Skip to comments.'Tomorrow's Children' (1934)
Posted on 01/30/2011 7:51:41 PM PST by bronxville
'Tomorrow's Children' (1934) which was called 'The Unborn' in the UK
This was a very controversial film in its day. It was made during the height of the eugenics movement and considered subversive at the time.
Part I of 6
"We do not stand alone": Nazi poster from 1936 with flags of other countries with compulsory sterilization legislation.
well, they should have continued a little longer in California...
Compulsory sterilization in Canada
Although less well-known[says who?] than other eugenic sterilization programs, two Canadian provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) performed compulsory sterilization programs with eugenic aims. Canadian compulsory sterilization operated via the same overall mechanisms of institutionalization, judgement, and surgery as the American system[why?]. One notable difference is in the treatment of non-insane criminals. Canadian legislation never allowed for punitive sterilization of inmates.
 Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic
Czechoslovakia carried out a policy of sterilization of Roma women, starting in 1973. The dissidents of the Charter 77 denounced it in 1977-78 as a “genocide”, but the practice continued through the Velvet Revolution of 1989. A 2005 report by the Czech government’s independent ombudsman, Otakar Motejl, identified dozens of cases of coercive sterilization between 1979 and 2001, and called for criminal investigations and possible prosecution against several health care workers and administrators.
“We do not stand alone”: Nazi poster from 1936 with flags of other countries with compulsory sterilization legislation.
The most infamous sterilization program of the 20th century took place under the Third Reich. One of the first acts by Adolf Hitler after achieving total control over the German state was to pass the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring (Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses) in July 1933. The law was signed in by Hitler himself, and over 200 eugenic courts were created specifically as a result of the law. Under the German law, all doctors in the Reich were required to report patients of theirs who were mentally retarded, mentally ill (including schizophrenia and manic depression), epileptic, blind, deaf, or physically deformed, and a steep monetary penalty was imposed for any patients who were not properly reported. Individuals suffering from alcoholism or Huntington’s Disease could also be sterilized. The individual’s case was then presented in front of a court of Nazi officials and public health officers who would review their medical records, take testimony from friends and colleagues, and eventually decide whether or not to order a sterilization operation performed on the individual, using force if necessary. Though not explicitly covered by the law, 400 mixed-race “Rhineland Bastards” were also sterilized beginning in 1937.
By the end of World War II, over 400,000 individuals were sterilized under the German law and its revisions, most within its first four years of being enacted. When the issue of compulsory sterilization was brought up at the Nuremberg trials after the war, many Nazis defended their actions on the matter by indicating that it was the United States itself from whom they had taken inspiration. The Nazis had many other eugenics-inspired racial policies, including their “euthanasia” program in which around 70,000 people institutionalized or suffering from birth defects were murdered.
Eugenics in Showa Japan
In the first part of the Showa era, Japanese governments promoted increasing the number of healthy Japanese, while simultaneously decreasing the number of people suffering mental retardation, disability, genetic disease and other conditions that led to inferiority in the Japanese gene pool.
The Leprosy Prevention laws of 1907, 1931 and 1953, permitted the segregation of patients in sanitariums where forced abortions and sterilization were common and authorized punishment of patients “disturbing peace”. Under the colonial Korean Leprosy prevention ordinance, Korean patients were also subjected to hard labor.
The Race Eugenic Protection Law was submitted from 1934 to 1938 to the Diet. After four amendments, this draft was promulgated as a National Eugenic Law in 1940 by the Konoe government. According to Matsubara Yoko, from 1940 to 1945, sterilization was done to 454 Japanese persons under this law.
According to the Eugenic Protection Law (1948), sterilization could be enforced on criminals “with genetic predisposition to commit crime”, patients with genetic diseases such as total color-blindness, hemophilia, albinism and ichthyosis, and mental affections such as schizophrenia, manic-depression and epilepsy. The mental sicknesses were added in 1952.
India’s state of emergency between 1975 and 1977 included an infamous family planning initiative beginning April 1976, which involved the vasectomy of thousands of men and tubal ligation of women, either for payment or under coercive conditions. The son of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, was largely blamed for what turned out to be a failed program. A strong backlash against any initiative associated with family planning followed the highly controversial program, which continues into the 21st century.
Coercive sterilization to enforce the one child policy has occurred in China. This is not permitted by the law, and some local officials have been jailed for their actions. In 2010, Amnesty International accused authorities in Puning of compelling people to be sterilized by imprisoning their elderly relatives.
In 1997, following the publication of articles by Maciej Zaremba in the Dagens Nyheter daily, widespread attention was given to the fact that Sweden once operated a strong sterilization program, which was active primarily from the late 1930s until the mid 1950s. A governmental commission was set up, and finished its inquiry in 2000.
The eugenistic legislation was enacted in 1934 and was formally abolished in 1976. According to the 2000 governmental report, 21,000 were estimated to have been forcibly sterilized, 6,000 were coerced into a ‘voluntary’ sterilization while the nature of a further 4,000 cases could not be determined. The Swedish state subsequently paid out damages to many of the victims.
The program was meant primarily to prevent mental illness and disease. In 1922 the State Institute of Racial Biology was founded in Uppsala and in 1927 Parliament began to deal with the first legal provisions on sterilisation. A new draft was produced in 1932, already taking into account sterilisation for general socio-prophylactic reasons, and even without the consent of the person concerned. The draft was adopted in 1934. Another law, passed in 1941, did not include any age of consent limit.
From 1950, the number of eugenic sterilisations under the 1935 legal provisions gradually decreased and between 1960 and 1970 voluntary sterilisations based on the wishes and in the interest of the persons concerned prevailed. As in Canada and the US, racial politics also became involved, as there was a strong belief in the connection between race and genetic integrity among leading scientists and those carrying out the sterilizations. The Swedish Racial Hygiene Society had been founded in Stockholm in 1909, and the 1934 works by Alva and Gunnar Myrdal was very significant in promoting the eugenic tendencies in practical politics. The authors theorized that the best solution for the Swedish welfare state (”folkhem”) was to prevent at the outset the hereditary transfer of undesirable characteristics that caused the individual affected to become sooner or later a burden on society. The authors therefore proposed a “corrective social reform under which sterilisation was to prevent “unviable individuals from spreading their undesirable traits. In the later decades it was primarily the mentally ill who were forcibly sterilized.
In October 1999, Margrith von Felten suggested to the National Council of Switzerland in the form of a general proposal to adopt legal regulations that would enable reparation for persons sterilised against their will. According to the proposal, reparation was to be provided to persons who had undergone the intervention without their consent or who had consented to sterilisation under coercion. According to Margrith von Felten:
The history of eugenics in Switzerland remains insufficiently explored. Research programmes are in progress. However, individual studies and facts are already available. For example:
The report of the Institute for the History of Medicine and Public Health “Mental Disability and Sexuality. Legal Sterilisation in the Vaud Canton between 1928 and 1985” points out that coercive sterilisations took place until the 1980s. The act on coercive sterilisations of the Vaud Canton was the first law of this kind in the European context.
Hans Wolfgang Maier, head of the Psychiatric Clinic in Zurich pointed out in a report from the beginning of the century that 70% to 80% of terminations were linked to sterilisation by doctors. In the period from 1929 to 1931, 480 women and 15 men were sterilised in Zurich in connection with termination.
Following agreements between doctors and authorities such as the 1934 “Directive For Surgical Sterilisation” of the Medical Association in Basle, eugenic indication to sterilisation was recognised as admissible.
A statistical evaluation of the sterilisations performed in the Basle women’s hospital between 1920 and 1934 shows a remarkable increase in sterilisations for a psychiatric indication after 1929 and a steep increase in 1934, when a coercive sterilisation act came into effect in nearby National Socialist Germany.
A study by the Swiss Nursing School in Zurich, published in 1991, documents that 24 mentally-disabled women aged between 17 and 25 years were sterilised between 1980 and 1987. Of these 24 sterilisations, just one took place at the young woman’s request.
Having evaluated sources primarily from the 1930s (psychiatric files, official directives, court files, etc.), historians have documented that the requirement for free consent to sterilisation was in most of cases not satisfied. Authorities obtained the “consent” required by the law partly by persuasion, and partly by enforcing it through coercion and threats. Thus the recipients of social benefits were threatened with removal of the benefits, women were exposed to a choice between placement in an institution or sterilisation, and abortions were permitted only when women simultaneously consented to sterilisation.
More than fifty years after ending the National Socialist dictatorship in Germany, in which racial murder, euthanasia and coerced sterilisations belonged to the political programme, it is clear that eugenics, with its idea of “life unworthy of life” and “racial purity” permeated even democratic countries. The idea that a “healthy nation” should be achieved through targeted medical/social measures was designed and politically implemented in many European countries and in the U.S.A in the first half of this century. It is a policy incomparable with the inconceivable horrors of the Nazi rule; yet it is clear that authorities and the medical community were guilty of the methods and measures applied, i.e. coerced sterilisations, prohibitions of marriages and child removals serious violations of human rights.
Switzerland refused, however, to vote a reparations Act.
Eugenics in the United States
A poster from a 1921 eugenics conference displays which U.S. states had by then implemented sterilization legislation.
The United States was the first country to concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of eugenics. The heads of the program were avid believers in eugenics and frequently argued for their program. It was shut down due to ethical problems. The principal targets of the American program were the mentally retarded and the mentally ill, but also targeted under many state laws were the deaf, the blind, people with epilepsy, and the physically deformed. According to the activist Angela Davis, Native Americans, as well as African-American women were sterilized against their will in many states, often without their knowledge while they were in a hospital for other reasons (e.g. childbirth). However, citing a Government Accountability Office investigation which found no evidence to support Davis’s claims, The Chicago Reader also noted that the rate of sterilizations for all American women (or their partners) was 41% as of 1995, compared to only “at least 25%” of Native American women receiving sterilization as shown by the activist and physician Connie Redbird Uri Pinkerman, whose work prompted the GAO investigation; The Chicago Reader also claimed that overall, “Accounts in the medical journals suggest that surgical sterilization rates for Native Americans rose during this period but were lower than for the general population. (IHS data for 1975 indicates that the tubal ligation rate was about the same as for the non-Native American population, while the hysterectomy rate was much lower)”. Some sterilizations took place in prisons and other penal institutions, targeting criminality, but they were in the relative minority. In the end, over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States.
The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907, followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.
Most sterilization laws could be divided into three main categories of motivations: eugenic (concerned with heredity), therapeutic (part of an even-then obscure medical theory that sterilization would lead to vitality), or punitive (as a punishment for criminals), though of course these motivations could be combined in practice and theory (sterilization of criminals could be both punitive and eugenic, for example). Buck v. Bell asserted only that eugenic sterilization was constitutional, whereas Skinner v. Oklahoma ruled specifically against punitive sterilization. Most operations only worked to prevent reproduction (such as severing the vas deferens in males), though some states (Oregon and North Dakota in particular) had laws which called for the use of castration. In general, most sterilizations were performed under eugenic statutes, in state-run psychiatric hospitals and homes for the mentally disabled. There was never a federal sterilization statute, though eugenicist Harry H. Laughlin, whose state-level “Model Eugenical Sterilization Law” was the basis of the statute affirmed in Buck v. Bell, proposed the structure of one in 1922.
After World War II, public opinion towards eugenics and sterilization programs became more negative in the light of the connection with the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany, though a significant number of sterilizations continued in a few states until the early 1960s. The Oregon Board of Eugenics, later renamed the Board of Social Protection, existed until 1983, with the last forcible sterilization occurring in 1981. The U.S. commonwealth Puerto Rico had a sterilization program as well. Some states continued to have sterilization laws on the books for much longer after that, though they were rarely if ever used. California sterilized more than any other state by a wide margin, and was responsible for over a third of all sterilization operations. Information about the California sterilization program was produced into book form and widely disseminated by eugenicists E.S. Gosney and Paul B. Popenoe, which was said by the government of Adolf Hitler to be of key importance in proving that large-scale compulsory sterilization programs were feasible. In recent years, the governors of many states have made public apologies for their past programs beginning with Virginia and followed by Oregon and California. None have offered to compensate those sterilized, however, citing that few are likely still living (and would of course have no affected offspring) and that inadequate records remain by which to verify them. At least one compensation case, Poe v. Lynchburg Training School & Hospital (1981), was filed in the courts on the grounds that the sterilization law was unconstitutional. It was rejected because the law was no longer in effect at the time of the filing. However, the petitioners were granted some compensation as the stipulations of the law itself, which required informing the patients about their operations, had not been carried out in many cases.
The 27 states where sterilization laws remained on the books (though not all were still in use) in 1956 were: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
Eugenics programs including forced sterilization existed in most Northern European countries, as well as other more or less Protestant countries. Some programs, such as Canada’s and Sweden’s, lasted well into the 1970s.
