While my last post was perhaps a more extreme example of a contemporary eugenics program, it can be said that modern eugenics has taken on a much more low profile role than it has in the past (at least in the United States). Modern eugenics now reflects more modern sentiments, and is for the most part less extreme than as proposed in the past. With the introduction of birth control and advancements in genetic testing, it could be said that eugenics has in fact been more successful in recent times than it has ever been. When I think of eugenics, I often can’t help but imagine an extreme program in which those deemed “unfit” are ruthlessly culled from the population. However, it is easy to overlook that a couple choosing not to have a child after learning that it would be at risk for a disease after genetic analysis is also eugenics at work. Eugenics does not necessarily mean ending the lives of unfit babies or sterilising those with “bad” genes.On the subject of less invasive eugenics efforts, I happened upon Project Prevention, a program which offers incentives to those addicted to drugs or alcohol to use birth control. The reasoning behind this is is to keep these addicts from having children when they are not capable of taking care of them responsibly. They give the addicts cash in exchange for signing up for long-term birth control (up to sterilisation). This interestingly enough brings about the same results desired by eugenics in the past: that drug addicts do not reproduce and introduce “drug-addict genes” into society (operating under the assumption that the tendency to become addiction to drugs is a genetically linked factor) despite the fact that this is not their direct objective. It is interesting to consider that there is a program offering cash for drug addicts to sterilize themselves, and it shines a new light on alternative possibilities to eugenics apart from state-sponsored, mandatory guidelines.
Here is the link to Project Prevention’s website:
And here is a link to a book which explains why one should not marry an alcoholic (written in 1917):