Many speculative works of fiction discuss it– some societies have attempted to enact it. It’s using scientific means to alter the course of human development. Eugenics might involve changing the genetic code directly, or breeding certain qualities in or out by terminating or preventing some births, while encouraging others.
Obviously there are moral questions raised by any eugenic process. Trying to control the course of mankind’s development seems to challenge divinity– or, at the very least, to throw a wrench into fate.
I just watched a video of a man with Down’s Syndrome. He pointed out that it would be possible, technically, to identify pregnancies in which the child had the syndrome, and then possibly to terminate such pregnancies.
A point was raised that surprised and impressed me. The man suggested that he has a happy life. He listed many sources of pleasure and achievement. Through his speech, he smiled frequently. It would be hard to imagine that such a person might not have a reason or right to live.
I would like to borrow this man’s point. Mental illness can involve suffering, yes– both for those afflicted and for their families and friends. Schizophrenia can be very challenging to live with.
Yet, schizophrenics have value. People who suffer from mental illness can live full lives. They can work, marry, create– perhaps even have children of their own.
They can be artists, librarians, even leaders.
In short, to take a cue from this man who has Down’s Syndrome, I hope no one will assume that a life with mental illness is a life devoid of value or meaning.
I know I value my own life and find happiness more frequently and with more depth than I ever would have imagined.