Other countries that had notably active sterilization programs include Australia, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, Iceland, and some countries in Latin America (including Panama).
In the United Kingdom, Home Secretary Winston Churchill introduced a bill that included forced sterilization.
Writer G. K. Chesterton led a successful effort to defeat that clause of the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act. In Peru, former president Alberto Fujimori (19902000) pressured 200,000 indigenous people in rural areas (mainly Quechuas and Aymaras) into being sterilized.
According to some testimonies, the Soviet Union allegedly imposed forced sterilization on female workers deported from Romania to Soviet labor camps. This is said to have occurred after World War II, when Romania was supposed to supply a reconstruction workforce (according to the armistice convention). However, no court decisions or formal investigations of these allegations are known for the moment.
A Dutch Labour Party MP has recently proposed temporary (two year) compulsory contraception, (not sterilization), of women who have a legally proven history of child abuse. The method would be via injection of anti-conception medicinal drugs, every six months. If the woman or parents have shown progress during that time, this would be reversed.
But one of his novels is along the same lines:
In this near-future novel, all of the dumb people have lots of kids, while the smart ones use birth control and refrain from having any. As a result, the average IQ of the population has been reduced to 40.
I suppose you could read it, not as a eugenics novel, but as a warning that if all the self-defined "smart" people refrain from having kids, the results will not be pretty. Anyway, although very well done, I thought it was pretty questionable when I first read it.
Edwin Black wrote a book “War Against the Weak” about the Eugenics movement. Very well written, and very shocking.
Thanks cicero. The theme being to remind us how much we depend on them as our betters. I’ve met many well-educated people who don’t have an ounce of commonsense in their body. Have you run into any of them? They’re usually get pushed into higher positions because they can’t cope with the general workings. Rachel Carson wrote a book which got DDT banned and millions died and continue to die because of it. They credit her with the beginning of environmentalism yet it was talked about in the mid 18th c. Sustein and Erlich (?sp) wrote books on population control and they’re now czars in the WH. Obama praised Darwin. Anyway one could go on...
War Against the Weak - Review
How American corporate philanthropies launched a national campaign of ethnic cleansing in the United States, helped found and fund the Nazi eugenics of Hitler and Mengele and then created the modern movement of “human genetics.”
In the first three decades of the 20th Century, American corporate philanthropy combined with prestigious academic fraud to create the pseudoscience eugenics that institutionalized race politics as national policy. The goal: create a superior, white, Nordic race and obliterate the viability of everyone else.
How? By identifying so-called “defective” family trees and subjecting them to legislated segregation and sterilization programs. The victims: poor people, brown-haired white people, African Americans, immigrants, Indians, Eastern European Jews, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the superior genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists. The main culprits were the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune, in league with America’s most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Harvard, Yale and Princeton, operating out of a complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island. The eugenic network worked in tandem with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the State Department and numerous state governmental bodies and legislatures throughout the country, and even the U.S. Supreme Court. They were all bent on breeding a eugenically superior race, just as agronomists would breed better strains of corn. The plan was to wipe away the reproductive capability of the weak and inferior.
Ultimately, 60,000 Americans were corrosively sterilized legally and extra-legally. Many never discovered the truth until decades later. Those who actively supported eugenics include America’s most progressive figures: Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
American eugenic crusades proliferated into a worldwide campaign, and in the 1920s came to the attention of Adolf Hitler. Under the Nazis, American eugenic principles were applied without restraint, careening out of control into the Reich’s infamous genocide. During the pre-War years, American eugenicists openly supported Germany’s program. The Rockefeller Foundation financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists. Once WWII began, Nazi eugenics turned from mass sterilization and euthanasia to genocidal murder. One of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute doctors in the program financed by the Rockefeller Foundation was Josef Mengele who continued his research in Auschwitz, making daily eugenic reports on twins. After the world recoiled from Nazi atrocities, the American eugenics movement its institutions and leading scientists renamed and regrouped under the banner of an enlightened science called human genetics.
Ultimately, 60,000 Americans were corrosively sterilized legally and extra-legally. Many never discovered the truth until decades later. Those who actively supported eugenics include America’s most progressive figures: Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Eugenics led to Contraceptives, Abortions, Partial-Birth Abortions... The Anglican Church caved to contraception in the late 1920’s early 1930’s. Pope Paul wrote an excellent encyclical on Contraception in the 1960’s and got totally annihilated by the press - world-wide daily for weeks if not months. If one reads it today one might think he was a prophet.
Movie version: “Idiocracy”. ;-)
well that book is hard to come by. amazon has only six available, cheapest price = $85.00
“wrote a book which got DDT banned and millions died and continue to die because of it.”
IIRC the number is over a million A YEAR die from malaria. Mostly children.
That looks like MSNBC’s organizational chart.
Goodness. I didn’t check the price. I still have the first edition somewhere, and the magazine where the story first appeared. Galaxy? I’m not sure. But I have shelves of back copies of Galaxy and Amazing/Analog.
Marie Stopes International
In 2008 MSI centres and associated activities provided family planning services that resulted in 13.5 million Couple Years of Protection (CYP) from over 6 million client visits. These contraceptive choices included:
- over 570,000 sterilisations - tubal ligation and vasectomy
- over 502,000 Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Devices (IUCD) or Gynefix
- Implants and contraceptive injections
- Emergency contraceptive pills
- 143 million male and female condoms
 Social Marketing
MSI runs contraceptive social marketing programmes in 17 countries - such as the Kushi contraceptive pill and injectable in India, Raha condom and Smart Lady emergency contraceptive pill in Kenya, Lifeguard condom in Uganda and Snake condom in Australia aimed at the Aboriginal market.
In 2008 MSI opened in Mexico City State where legislative change has enabled improved access to abortion services.
Marie Stopes International was displeased at the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, saying It looks like this particular cardinal will continue with the line on contraception, condoms, and HIV prevention that Pope John Paul II had. It’s regrettable because that will impact so terribly on the lives of millions of people, particularly in the developing world..  Edward C. (Ted) Green, past Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, is cited in the article on him in Wikipedia as supporting the pope’s emphasis, including monogamy and circumcision, while arguing that the secular and biomedical approaches are not proved to have been successful, since, for example, emphasis on condoms promotes the promiscuity that promotes HIV AIDS. The pope has in effect gone along with Green’s point that use of condoms can be of secondary assistance in preventing the spread of AIDS....
A Century of Controlling Reproduction:
The Impact of Sterilization on American Society and Culture
Because sterilizations birth really was in eugenics, its impact on American society and culture must first be considered along with eugenics. Eugenics and sterilization were well received by an America at the early twentieth century which was obsessed with reproduction and driven by an ideology of progress and science. Eugenic sterilization promised to be a panacea against the rising tide of degeneracy and eugenicists believed this surgical solution could bring about a new American utopiaone based on science, race, and progress rather than Christianity.
Eugenic education was a crucial component of selling sterilization to the American masses and reveals the great impact of eugenics and sterilization on American culture. Historian Steven Selden has illustrated the extensive infiltration of eugenics into the American textbook. High school and college students were regularly bombarded with eugenic rhetoric in their natural sciences lessons. Selden has concluded that between 1914 and 1948, eugenics was cited in 85 percent of high school biology textbooks while the science was recommended in 70 percent of them. In these books, 15 percent of them recommended involuntary sterilization as sound social policy.35One popular eugenics textbook, Applied Eugenics, even included an entire chapter on the need for eugenic sterilization.36
Beyond the textbook, eugenics and sterilization penetrated other realms of American culture. International eugenics conferences were held in New York City, eugenics exhibits appeared at state fairs in the Midwest, American families and babies participated in contests where they were judged for their eugenic fitness, Margaret Sangers American Birth Control League called for involuntary sterilization, and even film served as an important source of cultural infusion. Tomorrows Children, a 1934 film actually attacking eugenic sterilization and the 1927 Supreme Court ruling upholding it, was banned by New York state censors for its unpleasant nature. An even more controversial 1917 film, The Black Stork, dealt with the killing of eugenically defective babies. Historian Martin Pernick has revealed dozens of other American films dealing with heredity and eugenics as well as their popularity during the early twentieth century.37In 1937, a survey by Fortune magazine revealed that more than two-thirds of Americans favored the involuntary sterilization of criminals and mental defectivesclearly, Americans had become receptive to the new medical technology.38
One last way to comprehend the impact of eugenic sterilization in America is examining the impact it had within the international contextnamely the developments in Nazi Germany. The National Socialists turned to the United States for eugenic inspiration as they regarded America in high esteem for her pioneering efforts and success in sterilization. Some historians even argue that American developments in eugenic sterilization were partly responsible for Nazi genocide and the Holocaust. For example, one Nazi war criminal at Nuremberg, SS General Otto Hofmann, cited the United States as justification for his nations actions, In a judgment of the [U.S.] Supreme Court it says, among other things: It is better for everybody if society, instead of waiting until it has to execute degenerate offspring or leave them to starve because of feeble-mindedness, can prevent obviously inferior individuals from propagating their kind.39American eugenicists tried to ignore these associations and connections after the war.
Not every American was completely receptive to the sterilization procedure during the first half of the twentieth century. Opposition did develop, mostly in the form of religious organizations, especially Catholic groups, anti-eugenic geneticists and social scientists, some physicians, and even some eugenicists who believed that sterilization was not the solution for race betterment.
By far, Catholic groups were the most outspoken due to traditional opposition to all forms of birth control and the racial nature of eugenics. Some geneticists, social scientists, and physicians resisted the new technology of sterilization out of a belief that the data used to justify its use was not scientific and fears of what the Nazi regime was using it for. Finally, some eugenicists believed that sterilization as a eugenic weapon was ineffective as it potentially prevented the birth of some useful individualsthey hoped other solutions would solve the defective problem in America.
Sadly, few opponents resisted sterilization out of a desire to defend the rights of defectives. It is arguable that a strong majority of Americans agreed on the subhuman nature of Americas mentally and physically handicapped during the early twentieth century.40...
Marie Stopes, Francis Galton, Emma Goldman (Sangers mentor), Margaret Sanger, Sidney and Beatrice Webb were all enthusiastic advocates for compulsory sterilization of whom they regarded as unfit.
A commentator (19th Feb 09 11.29)on the Guardian editorial (comment is free) draws attention to the Fabian Tract of 1906 written by the Webbs in which they say:
In Great Britain at this moment, when half, or perhaps two-thirds of all the married people are regulating their families, children are being freely born to the Irish Roman Catholics and the Polish, Russian and German Jews, the thriftless and irresponsible. This can hardly result in anything but national deterioration, or this country falling to the Irish and the Jews.
Fry and Hitchens go around calling the Holy Father a Nazi. I wonder what they think of Marie Stopes who sent letters and poems to Hitler? But then the ability for double-think is a necessary requirement if you want to be considered for the liberal elite.
Marie Stopes is forgiven racism and eugenics because she was anti-life
Dear Herr Hitler,
Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these (poems) that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?
These gushing words from an ardent fan (she was lucky Unity Mitford did not scratch her eyes out) were written in August 1939, just a month before this country went to war with Nazi Germany, by Marie Stopes, the woman of distinction who will ornament our 50p stamps from October.
Sending the Fuhrer a book of her sentimental poems was an appropriate gesture. This keen advocate of eugenics and subverter of family life had a long career of activity in the politics of human reproduction.
In 1919 she urged the National Birth Rate Commission to support mandatory sterilisation of parents who were diseased, prone to drunkenness or of bad character. In 1920, in her book Radiant Motherhood, she demanded the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.
Her 1921 slogan was: Joyful and Deliberate Motherhood, A Safe Light in our Racial Darkness.
As a letter writer to yesterdays paper pointed out, her organisation was called the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress and her clinics were situated in poor areas, to reduce the birth rate of the local residents.
Not that Stopes wanted the working class to stop having children altogether. On the contrary, she was also a supporter of child labour: Not many years ago the labourers child could be set to work early and could very shortly earn his keep The trend of legislation has continuously extended the age of irresponsible youth in the lower and lower middle classes
In 1926 Stopes stipulated that the boy she would adopt as a companion for her son would be completely healthy, intelligent and uncircumcised.
In 1935 she was present at the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, held under the auspices of the Third Reich. On her death she bequeathed her clinic and much of her fortune to the Eugenics Society.
Today, Marie Stopes International has nearly 500 centres in 38 countries, performing more than half a million sterilisations a year, and is a major abortion provider.
Considering the hysteria nowadays attaching to issues of race, at first sight it seems extraordinary that Stopes should have earned commemoration on a stamp. To the PC establishment, however, even racist peccadilloes can be ignored to honour a pioneer who helped promote the anti-life culture and relieve women of the intolerable trauma of giving birth to a child with a cleft palate.
