The GSS contains one of the most unambiguous, straightforward measures of personal support for voluntary eugenics. Most recently in 2004–yes, dated, but we work with what we have–the survey asked in the case of a pregnant woman or the partner of a pregnant woman, “Would you (yourself want to/want your partner to) have an abortion if a test shows the baby has a serious genetic defect?” The percentages, by political orientation, who said they would want an abortion in such circumstances:
In a sober world, Dawkins would have come in for criticism on account of his assertion that presumably state-mandated eugenic programs would work. The libertarian rightly objects that it could work–“work” defined in this context as achieving the stated objective–but that, like so many other government programs, it could also end up creating a lot more problems than it would ‘solve’. And this only addresses utility–the moral and legal objections remain.
In the world we actually live in, he came under fire for treating the term “eugenics” as anything other than a thoughtless synonym for “Pure Evil”. That he qualified his statement by saying he finds the idea morally repugnant did him no good in eyes of his persecutors.
We live in an age of horizontal intellectual totalitarianism.
GSS variables used: POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7), YEAR(2004), GENEABRT(1-2)