Eugenics: The Skeleton That Rattles Loudest in the Left’s Closet

Eugenics was also THE SCIENCE of its day on both the left and the right

Nor has the disdain for the masses and hunger for control gone anywhere as 2020, in particular, has attested

Does the past matter? When confronted by facts that are uncomfortable, but which relate to people long dead, should we put them aside and, to use a phrase very much of our time, move on? And there’s a separate, but related, question: how should we treat the otherwise admirable thought or writings of people when we discover that those same people also held views we find repugnant?

Those questions are triggered in part by the early responses to Pantheon, my new novel published this week under the pseudonym Sam Bourne. The book is a thriller, set in the Oxford and Yale of 1940, but it rests on several true stories. Among those is one of the grisliest skeletons in the cupboard of the British intellectual elite, a skeleton that rattles especially loudly inside the closet of the left.

It is eugenics, the belief that society’s fate rested on its ability to breed more of the strong and fewer of the weak. So-called positive eugenics meant encouraging those of greater intellectual ability and “moral worth” to have more children, while negative eugenics sought to urge, or even force, those deemed inferior to reproduce less often or not at all. The aim was to increase the overall quality of the national herd, multiplying the thoroughbreds and weeding out the runts.

Such talk repels us now, but in the prewar era it was the common sense of the age. Most alarming, many of its leading advocates were found among the luminaries of the Fabian and socialist left, men and women revered to this day. Thus George Bernard Shaw could insist that “the only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man”, even suggesting, in a phrase that chills the blood, that defectives be dealt with by means of a “lethal chamber”.

Such thinking was not alien to the great Liberal titan and mastermind of the welfare state, William Beveridge, who argued that those with “general defects” should be denied not only the vote, but “civil freedom and fatherhood”. Indeed, a desire to limit the numbers of the inferior was written into modern notions of birth control from the start. That great pioneer of contraception, Marie Stopes – honoured with a postage stamp in 2008 – was a hardline eugenicist, determined that the “hordes of defectives” be reduced in number, thereby placing less of a burden on “the fit”. Stopes later disinherited her son because he had married a short-sighted woman, thereby risking a less-than-perfect grandchild.

Yet what looks kooky or sinister in 2012 struck the prewar British left as solid and sensible. Harold Laski, stellar LSE professor, co-founder of the Left Book Club and one-time chairman of the Labour party, cautioned that: “The time is surely coming … when society will look upon the production of a weakling as a crime against itself.” Meanwhile, JBS Haldane, admired scientist and socialist, warned that: “Civilisation stands in real danger from over-production of ‘undermen’.” That’s Untermenschen in German.

I’m afraid even the Manchester Guardian was not immune. When a parliamentary report in 1934 backed voluntary sterilisation of the unfit, a Guardian editorial offered warm support, endorsing the sterilisation campaign “the eugenists soundly urge”. If it’s any comfort, the New Statesman was in the same camp.

According to Dennis Sewell, whose book The Political Gene charts the impact of Darwinian ideas on politics, the eugenics movement’s definition of “unfit” was not limited to the physically or mentally impaired. It held, he writes, “that most of the behavioural traits that led to poverty were inherited. In short, that the poor were genetically inferior to the educated middle class.” It was not poverty that had to be reduced or even eliminated: it was the poor.

Hence the enthusiasm of John Maynard Keynes, director of the Eugenics Society from 1937 to 1944, for contraception, essential because the working class was too “drunken and ignorant” to keep its numbers down.

We could respond to all this the way we react when reading of Churchill’s dismissal of Gandhi as a “half-naked fakir” or indeed of his own attraction to eugenics, by saying it was all a long time ago, when different norms applied. That is a common response when today’s left-liberals are confronted by the eugenicist record of their forebears, reacting as if it were all an accident of time, a slip-up by creatures of their era who should not be judged by today’s standards.

Except this was no accident. The Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb and their ilk were not attracted to eugenics because they briefly forgot their leftwing principles. The harder truth is that they were drawn to eugenics for what were then good, leftwing reasons.

They believed in science and progress, and nothing was more cutting edge and modern than social Darwinism. Man now had the ability to intervene in his own evolution. Instead of natural selection and the law of the jungle, there would be planned selection. And what could be more socialist than planning, the Fabian faith that the gentlemen in Whitehall really did know best? If the state was going to plan the production of motor cars in the national interest, why should it not do the same for the production of babies? The aim was to do what was best for society, and society would clearly be better off if there were more of the strong to carry fewer of the weak.

