A US charity called Project Prevention is offering drug addicts £200 if they agree to have a vasectomy so they can’t pass on their degenerate lifestyles to the next generation. Apparently alcoholics (however defined) will get £100. Whether or not this will actually produce the desired results is doubtful, and you can’t help wondering where all this is going to end. What about people who weigh 20 stone? What about long-term benefit claimants? It’s not hard to find people prepared to express Sun-reader type opinions that “they shouldn’t be allowed to breed”. What about smokers? What about heavy drinkers, or indeed anyone who drinks more than the officially sanctioned annual thimbleful? Or those who don’t eat their “five a day”?
The discredited eugenics movement of the early 20th century is generally thought of now as being about racial purity, but in reality it was just as much, if not more, about improving the quality of the population by preventing the feckless underclass from breeding. The well-known novelist H. G. Wells, generally regarded as a man of the political Left, advocated ridding the world of the “unfit” through forced sterilisation, and he was far from alone. It seems that this mentality of making value judgments as to who is fit to reproduce and who isn’t, based on “lifestyle” criteria, is starting to creep back in again by the back door. It’s certainly widely spoken of already in relation to healthcare entitlement.