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Eugenics in The Corner

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJanuary 4, 2007 10:21 PM


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Over in The Corner they are talking about eugenics. Of course my friend John Devilshire, I mean, Derbyshire, started it all off. 1) I think Jonah Goldberg is correct that eugenics we do will be not called eugenics, while eugenics which is ethically objectional will be thrown under that term. 2) I think that the "Great Risk Shift" combined with greater discernment powers of medical genomics will make some form of government subsidized health care in the United States pretty inevitable (the short of it is that the middle class will start to get scared and want protection, and what the middle class wants, it eventually gets, so long as the rich aren't screwed too badly). Government subsidized health care will probably lead to some coercive eugenics and intervention in personal choice, especially as the theoretical power of medicine increases, but so do the potential costs. 3) An important point: though coercive government power will likely eventually back some form of eugenics, only coercive government power would be able to prevent the rapid spread of consumer eugenics. Personal interest is a powerful thing, and no one will want their children "left behind." Moral suasion won't do the trick, government power would have to step in to "protect" parents against making eugenical choices. 4) A bizarre thought, if homosexuality is predominantly biological, and if we could predict and "correct" (or abort) this likelihood at the fetal stage I have little doubt that the majority of parents would opt to prevent their child being homosexual. That being said, a minority would not, and I am willing to bet that a hard core of "naturalists," generally conservative and motivated by deep religious beliefs, would avoid these screens on principle. Not only do I suspect that Down Syndrome children in the future will be born predominantly to religious and social conservatives, but I suspect that a disproportionate number of homosexuals might!

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