Eugenic abortion accounts for an increasing proportion of the 7 million terminations in Britain since 1967. Poor old Josef Mengele was not eligible for a stamp, being a dead, white male. Perhaps in 2009
Marie Stopes (site supported by PP)
Marie Stopes AKA Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Location of death: Dorking, Surrey, England
Cause of death: Cancer - Breast
Remains: Cremated, (ashes scattered at sea)
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Author
Executive summary: Scientist and birth control advocate
Marie Stopes was a paleobotanist, author, and social activist best known for her efforts in the early half of the 20th century to promote safe birth control for women. In 1921 Stopes opened Britain’s first birth control clinic and, with the aid of second husband Humphrey Roe, she went on to found an entire chain of clinics with chapters in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Marie Stopes was a passionate promoter of women’s rights and women’s sexual pleasure, and a staunch supporter of eugenics. Although also a poet and novelist, her best-known works are those dealing the topics which one made her so famous, sexuality and birth control. Among her most popular titles were Married Love, Wise Parenthood, and Radiant Motherhood.
Marie Stopes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1880. Her father, Henry Stopes, was a distinguished scientist specializing in paleobotany, and her mother, Charlotte, was an ardent feminist and suffragette. The victim of sex discrimination, Charlotte Stopes had been barred from attending university classes. She had however been allowed to take the exams, and was thus able to earn a university “certificate”, in place of an actual college degree. A generation earlier, Charlotte’s mother, J. F. Carmichael, had been the first woman to obtain such a university certificate.
Improving on this tradition, Marie won a science scholarship at the age of 18 and began attending classes at University College, London. Her level of excellence was such that when she took her exams a year early as a trial run, she not only passed but also received dual honors, in Botany and Geology. In a 1902 letter she confided to her mother, “I am the only candidate with honours; the others (men only) all failed, so my name stands alone in the list. It is supposed to be impossible to take one honours in a year, to get two is nice.” She then embarked on graduate training in Munich, Germany, graduating in 1904 with her Ph.D. in Science and Philosophy. She joined the scientific staff at the University of Manchester that same year as an assistant lecturer and demonstrator in botany.
By 1911, Marie Stopes had established such a reputation in the specialized field of fossilized plants that the Geological Survey of Canada requested her to visit and pass judgment on certain fossilized fern samples found by paleobotanist Sir William Dawson. In essence, the caliber of her professionalism and skill was of sufficient quality to override the usual prejudice against female scholars. Stopes herself was meanwhile undeterred by having to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to accomplish the task. Indeed, on another occasion she traveled all the way to Japan for the sake of gathering fossil samples.
It must have seemed by this point that she had succeeded admirably in soaring past all of the barriers that had limited her mother and her grandmother — and that surely now her life would be filled only with increase and accomplishment. But in 1911 Stopes entered into marriage with a fellow scientist, Reginald GATES, and quickly discovered that being highly intelligent was not enough to surmount the challenges of married life. Sexual troubles plagued them from the outset. Anxious and mystified Marie turned at last to doing research at the British Museum, to unravel the source of their troubles: Reginald Gates was impotent.
Unable to resolve the problem with her husband, Stopes eventually went to court, some three years later, and had the marriage legally annulled. The painful experience, which included a public airing of her husband’s condition, prompted her to write a book to help others plagued by sexual ignorance. Armed now with an understanding of erections and vaginal intercourse, she penned Married Love, a mix of sage advice about women’s sexual cycles and foreplay and women’s rights advocacy (both sexual and social). The manuscript offered such bold, unladylike statements as:
Many men imagine that the turgid condition of an erection is due to the local accumulation of sperms, and that these can only be naturally got rid of by an ejaculation. This is entirely wrong.
The mutually best regulation of intercourse in marriage is to have three or four days of repeated unions, followed by about ten days without any unions at all, unless some strong external stimulus has stirred a mutual desire.
...when the woman is what is physiologically called tumescent... local parts are flushed by the internal blood-supply and to some extent are turgid like those of the man, while a secretion of mucus lubricates the opening of the vagina.
Publishers declined the book on various grounds, both moral and political, with many fretting, in essence, that women were becoming uppity enough without being urged to demand sexual and intellectual satisfaction. But Marie’s disappointment would not last long.
In 1918 she married wealthy manufacturing magnate Humphrey ROE. With Roe she not only lost her virginity but gained a partner in her crusade for sex education. Roe had seen the terrible toll exacted upon his female workers by constant pregnancy and childbirth, and agreed that something must be done. So he happily footed the publishing fees, and Married Love saw the light of day at last. In an astonishing two weeks’ time the book had already sold out, and soon Stopes was swamped with letters from women wanting to learn about birth control.
Although she had studied sperm under the microscope and was well-informed at last about the mechanics of reproduction and lovemaking, Stopes felt relatively ignorant about the specifics of birth control devices. So she consulted with friend Margaret Sanger, a birth control advocate recently chased out of the U.S. on obscenity charges. Sanger gave Stopes an assortment of pamphlets and “French pessary” (most likely diaphragms) and filled her in on all the facts. Stopes then incorporated all this information into Wise Parenthood.
Like Married Love, Wise Parenthood found instant popularity and success with the reading public. But it earned tremendous criticism from the Church of England and the Catholic Church, both of which forbade birth control through means other than abstinence. Naturally Stopes worried that she would be arrested for obscenity as was Margaret Sanger, or even sent to prison for it like Annie Besant, but somehow she managed to saunter through unscathed.
Meanwhile, in 1921, Stopes and husband Humphrey Roe founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control and opened the first birth control clinic in England. The latter soon expanded into an entire chain of clinics where the all-female staff of nurses and doctors fitted women with “vaginal caps” and educated them on birth control and related facts of life. The clientele were predominantly poor women, and were restricted exclusively to those who were married. Staff members collected scientific data about contraception as well, material that would fuel Stopes’ later books. Marie Stopes also designed a new high-domed vaginal cap for better fit and efficiency.
In 1923, when Dr. Halliday Sutherland penned a pro-Catholic tirade against Stopes in his book Birth Control, he stepped over the line into misrepresentation, and Stopes took him to court for libel. She lost, then won at appeal, and then lost again when it went to the House of Lords. But along the way she gained considerable publicity for herself and for the cause of birth control.
In time she learned how to fan the flames of such notoriety, even writing inciting letters to Pope Pius XI and chaining a copy of her book Roman Catholic Methods of Birth Control to the front of Westminster Cathedral.
After the birth of her son Harry in 1924, Stopes managed to juggle motherhood with her crusades for birth control and other causes. It hardly seemed to slow her down. She introduced a horse-drawn birth control caravan, opened more clinics, and set her sights on opening clinics in other countries.
She ultimately opened chapters in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, Stopes wrote extensively on the subject of birth control, and even published articles on the subject in Indian newspapers.
Never a two-dimensional character, Marie Stopes’ strongly opposed reproductive rights for those who carried inheritable defects, mental or physical. In Radiant Motherhood (1920) Stopes suggested that the “sterilization of those totally unfit for parenthood be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.”
And in The Control of Parenthood, (1920) and wrote that were she in charge, she would “legislate compulsory sterilization of the insane, feebleminded... revolutionaries... half castes.”
She opposed the marriage of her own son merely because his bride-to-be wore glasses. And upon her death a large portion of her fortune was bequeathed to the Eugenics Society.
The fact that Stopes’ clinics were predominantly aimed at slowing the reproduction of the lower classes, has brought criticism in later years that this was part of her plan to weed out undesirables. Whether this accusation is deserved or not, it remains a fact Stopes had a very real commitment to emancipating all women from unwanted pregnancies, and poor women suffered from this condition more than any other group. Stopes regulary received heart-wrenching pleas from women too poor to feed their children and bewildered about how to stop procreating without abandoning their husbands.
Additionally, Stopes’ views — as bullying, bombastic, and eccentric as they were — should be viewed within the context of her era, specifically, an era when many of the cures and treatments for inherited diseases now available had yet to be discovered.
Eugenics appeared as the panacea for all such social woes, and in an England still steeped in social Darwinism, it was a very seductive panacea indeed. Many believed that the world’s great ills, whether social, mental, or physical, were the fault of inferior genes: eliminate the genes, and you would increase the fitness of the species as a whole. Ironically, when Adolf Hitler, that more notorious and brutal proponent of genetic cleansing, came to power, he ordered all of Marie Stopes’ books burned. Eugenics and female fulfillment were not a mix he favored. (YET SHE SENT HIM LETTERS AND POEMS)
Meanwhile, Stopes was very actively pursuing her own fulfillment, both professional and sexual. She was very careful to distance herself from charges of depravity by loudly specifying that her sexual advice, and devices, were married persons only. She expressed great outrage and disgust at all forms of sexual “perversion”, a tag which she applied to homosexuality, but apparently free love within marriage, if practiced only with the opposite sex, was acceptable. In this she had the full blessing and consent of her husband, as testified in a contract drawn up between them in later years.
Stopes also acquired a reputation for dominating those men near and dear to her, especially her husband and son. This reputation was only fueled by her penchant for much younger men, whom she also is said to have dominated.
Marie Stopes spent her final years working for the causes she loved, and most especially writing poetry. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 1950s and quietly put her affairs in order, dissolving her Society for Constructive Birth Control, dying in 1958. Yet the clinics that she established were reborn as units of Marie Stopes International. MSI now offers birth control information and materials in some 38 countries around the globe. Wherever legal, the clinics offer safe, medical abortion and related counseling for women from all backgrounds.
Father: Henry Stopes (paleobotanist)
Mother: Charlotte Stopes (suffragette)
Husband: Reginald Gates (scientist, m. 1911, div. 1914)
Husband: Humphrey Verdon-Roe (aircraft manufacturer, m. 1918, two sons)
Son: Harry (b. 1924)
University: BS Botany, University of Munich (1904)
Risk Factors: Breast Cancer
Author of books:
Married Love (1918, non-fiction)
Wise Parenthood (1918, non-fiction)
Radiant Motherhood (1920, non-fiction)
The Control of Parenthood (1920, non-fiction)
Love Songs for Young Lovers (1938, poetry)
The name of her first husband GATES and second husband ROE gives one pause.
Birthplace: London, England
Location of death: Madras, India
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Cremated, (ashes scattered in the River Ganges, some placed at Adyar)
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist, Religion
Executive summary: Theosophist & Social Activist
Annie Besant is best known for her association with Theosophy, the Buddhist and Hindu influenced religious society founded by H. P. Blavatsky. Besant also gained considerable renown, during her lifetime, fighting for various social causes, including Indian home rule, the plight of London’s poverty stricken women and children, and birth control. Besant was nearly jailed for the latter, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. She joined Blavatsky’s Theosophy Society in the 1890s, and created her own splinter group after Blavatsky’s death.
Father: William Wood
Mother: Emily Morris
Husband: Frank Besant (m. 1867, legally separated 1898)
Son: Digby Besant
Daughter: Mabel Besant
Obscenity (obscene libel) convicted Jun-1877
Lost Child Custody
Risk Factors: Yoga
Author of books:
The Political Status of Women (1874, non-fiction)
Marriage, As It Was, As It Is, And As It Should Be: A Plea For Reform (1878, non-fiction)
The Law Of Population (1877, non-fiction)
Autobiographical Sketches (1885, non-fiction)
An Autobiography (1893, non-fiction)
The Ancient Wisdom (1898, non-fiction)
Introduction to Yoga (1908, non-fiction)
The Doctrine of the Heart (1929, non-fiction)
H.P. Blavatsky (site funded by PP)
AKA Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Birthplace: Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: Influenza
Remains: Cremated, Theosophical Society Adyar, Chennai, India
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author, Religion
Executive summary: Founded Theosophy; The Secret Doctrine
H. P. Blavatsky, also known as Madame Blavatsky or HPB, is best known as the co-founder of Theosophy and as the author of such esoteric classics as Isis Unveiled (1877), The Secret Doctrine (1888), Key to Theosophy (1889), as well as her highly praised work on Buddhism, The Voice of Silence (1889). In pulling together and systemizing a wealth of information on spiritualism and the occult, Blavatsky claimed to be guided by “The Brothers”, advanced spiritual teachers from a higher plane of being. Critics argued that she merely ripped off already existing works, ancient and modern, without giving any credit to the original authors. Blavatsky also claimed, at times, to also have highly developed psychic powers, but she was accused of fraud several times due to her tendency to bolster with trickery whatever gifts she did, or did not, possess. Nonetheless her teachings profoundly affected the thinking of such notables as Mahatma Gandhi, James Joyce, and William Butler Yeats.
