Related or contrasting ideas may be found in the sections on Animal Rights, Knowledge, Life, Medical Ethics, Nature, Progress, and Science




НазваниеRelated or contrasting ideas may be found in the sections on Animal Rights, Knowledge, Life, Medical Ethics, Nature, Progress, and Science
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LIBERAL EUGENICS

Labeling new genetic options as ‘eugenic’ is an unhelpful distortion

Alan Petersen (prof. of sociology, Monash University at Clayton, Australia), “Is the new genetics eugenic?: interpreting the past, envisioning the future,” New Formations, Spring 2007, p. 88

“Crude portrayals of the new genetics as eugenic are analytically unhelpful and are historically and politically naive. They deny the complexities and uncertainties associated with new genetic developments and evidence of diverse public responses to research and its applications thus far. Individuals and groups may engage with genetic technologies in very different ways, including resisting the imperatives which they imply.”


The concept of eugenics is not intrinsically evil

John Dupré (Director of Egenis, the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society; prof. of philosophy, Univ. of Exeter), “Liberal Eugenics,” New Formations, Spring 2007, p. 150

“Making better people, despite some obvious problems of interpretation and execution, is not a self-evidently vicious objective. The key resource for distinguishing the eugenics Agar defends from its disastrous past associations is of course the epithet ‘liberal’; and the subtitle of the book reminds us that the aim of eugenics is, on the face of it, something of which we might well approve. Past eugenic projects were attempts by states to improve their populations and involved variously appalling coercions of citizens. Liberal eugenics is presented as an increase in choice, something individuals may or may not decide to do in the process of reproduction.”


There are six essential characteristics of morally good eugenics policies

Mary B. Mahowald (professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chicago School of Medicine), “Drawing lines between extremes: medical enhancement and eugenics,” The Pluralist, Summer 2006, p. 31-32

“My candidate for a clear example of good eugenics is a set of practices that are quite prevalent but quite different from those associated with bad eugenics: the behavior of most women on behalf of their potential children or children already born. Typically, women do all they can, during and after gestation, not only to promote the health but also to enhance the lives of their offspring. The essential features of their behavior, to be contrasted with those listed above, are the following: 1. Making autonomous decisions 2. Directed toward individuals, born or unborn 3. Supporting their lives, both quantitatively and qualitatively 4. Promoting their health or traits or abilities 5. Judged desirable or advantageous 6. By or for the individual who will undergo the intervention. Taken collectively, the practices through which the majority of women thus attempt to promote the health or welfare of their offspring are eugenic in their consequences because they do result in improvement of the gene pool. Their support for the lives of their potential children, and children already born, typically includes grave inconveniences and considerable expenditure of time, income, intellectual and physical effort, emotional energy, and personal sacrifice. The overall result of all of this support by so many women is that the lives of children are enhanced as fully as their mothers are capable of enhancing them.”


Voluntary negative eugenics is already mainstream

Mary B. Mahowald (professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chicago School of Medicine), “Drawing lines between extremes: medical enhancement and eugenics,” The Pluralist, Summer 2006, p. 29

“Although genetic counselors take a strong position against eugenics, both positive and negative, I think negative eugenics is already in play in the widespread practice of prenatal testing and termination of affected fetuses. The government does not coerce individuals to undergo tests and terminate affected fetuses, but social and economic pressures to avoid having an affected offspring are surely present in some cases. While individuals may undertake the tests and intervention for other-than-eugenic reasons, the overall result is still eugenic — in other words, improvement of the gene pool by reducing the number of children who might otherwise be born with specific anomalies.”


Private choice has allowed the evolution of a social policy that is eugenic in effects

Norman Levitt (Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University), “No child left behind,” Skeptic, Winter 2008, p. 77

“Paradoxically, however, forms of private choice and behavior, only now beginning to become common in our society, promise to cohere into something resembling a de facto eugenics program, one which moreover, generates little in the way of sustained or effective opposition. Since it is private behavior we are talking about, and directed by narrowly personal concerns, the ethic of personal liberty, in both its ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ forms, automatically congeals into an effective shield against critics who are alarmed by its eugenicist implications.”


Contemporary ‘liberal eugenics’ has a consistent moral basis

“Regulating eugenics,” Harvard Law Review, vol. 121 (April 2008), p. 1582

“The twenty-first century has produced a form of eugenics markedly different from twentieth-century eugenics. The movement is called ‘liberal eugenics’ because it advocates for genetic modification of humans on liberal political grounds. Genetic modification includes everything from screening for genes that cause serious disabilities, like Tay-Sachs disease, to genetically engineering smarter children. Liberal eugenics, proponents argue, is founded on traditional liberal values of pluralism, respect for personal autonomy, and egalitarianism. Although different philosophers take ‘liberal eugenics’ to mean somewhat different things, it is possible to offer a largely coherent picture of liberal eugenics. First, liberal eugenics is based solely on voluntary choices by parents. Second, it countenances the use of genetic techniques to treat or remove disability or enhance ability in one’s unborn children. Third, such interventions must be reasonably calculated to add to the possible set of life choices that the child will have or augment the child’s ability to pursue her preferred life path. For example, genetically engineering a child to be stupid but strong does not fall within liberal eugenics, but inserting a gene that will only improve strength does.”


