Human eugenics

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Discriminatory improvement of racial purity
Selective human breeding

Practices leading to human racial improvement based on judicious mating, ensuring that some attributes (selected as superior) prevail, and taking measures to prevent the dilution of the improved stock by those carrying attributes identified as qualitatively inferior.


Governments continue to adopt policies with eugenic objectives. In Singapore, the government has actively encouraged the academically educated members of the population to increase the number of their children. In Romania, under the Ceausescu regime, women were obliged to have extra children, of whom some were separated from their parents at a very early age for a special upbringing within state orphanages. In 1993 China envisaged using abortion and sterilization to "avoid new births of inferior quality and heighten the standards of the whole population". Marriage was to be forbidden to those with hepatitis, venereal disease or hereditary mental illness. Termination of pregnancies would be recommended in the case of certain infectious diseases or abnormal foetal development. China estimates that from 300,000 to 460,000 congenitally disabled children are born each year.


Several objections have been raised to the principles of eugenics. Its too zealous application holds serious risks of abuse, which have been vividly illustrated in the racist ideology of the Nazis, who had their own criteria of what was genetically suitable. Even without a racial basis, eugenics is confronted with the problem of determining who is fit and who is not. The human genetic mechanism is extremely complex, and normal and perfectly healthy parents, no less than those who are ostensibly unfit, can carry defective transmissible genes. Any attempt to make biology serve as a basis for elitist theories is rooted in a fundamental misconception, whether the 'elite' consists of certain individuals within each group, or of certain groups in themselves.

Counter Claim:

Eugenics implies race improvement as a means of helping the evolution of humanity. Eugenics may be used to maintain and improve the genetic potentialities of a particular race or class. To achieve this, eugenics may concern itself with the elimination of the unfit, that is, those who are genetically unsuitable; including their sterilization, so that they cease to propagate. This would ensure that serious mental and physical defects would not be transmitted to future generations, and would prevent the social burden, responsibility, expense and manpower that would otherwise be needed to care for their progeny. Eugenicists feel that the 'absurd' UN Declaration of Human Rights according to which every married couple has the basic right to have a child and 'found a family' can be carried to the point of endangering the genetic pool of humanity.

Racial impurity
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Date of last update
17.04.2019 – 12:07 CEST