"The title of this clear, scientifically well informed and philosophically sophisticated study is slightly misleading. What Agar is primarily interested in and what he strives to defend is not so much human enhancement as reproductive freedom. Whereas traditional eugenics is concerned with the improvement of human stock and its proponents consequently advocate a strict regulation of reproduction, Agar does not want to commit himself to a particular view of what would count as such an improvement. People have different conceptions of what makes a good life and what characteristics are desirable. From a liberal perspective, these differences ought to be respected, which rules out any form of authoritarian eugenics. What humans should be like is not for the State to decide. For the same reason, however, people should also be free to use enhancement technologies on their children in order to realize their own personal conception of human excellence, i.e. to make their children, in accordance with their own standards, better than they would otherwise be. Here, likewise, the state has no right to interfere. Just as a liberal outlook precludes any form of authoritarian eugenics, it encourages us to adopt a liberal eugenics which embraces not a monistic but a pluralistic view of human excellence. In this manner, "an evil doctrine" is being transformed into "a morally acceptable one." (135)
Unlike philosophers such as Jonathan Glover or John Harris, Agar does not claim that we have a moral duty to provide and use enhancement technologies. However, he argues that consistency with the moral values prevalent in a contemporary liberal democracy requires us to tolerate their development and use. There is no particular ethical theory on which Agar bases his conclusions. Instead of arguing from a Kantian, a utilitarian or any other ethical theory's perspective, he is looking for practices which we have already accepted as morally justified or, on the contrary, as not justifiable. By comparing a still unfamiliar practice to similar but familiar practices which "elicit moral reactions of which we are confident" (39), we get hold of moral images which indicate how morally to evaluate the unfamiliar. This "method of moral images" helps us to decide, without recourse to ethical theory, whether we ought to ban, tolerate or encourage the use of enhancement technologies. Since Agar wants to convince us that we should tolerate the development and use of enhancement technologies, he needs to demonstrate that those moral images which would support his view are in relevant respects closer to the practice of genetic enhancement than those that would rather support its ban or, on the contrary, an obligation to make use of it." - NDPR.