Eugenics and Dysgenics

There is no such thing as a gene-neutral social policy. Through its creation and application of laws, every government is engaged in either a de facto eugenics (improvement of ) or dysgenics (degradation of) the national genome*. Currently, much of the United States has a distributed dysgenics program in place, where murder (removal from the genepool) is effectively rewarded through slaps-on-the-wrist that confer social status but do not confer net punishment:

Gothamist: 13-Year-Old Arrested in Columbia Student’s Death
A 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in the Friday night death of a Columbia graduate student. According to a Daily News source, the boy bragged to his 15-year-old friend before chasing Ming-Hui Yu, “Look what I do to this one.”

The teen and his friends apparently hassled Yu, a 24-year-old Ph.D. student in statistics and a teaching fellow, at the median at Broadway and 122nd Street. The Post reports one “punched him in the face, while the other kept watch.” (The Daily News adds that the police are “don’t believe it was robbery. It was some sort of altercation.”–Yu still had his wallet and backpack.) In an attempt to escape them, Yu ran into the street, where he was hit by a Jeep. Yu later died of his injuries.

I’m not sure what the track record on microevolution on a national scale is, but it’s certainly worth investigating. How many critics of laissez-faire economics likewise oppose laissez-faire dysgenics?

[* Technically a genome is mapped to an individuals, so there is no “national genome.” Still, the species concept is a myth too, but we talk about “the human genome” because it is understood that means both the mean properties of the genome as well as common variation within it.]

2 thoughts on “Eugenics and Dysgenics”

  1. Would a national health care system be a state sponsored case of dysgenics?
    The longer we keep people with a non-advantageous genetic make-up alive, the greater chance they have to breed.

  2. All human beings have equal value, so a policy that removes care or protection from individuals (whether a health-care based eugenics program as you describe, or our crime-based dysgenics program highlighted in my post) is wicked.

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