I have some pretty strong feelings about eugenics (it's a good and necessary practice), but I find it very, VERY difficult to talk about it with anyone since I'm instantly labeled a Nazi for supporting it. I'm hoping the folks on Think Atheist will be more inclined to intellectual discussion than name-calling and dismissal.


The start off, some disclaimers: genocide is wrong; taking human rights away from people of a race/religion/hairstyle you don't like is wrong; concentration camps are wrong; violence in wrong.


There. Now to the actual discussion.


When I talk about eugenics, I'm talking about the practice of systematically removing debilitating genetic traits and defects from a population by means of regulating the reproduction of its citizens. Do you have Schizophrenia? Did you know that this ailment is genetic and very easy to pass on to you children? Please, do not punish an innocent child with this problem. Are you genetically healthy, intelligent, and talented? Do you have special immunities that make you less likely to get sick? By all means, spread these traits to future generations, either by having children yourself or donating to a sperm or egg bank. Do you want children but should not carry your genetic problems onto them? Adopt. Adoption will always be available no matter what the society (just because someone has good genetic material does NOT mean they would make a good parent). Do you say that adoption is not the same? Then I suppose you care more about satisfying your selfish desires than the well being of a child.


Eugenics is, at its base, very simple - think about the future first.

I'm leaving this post now for what I'm hoping will be thoughtful and anti-inflammatory discussion.

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I keep forgetting that such choice limitations are being imposed. Personally I would like to see a free service that offers a tubal ligation/vasectomy to those who will submit a genetic sample to the GenoBank, to be available upon their request, along with screening options, for the in vitro fertilization of their choice.
Actually where I come from it is the job of the government to provide health care.  Even in the U.S., health care is often extended to those who can't afford the costs associated with raising a severely disabled child.  The cost to the education system, paid out of tax dollars in every civilized nation I know of, is greatly increased for every special needs child enrolled.  As adult, many people with profound disabilities rely on social programs for support - just another cost.  Ultimately it may actually be far cheaper to assist people in better controlling and guiding their reproduction.
I understand your position here, and I even used to share it.  The problem is that if we were to require everyone to educate their own children, a big chunk of the population would be removed from the work force to home school their kids, a bug chunk of the kids would grow up with substandard or just plain no education, and I truly think that our civilization would completely regress, or at least the fragmentation would be astounding as the rich/educated built themselves into walled cities to keep out the wild humans.

@Dave: Please open some newspapers. Your neo-con eonomic theories are emperors without clothes. They've been conclusively disproved. There's more evidence against it than god! ;)

I see the poor being about as capable of paying for private education as they have been over the past 100 year of paying for private health care - a phenomenon you might want to explain before conjecturing that the poor will just save up their money and invest in education.


Fragmentation exists no matter what and it is, in my experience, generally worse in non-capitalistic systems.


uhm, could you explain to me your experience living in a non-capitalistic system?

No apologies necessary.  On the education issue, though, you've pointed to something very significant - money from those without children goes to help pay for the education expenses of those who do have children.  Do you have any idea how many fewer children that might be if we offered people a cheap, easy means of gaining full reproductive control?  Do you have any idea how much less those educational expenses might be of we offered people a cheap, easy means of preventing a large number of genetic setbacks?


I do agree that it at times seems unfair that we get taxed to pay for those who don't contribute as much as ourselves, or who have needs far greater than our own - but eugenics likely reduces that imbalance.  As far as just saying, "fuck'em," from the get go, well then you end up dealing with starving people stealing food, dying in the streets, or being housed in prisons.  Not the sort of world in which I'm interested - although the U.S. is far more like that than most developed nations today. 

"No service is free just free on delivery."

What about sex? ;)

"Why take money out of the market"

Actually, $1 government spent into the economy is $1 in stimulus. $1 given to a private citizen (i.e. by reducing taxes) gives a stimulus of $1*(1-savings rate). Savings is mostly retirements and repayment of mortages, usually 20% is a pretty decent approximation. Therefore, a private $1 is about 80c in the economy. More money is being taken out by having private instead of public healthcare.

"It is not the governments proper job to provide healthcare or genetic screening."