A liberal eugenics program would be voluntary, not imposed by the state

Elizabeth Fenton (Instructor and Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia), “Liberal eugenics & human nature: Against Habermas,” The Hastings Center Report, November-December 2006, p. 36

“Unlike the authoritarian eugenics programs envisioned in the early twentieth century, a liberal eugenics would not lead to genetic alterations being imposed on whole populations by way of state policies. The focus of liberal eugenics is the individual, not the nation, race, or class, and it gives primacy to the individual’s own values and conception of what constitutes a good life, not the values of the state. The role of the state in a program of liberal eugenics is merely to facilitate rather than to impose eugenic choices, enabling parents’ particular conceptions of the good life to ‘guide them in their selection of enhancements for their children.’”


Modern eugenics is different because it is no longer backed by government coercion

Carolyn Burdett (Univ. of Liverpool School of English), “Introduction: eugenics old and new,” New Formations, Spring 2007, p. 8-9

“What is nevertheless clear, however, is that in the later decades of the twentieth century the relationship between individual and state in connection to eugenics shifted definitively in the wake of the rise of genetics and the discovery of the structure of DNA. No longer the provenance of state policy, the ‘new eugenics’ is characterised above all by individualism and consumer choice. For some, this ‘liberal eugenics’ rehabilitates a discredited concept by sweeping away the spectre of coercion and installing instead the idea of individuals who freely choose to use technological innovation in order to improve the life-chances of themselves and their children.”


Liberal eugenics is not going to alter the human species

Elizabeth Fenton (Instructor and Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia), “Liberal eugenics & human nature: Against Habermas,” The Hastings Center Report, November-December 2006, p. 36

“One charge often made of liberal eugenics is that it aims at posthumanity, at the creation of entities ‘whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of unaugmented humans as to be best thought of as constituting a new kind of being.’ But as Nicholas Agar argues, liberal eugenics need not aim so high (or so low). Liberal eugenics is eugenic to the extent that it advocates parental freedom to choose some characteristics of offspring based on the parents’ values but limited by the possibility of harm to the resulting children.”


Eugenics is evil

The term “eugenics” is social poison, even if the concept is still useful

Norman Levitt (Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University), “No child left behind,” Skeptic, Winter 2008, p. 77

“Eugenics, early on, became associated with political causes that were ethically odious, scientifically ignorant and ultimately, quite monstrous. It is futile to try to disentangle it, in the public mind, from these associations, so that any argument in favor of the basic idea must be constructed and articulated ab ovo, with fresh and uncompromised terminology. Even then, the default assumptions of our sociopolitical environment are so resolutely anti-eugenicist that, no matter how carefully ideas are ratified and isolated from the various chauvinisms that drove early 20th century eugenics, there is no hope of winning general approval for even a modest eugenicist policy.”


NAZIS

Eugenics is associated with the Nazi movement

Jeremy Rifkin (president, Foundation on Emerging Technologies), in Genetic Engineering, ed. by William Dudley, 1990, p. 73

“Determined to rid the world of all but the ‘pure’ Aryan race, Adolf Hitler orchestrated a campaign of terror and mass genocide of such overwhelming magnitude that it is likely to remain the darkest shadow ever cast over the human experience. Over six million Jews and members of other religious and ethnic groups were rounded up from all over the European continent and interned in giant concentration camps. Convinced that these human beings were biologically unfit, the Third Reich committed itself to expunging their genetic inheritance from the human gene pool.”


The Nazis exemplified eugenic policies

The United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission, Choosing the Future: Genetics and Reproductive Decision-Making, 2004, p. 5

“The most well known application of eugenics was by the Nazis in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. Eugenics was initially used to justify the killing of disabled children, and then disabled adults. This was later extended to a range of populations considered ‘unfit’ including Jews, gypsies and homosexuals, and those from families that carried inherited disorders such as Huntington’s disease.”


The Nazi eugenics program killed and sterilized thousands of people

Allan Levine (Winnipeg historian and freelance writer; history instructor, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg), “Perfect people, perfect country,” The Beaver: Exploring Canada’s History, April-May 2005, p. 31

“Historians estimate that by the end of the Second World War, the Nazis, who had transformed their forced sterilization program of more than 400,000 individuals into a massive killing machine, had likely murdered 140,000 physically handicapped and mentally ill people. At one mental institution in Nazi Germany, the staff toasted with beer the cremation of the ten-thousandth patient — a child gassed to death. In 1946, at the trial of Nazi doctors held at Nuremberg, one physician after the other stated that they had modelled their system after the one in the United States.”


