Scott has posted a discussion of the conversation about eugenics, framed as an actual conversation. I found it thought-provoking, as he made better arguments for both sides than I am used to seeing from either.
A: Given that mild, consensual forms of eugenics have historically led to extreme, horrifying versions, we have reason to believe the topic is a slippery slope which ought to be avoided outright.
B: This proves too much, as there are plenty of other ideas with similar history but much higher body counts. Thus eugenics ought to be carefully investigated rather than tabooed outright.
In the footnotes, he also presents C: Ehrlich did nothing wrong, and sometimes expected-value calculations don’t plan for the long tails. Democracy, as a form of distributed consent, is our best way to square this circle. This (correctly, IMO) leaves Scott uncomfortable. I appreciate that he included it.
I was not at all familiar with Ehrlich’s work, or with the quintessentially-McNamara history of Indian aid programs. Both add some valuable context for the argument. Oh, and I guess Scott talks about HBD a little bit; that’ll be catnip for this community, but it’s really secondary to the main thrust. Seriously, just read the article for a better version than anything I can write.