It's the governments job to provide services with positive externalities it's hard to charge the consumer for, i.e. lighthouses and streetlamps. How do you charge the people who use streetlights directly? Per photon hitting the retina? Healthcare - like militaries, roads, schools, elec grids (etc, etc) - needs to be government controlled. The private offer should only be a cherry on top, available for those who wish to pay extra out of their own pocket (thus reducing savings rate).

"Doing too much is the reason the US govt is trillions in debt."

The government doesn't cause debt, it's the people. Voting 40 years for both increased public expenditure and decreased taxation has given the US almost 15t in "debt". (Since the US controls the currency, it's really only the cost of keeping inflation down. The US has no debt problem, it has a latent inflation problem - it could just print up 15t and pay everyone off, causing hyperinflation.)

"resources will be used with near perfect efficiency"

Not at all. I'm saying that if the goal is to maximize national product (maxGNP), then maximizing government expenditure (maxG) is a better idea than maximizing private expenditure (maxC), because for each delta G there is an equal delta GNP, while for each delta C there is a 0.8*delta GNP, given a private savings rate higher than 0.

Do you ever carry cash around in your pocket? If you do, then you are contributing to savings rate. Same applies if you put the money in an idle bank account.

*Erratum: The 0.8 is actually not the savings rate, it is the consumption rate, but the terms are used somewhat interchangably since they are just inverts of eachother and consumption rate is always(ish) higer than savings. (80% savings rate is a silly notion.)

"that all things being equal 80 cents is better than one dollar."

I hope you meant the other way, otherwise - wanna trade my cents for your dollars? ;)

"But I think it matters how efficiently the money is spent and that 80 cents spent effectively on something"

Well, of course. You pay the government a value of 80 cents and receive healthcare with a value of a dollar (not money - value. Cash is an illusion of value with no inherent value other than artificial scarcity).

"But I think healthcare, genetic screening, and schools can be paid for in the market"

Sure they can. So can the military (Blackwater) and courts (arbitration). Evidence suggests that healthcare is better if provided by the goverment. (Why you may ask? The market fails in healthcare. The regular behavioral economics can't accurately measure it. Essentially, it is a black hole in economics. Society can put a "price on your head" (cost of life saving treatment), while your own price is (or should be) infinte. As physics, economics also have an issue dealing with infinities. The marketplace fails.)

"Umm doing too much with too little although I think the government could tax all the money it needed and it would still be spent inefficiently."

Well, I'd say that the 1% richest which have amassed 40% of the wealth (don't recall the accuracy of that number) is spending it less efficiently by saving it than government could do by spending it. I think someone of the remaining 99% should be given a bit of it since everyone enjoys a bit more equity and a bit less greed.

the gov is in debt due to Wall street corruption so severe that it destroyed the mortgage industry, at least for a while, and even destroyed many of the banks that thought they were getting away with corrupt loans to consumers.  Also please keep in mind that unscrupulous private industry trading, and using government to give them tax credits, like we are seeing now with big oil companies, is a huge economic negative.  If 1 percent of the wealth in this country owns 40% of the economy, that should be a pretty obvious red flag, that the U.S. is doing everything wrong, when it comes to our debt problems.  just look at how much the rich corporate tied Repbulicans are trying to make the problem even worse, with their backing of the richest companies, whilst denying any help for the disenfranchised, poor etc.  Vast maj of this country is simply trying to not have their public health insurance taken away, in Medicare and Medicaid.  The market is free for those who have all the power...trying to even start one's own business is a nightmare of gov red tape, that I've been just reading about.


It's not as simple as saying little gov, or more, or this should be privatized or this should be public...it's the corruption on a multilevel platform in gov, and private industry, that is doing us all in.  How do you stop people from just getting away with being greedy, and bulldozing the rest of the world into poverty?  I don't f'ing know, and no one does.

The single largest waste of government money is warfare. Every other topic is a pittance in comparison.

Why just for those?

Human sterilisation should always be free. We condone animal sterilisation, yet human sterilisation is such a taboo subject. This is religion's doing and needs undoing :)

Human women were never destined to ALL be breeders.


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