audiovisual display

Eugenics; or, Would You Fuck Stephen Hawking?

The thing that most confuses me about eugenics discourse is that, with one exception, no one ever considers what we’re currently evolving towards.

The eugenics crowd upholds the idea of a past in which “weak” people died without having children. With modern medical care, these “weak” people can survive and have children, which will somehow lead to there no longer being any “strong” people. Somewhere in there, there’s an assumption that there is currently no factor that would make it more or less likely for a person to have children.

But with health issues limited or removed as an impediment to reproduction, a single issue remains: does anyone want to have children with you?

This is not an idle question, and it’s one that’s driven the evolution of a wide variety of species. Treefrogs evolve towards an attractive audiovisual display, while sheep might prefer a big set of horns. But before we sign our future over to pickup artists and bodybuilders, we should also consider more human factors, like the ability to hold an intelligent conversation or the ability to earn a lot of money and provide financial stability. In the journey from Homo Sapiens to Homo Sexy, we may be selecting for great listeners, dedicated romantics, or people who forget to take their birth control pills.

This is what the eugenics crowd is missing when they assume our society will overflow with people in wheelchairs. If you want to fuck Stephen Hawking, it’s probably not because of his wheelchair, but because he’s smart, funny, and driven. Better medicine and better care doesn’t automatically mean someone will have children; it just gives them a chance to love and be loved like anyone else.

(The one exception: a lot of people assume that stupid people are more likely to have children, with varying definitions of what “stupid” means. I blame Idiocracy for bringing this idea into popular culture.)