The Nazi eugenic program was intended to optimize the gene pool

John Langone (lecturer, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School), Human Engineering: Marvel or Menace? 1978, p. 149

“No rational person, for instance, wants to emulate the abominable experiments of the Nazis, who not only tried to selectively eliminate ‘defective’ humans but also went so far as to kidnap young Nordic girls — blond, tall, and blue-eyed — and force them to mate with carefully screened German soldiers. The object, of course, was to breed a population of ‘pure’ stock that would be part of an empire destined to last for thousands of years.”


Nazi-style eugenics underlies the belief that human traits can be sorted and purged

Tom Beauchamp (prof. of philosophy, Kennedy School of Ethics, Georgetown Univ.), Health and Human Values, 1983, p. 166

“Underlying sterilization and immigration laws of the early 20th century was a belief that the ‘purity’ of the race must be protected — a tenet which, of course, produced unimaginable torture and death under Adolf Hitler. Still, the idea persists that certain clear-cut criteria of desirable and undesirable human traits can be linked directly to genetic inheritance.”


The history of Nazi eugenics is linked directly with modern genetics

Tom Beauchamp (prof. of philosophy, Kennedy School of Ethics, Georgetown Univ.), Health and Human Values, 1983, p. 178

“The history of eugenics and its murderous turn under Hitler raises legitimate questions about the purpose for which applied genetics might be used.”


The Nazi connection is one reason eugenics is seen as abominable

Gunther S. Stent (prof. of molecular biology, Univ. of California), The Coming of the Golden Age: A View of the End of Progress, 1969, p. 13

“Eugenics proved to have an irresistible appeal to political cranks and bigots. The monstrous institution in Nazi Germany of the effort to protect Aryan ‘blood’ from future contamination by that of the Jewish ‘race’ made the contemplation of any large-scale eugenic program, even by means less revolting than those employed by Germany, odious to most civilized people for some twenty years.”


Nazi eugenics leaders were never discredited — instead, the Allies hired them

Hilary Rose (professor of sociology at City University, London), “Eugenics and genetics: the conjoint twins?” New Formations, Spring 2007, p. 16-17

“The watershed thesis also serves to erase the work of historians such as Paul Weindling and Benno Muller Hill who have documented how erstwhile Nazi race theorists, once Germany was defeated, were swiftly restored by the Western allies to running leading genetic laboratories. There they reassumed their place within a scientific community imbued with the ideology of ethical neutrality: thus science was privileged above human rights.”


The eugenic movement has revived in Asia

Chee Khoon Chan (lecturer in social sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia, in Penang, Malaysia), “Eugenics on the rise: Singapore,” in Ethics, Reproduction, and Genetic Control ed. by Ruth Chadwick, 1987, p. 164

“For those of us who might have thought that vulgar eugenics had fallen into irredeemable disrepute in the hands of Nazi Germany’s race hygenists, the recent developments in Singapore are a startling reminder that eugenic doctrines, in their more benign forms, retain much of their plausibility for large sectors of public opinion.”


Eugenic programs forced the sterilization of Native Americans

Julie M. Aultman (coordinator for the Bioethics program at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine; assistant professor of behavioral sciences), “Eugenomics: Eugenics and Ethics in the 21st Century,” Genomics, Society and Policy, 2006, Vol. 2, No. 2 (August 2006), p. 33-34

“Though the names of scientific journals changed along with the recognition of eugenics’ slippery slope, assumptions of heritability of unfit traits and the degeneration of the gene pool resurfaced. Throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, thousands continued to be forcibly sterilised ‘for the good of society,’ regardless of new scientific discoveries about human genetics. For instance, up until the end of the 1970s thousands of Native Americans were coerced into sterilisation and other measures for ‘appropriate’ family planning through programs indirectly and directly supported by the U.S. government. Reasons for sterilisation were partly based on the false assumption that diseases intrinsic to that population (e.g. alcoholism) would be eradicated, but a more controversial reason stemmed from the Indian Health Service’s desire to manage, or rather control, the Native American population.”


Eugenics programs continue worldwide

Julie M. Aultman (coordinator for the Bioethics program at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine; assistant professor of behavioral sciences), “Eugenomics: Eugenics and Ethics in the 21st Century,” Genomics, Society and Policy, 2006, Vol. 2, No. 2 (August 2006), p. 34

“North American and European governments generally recognise the unscientific and immoral basis for eugenical programs such as compulsory sterilisation for the masses, however such programs have not ceased in other parts of the world. For example, in 2002, BBC news reported a mass sterilisation scandal in Peru where more than 200,000 people in rural Peru were coerced or manipulated into being sterilised. The government of former President Alberto Fujimori pressured 215,227 women and 16,547 men to be sterilised with promises of ‘happiness and well-being’ and economic and health incentives. Investigators found that there was inadequate evaluation before surgery and little post-operative care. Furthermore, only 10% of those sterilised voluntarily agreed to the surgery with the expectation that they would receive the promised incentives; others were told that if they refused, they would have to pay a fine.”

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