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About the history and evolution of eugenics


Index

Background

An overview of the history, evolution and state of the eugenics movement

Apple-pie eugenics — War Against the Weak

Callous advocacy-researchers and callous journalists who write about and promote advocacy research

Eugenics Watch

US Fatal job injuries by sex — 1992 - 2001

A US campaign, called Project Prevention, is offering drug addicts and alcoholics $200 to be sterilised so as to avoid the cost of supporting their children. The project, which has paid over a thousand addicts, 98% of them women, to undergo sterilisation, has drawn criticism for its tactics.

Critics say that paid sterilisation is a new kind of eugenics. "Barbara Harris [the founder] couldn't care less about the addicts themselves and what might be best for them," said Wyndi Anderson of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. "For them to argue that these people come to them entirely of their own free will is totally disingenuous."

Australasian, Bioethics Newsletter, 5 September

On Mon, 8 Sep 2003 23:52:21 +0100, "Robert" said:

Are we by now so morally debased that society has become ethically challenged ?

And on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 10:52 AM, "Robert" said:

Speaking of eugenicists, didn't Sweden (in common with Germany) quietly go in for this 'involuntary' sterilisation during and after World War II ?.

Wasn't it one of their best kept Aryan secrets ?

Sterilisation only appears to have been implemented against non-blondes - male and female alike - and those they termed 'gypsies' who were deemed of less then human in status.

To which I replied on 10 September 2003 09:44:

It was done then in Canada and in the USA.

Upon which Robert responded on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 4:59 AM:

But surely not on such a state-organised and large scale ?

If your reply was that it was, then I must look to whether it was equally widespread in the UK.

My response (Wed. Sep. 09, 2003) to that was:

Robert,

You asked: "But surely not on such a state-organised and large scale?"

The Report Newsmagazine ran quite a few articles on eugenics in Canada, indicating that the scale and scope of sterilizations in Canada were about of the same order of magnitude as those in Germany. Although sterilizations were stopped in Germany after 1945, in Canada (and in the USA) they continued into the '60s and '70s.

In Alberta, Canada, from 1929 to 1964, 2,832 sterilization orders were issued and executed.[1, 2] The Alberta population comprises in the order of 10 percent of the Canadian population. Extrapolating from 3000 sterilizations in Alberta to all of Canada, it would not be too far off to estimate a total of 30,000 sterilizations in all of Canada. Canada's population was during the '30s and '40s about one third the size of that of Germany. However, Canada had only two Eugenics Boards in operation at the time, the one in Alberta, and another one in British Columbia. Although sterilizations could legally be performed in only two Canadian provinces, I wonder whether all sterilizations that were done were actually recorded. That would have been done only in a perfect world.

I don't know how many sterilizations were undertaken in Germany, but there would have to have been about 90,000 of them in Germany to match Alberta's performance record.

It is on record that the German eugenics program as executed by the SS had its ideological roots in Social Darwinism that led to the Eugenics Movement in the U.K. Eugenics evolved out of the Natural Selection theory from Darwin’s cousin Sir Francis Galton. One of its promoters was for instance Aldous Huxley, who summarized some of his ideas [actually they were more likely his brother's, Julian Huxley, who had expressed them a year or so earlier in a discussion paper in about the same detail as Aldous Huxley then in 1932 described them] in Brave New World. Many people see Brave New World as a critique of Social Darwinism, but that would be taking the wrong view. It was a critique of "archaic" moral standards. [Mind you, in the foreword to the 1946 edition of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley white-washed his earlier views – although deliberately leaving them unchanged – by giving the impression that the original version of his book was intended to be satire.  That would be acceptable if that foreword would have been written in 1932, when Hitler's designs for all-out state-sponsored and -imposed eugenics were already well known and much to the liking of the international eugenics community of which the Huxley's were then already and since long before an integral part]

At any rate, some of the individuals instrumental in the formation of Nazism had been moving in the circles of which Julian and Aldous Huxley and their ideological compatriots were part. Those individuals incorporated the modern sentiments of Social Darwinism into the Nazi's ideological platform. Eugenics as an official government policy in Germany dates back to 1905. The Nazis merely carried out with greater zeal what had been practice all along.

I don't want to make this too long, but if you wish to examine the international spread and implementation of the ideology of Social Darwinism in greater detail, I have some information that may help you with that.

From an overview of eugenics:

Most support for Galton and the Eugenics movement stemmed from the fact that the poor tend to have more children than the rich. As result of this over time the supposedly poor genes of the poor would be passed on in numerous amounts to future generations, outnumbering the amount of positive genes from the wealthy, thus creating the human race to degenerate over time. Modern Eugenics has its roots in, but differs from, Social Darwinism. The attitude allowing nature to take its course becomes eventually eliminated from modern Eugenics from the fact that the notion of careful planning through proper breeding is the key to bettering society. [2]

Margaret Sanger was a influential proponent of eugenics, so much so that she attracted Hitler's attention. Her idea of birth control through abortion was not so much to help women in general as it aimed at reducing the birth rates of coloured and the poor, thereby to improve the genetic qualities of the survivors. She eventually changed the name of her organization from American Birth Control League to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, mainly because the predominance of the eugenics promoted by her organization made its goals look so much like those of Hitler's racism. It wasn't a good stance to take at the time. You may wish to read up on the history of Margaret Sanger a bit. For a start take a look at this:

Sanger was not one for subtlety in such matters. She bluntly defined "birth control," a term she coined, as "the process of weeding out the unfit" aimed at "the creation of a superman." She often opined that "the most merciful thing that the large family does to one its infant members is to kill it," and that "all our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class."

