Quality Control of Children

Eugenics (the improvement of the mean and variance of the phenotype of the next generation through manipulations of the genotype) is as important, necessary, inevitable, and morally correct as anti-poverty initiatives, programs to teach middle class values, and “euSES” (the improvement of the mean and variance of the phenotype of the next generation through manipulation of socio-economic status).

Gene Expression: Picking the perfect baby

“But the main issue is the idea of treating the child as an object, as product for which you are seeking quality control,” Dr Tonti-Filippini says.

1) Part of this is publicity, you can get only so much information out of genetic tests right now (see Genetic Future). Take a look at Genetic determinants of hair, eye and skin pigmentation in Europeans, and note how much higher the odds ratio (20-30 vs. ~5) for OCA2 “blue-eye” markers are vs. the ones which might give some information about hair color. The same differences in effect size apply to disease loci. I suspect many people will balk at paying up when confronted with the provisionality of some of the inferences.

“Quality Control” (the scientific regulation of variance and mean production outcomes) is what you get when you do not want to pay professionals enough to do the job as a craft. For instance, law has no ‘quality control,’ in the strict sense, because those who have an interest in high-quality law simply pay more money for a better lawyer. The factory that made your iPod, however, is all about ‘quality control,’ as its payscale is just enough to attract and hold off-the-farm uneducated female laborers.

As a society, we long ago decided we weren’t going to pay teachers enough to avoid quality control. So now we’re getting it, with No Child Left Behind.

Through No Child Left Behind, Bush proved himself to be the greatest pro-education and pro-civil-rights President since Abraham Lincoln. It is easy to denounce your enemies and send in the troops. Such destructiveness can even be politically popular. But it does not help in the real goal of increasing the knowledge base of learners. Quality control does that.

Interestingly, through the 2009 Stimulus, Barack Obama may prove himself to be the greatest pro-eugenics American since Margaret Sanger. As long as health care (incudling physical health, mental health, wellness, and aptitude toward financial literacy) is considered to be a private problem, the role of the federal government in improving it is limited. However, Obama’s quest to expand health care to children, the unemployed, and other groups is a stalking horse for a truly national health care system.

When the difference between in vitro gene therapy is $100,000 in later medical bills out of parents’ pockets, it’s a private matter. When the difference is out of the taxpayer’s pockets, we get into the world of policy.

Unless Obama overturns the substantive parts of No Child Left Behind, Bush’s education legacy will continue until the end of the Republic. Unless the next President overturns the substantive parts of Obama’s national health care proposals, Obama’s eugenics legacy will continue until the end of the Republic.

5 thoughts on “Quality Control of Children”

  1. “When the difference is out of the taxpayer’s pockets, we get into the world of policy.”

    Which is when the safety net becomes a net that ensnares.

  2. I am not so confident that ‘reason and logic’ prevails when governmental policies are formulated and implemented – could be a nightmare. Something like zero tolerance policies in school – when kindergartners are punished because they hug another child – or suspended because they have a butter knife with their lunch. You seem so confident about the positive outcome of all of this. Are you really so sure?

  3. Adam,


    The Mom,

    Well, in fairness, I never used the words “reason” or “logic” in the post! 🙂

    I expect such a program would be implemented similar to NCLB, which is to say as a sledgehammer.

    The goal would not be to help those with good schools or in good communities, but to drastically alter bad schools and bad communities. Gene therapy for intelligence, time-preference, aggression, and the like could be the 21st equiavelents of fluridation, electrification, and the MMR vaccine.

  4. There was a TV show the other night about arranged marriages. In one part they were sort of comparing the want ads for potential mates in America and India. In America the ads focused on things like “likes to take long walks” versus India, where the ads focused on things like “must have excellent proficiency in mathematics”.

    That is selective breeding, I think.

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