Possible Abuse of Genetics

I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.

Ultimately, the most serious argument militating against eugenics is its possible abuse. Unquestionably, the danger is real. It would not take much work to come up with a lengthy list of past abuses. The baby can always be drowned in the bath water. We as a species have much in our past for which we can now experience only shame.

We are just now deciphering the blueprints according to which we ourselves were constructed; we could make terrible mistakes. Or we could lose too much diversity. And as not very distant history teaches us, eugenics could be misused to justify the elimination of peoples judged “inferior” or simply hated for whatever reason.

For that matter, who can possibly predict what new evils the fertile human brain is capable of in some unknown future? It is indeed frightening. Sophisticated egalitarians, who are not really egalitarians at all but simply concerned thinkers who fear the man in the street most of all, are right to experience misgivings.

The potential abuse of genetics is not limited to distorting the human genome. It is already possible to begin modifying animals to enhance their intelligence to allow them to perform tasks currently performed by people, or even to create animal-human hybrids.

A ready market will always exist for cheap, low-skilled workers, so that this is a real danger. Currently people feel they have the right to regard their fellow travelers on this planet as objects of consumption, so that there is not even a discussion of this frightening prospect. But imagine the moral dilemma that would face us had to deal with animals whose abilities overlapped the lower range of the human population.

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