Sanger frequently featured racists and eugenicists in her magazine, the Birth Control Review. Contributor Lothrop Stoddard, who also served on Sanger's board of directors, wrote in "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy" that "We must resolutely oppose both Asiatic permeation of white race-areas and Asiatic inundation of those non-white, but equally non-Asiatic regions inhabited by the really inferior races." Each issue of the Birth Control Review was packed with such ideas. But Sanger was not content merely to publish racist propaganda; the magazine also made concrete policy proposals, such as the creation of "moron communities," the forced production of children by the "fit," and the compulsory sterilization and even elimination of the "unfit."

Sanger's own racist views were scarcely less opprobrious. In 1939 she and Clarence Gamble made an infamous proposal called "Birth Control and the Negro," which asserted that "the poorer areas, particularly in the South ... are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations." Her "religion of birth control" would, she wrote, "ease the financial load of caring for with public funds ... children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation."

War with Germany, combined with lurid tales of how the Nazis were putting her theories about "human weeds" and "genetically inferior races" into practice, panicked Sanger into changing her organization's name and rhetoric. "Birth control," with its undertone of coercion, became "family planning." The "unfit" and the "dysgenic" became merely "the poor." The American Birth Control League became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.[3]

Incidentally, the Canadian Learning Television carried a two-hour CBC program last night [2003 09 08] that made Margaret Sanger out to be the patron saint of women. The program has been shown a number of times and will no doubt leave the required impact in the minds of many people.

Eugenics is far from dead [more about that in subsequent pages].  Just consider the disproportionate funding of population control measures through UNFPA and PPFA in virtually all under-developed foreign countries. There is a positive relationship between the darkness of the skin colour of a given country's population and the amount of per-capita funding poured into it for population-control purposes through UNFPA and PPFA.

The American Eugenics movement was during 1910 - 1940; the most influential geneticist in America was Charles B Davenport. His theories on the eugenics program was this: "-- it is to improve the race by inducing young people to make a more reasonable selection of marriage mates; to fall in love intelligently. It also includes the control by the state of the propagation of the mentally incompetent [i.e. sterilization or incarceration]. It does not imply the destruction of the unfit either before or after birth." [My emphasis. --WHS]....

The sterilization laws got popular around 1920, within the next 4 years, 3,000 people had been involuntarily sterilized. Still into the 70’s sterilization of mentally ill persons continued. Before the laws were overruled over 60,000 Americans had been sterilized. [2]

Not exactly as extensive as the deadly program of exterminations by working people to death that had been in place in Nazi-Germany, but what the program lacked in size it compensated for through its duration, it seems.

Between 1907 and 1937 thirty-two states required sterilization of various citizens viewed as undesirable: the mentally ill or handicapped, those convicted of sexual, drug, or alcohol crimes and others viewed as "degenerate" (V, Larson 1991). [4]

The following states that, as far as the U.K. is concerned:

The first International Congress of Eugenics was held in London in 1912. Among its directors were Winston Churchill and Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. By 1917, fifteen US States had eugenics laws, and all but a few of them made legal the compulsory sterilisation of epileptics, the mentally ill and retarded, and regular criminals. [5]

And this goes into some of the detail as to the procedures implemented in the U.K.:

Britain's lunacy laws of the 1920s provided for the incarceration of the "feeble-minded," a category loosely interpreted to include recent immigrants, drug addicts, drunkards and epileptics. And surgical techniques were developed that allowed sterilization of "lunatics and degenerates." [6]

I did not want to spend more time to determine how many "feeble-minded" British citizens were sterilized or whether that was routinely done in Britain. It appears that the sentiments certainly existed to make routine sterilization quite acceptable in Britain. Without doubt, there'll eventually be an enterprising lawyer intent on making a fortune who'll find enough survivors to succeed in becoming a millionaire with ease.

--Walter

[More information is in the following pages]

References:

  1. The Eugenics of John M. MacEachran Warrants Revocation of Honours, by Douglas Wahlsten, University of Alberta

  2. Eugenics -- History & Origins and Eugenics and You

  3. The Repackaging of Margaret Sanger, by Steven W. Mosher, Wall Street Journal - May 5, 1997

  4. Eugenics, National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature, The Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057-1212

  5. THE GREATEST GREED ON EARTH, Profiting from "Playing God" (Unfortunately, that web page does not identify any sources)

  6.   Birth of a notion –Prenatal diagnosis has brought us to the brink of a brave new world, by Cecily Ross

Next: Apple-Pie EugenicsWar Against the Weak

Index to health issues of concern to men and to people who care about men and families

White RoseThe White Rose
Thoughts are Free

__________________
Posted 2003 04 25