Letter From Planet Earth: Eugenics

Dear Gzorgax,

It’s time I came clean: I’ve been allowing my university’s newspaper to publish my side of our correspondence over the last few months. Surprisingly, despite the publication of these epistles and despite the fact I’ve now included, among other hot potatoes, a description of the Prophet Muhammad as a “child rapist”, I’ve not received a single complaint or been rewarded with a single fatwa. So understandably old friend I feel I have carte blanche to say what people on Earth really think, even if it’s impolitic. So I’ll move straight on to eugenics.

A study by some quack doctors this month is circulating and it has the unsettling finding that when you control for socioeconomic background, children of heterosexual parents do better than children of homosexual parents. We’ll overlook the questionable methodological rigour of the study and grant it its findings. This presents us with a very uncomfortable truth which, even if we don’t like it, we must face up to, though it conflicts with our ideas of freedom. Maintaining a clear minded, realist position we must admit the obvious policy implication: we shouldn’t let poor people have children.

You see, the differences between the gay and straight parents were pretty small, but when you compare parents and don’t control for socioeconomic background the findings are fucking stark. I mean, I’m not usually all about stopping certain people from having kids, but if we’re considering effectively neutering gay parents on the grounds of parental skill, then let’s call a spade a spayed and start by sterilising poor people, criminals, scientologists, weirdos and reality TV contestants.

We tiptoe around this issue of eugenics, kind of because Nazis and Communists took it into some dark territory in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Now it’s considered gauche, to say the least, to suggest eugenic policies, unless of course you’re trying to stop gay people living normal lives. Funnily enough, one could construe any effort at changing the reproductive habits of different kinds of people as a eugenic policy. The baby bonus, abortions, contraception, welfare payments for single parents, no-fault divorce — all these things have changed people’s reproductive choices. Are they not then part of an inadvertent eugenic, or more polemically still, dysgenic policy agenda?

When you get educated people talking, Gzorgax, really talking I mean, often late at night after much wine has passed, you can find that people who would blanch at talk of Hitler’s and Stalin’s attempts to remove unwanted elements from society, will have their own severe views about runts in the litter. Probe into any social ill, like our more dire public schools, the third generation unemployed, repeat offenders, the problems with public housing, or Summernats and you’ll find people are wont to conclude, only half jokingly, that we “shouldn’t let them breed” or, more boldly, “that we should just drown them at birth”. And indeed who can argue that slaughtering the babies of criminals won’t reduce crime? We’re a nation of eugenicists Gzorgax and we don’t even know it.

Yours earthily,


This article originally appeared in Woroni in 2012.

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