Furthermore the activities of her Theosophical Society did much to bring positive awareness of Eastern religions to Europe and other parts of the Western world. Blavatsky and other theosophists are also given special praise in India and Sri Lanka for their efforts to re-popularize both Hinduism and Buddhism within those nations.
H. P. Blavatsky was born Helena Petrovna Hahn on 12 August 1831 in Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine. Her father, Peter Alexeivich von Hahn, was a colonel in the Russian army, while her mother, Helena Andreyvna Fadeyev, was an accomplished novelist. Both parents were often preoccupied with their various career duties, so much of young Helena’s upbringing was left to servants. She became neurotic, demanding, and prone to fits of temper. From the servants she imbibed all manner of peasant superstitions, often claiming to see and command strange beings. When given offense she often threatened to bring the wrath of supernatural beings down upon whoever opposed her. Her threats and fury once so terrified a fourteen-year-old peasant boy that he fell into a river and drowned.
Favorite pastimes included lulling pigeons into a hypnotic stupor by stroking them; such was the charismatic quality of her tremendous imagination that other children often became entirely caught up in her stories, claiming to see before them the very things that she described. In addition she had a tendency to wander and talk in her sleep. Not surprisingly, the servants became convinced that possessed supernatural powers, and before long young Helena agreed with them.
When she was eleven years old her mother died, though Helena would later claim her mother had died many years earlier than that. With her mother gone and her father caught up with military campaigns, Helena and her brother were sent off to live with their maternal grandmother. At age seventeen, willful, temperamental, and undaunted by adventure, Helena rebelled against familial expectations and criticisms by marrying a middle-aged General, Nikifor Vassilievitch Blavatsky. Three months later, with the marriage still supposedly unconsummated, she gave the general’s bodyguards the slip and ran off. To escape the wrath of her family she fled to Constantinople.
Thus she began a series of incredible adventures that involved perilous travels to India and Tibet, where she was supposedly able to disguise herself and sneak into secret lamaistic rites and to study with an “ascended master” or two. According to her own tales, she was also a circus performer, a concert pianist, an opera singer’s mistress, and a soldier in Garibaldi’s army, during which adventure she was wounded and left for dead at the battle at Mentana. According to Blavatsky, she was “picked out of a ditch for dead with the left arm broken in two places, musket balls embedded in right shoulder and leg, and a stiletto wound in the heart”. She also had a string of failed businesses, sailed to Egypt and was one of the few to escape drowning when the ship went down, and became involved with a mysterious Egyptian brotherhood. At one point she worked as a fortuneteller in Cairo with another woman as a medium, but was put out of business amidst charges of fraud.
She returned to Russia for a period around 1858, impressing some with her table turning, as well as other, reportedly more authentic, feats of psychic prowess. She became embroiled in various love triangles and affairs, and somewhere along the way she may have birthed a son, but her conflicting stories make it unclear whether the boy was her own by an affair, or merely adopted from another couple. In any event the boy, named Yuri, born around 1861, was deformed, possibly with a hunchback, and died at around age five. Helena claimed to have loved him more than anyone in the world and to have been sufficiently devastated by his death as to lose all belief in God.
She arrived in New York in July of 1873. She moved into a crowded tenement house where she eked by on money sent from relatives and gleaned from various schemes, including seamstressing. She later moved in with some journalist friends, who found that photos that they left out at night were found the next morning miraculously tinted by “the spirits” with watercolors. The wonder and awe disappeared when Helena was observed sneaking about in the night with paintbrushes and paint. She next tried her hand at a farming venture with a couple she knew from Russia, but this failed and she was subsequently cheated out of her share when the farm sold at auction.
In October of 1874 she read an article by New York journalist and lawyer Henry Steele Olcott concerning his investigations into the paranormal, specifically some séances and other mediumist phenomena at the Eddy Brothers’ farm in Chittenden, Vermont. Helena made a pilgrimage to the farm where she finessed her way into an audience with Olcott by claiming association with the brothers. Though Olcott saw through her story, he agreed to observe Helena in action and eventually became quite impressed by her apparent abilities.
Eventually the two teamed up and decided to found a society for the further study of spiritualism — mediumship, arcane spiritual knowledge, and the like. Their first attempt, The Miracle Club, foundered when some of the spiritual performers involved began demanding payment. Their next attempt was more successful, drawing a broader range of spiritual mysteries, including occultism from ancient Egypt. A consultation with the dictionary, in the late fall of 1875, helped the group settle on a name: the Theosophical Society. Olcott, Blavatsky, and some of the other Theosophists had meanwhile moved in together in a large flat, calling it a Lamasery or Lamastery. Helena turned her attention from journalism toward a longer, more substantial project, and in 1877 published her first book of ruminations on the occult, Isis Unveiled. According to Blavatsky, the work was channeled from the (otherworld) spiritual masters who were her guides. She would later claim that these same guides had orchestrated all of the significant actions that led to and developed her work with the Theosophical Society.
Yet criticisms of fraud and plagiarism continued to hound Blavatsky. For example, William Emmette Coleman, writing in the early 1890s, claimed to have uncovered some 100 works from which Blavatsky had clearly stolen material while crediting it to her spiritual teachers on the “other side”. Furthermore Coleman asserted he could prove that while Blavatsky had claimed to have read many old and rare great books in the original, she had clearly lifted quotes from secondary materials about those same books. Later Theosophists, in defending Blavatsky, dismissed Coleman as a Victorian crank.
In April 1875 Blavatsky married a second time, to Michael C. Betanelly. This was apparently another unconsummated marriage of convenience, with Betanelly insisting on providing for Blavatsky. This arrangement lasted but a few months, and their divorce was finalized 25 May 1878. A few months later Blavatsky was granted U.S. citizenship, at which point she, along with Olcott and two other Theosophists, set out for India to immerse themselves in Buddhism. So successful was their foray that in 1882 the Theosophical Society relocated its headquarters to Adyar, near Madras, India. In addition to deepening their knowledge of Buddhism, and fostering its re-emerging popularity among local peoples, the Theosophists became involved in various schools and assorted promotions of Theosophy, including faith healing and mediumistic displays — some of which entailed letters of wisdom and advice penned by “the brothers” (Blavatsky’s spiritual guides), letters which materialized apparently out of thin air.
As expected, scandal soon attached itself to Blavatsky’s paranormal activities. In 1884, one Dr. Hodgson was sent by the Society for Psychical Research to investigate allegations that Blavatsky’s psychic and spiritualistic feats were fraud. Hodgson not only procured confessions by individuals who claimed to have helped Blavatsky contrive her “supernatural” theatrics, but he also claimed to have found an assortment of physical evidence as well — sliding panels, a dummy head and shoulders, and slim spring-loaded openings in the ceiling. (Theosophist recent reviews of Hodgson’s report claim extreme bias and incorrect handwriting analysis of the letters in question.) Olcott, whose reputation was unscathed by the report, ordered Blavatsky to withdraw from Adyar. Other Society members, most notably Annie Besant and A. P. Sinnet, attempted damage control, but the scandal was slow to fade.
Blavatsky retreated to Germany to work on her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine. More extensive than her earlier work, it was finally published in 1888. She then moved to London where she founded the magazine Lucifer (Light Bringer), which would have a marked influence in some artistic and intellectual circles.
In 1889 she issued The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of Silence. Yet her health was in decline; she struggled with Bright’s Disease, heart disease, and rheumatism. On 8 May 1891, she succumbed to influenza.
Despite her passing, the Theosophical Society persevered. After Olcott’s death in 1907, it turned its focus from Buddhism to Hinduism, under the leadership of Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbetter. 100 years later, the Society is still going strong, although it now distances itself from psychic phenomena. Blavatsky’s writings have continued to be immensely popular, and whether their contents represent channeled wisdom and original thought, or a cleverly systemized amalgam of other people’s contributions, they have had a profound influence on religion, literature, and even politics.
As already mentioned, Blavatsky’s work, and that of the Theosophical Society in general, was responsible for introducing the West to the spiritual teachings of the East, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. It further introduced the idea of the Brotherhood of Man, and the notion of a great Wisdom Tradition existing beyond any particular religion. According to Blavatsky and the Theosophists, this Wisdom Tradition was simply the great Truth, existent on some higher plane, manifest to varying degrees in the world’s many religions, however distorted by human bias. Thus although no religion was a perfect embodiment of this Truth, all religions were an attempt to reach toward it. It was bringing it forth in a new and more pristine form that Blavatsky saw as the central task of the Theosophical Society.
Whether Theosophy represented some higher wisdom or not, the fact remains that many of the ideas popularized in Blavatskys work, and those of fellow Theosophists, have become standard fare within the modern “New Age” spiritual movement, and many concepts, such as reincarnation, ascended masters, higher planes, communication with spirits, and the lost continent of Atlantis have filtered into mainstream and pop culture — much to the chagrin of fundamentalist Christians.
In the literary world meanwhile, both William Butler Yeats and James Joyce both acknowledged the profound influence which Blavatsky’s spiritual teachings had upon them. Joyce even stated “it is impossible to grasp the meaning of Ulysses, its symbolism and the significance of its leitmotifs, without an understanding of the esoteric theories which underlie the work”. Many other artists and writers trace an influence from Theosophy and specifically Blavatsky. Untold numbers have read the works of such artists, listened to their music or viewed their painting or sculpture, without any realization of the underlying philosophical lineage, and many of these have gone on to create their own works, ignorantly perpetuating Theosophist themes and values.
Similarly, many of admired the work of Mahatma Gandhi without realizing that he had been introduced to Blavatsky in 1890, while he was studying law at University College London. Gandhi himself states that it was the works of Madame Blavatsky, especially Key to Theosophy, that convinced him there was something of value within the spiritual teachings of his homeland — teachings which later gave shape, form, and moral authority to his challenge to British rule in India. This, coupled with the boost given by Theosophists to their indigenous religious beliefs, has endeared Blavatsky to many in India, who praise her for exhibiting such broadmindedness and generosity of spirit in the face of bigoted colonialism and encroaching Christianity.
All in all, if Helene Blavatsky truly could have glimpsed the future (or looked down on us from the beyond), she would likely be chagrined at the beating her name has taken over the decades, and perhaps amused equally at those who dismiss her and those would would attribute her with undue spiritual authority (as some sort of savant, without human foibles and shortcomings). But she would surely be deeply gratified to observe the influence of her work and her writings, and the webs of affect that have spread out from her early endeavors. Ironically, so much of her influence, so much of her hand in setting things in motion, has been entirely forgotten, and very few today still recognize the name of Madame Blavatsky.
Father: Peter von Hahn
Mother: Helena Andreyevna de Fadeyev
Husband: Nikifor Vassilievitch Blavatsky (m. 7-Jul-1849, never consummated)
Husband: Michael C. Betanelly (m. 3-Apr-1875, div. 25-May-1878, never consummated)
Naturalized US Citizen
Author of books:
Isis Unveiled (1877)
The Secret Doctrine (1888)
The Voice of Silence (1889)
Key to Theosophy (1889)
Just a very brief summary of Blavatsky who arrived in London from Russia as a teenager (long-time companion from same area)and from London emigrated to NYC.
Blavatsky influenced Alice Bailey, who, along with Emma Goldman, influenced Margaret Sanger a friend of Helen Keller.
Letter to Margaret Sanger from Helen Keller (December 8, 1952)
Dear Margaret Sanger,
What a glow of gratification was kindled in my heart when Polly read last week the wonderful news that you had founded the Planned Parenthood Association in India!
Not only have I continued to follow your work with loving admiration and expect ever greater results from your beneficence, I have also known of Nehru’s statesmanlike interest in birth-control, and now I behold you and him and Lady Rama Rau working together — a triple Hercules — for the deliverance of a land long cursed with excess of population. I cannot imagine anything more blessed happening on earth. As you teach, mankind has through ignorance often destroyed the sweet joy of childhood. Now a tide of enlightenment, slow but sure, shall lift its healing waves from one end of the world to the other until every child has a chance to be well born, well fed and fairly started in life — and that is woman’s natural work as the creator of the human race.
Affectionately I salute you, Margaret Sanger, as the prophet and the the woman Prometheus of humanity’s highest physical and mental welfare.
Often Polly and I speak of the visits we used to have with you and the inspiration I drew from your brave words. You have travelled up and down and athwart the world since, but I never lose the warm thrill of your beautiful personality.
With Polly’s and my love and wishes for a Christmas luminous with the service you are rendering to mankind, I am,
Devotedly your friend,
December eighth, 1952
One can see the influence of Sanger via Blavatsky, Goldman, and Bailey...
