Eugenics concept: from Plato to present
Güvercin CH, Arda B.
Medical Ethics and History of Medicine,
Ankara University Health Sciences Institute, Turkey.
1: Hum Reprod Genet Ethics. 2008;14(2):20-6


All prospective studies and purposes to improve cure and create a race that would be exempt of various diseases and disabilities are generally defined as eugenic procedures. They aim to create the "perfect" and "higher" human being by eliminating the "unhealthy" prospective persons. All of the supporting actions taken in order to enable the desired properties are called positive eugenic actions; the elimination of undesired properties are defined as negative eugenics. In addition, if such applications and approaches target the public as a whole, they are defined as macro-eugenics. On the other hand, if they only aim at individuals and/or families, they are called micro-eugenics. As generally acknowledged, Galton re-introduced eugenic proposals, but their roots stretch as far back as Plato. Eugenic thoughts and developments were widely accepted in many different countries beginning with the end of the 19th to the first half of the 20th centuries. Initially, the view of negative eugenics that included compulsory sterilizations of handicapped, diseased and "lower" classes, resulted in tens of thousands being exterminated especially in the period of Nazi Germany. In the 1930s, the type of micro positive eugenics movement found a place within the pro-natalist policies of a number of countries. However, it was unsuccessful since the policy was not able to become effective enough and totally disappeared in the 1960s. It was no longer a fashionable movement and left a deep impression on public opinion after the long years of war. However, developments in genetics and its related fields have now enabled eugenic thoughts to reappear under the spotlight and this is creating new moral dilemmas from an ethical perspective.
Eugenics talk
Liberal Eugenics
Psychiatric genetics
'Liberal eugenics' (PDF)
Liberal eugenics defended
Selecting potential children
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
The commercialisation of pre-natal enhancement
Biologising social problems under the banner of eugenics

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World