Pop Culture’s 100-year Obsession With Eugenics

For the past century, pop culture has told plenty of stories about eugenics. Some of them have criticized the notion that you can make people “better” — but others have been wishful fantasies about making a better world through genetics. Here’s the weird history of eugenics in popular culture. From Pre-World War II to Genetic Engineering and Beyond, this article traces our fascination with eugenics.  This article includes a clip of a radio presentation, lists of novels and movies that highlight eugenics. Past Intern Jenney McNaughton brought this article to my attention, thanks Jenney!

Francis Fukuyama, a professor at Johns Hopkins wrote:

“The first victim of transhumanism might be equality… If we start transforming ourselves into something superior, what rights will these enhanced creatures claim, and what rights will they possess when compared to those left behind? If some move ahead, can anyone afford not to follow? These questions are troubling enough within rich, developed societies. Add in the implications for citizens of the world’s poorest countries — for whom biotechnology’s marvels likely will be out of reach — and the threat to the idea of equality becomes even more menacing.”


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