Re: Is Eugenics Really A Bad Thing?

From: D. den Otter (
Date: Sat Jul 01 2000 - 12:28:50 MDT

At 18:56 1-07-00 +1000, you wrote:

> OK, I know the Nazis were into it big time, and they weren't cool dudes.
> But is wanting to improve the stock a bad thing?  I have a feeling that
> "preaching to the choir" when I say on this list that it seems like a good
> thing to want to make humans as perfect as possible.  But it seems like
> virtually everywhere else, the E word is as bad as the N word.  Why is

Just knee-jerk responses, basically. People have been subconsciously programmed to link eugenics to Nazi stuff like forced euthanasia etc. It's baaad. Why? It's baaaad. Why? Baaaaad. Ad infinitum.

I don't think it's really necessary from here on in.

Yes, the big "S" makes eugenics something of a moot point, but we can still
discuss its hypothetical merits, of course.

Besides the thorny
question of "Who
decides what perfect is",

I think that any remotely rational and honest person would agree that the following list of characteristics is "good" and "desirable".

The perfect human would be:
-well-hung (in the case of men, obviously).
-handsome (smooth, blemish-free skin, a highly symmetrical face and body, proper distribution of body hair etc.).
-healthy (being free of any hereditary disease, and highly resistant to infections, viruses etc. The body is tough and even severe injuries heal fast and well, and the life span is very long).
-emotionally stable (not prone to hysteria, depression, aggressive fits etc., but generally happy and feeling good about himself).
-intelligent (in a broad sense, i.e. rational, witty, inquisitive, critical, good with language and numbers, having an excellent memory etc.)
-brave (though not reckless. Definitely no meek wuss).
-Individualistic (while fully understanding the need for cooperation).

Well, this seems like a good start. If you stick to this list you can't really go wrong. Would this be feasible? Yes, I think so. There are no doubt at least a few people who meet all of the above criteria, and many more who come fairly close. They could be the core of the eugenics program. BTW, a nation of persons like this would be every dictator's worst nightmare; they'd laugh him out of town, so to speak.

we've got tons of ways of supporting our
frailties, and many
more in the pipeline; the medical industry is geared to it.

Even today, many defects/diseases can't be cured (properly) yet, let alone in previous centuries. Selective breeding could have prevented a lot of misery and suffering. Rejecting eugenics means condemning millions to a sometimes severely sub-optimal existence. Is this "morally right"? I don't think so, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Many of those
frailties could
be hidden strengths,

Such as?

Often you hear stuff like "if there wasn't any suffering we wouldn't have all those great works of art etc". True, maybe (but this is by no means certain) art would be somewhat "blander" in a eugenics (see selection criteria above) society, but that's a very small price to pay for the significantly improved quality of life of millions of people. To allow mental illness and physical shortcomings to exist only so that you may enjoy some "great" poems, paintings or whatever is selfish in the extreme, and hardly "transhuman". IMHO, of course.
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