Letter to Helen Keller from Margaret Sanger (January 27, 1953)
65 SIERRA VISTA DR.
[End of Letterhead]
January 27, 1953
Miss Helen Keller
My dearest Helen and Polly,
What a welcome letter, yours of December 8th. was to me when I arrived in Tucson only a few days before Christmas. I have thought so often of both of you and wished that we again could have a weekend together such as we had at Willow Lake a long long time ago.
Indeed you will both agree that India is much in need of birth control and perhaps my last news letter quoting a part of that wonderful address of Dr. Radhakrishna shows how advanced the thinking of the intelligencia of India really is. Lady Rama Rau is one of the most wonderful women that I have met anywhere, and it gives me such pleasure to know that she is taking up the torch and carrying on the work of birth control for her country.
I wish you were coming to Tucson both of you, and could stay with me here, and also if I come east next summer, and if you are nearby I want very much to see you both somewhere, sometime, but soon.
My dearest love to you both and happiest wishes for the new year,
It’s obvious the rich don’t include themselves as those who need to be aborted or euthanized as Keller would have been first on the list. It was in essence a class system presented as a “new deal” involving all the usual Marxist/Darwin drivel minus Christianity especially Catholicism. Christianity is the enemy continued to this day...wipe it out and the difference between Humans and Animals are gone - both will have the same rights and all will be relative.
EMMA GOLDMAN (friend of Margaret Sanger)
Emma Goldman (June 27 (NS), 1869 May 14, 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.
Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire (present-day Kaunas, Lithuania), Goldman emigrated to the US in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the burgeoning anarchist movement. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women’s rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She and anarchist writer Alexander Berkman, her lover and lifelong friend, planned to assassinate Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed. Although Frick survived the attempt on his life, Berkman was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. Goldman was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for “inciting to riot” and illegally distributing information about birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth.
In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to “induce persons not to register” for the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were arrestedalong with hundreds of othersand deported to Russia. Initially supportive of that country’s Bolshevik revolution, Goldman quickly voiced her opposition to the Soviet use of violence and the repression of independent voices. In 1923, she wrote a book about her experiences, MY DISILLUSIONMENT in RUSSIA. While living in England, Canada, and France, she wrote an autobiography called Living My Life. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, she traveled to Spain to support the anarchist revolution there. She died in Toronto on May 14, 1940, aged 70.
During her life, Goldman was lionized as a free-thinking “rebel woman” by admirers, and derided by critics as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution. Her writing and lectures spanned a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its efforts toward women’s suffrage, she developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into anarchism. After decades of obscurity, Goldman’s iconic status was revived in the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular interest in her life...
Fleeing the rising antisemitism of Saint Petersburg, their parents and brothers joined them [in the USA] a year later...
...Days after returning to Petrograd (Saint Petersburg), she was shocked to hear a party official refer to free speech as a “bourgeois superstition”. As she and Berkman traveled around the country, they found repression, mismanagement, and corruption instead of the equality and worker empowerment they had dreamed of. Those who questioned the government were demonized as counter-revolutionaries, and workers labored under severe conditions.
They met with Vladimir Lenin, who assured them that government suppression of press liberties was justified. He told them: “There can be no free speech in a revolutionary period.” Berkman was more willing to forgive the government’s actions in the name of “historical necessity”, but he eventually joined Goldman in opposing the Soviet state’s authority.
In March 1921, strikes erupted in Petrograd when workers took to the streets demanding better food rations and more union autonomy. Goldman and Berkman felt a responsibility to support the strikers, stating: “To remain silent now is impossible, even criminal.” The unrest spread to the port town of Kronstadt, where a military response was ordered.
In the fighting that ensued, approximately 1,000 rebelling sailors and soldiers were killed and two thousand more were arrested. In the wake of these events, Goldman and Berkman decided there was no future in the country for them. “More and more”, she wrote, “we have come to the conclusion that we can do nothing here. And as we can not keep up a life of inactivity much longer we have decided to leave.”
She escaped Russia and almost immediately started agitation in the USA where they got away with murder. Deported back to Russia they understood fast that their agitating wasn’t going to go down well nor would they be treated as easily as the USA. They witnessed one protest where thousands were killed and thousands more arrested and high-tailed it outta there fast...(Ha!)
Emma Goldman and Free Speech
Freedom of expression was a cause Emma Goldman championed throughout her adult life. She was outraged that in the United States, “a country which guaranteed free speech, officers armed with long clubs should invade an orderly assembly.” As an anarchist orator, Emma faced constant threats from police and vigilantes determined to suppress her talks. Undeterred, Goldman continued to assert her right to speak, though she paid dearly for her principles. Arrested and tried in 1893 for urging a crowd of hungry, unemployed workers to rely on street demonstrations rather than on the electoral process to obtain relief, Goldman based her defense squarely on the right of free speech—and lost. She spent ten months in jail, a reminder that in nineteenth century America the right of free speech was still a dream, not a reality.
Following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, tolerance for free speech declined even further. Repression culminated in the passage of the draconian Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918, which resulted in long prison terms for those who protested United States entry into the First World War. At the same time, liberal and radical Americans became more vocal in their opposition to the abridgement of first amendment rights. The government’s attempts to suppress Goldman’s unconventional views actually led many who disagreed with her to support nonetheless her right to express her ideas freely.
It was in this context that Goldman began lecturing regularly on freedom of speech and, in 1903, worked with the newly formed Free Speech League. The extremity of the situation sometimes led to amusing results. Once, expecting the police to disrupt a lecture in Philadelphia, Emma chained herself to a podium in order to make it physically impossible for the police to remove her before she finished speaking. But as fate would have it, this time the police did not appear.
Goldman’s insistence on freedom of speech had a profound influence on Roger Baldwin, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Baldwin heard Goldman speak in 1908 at a working class meeting hall in St. Louis, and what he heard led him to dedicate his life to the cause of freedom. He later told Goldman in a letter, “You always remain one of the chief inspirations of my life, for you aroused in me a sense of what freedom really means.” In his old age, Baldwin said, “Emma Goldman opened up not only an entirely new literature to me, but new people as well, some who called themselves anarchists, some libertarians, some freedom lovers . . . bound together by one principle—freedom from coercion.”
The ultimate irony of Emma Goldman’s crusade for free speech in America is that she was deported to Russia for exercising her right to speak against United States’ involvement in World War I. Undaunted, Goldman risked further political isolation by becoming one of the Left’s most vocal and eloquent critics of political repression in the Soviet Union.
No mention of her attempted assassinations and bombing material in the USA nor how she and her fellow anarchist didn’t stay long in Russia. They’re very brave in a country where they get away with blue murder but cowards when they witness real coertion.
Most folks are totally unaware of this period of history you so comprehensively laid out for our education.
Born 22 January 1858(1858-01-22)
Died 30 April 1943(1943-04-30) (aged 85)
Liphook, Hampshire, England
Spouse Sidney Webb
Martha Beatrice Webb (née Potter; 22 January 1858 30 April 1943) was an English sociologist, economist, socialist, reformer and a co-founder of the London School of Economics, usually referred to in association with her husband, Sidney Webb. Although her husband became Baron Passfield in 1929, she refused to be known as Lady Passfield. She coined the term COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.
Beatrice Potter was born in Standish House in the village of Standish Gloucestershire, the daughter of a businessman Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, daughter of a Liverpool merchant. Her grandfather was Radical MP, Richard Potter. From an early age she was self-taught and cited her influences as the cooperative movement and the philosopher Herbert Spencer with whom she became acquainted after an early stay with relatives in Lancashire.
In 1882, she had a relationship with Radical politician Joseph Chamberlain, by then a Cabinet minister. After this relationship failed, she took up Social Work and assisted her cousin Charles Booth who was carrying out a pioneering survey of the Victorian slums of London. Upon the death of her father, Potter inherited an endowment of £1,000 pounds a year which she used to support herself during this research. In 1890 she was introduced to Sidney Webb whose help she sought in this research and in 1891 she published The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain, based on her experiences in Lancashire. Marrying Webb in 1892, the two remained together and shared political and professional activities, becoming active members of the Fabian Society. With support from the Fabians, she co-authored books and pamphlets on socialism and the co-operative movement including The History of Trade Unionism in 1894 and Industrial Democracy in 1897. In 1895, a donation from Henry Hutchinson, a solicitor from Derby, was used by the Society to found the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In 1913, she co-founded with her husband the New Statesman, a political weekly edited by Clifford Sharp with contributions from many philosophers, economists and politicians of the time including George Bernard Shaw and John Maynard Keynes.
In late 1914, the Webbs became members of the Labour Party. At this time, their leadership of the Fabian Society was facing opposition from H.G. Wells, who lampooned them in his 1911 novel The New Machiavelli as ‘the Baileys’, a pair of short-sighted, bourgeois manipulators. They were also opposed from the left in the Labour Party by the Guild Socialists and the historian and economist G.D.H. Cole. During this time, Webb collaborated with her husband in his writings and policy statement such as LABOR AND THE NEW SOCIAL ORDER in 1918 and his election in 1922 to the parliamentary seat of Seaham in Durham.
In 1928 the Webb’s retired to Liphook in Hampshire, where they lived until their deaths. In 1932, Sidney and Beatrice travelled to the Soviet Union and later published in support of the Soviet economic experiment with SOVIET COMMUNISM: A NEW CIVILISATION? and The Truth About Soviet Russia. When she died in 1943, Webb’s ashes were interred in the nave of Westminster Abbey, close to those of her husband, and were to be joined subsequently by the remains of Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin.
Webb has made a number of important contributions to political and economic theory of the co-operative movement. It was, for example, Webb who coined the terms Co-operative Federalism and Co-operative Individualism in her 1891 book Cooperative Movement in Great Britain. Out of these two categories, Webb identified herself as a co-operative federalist; a school of thought which advocates consumer co-operative societies. Webb argued that consumers co-operatives should form co-operative wholesale societies (by forming co-operatives in which all members are co-operatives, the best historical example being the English Co-operative Wholesale Society) and that these federal co-operatives should undertake purchasing farms or factories. Webb dismissed the idea of worker co-operatives where the people who did the work and benefited from it had some control over how it was done, arguing that at the time she was writing such ventures had proved largely unsuccessful, at least in ushering in her form of socialism led by volunteer committees of people like herself. Examples of successful worker Cooperatives did of course exist then as now. In some professions they were the norm. But Webbs final book, The Truth About The Soviet Union celebrated central planning.
Webb’s nephew, Sir Stafford Cripps, became a well-known British Labour politician in the 1930s and 1940s, serving as British ambassador to Moscow during World War II and later as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Clement Attlee. Her niece, Barbara Drake, was a prominent trade unionist and a member of the Fabian Society. Another niece, Katherine Dobbs, married the journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, whose experience reporting from the Soviet Union subsequently made him highly critical of the Webbs’ optimistic portrayal of Stalin’s rule. Their books, Soviet Communism: A new civilization? (1935) and The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942) have been widely denounced for adopting an uncritical view of STALIN’s conduct during periods that witnessed a brutal process of agricultural collectivization as well as extensive purges and the creation of the gulag system.
Beatrice Webb’s papers, including her diaries, are among the Passfield archive at the London School of Economics. For a small online exhibition featuring some of these papers see ‘A poor thing but our own’: the Webbs and the Labour Party. Posts about Beatrice Webb regularly appear in the LSE Archives blog, Out of the box.
 BibliographyWorks by Beatrice Webb
Cooperative Movement in Great Britain (1891)
Wages of Men and Women: Should they be equal? (1919)
My Apprenticeship (1926)
Our Partnership (1948)
Works by Beatrice and Sidney Webb
History of Trade Unionism (1894)
Industrial Democracy (1897)
English Local Government Vol. I-X (1906 through 1929)
The Manor and the Borough (1908)
The Break-Up of the Poor Law (1909)
English Poor-Law Policy (1910)
The Cooperative Movement (1914)
Works Manager Today (1917)
The Consumer’s Cooperative Movement (1921)
Decay of Capitalist Civilization (1923)
Methods of Social Study (1932)
Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935)
The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942)
MARIE STOPES D.Sc., Ph.D. (friend of Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger).
Born 15 October 1880 (1880-10-15)
Died 2 October 1958 (1958-10-03) (aged 77)
Marie Carmichael Stopes (15 October 1880 2 October 1958) was a Scottish author, palaeobotanist, campaigner for women’s rights and pioneer in the field of birth control.
Stopes edited the newsletter Birth Control News which gave anatomically explicit advice, and in addition to her enthusiasm for protests at places of worship this provoked protest from both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. Her sex manual Married Love, which was written, she claimed, while she was still a virgin, was controversial and influential.
The modern organisation that bears her name, Marie Stopes International, works in 42 countries. In 2008 there were 560 centres, including 5 in Bolivia, 9 in the UK, 10 in Australia, 25 in Kenya, 24 in South Africa, 48 in Pakistan and over 100 in Bangladesh.
