We live in the age of eugenics. Eugenic abortion. Eugenic infanticide. Eugenic “mercy-killing.” The eugenic outlook on life is becoming more mainstream, and therefore more radical-–since the movement is incremental. It warns against “alarmist” language while it quietly, but diligently, phases in its radical and homicidal policies.
The eugenic worldview helps us to put the problem of evil in perspective. For the eugenic worldview is pursuing an ideal. It’s ideal of a perfect world. Its version of the best possible world.
From a eugenic perspective, the perfect world resembles one of those new teen dramas you see trailers for every year. Every year we see trailers for a new teen drama, which is interchangeable with the last teen drama.
The perfect world is usually set in Orange County or the Florida Gold Coast. It’s a world where every high school student has perfect teeth and a Mercedes convertible.
Mind you, even this perfect world has its ups and downs–as the TV trailers preview the many trials and tribulations of being young, rich, and beautiful. It’s enough to make you cry.
This is the utopian vision of someone like Peter Singer. For example, Singer thinks it’s for the best if we abort all the hemophiliacs. A hemophiliac has a lower quality of life than a normal, healthy baby. His life is fraught with peril.
Singer justifies this position on the grounds that people are replaceable. You’d be replacing the hemophiliac with a normal, healthy baby.
I suppose he’d extend his reasoning to babies who are congenitally blind or deaf.
Now, from a biblical perspective, some of these genetic defects are, indeed, natural evils. It is, however, better to be born blind or deaf than never to be born at all. Sensory impairment scarcely negates the value of being alive.
In addition, these natural evils supply the occasion for certain virtues to manifest themselves. If your brother is blind or deaf, then he requires more attention. You don’t take him for granted to the same degree. Because he’s vulnerable, he’s more dependent on his parents, friends, and siblings to look out for his interests. And that, in turn, supplies an opportunity for a more loving and caring and close-knit family or circle of friends.
Of course, that’s also more time-consuming and “burdensome.” It puts a crimp in our lifestyle. Infringes on our freedom.
Eugenics is, in large part, about eliminating inconvenient people. People who make too many demands on us–thereby transgressing our sacrosanct autonomy.
So this goes to the question of what is important in life. What’s the source of personal fulfillment? Is it a matter of investing your life in other people–or retaining a certain level of detachment, so that you can pull the plug at any time?
Do people get in the way of what you want in life, or do people contribute to the value of life?
Finally, the Christian worldview is also concerned with the healing of broken bodies. But Christianity can have the best of both worlds.
In a fallen world, redeemed by grace, God can cultivate certain virtues which are only possible in such a world. A world with natural and moral evils.
Those virtues can then carry over into the world to come, where birth defects are eliminated without eliminating the individual.