Most, or even all, progressives say they are against eugenics. Yet most, or all, progressives were against the recent Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act which would have outlawed sex-selective abortions in these United States.
That Act failed in the House of Representatives with Ron Paul, six other Republicans, and all but twenty Democrats voting to abort it. Word was that progressives, women’s “rights” groups, and even a few Asian-American groups opposed the bill.
Now it is obvious that killing a female fetus because it is a female just is eugenics in practice. And so is killing a fetus that differs in any way from the ideal created in the mind of the non-mother-to-be. Killing a fetus which is guessed (genetic tests are not perfect; there is error) will be retarded or, say, medically “defective” is exactly what eugenics is. But killing a fetus because it would interfere with a woman’s plans for the weekend is not strictly eugenical, at least not in a strong sense of active deselection.
Incidentally, and entirely off topic, what do the selfish-genes folks say about the enormous and growing rate of self-gene deselection? (It’s at this point in the evolutionary psychology discussion that the subject is changed.)
It was, as even PBS reminds us, progressives a century ago who led groups like the Race Betterment Foundation. “In 1923, organizers founded the American Eugenics Society, and it quickly grew to 29 chapters around the country.” Woodrow Wilson was positively bullish on improving the human stock. And so forth. (See also this article by professor of anthropology Jonathan Marks.)
But after 1945 a great many who had been championing the culling of the less desirable sobered up or were shamed into silence. These feelings grew so that it was eventually reflexive for any right-thinking person to condemn eugenics.
Except in the case of abortions, where it is actively encouraged. This attitude can be summarized: Killing people once they are outside the womb is wrong, killing them before they emerge is not wrong. (Except that even this attitude is changing: see this.)
So let us ask progressives and leftists out there (1) why on moral grounds they are for allowing sex selective abortions, (2) why on moral grounds they are for allowing abortions for what they claim are “defective” or “less desirable” human beings, and (3) why on moral grounds they are simultaneously against eugenics. Keep in mind that it is everywhere females who are killed off in the wombs at much higher rates than males.
It is a fallacy to argue, incidentally, that if the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act passed it would be difficult to enforce. That law and its policing is irrelevant to the questions just asked. It is a fallacy to argue, for example, that if the law passed “all women seeking an abortion are suspects” in a crime, as this person said, thus eugenics is morally right. It is also a fallacy to argue that the Act would have just plain outlawed abortion, for even if that turned out to be the case, it says nothing about whether abortion for sex selection or against “defectives” is morally right.
The questions of interest have nothing at all to do with what laws exist or what laws might exist. They are purely questions on the ethics of eugenics, whether or not eugenics is lawful. Consider the analogy that it is against the law to take certain drugs, yet many people can still argue that taking these drugs is not morally wrong. We can argue another day whether laws for or against eugenics are desirable, harmful, enforceable, whatever. Today they are of not the slightest interest (except as a means to inform us that some people are for sex-selective abortion, i.e. eugenics in practice).
And don’t forget it is not just sex-selection we are interested in, but the killing of any fetus seen as less than desirable for reasons other than convenience.
Remember that we are ladies and gentleman.