Stopes opened the UK’s first family planning clinic, the Mothers’ Clinic at 61, Marlborough Road, Holloway, North London on 17 March 1921.
In 1925 the Mothers’ Clinic moved to Central London, where it remains to this day.
Stopes and her fellow family planning pioneers around the globe, like DORA RUSSELL, played a major role in breaking down taboos about sex and increasing knowledge, pleasure and improved reproductive health. In 1930 the National Birth Control Council was formed.
Advocacy of eugenics - Stopes was a prominent campaigner for the implementation of policies inspired by EUGENICS, then not a discredited science. In her Radiant Motherhood (1920) she called for the “sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [to] be made an immediate possibility, indeed MADE COMPULSORY.”
She contributed a chapter manifesto to The Control of Parenthood (1920), comprising a sort of manifesto for her circle of Eugenicists, arguing for a “UTOPIA” TO BE ACHIEVED THROUGH “RACIAL PURIFICATION”:
Those who are grown up in the present active generations, the matured and hardened, with all their weaknesses and flaws, cannot do very much, though they may do something with themselves. They can, however, study the conditions under which they came into being, discover where lie the chief sources of defect, and eliminate those sources of defect from the coming generation so as to remove from those who are still to be born the needless burdens the race has carried.
However, in this tract, she argues that the leading causes of “racial degeneration” are “overcrowding” and sexually transmitted disease (ibid, p. 211). It concludes somewhat vaguely, that racial consciousness needs to be increased so that, “women of all classes [may] have the fear and dread of undesired maternity removed from them ...” to usher in the promised utopia, described throughout. (ibid, p. 221)
In 1935 Stopes attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, held under the NAZI REGIME. She was more than once accused of being anti-Semitic by other pioneers of the birth control movement such as Havelock Ellis.
As came to public attention years later, she was a PERSONAL AS WELL AS POLITICAL DEVOTEE OF ADOLF HITLER:
DEAR HERR HITLER, Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these (poems) that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them? These gushing words from an ardent fan (she was lucky UNITY MITFORD did not scratch her eyes out) were written in August 1939, just a month before this country went to war with Nazi Germany, by Marie Stopes [...]
After her son Harry married a myopic woman, Stopes cut him out of her will. The daughter-in-lawMary Eyre Wallis, later Mary Stopes-Roewas the daughter of the noted engineer Barnes Wallis. Stopes reasoned that prospective grandchildren might inherit the condition.
Following the death of Marie Stopes in 1958, a large part of her personal fortune went to the Eugenics Society.
Prior to her claim that her marriage to Canadian geneticist Reginald Ruggles Gates in 1911 was unconsummated, she had a serious relationship with Japanese botanist Kenjiro Fujii or Fugii, whom she met at the University of Munich in 1904 whilst researching her Ph.D. It was so serious, that in 1907, during her 1904-1910 tenure at Manchester University, she went to be with him in Japan, but the affair ended. Her marriage to Gates was annulled in 1914.
In 1918 she married the financial backer of her most famous work, Married Love: A New Contribution to the Solution of the Sex Difficulties, Humphrey Verdon Roe, brother of Alliott Verdon Roe. Their son, the philosopher Harry Stopes-Roe, was born in 1924.
Stopes died at her home in Dorking, Surrey, UK from breast cancer.
the 1920s onward, Marie Stopes gradually built up a small network of clinics that were initially very successful, but by the early 1970s were in financial difficulties. In 1975 the clinics went into voluntary receivership. The modern organisation that bears Marie Stopes’ name was established a year later as an international Non-Governmental Organisation working on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The Marie Stopes International (MSI) global partnership took over responsibility for the main clinic, and in 1978 it began its work overseas in New Delhi. Since then the organisation has grown steadily and today the MSI works in 38 countries, has 452 clinics worldwide and has offices in London, Brussels, Melbourne and USA.
In 2006 alone, the organisation provided services to 4.6 million clients and by 2010 aims to protect 20 million couples from unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortion.
MASTER RACE OF THE LEFT
Forced sterilisations in Scandinavia have shocked the world. But the great founding fathers of British socialism, reports Jonathan Freedland, had dreams almost as vile as those of the Nazis.
August 30, 1997
They will be searching their souls in Stockholm tonight. And in Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen, too. All over Scandinavia, people are facing up to the stain now spreading across their snow-white self-image, as they discover that their governments spent decades executing a chilling plan to purify the Nordic race, nurturing the strong and eradicating the weak. Each day victims of forced sterilisation, now deep in middle-age, have stepped forward to tell how they were ordered to have the chop, to prevent them having children deemed as racially defective as themselves.
Branded low class, or mentally slow, they were rounded up behind secure fences, in Institutes for Misled and Morally Neglected Children, where they were eventually led off for treatment. One man has told how he and his fellow teenage boys planned to run away rather than undergo the dreaded cut in the crotch. Maria Nordin, now seeking compensation from the Swedish government, remembers sobbing as she was pressed to sign away her rights to have a baby. Told that she would stay locked up forever if she did not cooperate, she relented - spending the rest of her life childless and in regret.
In Sweden the self-examination has already begun. A government minister has admitted that what went on is barbaric and a national disgrace, with more than 60,000 Swedish women sterilised from 1935 until as late as 1976. What has shocked most observers is that all this was committed not by some vile fascistic regime, but by a string of welfare-minded, SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS.
Indeed, the few voices of opposition came from Swedish conservatives.
But the reckoning cannot be confined to Scandinavia: Britain has some soul-searching of its own to do. What’s more, as in Sweden, the culprits are not long-forgotten fire-breathers of the far right. On the contrary: eugenics is the dirty little secret of the British left. The names of the first champions read like a rollcall of British socialisms best and brightest: SIDNEY AND BEATRICE WEBB, GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, HAROLD LADKI, JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES, MARIE STOPES, THE NEW STATESMAN - even, lamentably, the Manchester Guardian (Marie Stopes was professor at Manchester University - Mary Stocks was a government rep and Eleanor Rathbone.) Nearly every one of the lefts most cherished, iconic figures espoused views which todays progressives would find repulsive.
Thus George Bernard Shaw could write: The only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man. Later he mused that the overthrow of the aristocrat has created the necessity for the Superman. The revered pacifist, disarmer and philosophical titan, BERTRAND RUSSELL, dreamed up a wheeze that would have made even Nazi Germanys eugenicists blush. He suggested the state issue colour-coded procreation tickets. Those who dared breed with holders of a different-coloured ticket would face a heavy fine. That way the high-calibre gene pool of the elite would not be muddied by any proletarian or worse, foreign, muck. The New Statesman agreed, explaining in July 1931: The legitimate claims of eugenics are not inherently incompatible with the outlook of the collectivist movement. On the contrary, they would be expected to find their most intransigent opponents amongst those who cling to the individualistic views of parenthood and family economics. The bottom line is bleak but clear. Eugenics, the art and science of breeding better men, is not just the historical problem of Germany and now Scandinavia, nor even of the jackbooted right. It took root right here in Britain - pushed and argued by the left. Indeed, contempt for ordinary people and outright racism were two of the defining creeds of British socialism.
THE TROUBLE BEGAN WITH CHARLES DARWIN. His breakthrough work, The Origin of the Species, did not restrict its impact to the academy and laboratories. Instead it transformed the very way mankind understood itself in the 19th century, its message fast spilling over into the realm of political ideas. Suddenly the religious notion that all life was equally sacred was under attack. Human beings were like any other species some were more evolved than others. The human race could be divided into different categories and classes. When KARL MARX took on the task of charting human development and defining the class structure, he acknowledged his debt DEDICATING AN EARLY EDITION OF DAS KAPITAL TO NONE OTHER THAN CHARLES DARWIN.
From the beginning socialism regarded itself as the natural ally, even the political version, of science. Just as biologists sought to understand animals and plants, so scientific socialism would master people. According to Adrian Wooldridge, author of Measuring the Mind: Education and Psychology in England 1860-1990, and a recognised authority on early ideas of human merit, progressives believed the only enemies of Darwin were reactionaries, the religious and the superstitious. SCIENCE, by contrast, REPRESENTED PROGRESS. Crucially, these early leftists regarded science as an utterly neutral tool; something could not be scientifically right and morally wrong. In this climate, says Wooldridge, EUGENICS BECAME THE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS OF ITS DAY. If you were modern, you believed in it.
The result was a Darwinian commitment to improving the quality of the nations genetic stock. Many of the reforms admired by today’s leftists were not, in fact, borne of a benign desire to improve the lot of the poor, but rather to make Britons fitter to guarantee their survival as one of the globes foremost races. Thus the Webbs pushed for free milk in schools not because their hearts bled for undernourished kids, but because they were alarmed by Britains performance in the Boer war, where troops had taken a good kicking at the hands of the black man: the Webbs believed a daily dose of calcium would improve the bones and teeth of the future working class.
The contemporary left has a similarly misguided and sentimental view of Marie Stopess campaign to bless the women of Kings Cross and the rest of working class Britain with contraception. The unrosy reality is that Stopes, Mary Stocks and the like were not motivated by a kind of proto-feminism, but rather by the urge to reduce the numbers of the burgeoning lumpenproletariat. This rather awkward fact was exposed earlier this year with the release of a long-suppressed essay by the father of liberal economics, John Maynard Keynes. He endorsed legalised birth control because the working class was too drunken and ignorant to be trusted to keep its own numbers down: To put difficulties in the way of the use of [contraception] checks increases the proportion of the population born from those who from drunkenness or ignorance or extreme lack of prudence are not only incapable of virtue but incapable also of that degree of prudence which is involved in the use of checks.
Many progressives were drawn to the hope that science could build up the strong parts of the nation, and slowly ELIMINATE THE WEAK. Dozens of them signed up for the Eugenics Society, which in the 1930s rivalled the Fabians as the fashionable salon of London socialism. Labour MP ELLEN WILKINSON even wanted the society to form its own committee of Labour sympathisers. H. G. WELLS could not contain his enthusiasm, hailing eugenics as the first step toward the removal of detrimental types and characteristics and the fostering of desirable types in their place.
For these early thinkers, eugenic socialism posed no contradiction: indeed, it made perfect sense. As Wooldridge points out, the WEBBS supported eugenic planning just as fervently as town planning. If socialism was about organising and ordering society from the centre, then its most extreme advocates believed in extending that control all the way into the wombs and testes of society’s weakest members. What they wanted was a neat, clean, planned Utopia: eugenics was just one part of that dream.
One other doctrine was crucial - profound elitism. It strikes the 1990s ear oddly, but these leading lights of British socialism had no patience for equality. The communist and one-time editor of the Daily Worker, J. B. S. HALDANE, considered equality a curious dogma... we are not born equal, far from it.
Many on the left were members of the upper middle-class or lower aristocracy, convinced their higher intellectual capacities had to be preserved from proletarian infection. One popular idea of the time was to encourage artificial insemination not to help the infertile, but to impregnate working-class women with the sperm of men with high IQs. Beatrice Webb was sure her genetic material was worth preserving, describing herself as the cleverest member of one of the cleverest families in the cleverest class of the cleverest nation of the world. She and her fellow travellers envisaged a world run by an elite made up of people like her, able to determine who could reproduce and who could not. Always fond of gazing into the future, H. G. Wells pictured a caste of all-powerful super-talented Ubermenschen, who would wear Samurai-style dress, and order the affairs of the planet.
In this context, there was only contempt for ordinary people, who were regarded as sub-men to be tended and looked after via the welfare state like a bovine herd. The Labour cabinet minister DOUGLAS JAY felt no embarrassment in putting the attitude on record in his pamphlet, The Socialist Cause. Famously and loftily he declared, In the case of nutrition and health, just as in the case of education, the gentleman in Whitehall really does know better what is good for people than the people know themselves.
Non-Britons came even lower on the Darwinian pecking order. In those times it was the Jews who were regarded as posing the chief threat of alien dilution of English blood. Bernard Shaw described the Jews as the real enemy, the invader from the East, the ruffian, the oriental parasite. H. J. HOBSON, a radical journalist who made his name covering the Boer war for The Guardian, declared that the Transvaal had fallen prey to Jew Power.
For years, leftists, historians and everyone else have drawn a veil over ADOLF HITLER’S naming of his creed National Socialism. It has been dismissed as a perverse PR trick of the Fuhrers, as if Nazism and socialism represented opposite faiths. The same view has infused the lefts understanding of the genocides committed in the name of communism, whether by STALIN or POL POT, as if those men were merely betraying the otherwise noble theory whose cause they proclaimed. But the early history of British socialism tells a different story. It suggests that socialism - with its unshakeable faith in science, central planning and the cool wisdom of the rational elite - CONTAINED THE SEEDS OF THE ATROCITIES THAT WERE TO COME LATER.
