Every year brings new atrocities in the name of someone’s vision towards perfection. Every year we take another step away from the horrors of World War 2, and yet never learn from it.

Aside from the genocide at the concentration camps, the Germans, led by Adolf Hitler, had a eugenics program designed to breed the best race by ensuring that only those who met this “best” standard could breed the “super race”. Only white, blonde, blue eyes, tall and muscular. The other side of their eugenics programme involved the sterilisation of people deemed as unfit.

Though, this point isn’t as shocking as it should be when you consider that prior to World War 2, eugenics had been investigated as a potential national program in no less than 5 of the major countries – the US, Britain, Japan, Canada, and Australia.

Their classifications, though built upon a basic understanding of Darwinism and evolution, held no scientific basis whatsoever. They were like Britain’s Kennel Club, who recently came under fire for utilizing eugenics to breed dogs that are, really, unfit for purpose (other than a warped idea about what their breeds should look like).

All the programmes favored what they believed were a class system, so that the wealthy and employed had better “genetic worth” than poor, the low paid, and criminals.

It’s amazing to consider the implications of putting such a half-cocked plan into action. Where would the world be right now, with enforced sterilisations? What they never considered was that the world will always have certain levels of poor and blighted. Not everyone can prosper equally – that’s one of the foibles of capitalism.

I only raise this subject as it begs the question from my recent discussion regarding augmenting and perfecting humans. Eugenics is such a taboo word, and yet in Israel they have a programme that ensures that newborns are free of defect (in much the same way that Britain’s Kennel Club is now beginning to breed out defects).

What would have happened to the world had we developed understanding of genetics enough to start manipulating DNA before we’d discussed and argued over the ethics of it?

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