New eugenics

New eugenics , Also Known As neo-eugenics , consumer eugenics , liberal eugenics , and libertarian eugenics , is an ideology qui advocates the use of reproductive and genetic technologies Where the choice of Enhancing human characteristics and Capacities is left to the individual preferences of the parents acting as consumers , rather than the public health policies of the state . The term “liberal eugenics” was coined by bioethicist Nicholas Agar . [1]Since around the year 2000, the term “libertarian eugenics” has been used because of its intention to keep the role of the eugenics program. [2]


The term refers to an ideology of eugenics inspired by liberal theory and contrasted from the coercive state eugenics programs of the first half of the 20th century. [3] The sterilization of individuals suspected to have undesirable genes is the most controversial aspect of those programs. [1]

Historically, eugenics is often broken into the categories of positive (encouraging reproduction among the designated ” fit “) and negative (discouraging reproduction among the designated “unfit”). According to Edwin Black , many positive eugenic programs were advocated and pursued during the early 20th century, but the negative programs were responsible for the sterilization of hundreds of thousands of people in many countries, and were contained in much of the rhetoric of Nazi eugenic policies of racial hygiene and genocide . [4]Liberal eugenics belongs to the “positive eugenics” category allowing parents to select desirable traits in an unborn child. [5]


Dov Fox, a law professor at the University of San Diego, argues that liberal eugenics can not be justified on the basis of the underlying liberal theory which inspires it. He introduces an alternative to John Rawls ‘ s social primary goods which may be called natural primary goods and are valued across a range of projects and pursuits. He Suggests That reprogenetic like embryo selection technology, cellular surgery, and human genetic engineering, qui aim to enhance “general purpose” features in offspring are less like childrearing practices has Liberal government leaves to the discretion of the parents than like practices the state Makes compulsory. [6]

Fox Argues That if the Liberal commitment to autonomy is large enough for the state to mandate childrearing practices Such As health care and basic education, That very Sami interest is significant enough for the state to mandate safe, effective, and functionally integrated genetic Practices That act analogous all-purpose traits such as resistance to disease and general cognitive functioning. He concludes that the liberal case for compulsory eugenics is a reductio ad absurdum against liberal theory. [6]

Selon health care public policy analyst RJ Eskow , ” libertarian eugenics” is the term That Would more Accurately describe the form of eugenics Promoted by notable Some proponents of liberal eugenics, in light of Their strong opposition to minimum Even state interference in eugenic family planning , which would be expected of a social liberal state that assumes some responsibility for the welfare of its future citizens. [2]

The United Nations International Bioethics Committee wrote that liberal eugenics should not be confused with the ethical problems of the 20th century eugenics movements. However it is still problematic because it challenges the idea of ​​human equality and opens up new ways of discrimination and stigmatization against those who do not want or can not afford the enhancements. [7]


Eugenics, consumer eugenics, reprogenetics , or ” designer progeny “. The connotations of liberal eugenics are negative due to the history of eugenics being associated with dark historical times. According to the Harvard Law Review , the eugenics of the early 20th century were part of a false scientific justification for racism, class-ism, and colonial subjugation falsely concerned with genetic fitness. The new model of eugenics of the 21st century, called liberal eugenics, allegedly advocates for genetic modification including the screening of genes that causes serious disabilities and engineering. [8] Liberal eugenics is aimed at “improving” the genotypes of future generations through screening and genetic modification to eliminate “undesirable” traits.


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Agar, Nicholas (2004). Liberal Eugenics: In Defense of Human Enhancement . ISBN  1-4051-2390-7 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:b Eskow, RJ (2007). “Homo Futurus: How Radically Should We Remake Ourselves – Or Our Children?” . Retrieved 2007-02-02 .
  3. Jump up^ Eugenics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Jul 2, 2014)
  4. Jump up^ Black, Edwin (2003). War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race . Four Walls Eight Windows. ISBN  1-56858-258-7 .
  5. Jump up^ Witzany, G. (2016). “No time to waste on the road to a liberal eugenics?” EMBO Report17: 281.
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Fox Dov (2007). “The Illiberality of Liberal Eugenics”. SSRN  1072104  .
  7. Jump up^ “Report of the IBC on Updating Its Reflection on the Human Genome and Human Rights” (PDF) . International Bioethics Committee. October 2, 2015 . Retrieved October 22, 2015 .The goal of enhancing individuals and the human species by engineering and their related features is one of the following: However, it impinges upon the principle of respect for human dignity in several ways. It weakens the idea that the differences among human beings, regardless of the extent of their endowment, are exactly what the recognition of their respective presuppositions and hence protects. It introduces the risk of new forms of discrimination and stigmatization for those who can not afford such enhancement or simply do not want to resort to it. The arguments that have been produced in the so-called liberal eugenics do not trump the indication to apply the limit of medical conditions also in this case.
  8. Jump up^ “Regulating Eugenics” . Harvard Law Review . 2008 . Retrieved May 2, 2015 .

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