Eventually, in the shadow of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor, the British left gave up its flirtation with eugenics. They saw where it had led. But, just like the governments of Scandinavia, their past was buried too quickly and forgotten. The names of Russell, Webb and Shaw still retain their lustre despite their association with the foulest idea of the 20th century. They escaped the reckoning. Perhaps now, posthumously, it’s time to see them, and much of socialism itself, as they truly were.
No, they haven’t given up on their Eugenic Ideology, not by a long shot.
[...]In February 1911, Churchill spoke in the House of Commons about the need to introduce compulsory labour camps for “mental defectives.” As for “tramps and wastrels,” he said, “there ought to be proper Labour Colonies where they could be sent for considerable periods and made to realize their duty to the State.” Convicted criminals would be sent to these labour colonies if they were judged “feeble-minded” on medical grounds. It was estimated that some 20,000 convicted criminals would be included in this plan. To his Home Office advisers, with whom he was then drafting what would later become the Mental Deficiency Bill, Churchill proposed that anyone who was convicted of any second criminal offence could, on the direction of the Home Secretary, be officially declared criminally “feeble-minded,” and made to undergo a medical enquiry. If the enquiry endorsed the declaration of “feeble-mindedness,” the person could then be detained in a labour colony for as long as was considered a suitable period.
No legislation was introduced along these lines while Churchill was at the Home Office. In October 1911 he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, in charge of the Royal Navy, with new concerns and new responsibilities. On 17 May 1912, while he was at the Admiralty, a Private Members’ Bill was introduced in the House of Commons, entitled the “Feeble-Minded Control Bill.” This called for the implementation of the Royal Commission’s conclusions. Hundreds of petitions were sent to Parliament in support of legislation.
The Committee to further the Bill was headed by the two Anglican primates, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. H.G. WELLS (Fabian Socialist) WAS A SUPPORTER OF THE BILL. G.K. CHESTERTON LED A PUBLIC CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BILL.
DEAN INGE, the Dean of St Paul’s, complained that eugenics was so logical it was only opposed by “IRRATIONALIST PROPHETS LIKE MR. CHESTERTON.”
In his public lectures and published articles W.G. Chesterton ridiculed what he called “the feeble-minded bill.’”
The Feeble-Minded Control Bill rejected compulsory sterilisation, but made it a punishable misdemeanour to marry or attempt to marry a mental defective, or to solemnise, procure or connive at such a marriage. It provided for registration and segregation. And it gave the Home Secretary the power to commit any person who fell outside the definition of feeble-mindedness but whose circumstances appeared to warrant his inclusion.
On its first reading, the Bill had only thirty-eight opponents. But the Liberal newspapers opposed it vigorously, and Josiah Wedgwood (inbreded with the Goultons, Darwins...), a Liberal Member of Parliament, denounced it as a “monstrous violation” of individual rights.
Roman Catholics leaders denounced it as “contrary to Christian morals and elementary human rights.” When Wedgwood spoke in the House of Commons against it, he called it “legislation for the sake of a scientific creed which in ten years may be discredited.”
The Private Members Bill was withdrawn, but the Liberal Government, conscious of the strength of public feeling in favour of a measure based on the Royal Commission’s conclusions, decided to introduce its own “Mental Deficiency Bill,” for the compulsory detention of the “feeble-minded.”
This Government Bill was introduced to Parliament on 10 June 1912. In urging the passage of the new Bill, Churchill’s successor as Home Secretary, Reginald McKenna, said: “I commend it to the House in the confident assurance that if it is passed into law we shall be taking a great step towards removing one of the worst evils in our time.”
In his summing up, Josiah Wedgwood said: “I urge that the Government should, if this legislation goes through, see that all the homes in which defectives are looked after are homes run by the Government, and not for private profit, where the inspection is of the best and where the treatment is of the very highest character, and that the earliest possible term should be set to this licensing of private homes where private profit is likely to be the main cause of the existence of the home, and where, to a large extent, employment will be carried on under extremely undesirable conditions by people who are absolutely unable to protect themselves.”
Between 24 and 30 July 1912, a month after the Second Reading of the Mental Deficiency Bill in Parliament, THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL EUGENICS CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN LONDON, and was attended by four hundred delegates. CHURCHILL was a Vice-President of the Congress, and ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, the inventor of the telephone, was one of its directors, as was CHARLES ELIOT, a former President of HARVARD, and the Regius Professor of Medicine at OXFORD, Sir William OSLER. The Canadian-born Osler, who had been created a baronet the previous year, was one of the world’s most prominent practitioners of clinical medicine.
The Congress opened with a reception and a banquet that was addressed by the former Prime Minister, A.J. BALFOUR. A programme of entertainment was provided by a committee headed by the Duchess of Marlborough (the American heiress Consuelo VANDERBILT, who was married to Churchill’s cousin the Ninth Duke of Marlborough). Churchill did not attend.
The Congress on Eugenics led to renewed public pressure for Britain to adopt eugenics laws. In October 1912, Churchill discussed the proposed laws with Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, who wrote in his diary: “Winston is also a strong eugenist. He told us he had himself drafted the Bill which is to give power of shutting up people of weak intellect and so prevent their breeding. He thought it might be arranged to sterilise them. It was possible by the use of Roentgen rays, both for men and women, though for women some operation might also be necessary. He thought that if shut up with no prospect of release without it many would ask to be sterilised as a condition of having their liberty restored. He went on to say that the mentally deficient were as much more prolific than those normally constituted as eight to five. Without something of the sort the race must decay. It was rapidly decaying, but could be stopped by such means.”
The views of the eugenists were much influenced by the American psychologist HENRY H. GODDARD, who asserted that “feeble-mindedness” was a hereditary trait, almost certainly caused by a single recessive gene. His view was widely spread in 1912 with the publication of his book The Kallikat Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness, about those in the general population who carried the recessive trait despite outward appearances of normality. Goddard, the creator of the term “moron,” was the director of the Vineland Training School-originally the Vineland Training School for Backward and Feeble-minded Children-in New Jersey. In his book, Goddard recommended segregating the “feeble minded” in institutions like his own, where they would be taught various forms of menial labour.
The Mental Deficiency Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons in 1913, with ONLY THREE VOTES CAST AGAINST IT. The new law rejected sterilisation, which Churchill had earlier advocated, in favour of confinement. On 16 November 1914, in describing the working of the Act during the previous year, Reginald McKenna told the House of Commons: “Institutions and homes provided by religious and philanthropic associations, and by individuals, have come forward in considerable numbers, and the Board has certified or approved of thirty-one of them, making provision for 2,533 cases. In addition to these there are the nine hospitals and institutions formerly registered under the IDIOTS ACT which have become certified institutions or houses under the Mental Deficiency Act, and continue to provide accommodation for many hundreds of defectives. Nine local authorities have entered into contracts with one or other of these institutions for the reception of defectives from their area; five of these contracts cover a number exceeding eighty, and in the remaining four the numbers to be received are not specified.”
The concept of hereditary mental illness that could be halted by sterilisation remained widespread for many years. In 1927, in the United States, in the case of Buck versus Bell, the distinguished JUSTICE OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, then in his twenty-fifth year on the Supreme Court, closed the 8-1 majority opinion upholding the sterilisation of Carrie Buck-who along with her mother and daughter had been labelled “feeble-minded”-with the six words: “THREE GENERATIONS OF IMBECILES ARE ENOUGH.”
In 1928 the CANADIAN PROVINCE OF ALBERTA passed legislation-the Sexual Sterilisation Act of Alberta-that enabled the provincial government to perform involuntary sterilisations on individuals classified as “mentally deficient.” In order to implement the 1928 act, a four-person Alberta Eugenics Board was created to approve sterilisation procedures. In 1972, the Sexual sterilisation Act was repealed, and the Eugenics Board dismantled. During the forty-three years of the Eugenics Board, 2832 sterilisation procedures were performed.
Britain never legislated for sterilisation or carried it out. Detention in institutions was the chosen path since the Mental Deficiency Act 1913. That act continued in force for almost half a century. The 1959 Mental Health Act, introduced by HAROLD MACMILLAN’S CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT, was described in its preamble as “An Act to repeal the Lunacy and Mental Treatment Acts 1890 to 1930, and the Mental Deficiency Acts, 1913 to 1938, and to make fresh provision with respect to the treatment and care of mentally disordered persons and with respect to their property and affairs; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.”
A year later the Mental Health (Scotland) Act
repealed the Lunacy (Scotland) Acts 1857 to 1913, and the Mental Deficiency (Scotland) Acts, 1913 and to 1940 “to make fresh provision with respect to the reception, care and treatment of persons suffering, or appearing to be suffering, from mental disorder, and with respect to their property and affairs; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.”
Detention, not sterilisation, had been the chosen legislative path in Britain between 1913 and 1959. But with the advances in medical science and medical ethics, fewer and fewer categories of “persons suffering... rom mental disorder” were considered needy of detention. Causes such as food and nutritional deficiency, poverty and deprivation, abuse and neglect, were identified as among the reasons-and early diagnosis, medication, therapy, community care and family support systems as the methods of treatment-of what was considered, at the time of Churchill’s support for eugenics before the First World War, as hereditary “feeble-mindedness” with no cure.
 The text of the Medical Deficiency Act 1913 was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in its issue of 16 November 1912, pages 1397-9.
 Eugenics’: Random House Dictionary: Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 21 March 2009.
 Report of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded, 1908. His Majesty’s Stationery Office, Command Paper 4202 of 1908.
 sterilisations were halted in Indiana in 1909 by Governor Thomas R. Marshall, but it was not until 1921 that the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the 1907 law was unconstitutional, as it was a denial of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. A 1927 law provided for appeals in the courts. In all, approximately 2,500 people were sterilised while in State custody. Governor Otis R. Bowen approved repeal of all sterilisation laws in 1974. By 1977 the related restrictive marriage laws were repealed.
 Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and Switzerland have at different times used sterilisation for the mentally ill. The number of sterilisations in Sweden was 62,000. The most notorious sterilisation legislation was promulgated in Nazi Germany in July 1933, under which more than 150,000 Germans, including many children and babies, judged mentally unfit’ were sterilised, and an equal number killed by gas or lethal injection between 1933 and 1940.
 Home Office papers, 144/1098/197900.
 Home Office papers, 144/1088/194663.
 Asquith papers, MS 12, folios 224-8.
 Cabinet papers, 37/108/189.
 Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 10 February 1911.
 Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 10 June 1912.
 W. S. Blunt, My Diaries: 1888-1914, 2 Volumes. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921.
 Henry H. Goddard, The Kallikat Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness. New York, The Macmillan Company, 1912.
 Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 16 November 1914.
 The Alberta Sexual Sterilisation Act was disproportionately applied to those in socially vulnerable positions, including women, children, the unemployed, domestic help, rural citizens, the unmarried, people in institutions, Roman and Greek Catholics, and people of Ukrainian, Native and Métis ethnicity.
 Royal Assent, 29 July 1959.
 Royal Assent, 29 July 1960.
How eugenics poisoned the welfare state
A century ago many leading leftists subscribed to the vile pseudo-science of eugenics, writes Dennis Sewell, and the influence of that thinking can still be seen today
So what went wrong with a welfare state that was supposed to make ignorance, squalor and want things of the past, and guarantee greater social integration? Or have we simply misunderstood what that project was really about?
Most accounts of the origin of Britains welfare state begin with the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, drafted by Sidney and Beatrice Webb during the first decade of the 20th century. Beneath their seemingly compassionate rhetoric, the founders of the Fabian Society were snobbish, elitist and harboured a savage contempt for the poorest of the poor. Both husband and wife were enthusiastic supporters of the eugenics movement, which held 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.
Eugenics had been the brainchild of Charles Darwins cousin Francis Galton, and was developed in response to Darwins theory of natural selection. It was taken up as a programme of political action by Darwins son Leonard. The eugenicists aimed to replace natural selection with a planned and deliberate selection. They were alarmed by the fact that the poorest in society bred faster than the middle class, forecasting that this trend would lead to a spiral of degeneration in the gene pool. Their aim was to encourage the rich to have more children and the poor to have fewer. They quickly got the science establishment on their side, creating a national panic about genetic deterioration that became as widespread and salient as fears of global warming are today. In this scenario, the poorest with their defective genes were the bogeymen, a class that threatened to contaminate future generations.
For the Fabians, eugenics was not merely some eccentric hobby or sideline, but central to their social thinking. Beatrice Webb regarded eugenics as the most important question of all, while her husband revealed the statist and dirigiste character of the movement with his declaration that no eugenicist can be a laissez faire individualist he must interfere, interfere, interfere! Even for George Bernard Shaw, the only fundamental and possible Socialism was the socialisation of the selective breeding of Man.
