LINKS ABOUT EUGENICS: SOME HISTORY AND SOME OPINION
For Marouf Hasian, author of The Rhetoric of Eugenics in Anglo-American Thought, the appeal of eugenics in English and American minds has never diminished but only taken on new names. From Francis Galton through Charles Davenport and Harry Laughlin and right up to Murray and Herrnstein, the only significant challenge in Anglo-American thought to the value of eugenics has been some semantic backpedaling to make sense of Nazi Germany.
In the meantime, genetics has burst forth, able to offer a way to combine "democratic" values and deliberate improvement of humans by "geneticizing" social problems and urging parents to "choose" their [eugenically fit] offspring with tools such as amniocentesis and gene therapy.
Hasian is obviously sympathetic with the arguments of Daniel Kevles, for whom discussions of genetic engineering clearly belong in discussions about eugenics. And while he is no Jeremy Rifkin, he is certainly cautious when James Watson (yes, that Watson), first director of the Human Genome Project, warns that it is an "act of true moral cowardice to allow children to be born with known genetic defects."
The Rhetoric of Eugenics in Anglo-American Thought is reviewed at The Net Net, in the July 19, 1996, issue.
This page has no illusions about objectivity or comprehensiveness. It is merely a jumping-off point in the search for discussions and documents about eugenics. Please let The 60-Minute Intellectual know if you find a site that would add to this page, particularly if it offers a perspective not already represented here.
Modified April 2005. This page was originally created in 1996 and is not regularly reviewed. Occasionally, I receive reports of dead links, and I try to replace them with live ones but may also just remove them. This list has only one purpose: to list a range of opinions about eugenics. If you know of a site that represents a perspective not present here, please let me know.