Modern Eugenics

Published: 2019-09-09 07:00:00
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In the ongoing argument about the ethical and social impact of genetic testing, the query of eugenics is usually the major issue. Central to these debates if the utmost fear that there will soon be the reemergence of the eugenics whether legally or illegally. Critics have argued that the contemporary genetic practices on human to control the population policies, cleanse the societies, or for racial programs as practiced by Nazis are the most violent and brutal thing that could possibly do to a human being (Allen, 2011). The worst accusation against the modern human genetic as well as medical genetics is that they are a way of returning the eugenics menace in the past. In many societies today, by just using the word eugenic brings a lot of ill feelings and intuitive responses.

Recent advancements in genetics and reproductive technology have brought about a new form of eugenics that is termed as modern eugenics or in other words human genetic engineering. The main purpose of this refurbished from of eugenics is aimed at repairing the faulty genes in society associated with hereditary diseases and other unwanted health conditions (Stern, 2005). Modern eugenics, by definition, is the science of manipulating the genetic makeup of a person with the aim of intentionally altering the observable traits. It is divided into two categories, namely negative engineering which refers to the correlation of genetic deficiencies and disorders, and positive engineering which refers to the improvement of a persons genetic make-up. The negative engineering is practiced by removing or modifying genes to treat or prevent genetic diseases. Genetic engineering of somatic or non-reproductive cells corrects the deficiencies in genes. This therapy is enhanced by the advanced technology of to correct the diseased patients gene, which is reintroduced back into the body to replace the diseased cells.

The main debate about human genetics currently concentrates on the ethics that we have in genetic testing and the various possibilities for selective eugenics and genetic discrimination. However, with the media and the ethicists regularly rehashing these concerns, there is a small group of scientists who are working toward an even more scaring project: the international human genetic engineering. These scientists intend to set in place the necessary tools and technology before people have the chance to have a say where it is acceptable or not. On the other hand, the publicists are out there are conceiving the people that these particular developments are inevitable. Over the past few years, human genetic engineering is applied to non-reproductive cells to threat specific diseases in a patient, rather than in their descendants (Sheehy, 2013). Gene therapy is not completely successful, and the prospect is seen as remote. The basic technologies involved have been improved in various ways. In this generation that we live in we should not make the mistake that has been made with mammal cloning by assuming that the issue is futuristic.

Apart from the infamous crimes of the Nazi, the involuntary sterilization of thousands of Europeans and Americans was the cruelest record of the eugenics movements. This was a technique that eugenicists used to influence the genetic makeup. It seemed appropriate to the; however, these were a violation to reproductive freedom of the society. Eugenics was imposed by cohesion in the form of sterilization and segregation, even though it was voluntary in some areas (Stern, 2005). Nowadays, eugenic governments offer education in human genetic engineering to couples before they make any decision on reproduction. Although it may be wrong-headed, this is hot a violation of the reproductive freedom. In the United States, reproductive freedoms are properly established, and there is no need of fears. The country has analyzed and seen that sterilization in large scale is inconceivable in the country. However, the same may not happen with countries that have weak traditions and have insufficient legal protections for reproductive freedoms (Sheehy, 2013). Efforts to alter the genetic makeup of a group or a population requires the involvement of a third party. An individual besides the people making offspring has to be there set standards and policies. On the other hand, it is different for a couple to undertake their eugenically approach to improving the quality of their offspring. The efforts to change a particular persons genetic make may be as a result of a third party coming into the picture. Therefore, population eugenics involves controlling people into producing the desired phenotypes and genotypes. This form of eugenics is different from allowing a couple or an individual to voluntarily choose a heritable trait in their egg, sperm, fetus, or embryo, motivated by the view they have of a good trait.

The America print medias dissertation on eugenics in the early 1900s introduced eugenics to the public as well as contributed to its popularity. The media brought out emerging ideas that were aimed at reforming the society through scientific themes and means by using their familiarity. During this period, the major themes of eugenics that were discussed were marriage and childbirth, science as a vessel of progress, social stratification, and racial stratification (Allen, 2011). It may appear difficult to constantly tolerate the establishment of the creation of homogeneity via parental selections of music, schools, religious training, summer camps, or even friends that are morally licit. The idea that people who have better social backgrounds does not seem enough to interfere with the parental choice. The negative engineering is practiced by removing or modifying genes to treat or prevent genetic diseases. Genetic engineering of somatic or non-reproductive cells corrects the deficiencies in genes. Gene therapy is not completely successful and the prospect is seen as remote. The basic technologies involved have been improved in various ways.

In conclusion, there is no moral principle or policy that is sufficient to provide adequate reasoning to condemn individual goals eugenics. While coercion and force, threat and compulsion have no place in proactive choice, and the decisions made by individuals can have negative consequences. It may seem unethical to allow parents to pick the eye color of their offspring or try and create an embryo with a propensity of science. However, it may ethical to permit the parents to teach their offspring the values of religion, try to instill a love of sport, or require them to how to play a piano. So far as force and coercion are absent and a persons choice is legally allowed to hold, then fairness in the access to means of improving the lives of the offspring is seen. There is no wrong in parents choosing the use of a particular genetic knowledge to improve the wellbeing and health of their offspring. Therefore, eugenics is both advantageous and disadvantageous according to how it is used on the people.


Allen, G. E. (2011). Eugenics and Modern Biology: Critiques of Eugenics, 1910-1945. Annals of Human Genetics, 75(3), 314-325.

Sheehy, K. (2013). Eugenics (1st ed.). Fill Publishers.

Stern, A. (2005). Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America. Berkeley: U of California P.


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