The Problems with Eugenics

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Eugenics is a technology that allows the alteration in the chemical makeup of genes, allowing one to choose certain traits they like over others that were not originally in the DNA. The widely known use of eugenics is in vegetables to help sustain the human population, but it does not stop there. The use of this technology goes as far as to change the genetic make-up in people, like how people use it in plants. Instead of leaving one's genes up to natural selection, humanity has taken an unpredictable leap into taking things into their own hands. Not only is the practice of eugenics on humans unpredictable, but inhumane as well. There are many concerns about whether this will help or harm people.

First off is the legality of eugenics. Due to a lack of regulation, the prevention of scientists creating the proper boundaries they need come into effect (Hrouda 223). This poses a problem since, without boundaries, scientists can wind up going past what people accept morally and ethically within the population. There would be no stopping them from creating something potentially harmful to the population as well. Issues like are why precautions are in place and there are set rules for scientists to work from. That is unless humanity wants another holocaust. Thankfully though, countries either use the treaties they sign or do not use eugenics at all, but that does not mean everything is perfectly safe.

Though many people refuse to believe that events like that will reoccur, likely, humanity will once again try to rid the world of a certain group of people. One shows this through their opinion on how someone should be and what makes them an acceptable human being. For instance, what if someone wanted a child with a high risk of having one with a learning disorder. The parent of that child will seek eugenics since it avoids the issue by removing the section of DNA that calls for the disorder to give their child a better life. Clearly, other parents will choose this path as well since there is no harm with wanting to help one's child as soon as they can, but this thought process is wrong. It indeed harms others, especially those who are born with something that others consider a disorder, rather than helping them. That specific group of people 'may recognize that their disorder is part of who they are' and see others as indirectly telling them that their very existence is wrong (Bechtel and MacKellar 151).

The problem of undermining a group of people then leads to another concern with eugenics: the moral challenges one must face while going through with the use of this technology. One must ask themselves what is right or wrong when they choose to go through with eugenics. While using this technology may seem like the right thing to do, the destruction of many potential people happens in the process (Bechtel and MacKellar 133). This, in turn, makes the use of eugenics immoral in the eyes of many since scientists are killing large amounts of humans before conception without the rest of the population being aware of it. To choose to bring someone into the world for what the parent feels the child must be and let a multitude of potential people die is the equivalent to saving one person's life over ten. It is difficult to put one in that situation as is but to willfully kill so many people simply because someone wants their child to be how they want crosses a boundary far worse than any evil.

It is fair to say that wanting to have a healthy child is not wrong. Cases involving a family prone to disease and targeting traits that risk that prove this to be true (Stock 633). This, however, does not prove that eugenics is a good thing to practice. No one knows if the child will go down a path that leads them to the diseases their parents tried to prevent from happening anyway. Although this may not sound all too harsh, there is also no promise that the child would then strain their relationships with their parents as well if this does indeed happen. The parents did pay large amounts of money for their child to remain healthy only to have it wasted due to wrong choices. It makes no sense to pay large sums of money for trying to keep one healthy before they are born and all it does is leave heavy burdens on the parents and the child due to assumptions that there is no way the kid is getting the disease the parents are keeping them from getting.

Using eugenics does not potentially put burdens on the family alone, but the rest of the population of an area as well. For instance, if most people favored male children and could determine the sex of their kids there would be a large imbalance between males and females (Wachbroit 8). This imbalance between men and women, though not seeming important at first, will put the population off balance. There would be smaller amounts of couples having kids since women are the ones who bear children and there not being enough men to women to help sustain the population. This would then lead to fewer people in the population to not only aid the elderly, but to teach the youth in the future. Having fewer people to teach the younger generation then leads to more people without jobs. Less young people with jobs means less money going to the government to help aid the rest of the country and eventually harms the economy of not only the area the population is in but the country as well which uses the working class' tax money to aid in things such as healthcare and schooling.

At first look, eugenics is indeed a helpful tool that benefits society, but soon all can that the original thought is untrue. Those who blindly side with the use of eugenics are unaware of the drawbacks that come with it. This technology harms society, whether one wants to believe it or not. Eugenics harms families, strangers, the population, and the economy. These are all worries that people choose to ignore simply for the benefit of themselves. The people who go through with eugenics before looking into what the consequences are after use are not being selfless, but selfish instead. One who sides with this technology is siding with harming everyone around them, including their child whether it is the intention to do so or not. One day more people will recognize that these concerns are important to consider. It is safer for everyone to let nature work the way it continues to rather than taking it into one's own hands. Society needs to make sure they take the right steps to do what is right for everyone around them, rather than what is right for oneself and let nature take its course. Being selfish does not bring any good, instead, it is the reason that many situations in life go wrong.

Works Cited

  1. Bechtel, Christopher, and Calum MacKellar , editors. The Ethics of the New Eugenics. Berghahn Books, 2014.
  2. Hrouda, Brooke Elizabeth. “’Playing God?': An Examination of the Legality of Crispr Germline Editing Technology Under the Current International Regulatory Scheme and The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.” Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, vol. 45, no. 1, 2017, pp. 221-241.
  3. Stock, Gregory. “Germinal Choice Technology and the Human Future.” Reproductive BioMedicine Online (Reproductive Healthcare Limited), vol. 10, Mar. 2005, pp. 27-35.
  4. Wachbroit, Robert. “What’s Wrong with Eugenics?” Designing the Goods, June 1987, pp. 6-9.
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The Problems with Eugenics. (2021, Dec 29). Retrieved December 4, 2023 , from

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