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Today  Public Discourse has published the second half of an interview that Joe referred to on Wednesday. The interview, conducted by Sherif Girgis, is a conversation between Robert P. George and Arthur Caplan, two of the nations most prominent bioethicists. Here’s a taste:

. . . the problem with eugenics is  eugenics itself . It’s not just that the eugenics practiced by the Nazis was coercive. The idea predated the Nazis. The book  Die Freigabe der Vernichtung Lebensunwerten Lebens ( Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life ) was not written by the Nazis. It was written by German progressives in the Weimar period, Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, who were, respectively (as I recall), a jurist and a medical doctor. And they weren’t thugs like the Nazis; they were well-educated, well-intentioned, polite people—the kind of people that you’d be pleased to have dinner with. But I believe they embraced a very bad idea that was easily taken by the Nazis as a justification for the atrocities that they committed. So I would like to see eugenics itself, and not just the Nazi version of it, relegated to the ash-heap of history. Today we are seeing a revival in eugenics, this time under the cover of (and often in the name of) autonomy.  People say, for example, that so long as it is parents who are choosing to abort a Down syndrome baby, or failing to treat a handicapped newborn, and it’s not the state mandating it, then it’s okay. That, I believe, represents the abandonment of something precious in our civilization and in our polity. And that’s the idea of the equality and dignity of all human beings. This treasure of our civilization is the idea that, in some fundamental sense, all of us are created equal.

You can read the rest here.

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