In the years leading up to the first world war Leonard Darwin set about lobbying the government to act. He wanted to set up flying squads of scientists, armed with powers of arrest over the poor, to tour the country weeding out the unfit. Those who were found wanting by these tribunals were to be segregated in special colonies or sterilised. One politician who supported such draconian measures in parliament was the Labour MP Will Crooks, who described the targets of the eugenics campaign as like human vermin who crawl about doing absolutely nothing, except polluting and corrupting everything they touch. Crooks was perhaps only outdone in his vehement contempt for what we now call the underclass by Shaw, who believed that they had no business to be alive and speculated at a meeting of the Eugenics Society about the need to use a lethal chamber to solve the problem.
Another Fabian eugenicist, the writer H.G. Wells, vented his frustration and indignation in a direct address to the working class. We cannot go on giving you health, freedom, enlargement, limitless wealth, if all our gifts to you are to be swamped by an indiscriminate torrent of progeny, he complained, ...and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict upon us. It was as if as in the Brechtian joke the Fabian left had lost confidence in the people and had determined to dissolve the people and appoint a new one.
In 1913, the eugenicists succeeded in getting the Mental Incapacity Act through parliament. As a result, some 40,000 men and women were incarcerated without trial, having been deemed to fall into various specious categories such as feeble-minded or morally defective. This latter description was used to imprison petty criminals, unmarried mothers or those displaying homosexual inclinations all, allegedly, clear signs that they possessed the sort of defective genes believed to be conducive to pauperism.
Edith Huthwaite, from Yorkshire, was categorised as a moral defective after being convicted by Ripon magistrates of theft. She was held for 18 years.
Theoretically, such measures were targeted at the mentally handicapped, but diagnosis of mental incapacity was applied somewhat loosely, and the act was frequently used as an instrument of oppression against the chronically poor. That suited the eugenicists just fine. They were by no means reticent in declaring their true agenda the containment and segregation of what they termed the social residuum.
WILLIAM BEVERIDGE, later to emerge as the midwife of the post-1945 welfare settlement, was also very active in the eugenics movement at this time. Today, Beveridge is generally portrayed as a kindly, avuncular figure, one almost dripping with compassion and benevolence. But his roots were in a particularly hardline strand of eugenics. He argued in 1909 that those men who through general defects are unable to fill such a whole place in industry, are to be recognised as unemployable. They must become the acknowledged dependents of the State... but with complete and permanent loss of all citizen rights including not only the franchise but civil freedom and fatherhood. And that, except for the loss of fatherhood, has effectively been his legacy.
Eugenics was no quickly passing fad. The Eugenics Society reached its peak, in terms of membership, during the 1930s, and the cusp of the following decade saw the zenith of its prestige.
The economist John Maynard Keynes served on the societys governing council and was its director from 1937 to 1944. Once again, this was no casual hobby. As late as 1946 Keynes was still describing eugenics as the most important and significant branch of sociology. Working alongside Keynes at this time as the editor of Eugenics Review was RICHARD TITMUSS, soon afterwards to become an influential professor at the London School of Economics working on social policy, and who would ultimately be dubbed the high priest of the welfare state.
It was during the late 1930s that much of the detailed planning for the welfare state was carried out. And a good deal of it was undertaken at meetings of the Eugenics Society. On the evening that the House of Commons met to debate the Beveridge Report, Beveridge himself went off to address an audience of eugenicists at the Mansion House. He knew he was in for a rough ride. His scheme of family allowances had originally been devised within the Eugenics Society with a graduated rate, which paid out more to middle-class parents and very little to the poor.
The whole point was to combat the eugenicists great bugbear the differential birth rate between the classes. However, the government that day had announced a uniform rate. Beveridge was sympathetic to the complaints of his audience and hinted that a multi-rate system might well be introduced at a later date.
Given the association of so many of its founding fathers with the dismal pseudo- science of eugenics, perhaps we should not be surprised that our welfare system has ended up preferring safety nets to trampolines, or that it prefers simply to warehouse the poor rather than give people who have fallen on hard times a chance to take responsibility for their own lives.
Eugenics infected its adherents with a deeply pessimistic view of the poor, branding them as irredeemably genetically second-rate, and this view has cast a long shadow over social policy assumptions. Labour figures who mock the idea of compassionate Conservatism or make light of David Camerons focus on our broken society need to take a hard look at some of their own history and intellectual heritage. When it comes to who really can claim to care about the problems of the poor, the dividing lines are not so straight as Gordon Brown thinks they are.
Pseudo Malthusianism and social Darwinism are perversions that continue to lurk in the warped and twisted minds of the left. Media propaganda, college professor revisionism promote the delusional ideas about supposed supposed genetic and hence social or racial inferiority of whole groups come from the ‘right’. Yet it’s the left who likes nothing better than to ‘categorise’ people on a group basis, especially when it can claim some sort of ‘scientific’ justification for doing so.
From Darwin to Hitler
An interview with author Richard Weikart
By Jayson Whitehead
As soon as World War II ended and details of the German Holocaust emerged, the world began to search for answers to explain the Nazis motivations for the systematic eradication of millions of Jews. Since then, Adolf Hitler has come to be recognized as the embodiment of evil and is frequently depicted as an amoral, bloodthirsty devil. Yet, as Richard Weikart explains in his recent book From Darwin to Hitler, Germanys dictator in fact hewed to a strict, if pernicious, moral code, an evolutionary ethic that made Darwinian fitness and health the only criteria for moral standards. The Darwinian struggle for existence, especially the struggle between different races, became the sole arbiter for morality.
Where did Hitler appropriate his belief system from? As Weikart demonstrates, Hitler and his cohorts were the beneficiaries of a new world view that had cropped up in Europe and America shortly after the publication of Charles Darwins The Origin of Species. Published in 1859, Darwins chief thesis that organisms gradually evolve through natural selection galvanized the European intellectual community by providing a rational explanation for the development of biological life sans God. As important as The Origin of Species was to science, its impact was equally felt in the field of ethics where it provided the groundwork for a new belief system that eschewed divine creation for Darwinian natural selection. The ripple effect was almost immediate. Darwins cousin Francis Galton, the father of modern eugenics, argued for the practice of artificial selectionweeding out the unfit of the human raceonly a few years after The Origin of Species advent in 1959.
Germany-Austria was especially fascinated with the ethical connotations of Darwins ideas, and its intelligentsia quickly integrated them. The result was that twenty years after its debut, The Origin of Species was the force behind a burgeoning eugenics movement. In an 1880 essay, German zoologist Robby Kossman laid down its ethos, proclaiming
that the Darwinian world view must look upon the present sentimental conception of the value of the life of a human individual as an overestimate completely hindering the progress of humanity. The human state also, like every animal community of individuals, must reach an even higher level of perfection, if the possibility exists in it, through the destruction of the less well-endowed individual, for the more excellently endowed to win space for the expansion of its progeny . The state only has an interest in preserving the more excellent life at the expense of the less excellent.
By the turn of the century, declarations like Kossmans were a common part of any German intellectuals vernacular. Delivered dramatically, they often took on characteristics similar to those of the biologist Arnold Dodel. The new world view actually rests on the theory of evolution, he wrote in 1904. On it we have to construct a new ethics. All values will be revalued. Ernst Haeckel was the most renowned German Darwinist (many of his books went through several reprintings) and perhaps its most passionate defender. Stressing that natural selection be applied to humans, he argued for its extension to all areas of life. He and fellow social Darwinists vehemently opposed any belief system that advocated the existence of a soul, instead holding that man had no free will; biology dictated everything, even morals.
As a result, notions of good and bad were shattered. Under the social Darwinist model, whatever facilitated the biological improvement of the human race was good, anything that hampered its development evil. As eugenics arguments gained traction, groups like the Society for Race Hygiene were formed to disseminate Darwins ideas and often ended up advocating artificial selection. Most eugenics arguments focused on how to keep the weaker elements of societythe disabled, the mentally retarded, repeat criminals and alcoholicsfrom reproducing (all were considered hereditary traits). Only by purifying the higher evolved, the social Darwinists argued, could the human race properly evolve. Of course, the white German was assumed to be the most evolved. As a result, most eugenicists had a harsh view of other races, believing them to be a less evolved form of human. Many argued that other ethnicitiesaborigines, native Americans, blacks, East Asianswere in fact closer to the ape than to their level of human. Haeckel explained in The Natural History of Creation that between the most highly developed animal soul and the least developed human soul there exists only a small quantitative difference, but no qualitative difference . The social Darwinists had turned the traditional ideal of the sanctity of life upside down.
As bold and brash as the social Darwinists were in their rhetoric, they were less certain in how to execute their proposals. While some argued for compulsory sterilization of the unfit (a practice adopted in Sweden, America and other countries), others simply maintained that the weaker elements should be encouraged to refrain from reproducing. Darwinists were equally torn on topics such as war and abortion, some contending that they disproportionately reduced the able-bodied population while others believed them to be effective abettors of the evolutionary process. The one thing all social Darwinists agreed on was that whatever aided the fit and suppressed the unfit was moral and proper.
Into this environment stepped the Austrian-born Hitler, writing in Mein Kampf (1925): A stronger race will supplant the weaker, since the drive for life in its final form will decimate every ridiculous fetter of the so-called humaneness of individuals, in order to make place for the humaneness of nature, which destroys the weak to make place for the strong. Subjugating all of humanity to the evolutionary process, he took the next step of arguing that the destruction of the weak by the strong was humane. When he set up the Aryan German as the exemplar of the most highly evolved and the Jew as its weakest, or most immoral, the Nazis were born.
In From Darwin to Hitler, Richard Weikart, an associate professor of modern European history at California State University, documents the tremendous rise of Darwinian ethics in Germany. By demonstrating the depth of its reach in German society, he makes a compelling case that social Darwinism laid the basis for Hitlers extreme moral code. Weikart also points to elements of Darwin that continue to affect todays culture. oldSpeak recently interviewed the author by e-mail...contin...
Dehumanization (babies are clumps of cells) is the psychological process of demonizing the enemy (thee and me), making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment. It leads to human rights violations, and genocide.
>> while the smart ones use birth control
In a reaching analogy, we’re in the process of committing cultural suicide through the exchange of natural progeny with
abortion and unfettered immigration.
It’s time to move forward.
Eugenics and Other Evils
by G.K. Chesterton - 1922
PART ONE: THE FALSE THEORY
I What is Eugenics?
II The First Obstacles
III The Anarchy from Above
IV The Lunatic and the Law
V The Flying Authority
VI The Unanswered Challenge
VII The Established Church of Doubt
VIII A Summary of a False Theory
PART TWO: THE REAL AIM
I The Impotence of Impenitence
II True History of a Tramp
III True History of a Eugenist
IV The Vengeance of the Flesh
V The Meanness of the Motive
VI The Eclipse of Liberty
VII The Transformation of Socialism
VIII The End of the Household Gods
IX A Short Chapter
TO THE READER
I publish these essays at the present time for a particular reason connected with the present situation; a reason which I should like briefly to emphasize and make clear.
Though most of the conclusions, especially towards the end, are conceived with reference to recent events, the actual bulk of preliminary notes about the science of Eugenics were written before the war. It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies -— not visibly very distinguishable from other babies -— sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilization, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses. It may therefore appear that I took the opinion too controversially, and it seems to me that I some times took it too seriously. But the criticism of Eugenics soon expanded of itself into a more general criticism of a modern craze for scientific officialism and strict social organization.
And then the hour came when I felt, not without relief, that I might well fling all my notes into the fire. The fire was a very big one, and was burning up bigger things than such pedantic quackeries. And, anyhow, the issue itself was being settled in a very different style. Scientific officialism and organization in the State which had specialized in them, had gone to war with the older culture of Christendom. Either Prussianism would win and the protest would be hopeless, or Prussianism would lose and the protest would be needless. As the war advanced from poison gas to piracy against neutrals, it grew more and more plain that the scientifically organized State was not increasing in popularity. Whatever happened, no Englishmen would ever again go nosing round the stinks of that low laboratory. So I thought all I had written irrelevant, and put it out of my mind.
I am greatly grieved to say that it is not irrelevant. It has gradually grown apparent, to my astounded gaze, that the ruling classes in England are still proceeding on the assumption that Prussia is a pattern for the whole world. If parts of my book are nearly nine years old most of their principles and proceedings are a great deal older. They can offer us nothing but the same stuffy science, the same bullying bureaucracy and the same terrorism by tenth-rate professors that have led the German Empire to its recent conspicuous triumph. For that reason, three years after the war with Prussia, I collect and publish these papers.
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