People like to say they care about future generations. That’s ridiculous, obviously. The reality is that people only care about perpetuating their own genes. If we cared about the quality of life for future generations, most births in modern societies would result from the sperm and eggs of donors that are healthy, brilliant, talented, hard-working, happy, tall, and blessed with excellent emotional intelligence. To keep things non-racist, let’s assume the donated sperm and eggs in my hypothetical situation come from the best specimens in every ethnic group.
Just to be clear, I’m not recommending that society restrict reproduction to the best genetic specimens among us. That would violate all sorts of basic freedoms. All I’m saying is that if we cared about future generations, we have the means to solve a lot of their problems in advance through genetic management. In reality, we don’t care too much about future generations, so the current method of mating all higgledy-piggledy is fine with everyone.
None of us wants to live in a world where human reproduction is restricted by the government, or even by social norms. I’m just making the case that if the current generation of child-bearing folks were to bite the bullet and voluntarily accept restrictions on their reproductive options, future generations wouldn’t need to have the same restrictions. In a generation or two, society could go back to mating all higgledy-piggledy in the old-fashioned way, secure in the knowledge that any mate they might select in that future generation would be the product of good genes.
It’s a creepy idea, right? Yeah, I get that. It’s impractical too. But I’m sure people once said the same thing about donating their organs, and we got over that. The only real limitation to genetic management is psychological. We could get past it if we truly cared about the wellbeing of strangers that will be born after we die.