THE ETHICS OF THE GENES
'It would be a sin either for mating or for anything else in a truly happy society to take place without regulation. Our Rulers would not allow it.'
'No, it wouldn't be right'.
'It follows that we must arrange for marriage, and make it as sacred an affair as we can. And a sacred marriage is one that produces the most beneficial results . . .'
'We must, if we are to be consistent, and if we're to have a real pedigree herd, mate the best of our men with the best of our women as often as possible, and the inferior men with the inferior women as seldom as possible, and bring up only the offspring of the best. And no one but the Rulers must know what is happening, if we are to avoid dissension in our Guardian herd'.
'That is very true'.
'So we must arrange statutory festivals in which our brides and bridegrooms will be brought together. There will be religious sacrifices and our poets will write songs suitable to the occasion'.
Plato, The Republic1
People have known since time immemorial that it is possible to breed animals and plants to enhance their desirable characteristics and to 'breed out' their undesirable traits. And they have argued that, since it is possible to breed horses for speed or stamina, it ought to be possible to breed human beings