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Technology Brings Back Eugenics


Eugenics is back, tells us Fraser Nelson in an article for The Spectator. A middle class family can now have the baby they are expecting scanned for congenital diseases. If the law permits it, the results may afford them to make critical decisions. In some parts of the world, the advances of technology combine with the most backward traditions to compromise and abort the life of baby girls. The demographic imbalances this creates have long been discussed. Yet few dare to call this by its name. Eugenics is a set of practices that favor the reproduction of “the fittest.” Sounds familiar? It should: it comes from Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin. Fascinated by the latter’s theory of evolution, Galton gave it a tweak. Conceived in Great Britain, eugenics fell into disfavor in the postwar period. It had been practiced by Nazi Germany among the other monstrosities that regime bestowed the world in twelve years. Yet the advances of medical technology have brought the simplest forms of eugenics back: the days of custom-made babies, and the abortion of those that “do not meet expectations,” are around the corner. There is a fine distinction between crafting something new out of the elements of Earth—the very definition of culture—and manipulating nature, a very complex system of billions of components. Humans only understand its basics. Yet our temptation to play with fire is undying.


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