What was missing was any value placed on individual freedom, even the most basic freedom of a human being to have a child. The middle class and privileged felt quite ready to remove that right from those they deemed unworthy of it.

Eugenics went into steep decline after 1945. Most recoiled from it once they saw where it led – to the gates of Auschwitz. The infatuation with an idea horribly close to nazism was steadily forgotten. But we need a reckoning with this shaming past. Such a reckoning would focus less on today’s advances in selective embryology, and the ability to screen out genetic diseases, than on the kind of loose talk about the “underclass” that recently enabled the prime minister to speak of “neighbours from hell” and the poor as if the two groups were synonymous.

Progressives face a particular challenge, to cast off a mentality that can too easily regard people as means rather than ends. For in this respect a movement is just like a person: it never entirely escapes its roots.

Source: The Guardian

  1. Joe Spotfly says

    Population control through the use of sterilization, birth control, contraceptives, abortion, sanctions, forever wars, euthanasia, climate change, and virtual reality viruses are all the signature cults of the modern power elite.

    1. Le Ruse says

      Georgia Guidestones !

  2. ke4ram says

    Well, they’re still here! Gates, Schwab, and the rest of the billionaires that never worked for their gain. Gates partner is who made up DOS. The facebook, twitter, google, youtube, yahoo groupies that had a few good ideas that they now are using to hammer people.

    These are the modern day eugenics. Through fear mongering of a fake virus and non existent global warming they are in the process of thinning out the herd, a term they like to use. After the generation that fought WWII saw how Germany was trying to breed the perfect German testing their theories on the lesser class they wanted nothing to do with it.

    Well What one generation learns,,, the next generations forget. Here we are with a alleged virus that 99.7% survive,,, most with very few symptoms being voluntarily forced to take a experimental “vaccine”. By voluntarily I mean no travel, jobs, your children taken and possible incarceration (called quarantine) if you refuse. Like Hitlers armbands we have the mask cult. The experimental concoction they’re injecting has so many poisons in it, like Glycol (antifreeze) that it’s a no brainer many will suffer from it.

    Then comes the global warming cult. They want to spray the skies to cool the planet. This cooling will cause an ice age and reduce the crops which will,,, wait for it,,, reduce the population.

    The difference today is the generations forgot the horrors of what the Nazis were doing and once again the process begins. This time they may be successful as populations are ignoring all truth while believing the lies.

    1. fresnoman4man says

      Brilliant as usual! Somewhat related I recommend Catherine Austin Fitts on a new channel called awakening Also MATTHEW EHRET has a wonderful article directly related to eugenics in “H.G. Well’s Dystopic Vision Comes Alive”

  3. Rowdy-Yates says

    Oh Lord the Guardian the bastian of liberalism and the loudest English mouth shouting for the worst lockdowns, masks and distancing ever done on the British. This is the Talmudic Hebrew Guardian protecting men like Klaus Schwab and the Global Economic Forum.

    First of all the idea of Eugenics is horrible but this sentence is incorrect:

    Man now had the ability to intervene in his own evolution. Instead of natural selection and the law of the jungle, there would be planned selection.

    During the 1930’s and well into the 1950’s if not later marriages were arranged. There were few love marriages. Even today most marriage around the world are arranged with family carefully choosing the potential son in law or daughter in law based on physical looks ,wealth, education and brains. Eugenics was probably a natural outcome but twisted by the separation of Church and its values from Science. Dragging in Auschwitz made no sense. It was not a death camp like the concentration camps of the Boer wars the Afrikaners died en masse in the hands of the British

    British run Boer War Concentration camp for the Afrikaners

  4. Albert Mesrine says

    Makes a lot of sense to keep breeding low IQ welfare dependants…after robots and AI will replace us all anyway.

  5. Christopher Gamez says

    Watch bill gates Ted talk and cnn interview. He clearly states that through reproductive services (abortion), vaccines and healthcare we can stop population growth by 15%. He’s a eugeisist just like his parents. Look up event 201 and tell me this virus cam from a bowl of bat soup.

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