Eugenics

My temporary hot-spot’s shaky (cable guy’s coming later), so to cut promptly to the chase: the Bioethics topic today is eugenics.

It means simply “well born,” and while that sounds aspirationally modest and reasonable we know it’s had a chilling history. “Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” said Justice Holmes in one of the more shocking expressions of judicial imperialism on record. Hitler hadn’t yet given it a bad name in 1935 LA, coerced sterilization was still going on in some U.S. states in the ’70s, incentivized “voluntary” eugenics is going on in places like Singapore today, and “free market” eugenicists call for its revival. James Watson thinks it might cure the “disease” of stupidity, though the market does seem to bear quite a lot of that. (What will cure the arrogant chauvinism of aging Nobelists?)

Michael Sandel brings us back to the central issue as I see it: unconditional parental love, and reciprocal filial gratitude, will both be at severe risk if we turn childbirth into a bazaar. By all means, let’s continue to improve our “stock” if we can. The way to do that is by encouraging our kids to seek their own bliss, not validate ours.

Selling and buying eggs for 50K is not the way.

Happy Earth Day!

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