Skip to comments.Eugenic Darwinism
Posted on 06/13/2007 11:59:38 AM PDT by LUMary
Eugenic Darwinism by: Wendy Cook, June 04, 2007
Charles Darwin is partly to blame for eugenics, according to Discovery Institute senior fellow John West. Merriam-Websters defines eugenics as a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed.
Darwin said that because of our sense of compassion we couldnt simply follow the dictates of reason and get rid of the unfit, but he certainly provided the logical basis for why we should do so and later the eugenicists quoted this passage and they werent quoting it out of context, because in The Descent of Man Darwin really did argue that our progress as humans is dependent on a struggle for survival and that we were really impeding human progress by trying to undercut that struggle for survival, Dr. West explained to an audience at the Family Research Council recently.
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health, Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment.
There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox, Darwin wrote. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind.
No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
Darwin was not alone in his conception of a supreme or perfected human:
Harvard Biologist Edward East felt nature eliminates the unfit but we are very capable of getting rid of fools.
Charles Davenport, head of the Biological Research lab in Cold Spring Harbor and the Eugenics Record Office, thought man was nothing less then an animal: Man is an animal and the laws of improvement of corn and of racehorses hold to true for him also.
Alexander Graham Bell thought that The laws of heredity which apply to animals also apply to man, therefore the breeder of animals is fitted to guide public opinion on questions relating to human heredity.
Dressed up in quasi-religious terms, eugenicists promised to create a utopia through the magic of human breeding, said Dr. West. One eugenicist was even quoted saying, The Garden of Eden is not in the past, its in the future.
Connecticut enacted the first marriage law in 1896 and by 1914 more than half of the states also imposed them, Dr. West noted. These laws were a way of regulating who can marry, to make sure inferior people were not breeding, he claimed.
One target of the eugenicists was American Immigration law. They thought America was being overrun with biological defectives primarily from Eastern and Southern Europethey werent [as] biologically helpful as Nordic stock, said Dr. West.
Immigration quotas were set so that only a certain number of people were allowed to come to the U.S. from certain countries. These laws were extremely harmful during the 1920s when the Nazis were moving into countries such as Poland and starting concentration camps.
Poles, then, could not come to America because the quota on Polish immigrants was reached, while Norwegians, for example, still had plenty of open spots under U. S. restrictions. Nonetheless, beyond marriage laws and immigration rules, eugenicists were concerned with the defectives already in America.
Indiana enacted the first forced sterilization law in 1907 and, by the 1930s, 30 states had similar statutes on their books. Some of these states still have the law in place today, but not enforced.
Eugenicists promoted this policy as the answer to the looming welfare crisis. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, felt very strongly that sterilization was the answer to all sorts of problems.
In 1923 over 9 billions of dollars were spent on state and federal charities for the care and maintenance and perpetuation of these undesirables, year by year their numbers are mounting and year by year their costs are increasing, she said at Vassar in 1926. The American public is taxed, heavily taxed to maintain an increasing race of morons, which threatens the very foundations of our civilization.
Our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste.
The revolution of the Nazi Germany experience is what really killed off forced sterilization more than anything else, said Dr. West. Some of their extermination and sterilization laws were modeled after American laws; only they did things much more rigorously, sterilizing hundreds of thousands of people just within a few years before they started killing them.
During Dr. Wests presentation he showed some of the German propaganda used to promote eugenics to its citizens, one of which had a bunch of flags on it (the American flag was located top center) to show this is what the world is doing. According to Dr. West, eugenics may not be explicitly happening but you can find the idea of it still implicit in other ideas hidden by new verbiage.
If you were a eugenicist post-World War II you had a problem, because eugenics was a bad word, said Dr. West. But if you believed in it, you didnt just go away.
He believes eugenics has sort of morphed into other areas today such as, freedom of choice on abortion. This is evident from writings of pro-eugenicists who thought renaming it freedom of choice in parenting was a way to keep the idea alive but avoid the controversy, Dr. West argues.
If you would like to comment on this article, please e-mail email@example.com
Woo hoo! ANOTHER evolution thread!
Yeah, we need to figure out how to combine the evo debate with the dispensationalism thread ... that would be a blast.
The idea of breeding better humans was around for a long time prior to Charles Darwin. The ancient Spartans for example, would discard babies which they did not deem worthy once they were born. Ancient Romans also engaged in the practice.
Whew, that settles it I guess!
Woo hoo! ANOTHER evolution thread!
LOL. And here you are, the first one to comment on the thread. Methinks you doth protest too much, I think you like evo threads.
I’ll just say this, if Darwin is partly responsible for eugenics, then Christ is partly responsible for everything evil done in His name. And I find that notion ABSURD!
if Darwin is responsilbe for Eugenics, and “Christ is responsilbe for everything evil done in his name”: Then Christ is also responsilbe for much more good “Done in his name” such as saving people from their sins, the raise of western civilization, good works done over the years by those whom claim to follow Christ (Oh and your very breath of life and intelligence).
What has Darwin given us “in his name” good..?
Fallacy here. Evolution cannot be directed or affected by the will although socialists have been trying and recently Pres Bill Clinton said he could enhance the pace of societal evolution.
Its a stretch to blame Darwin for eugenics. Better to blame the folks who used his observations to promote it.
Yet there is Rush already at "the cutting edge of societal evolution".
You did read that I thought the concept was absurd, right? Just like I wrote in the post that you responded to, that you read in its entirety, right?
Quoting me out of context to try to draw me into a discussion over a notion that I plainly stated I thought was absurd might work on a child, but it will not work with me.
That’s right. Well, we all are even if we aren’t syndicated.
You’re mad at me, aren’t you?
A valid point. But I keep wondering why Darwin is so often compared to Christ. What do they really have in common?
Your notion that it is equally absurd to blame evil actions of others to Darwin and Christ doesn’t quite hold up.
I agree that Christ has had many horrible, evil things done in His name - but, all those acts were contrary to His teachings. What evil act by others can you honestly attribute to one of His sayings or teachings from the New Testament?
Darwin, on the other hand, while he may not have been a complete believer in eugenics, taught ideas about human origins that logically and ultimately lead one to the beliefs held by eugenic’s ideologists. Human beings are just flukes of nature with no special claim over any other fluke or flukes of nature. Moral objections to eugenics are nonsensical if there is no God.
I was responding to the wrong post.
I think you may be putting some words in Darwin’s mouth. I don’t think he was promoting the idea that there was no God.
Youre mad at me, arent you?
Chuckling ... I find it hard to be mad at anonymous posters on internet forums ...
My sarcastic side, however, is incapable of letting anyone slide when they groan at particular varieties of threads as they are reading and commenting on the very thread they groan at.
From a purely Darwinian perspective there’s a strong practical objection to eugenics. Evolution is the result of natural processes, we can only guess as to what made one species better than another and subsequently more deserving of survival. Eugenics is an attempt to override a natural process, declaring with our limited knowledge which section of humanity is better and more deserving of survival, the problem is the eugenicists might be wrong. The proper Darwinian approach to improving humanity is a species is to not, just do your thing and let nature take it’s course, eugenicists pervert the concept for their own twitsted purpose.
Women practice eugenics every time they decide that a man isnt good enough to be the father of their children.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.