The Illiberality of Liberal Eugenics
20 RATIO 1 (2007)
26 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2009 Last revised: 15 Apr 2017
Date Written: August 3, 2012
If the liberal commitment to autonomy is important enough for the state to mandate childrearing practices like health care and basic education, that same interest is important enough for the state to mandate safe, effective, and functionally integrated reproductive practices that act on analogous all-purpose traits such as resistance to disease and general cognitive functioning. I make the case that embryo selection, fetal surgery, or genetic engineering that aims to enhance 'general purpose' offspring traits are less like childrearing practices a liberal government leaves to the discretion of parents than practices the state makes compulsory. But this is an argument against liberalism.
Keywords: liberal eugenics, progressive eugenics, primary goods, reproductive liberty, autonomy
JEL Classification: I18, H52, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation