Simoncelli said that it will lead into a “new era of eugenics” but this time “children are increasingly regarded as made to order customer products.” The idea of turning children into a capitalist commodity is indeed disturbing. Many Marxist critics have said that it will literally allow for the rich to genetically distance themselves from the poor. Creating a dynastic, wealth based master race. Nazis of the wallet. This was backed up by a UN investigation into genetic ethics, but they separated it from eugenics and said that they were unrelated ideas, albeit both were still unethical.

 

Is Eugenics all bad?

 

So here is a rational but controversial statement for you. “To purposely reproduce whilst being aware you have a serious, physically or mentally debilitating condition is an unacceptable infringement of the rights of the yet to be born.” I bet that sent a shiver of indignation up your spines. On the face of it, it sounds like it goes against all of the liberal principles of tolerance. However, think about this. Is it fair on the child to be brought into the world with such a crutch? The Meritocracy Party wishes to bring in a world with Equal Opportunity. Someone with a serious genetic condition is at a natural disadvantage simply by being born. I can already hear the liberals piping up “But we all have a right to reproduce.” We all have rights yes, if they do not infringe upon the rights of others. It is awful, a true tragedy that someone suffers a genetic illness. But will bringing into the world another sufferer of that condition do any good? No. You are doing the yet to be born child a massive disservice.

 

But let’s be precise here. In a rational future, any eugenics programme would be immensely different from some Nazi concentration camp. Firstly, proven genetic conditions would be the only thing that could prohibit someone from having children. Race, social class, culture or any of the other nonsense would never, not even for a second be considered. Anyone caught sterilising someone based on an arbitrary factor is going to be rammed with the full brunt of the law right in the face to let them know how society is disgusted with their actions. Those with debilitating genetic conditions who can still function in a child rearing environment would be welcome to adopt, meanwhile research into genetic engineering, and the possibility of curing genetic diseases in the fertilised egg stage will be heavily subsidised. The goal is that nobody becomes disabled in the end. The goal is to cure the deficiencies in the human genome so we can finally make the eugenics issue redundant for good.

 

The precise methods of a possible future medical eugenics programme would be left up to the experts in the fields of genetics. The State must make sure that all children, to the best of its ability are born as healthy and ready to meet their potential as possible. Is that not a worthwhile goal to work towards? But here is a thought to leave you with. Designer babies. Either this becomes state funded and available to all, or it is banned utterly for everybody. What do you think?

 

The Gnostic Heretic writing for the Apollo Institute of Reason AIR Review©

 

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