Scientifically, the genetic constitution of a person authenticates his/her personal trait or character. Similarly, the characteristics of a domestic animal are crucial in the agricultural sector. Genetic experts work tirelessly to produce animals with high milk content, wool, or quality meat among others.
Consequently, the society coined the term eugenic, which means selective reproduction of desired traits in a person. Categorically, positive eugenic is the promotion or retention of hereditary characteristics, which everybody yearns for, while negative eugenics call for the abolishment of people with unwanted traits.
The practice of eugenics produces a quality, intelligent, and healthy population even in the agricultural sector. Most professionals like sociologist, physicians, economists, and demographic experts advocate for eugenics. However, what is the moral and ethical implication of the practice? The following discussion expounds the two classes of eugenics highlighting their effects to the society.
According to the advocates of the positive eugenics, eugenic retains good heritable traits in the human species by encouraging reproduction among groups (Curell and Cogdell 203).
Encouraging positive eugenic was to make sure that, only physically, mentally, and psychologically fit people intermarried. Consequently, there was an assumption that the offspring would have the parental traits (hereditary). An example of positive eugenics is whereby only men and women with distinct, attractive features like hair and eyes have the right to reproduce.
Unfortunately, the people with the so-called desirable traits may have recessive genes, which become dominant later in their lineage. According to Watson, mapping a human genome is not an easy task as the society thinks (202). Mutations and environment are some of the aspects, which may alter a desired gene. Therefore, a critical assessment of personal genes and family history or hereditary traits is the main process of promoting a healthy population.
The major aim of positive eugenics was to increase the size of a quality population or the human race. The use of sophisticated reproduction measures makes sure only couples with specific traits breed. Inspiration talks, voluntary measures, campaigns, and shows to display the desired human traits are some of the methods applied to promote positive eugenics.
On the other hand, there are restrictions, reproduction rights against couples who have physical disabilities like dwarfism, and health defects like sickle cell (Dikotter “Imperfect Conceptions” 200). In addition, social traits like homosexuality, criminals, and rapist have to become extinct. The most debatable issue in positive eugenic is about racial discrimination whereby Romans and Jews had to stop reproduction.
However, although abolition of diseases through eugenic seems sensible, discriminating of physically disabled people is against humanity. Some of the physical disabilities occur because of environment and not genetics; therefore, the disabilities may recur in healthy people. Secondly, the need to extinguish given races promotes racism, which is a vice the world is fighting to abolish.
On the contrary, negative eugenic is to deter reproduction among people who are unfit. Eventually, through selective breeding the human race would consist of people with quality characters. Health wise, negative eugenics is supposedly right. Nevertheless, discriminating physically challenged and races is unsocial and unethical (Dikotter “The Discourse of Race” 50).
Traditionally, negative eugenic has been in practice for a long time. Parents had to watch and select spouses for their children while young men and women aspiring to marry shunned their counterparts with any form of disabilities. Sometimes infants with genetic disabilities either were outcasts or killed to prevent the continuation of a lineage with ‘bad genes’.
The process of negative eugenic can also be through carrying out abortions on the victims supposedly having deleterious genes, or application of sterilization techniques to deter them from reproducing. Restriction of incest relationships or marriages makes sure that a family with genetic problems becomes extinct. Hybrid populations or relationships produce quality and healthy off springs.
Socially, eugenic promotes superiority of one race or a group of people over the others (Henslin 200). Negative eugenic leads to intimidation of people especially the handicapped or the sick ones. Although economics assert that positive eugenic saves medical and social expenses in the community, denying people their reproduction is morally wrong.
Sincerely, how will a person, an institution, or government rule out that a given person, race, or trait is better in relation to the other? Psychological trauma is among the major impact an individual experiencing negative eugenic will undergo. Morally, it is against humanity because nobody wishes to be born with or from a family with hereditary defect. Furthermore, negative eugenic does not efficiently watch or lower the level of recessive genes. Thus, the process is slower at eliminating them.
In the contemporary world, medical experts promote positive eugenics from the lab. Advanced technologies in the medical industries and other sectors related to it, have enhanced positive application of eugenics to cut down on the level of human population genetic defects without violating the rights of the people involved.
For instance, the unborn child can undergo screening whereby any physical defect detected may prompt for an abortion. Terminating the fetus ensures no children with genetic defects are born. Secondly, physicians can screen couples through laboratory testing for many hereditary conditions and so, they will assure them if the child will be healthy or not. Thirdly, medical experts rely on eugenics to balance gender in countries like China where men are higher as compared to women.
Fourthly, surrogacy is a common practice in the current society. However, before the implantation in the uterus both the donor’s sperms and the surrogate mother undergo analysis of any inheritable trait that might affect the health of the child. Diseases like colonic cancer, breast cancer, Alzheimer, are inheritable. Therefore, donor sperms with the least of negative traits cut the risk of the child suffering from any of the aforementioned diseases.
On the other hand, ethicists and eugenicist oppose the application of eugenic in the elimination of the human race because it is against civil or human rights. Morally, eugenics leads to inequality whereby couples choose the gender and trait of their children. There is no society, which can produce perfect people.
Socially, a balanced community consists of people with all way of traits including the physical presentation. Government or an institutional coercing person to alter their reproduction health for a perfect population is demeaning. Sadly, the coerced people are not part of the perfect human race, yet they contribute to its establishment. Occasionally, couples with inheritable conditions may produce a healthy child while the vice versa is true.
Nature and environment profoundly contribute to the behavior and physical well-being of a person. Therefore, a perfect population free of crimes, diseases and other appropriate social elements can never exist. Social stigma may occur among people who the government perceives as having the undesired traits. The major result of perceiving a specified trait as superior is the adjustment of the medical sector to correct the so-called ‘defects’.
The breasts, buttocks, hips, and nose are some of the physical parts, which push people to undergo cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, the pursuit of perfection leads to not only deformation but also to death of some of the people who happen to go for the surgeries. If the society would appreciate every physical feature as unique, then we would not have the above problems.
In brief, except in a few cases like the application of eugenics to eliminate a specific social group, eugenicist had devoted intention in promoting the practice. The aspect of eliminating a population with genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis was to make sure the population consists only of healthy people. The practice was exemplary in terms of economy and health sector because it decreases cases of health problems and saves the taxpayer from funding the research on how to cure diseases.
Positive eugenic promotes pride, and superiority, of the advantaged people, over the disadvantaged group. Ethically, the alteration of reproduction health of the people who have physical defects or those who are lesbians, homosexuals, or gypsies is against their human rights. Morally, the coercion of people to adopt certain human traits as better than others is wrong.
Historically, Hitler is the renowned leader who advocated for eugenics among his subjects. Contemporarily, medical experts practice eugenics either knowingly or unknowingly. Medical practices like ultrasound make sure that the child in the womb has no physical disabilities, while women who undergo sperm implantation need a donor who is free from any genetic disorders.
Curell, Susan, and Cogdell, Christina. Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006.
Dikotter, Frank. Imperfect Conceptions: Medical Knowledge, Birth Defects, and Eugenics in China. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.
Dikotter, Frank. The Discourse of Race in Modern China. London: Stanford University Press, 1992.
Henslin, James. Sociology: A Down-To-Earth Approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2009.
Watson, James. A Passion for DNA: Genes, Genomes, and Society. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2000.