Monday, August 18, 2008

China, Eugenics, and Yao Ming

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at

China, Eugenics, and Yao Ming

There are some rumblings over China's supposed sport eugenics program. While It is possible that this was limited to Mao and basketball's Yao Ming, it is also possible that China is still attempting to breed superstar athletes.

On the face of this, I say, "So what?" Can any government really see 20 years into the future (the time it takes to conceive, birth, and raise a future star -- gymnastics excluded) and produce athletes with superior genetics, guaranteed to win gold after gold? Hmmm.

Would any government bureaucrat have predicted 21 years ago that a tall, relatively lanky runner could blister the 100-meter record? Not likely. Any sports minister worth his tax-salary would have bred midsized runners with strong, powerful legs.

Can any government agent predict the future of basketball 20 years from now? Of course not. Government cannot plan the future, whether in economics or sports.

My concern with any eugenics plan is the other end of the spectrum; the millions of humans that government ends up destroying in order to create its envisioned supreme man (consider Nazi Germany eugenics and the New Soviet Man in the USSR). This is certainly one race that we do not need to enter: the genetically-superior athletes race (similar to the sundry other races we entered, such as space race, etc.)

That vary large concern aside: If anyone thinks that China can plan and breed athletes for the 2028 Olympic Games, consider how well your local city planned its daily rush hour.

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