What Is Eugenics?

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Eugenics was a common ideology or philosophy, as well as a scientific idea, that involved the self-direction of human development. Learn about the fallout of eugenics as a form of human rights abuse with help from a science teacher and field biologist in this free video on eugenics.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Brian with ericksontutoring.blogspot.com. Today we're going to discuss Eugenics. So Eugenics was a common ideology, philosophy as well as a scientific idea in the early twentieth century or the first half of the twentieth century that really fell out of favor sort of, after World War II. Eugenics essentially was the self direction of human development. So it was humans trying to make humans of a certain type. The way this was done which you control breeding, you sort of pick the people who you think should breed; the people who you think are the higher people, the best specimens and you only let them breed and you prevent other people from breeding. Today, we view this as brutal human rise, human rights abuses. Things were done to the people who were deemed unfit that we simply just say, aren't appropriate, they're not reasonable. Things like sterilization; people would be sterilized who were deemed unfit. People weren't allowed to breed; they're all sorts of racial segregation and stereotypes. The best example of Eugenics movement and sort of also the worst example is the Holocaust and the Nazis. Hitler has decided that they're, the Aryan race was this ultimate race and that other races such as Gypsies, Jews and so forth mentally ill or simply not fit and didn't deserve, not only to reproduce; but he decided they didn't deserve to live. He was trying to rid them from the earth in a version of Eugenics. So today also, a lot of the racial issues and sort of the highlighting a specific ethnic groups is considered genocide; something that didn't exist, a term that didn't exist in the early half of the twentieth century. It's pretty easy from this point of view to say that Eugenics was wrong; but during that point in time, a lot of; it had a lot of popularity and it even hailed a lot of popularity along, among the elite. Maybe it did hold popularity among the elite, elite because they thought that they would be able to reproduce and pass off their own traits. I'm not sure, but it has definitely gone back and forth and sort of after World War II, it really fell out of favor. It is coming back in not necessarily in its same form; but some of the questions, the moral issues that surround it are starting to surface again with genetic engineering, genetic modification, gene therapy; all these things, all these developments in science these days are really starting to bring up some of the ethical issues that were raised with Eugenics movement at the start of the twentieth century. So this has been a brief discussion of the Eugenics and some of the impacts that they had.


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