When I heard Michael Johnson’s statement (I had the television on for ‘background noise’ while I was busy with something else) I had to rewind the show and listen again cause I wasn’t sure I heard it right. Once I really listened I understood exactly what he was saying – but I just couldn’t believe he was saying it. It’s Eugenics.
Plato believed human reproduction should be monitored and controlled by the state. However, Plato understood this form of government control would not be readily accepted, and proposed the truth be concealed from the public via a fixed lottery. Mates, in Plato's Republic
, would be chosen by a "marriage number" in which the quality of the individual would be quantitatively analyzed, and persons of high numbers would be allowed to procreate with other persons of high numbers. In theory, this would lead to predictable results and the improvement of the human race. However, Plato acknowledged the failure of the "marriage number" since "gold soul" persons could still produce "bronze soul" children. Plato's ideas may have been one of the earliest attempts to mathematically analyze genetic inheritance, which was not perfected until the development of Mendelian genetics and the mapping of the human genome.
The Twelve Tables of Roman Law
, established early in the formation of the Roman Republic, stated in the fourth table that deformed children must be put to death. In addition, patriarchs in Roman society were given the right to "discard" infants at their discretion. This was often done by drowning undesired newborns in the Tiber River. The practice of open infanticide in the Roman Empire did not subside until its Christianization.
Sir Francis Galton systematized these ideas and practices according to new knowledge about the evolution of man and animals provided by the theory of his half-cousin Charles Darwin during the 1860s and 1870s. After reading Darwin's Origin of Species
, Galton built upon Darwin's ideas whereby the mechanisms of natural selection were potentially thwarted by human civilization. He reasoned that, since many human societies sought to protect the underprivileged and weak, those societies were at odds with the natural selection responsible for extinction of the weakest; and only by changing these social policies could society be saved from a "reversion towards mediocrity"
, a phrase he first coined in statistics and which later changed to the now common "regression towards the mean"
Galton first sketched out his theory in the 1865 article Hereditary Talent and Character
, then elaborated further in his 1869 book Hereditary Genius
. He began by studying the way in which human intellectual, moral, and personality traits tended to run in families. Galton's basic argument was "genius" and "talent" were hereditary traits in humans (although neither he nor Darwin yet had a working model of this type of heredity). He concluded since one could use artificial selection to exaggerate traits in other animals, one could expect similar results when applying such models to humans. As he wrote in the introduction to Hereditary Genius
:I propose to show in this book that a man's natural abilities are derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical features of the whole organic world. Consequently, as it is easy, notwithstanding those limitations, to obtain by careful selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly-gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations.
Galton claimed that the less intelligent were more fertile than the more intelligent of his time. Galton did not propose any selection methods; rather, he hoped a solution would be found if social mores changed in a way that encouraged people to see the importance of breeding. He first used the word eugenic in his 1883 Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development
, a book in which he meant "to touch on various topics more or less connected with that of the cultivation of race, or, as we might call it, with 'eugenic' questions". He included a footnote to the word "eugenic" which read:That is, with questions bearing on what is termed in Greek, eugenes namely, good in stock, hereditary endowed with noble qualities. This, and the allied words, eugeneia, etc., are equally applicable to men, brutes, and plants. We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving stock, which is by no means confined to questions of judicious mating, but which, especially in the case of man, takes cognizance of all influences that tend in however remote a degree to give to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had. The word eugenics would sufficiently express the idea; it is at least a neater word and a more generalized one than viticulture which I once ventured to use.
In 1904 he clarified his definition of eugenics as "the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage"
Charles Davenport, a scientist from the United States, stands out as one of history's leading eugenicists. He took eugenics from a scientific idea to a worldwide movement implemented in many countries. Davenport obtained funding to establish the Biological Experiment Station at Cold Spring Harbor in 1904 and the Eugenics Records Office in 1910, which provided the scientific basis for later Eugenic policies such as enforced sterilization. He became the first President of the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations (IFEO) in 1925, an organization he was instrumental in building. While Davenport was located at Cold Spring Harbor and received money from the Carnegie Institute of Washington, the organization known as the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) started to become an embarrassment after the well-known debates between Davenport and Franz Boas. Instead, Davenport occupied the same office and the same address at Cold Spring Harbor, but his organization now became known as the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, which currently retains the archives of the Eugenics Record Office. However, Davenport's racist views were not supported by all geneticists at Cold Spring Harbor, including H. J. Muller, Bentley Glass, and Esther Lederberg.
In 1932 Davenport welcomed Ernst Rüdin, a prominent Swiss eugenicist and race scientist, as his successor in the position of President of the IFEO. Rüdin, director of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
(German Research Institute for Psychiatry, located in Munich), a Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, was a co-founder (with his brother-in-law Alfred Ploetz) of the German Society For Racial Hygiene. Other prominent figures in Eugenics who were associated with Davenport included Harry Laughlin (United States), Havelock Ellis (United Kingdom), Irving Fischer (United States), Eugen Fischer (Germany), Madison Grant (United States), Lucien Howe (United States), and Margaret Sanger (United States, founder of Planned Parenthood).
In the United Kingdom, eugenics never received significant state funding, but it was supported by many prominent figures of different political persuasions before World War I, including: Liberal economists William Beveridge and John Maynard Keynes; Fabian socialists such as Irish author George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells and Sidney Webb; and Conservatives such as the future Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Arthur Balfour. The influential economist John Maynard Keynes was a prominent supporter of Eugenics, serving as Director of the British Eugenics Society, and writing that eugenics is "the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists".
Its emphasis was more upon social class, rather than race. Indeed, Francis Galton expressed these views during a lecture in 1901 in which he placed British society into groups. Galton suggested that negative eugenics (i.e. an attempt to prevent them from bearing offspring) should be applied only to those in the lowest social group (the "Undesirables"), while positive eugenics applied to the higher classes. However, he appreciated the worth of the higher working classes to society and industry.
The 1913 Mental Deficiency Act proposed the mass segregation of the "feeble minded" from the rest of society. Sterilisation programmes were never legalised, although some were carried out in private upon the mentally ill by clinicians who were in favour of a more widespread eugenics plan. Indeed, those in support of eugenics shifted their lobbying of Parliament from enforced to voluntary sterilization, in the hope of achieving more legal recognition. But leave for the Labour Party Member of Parliament Major A. G. Church, to propose a Private Member's Bill in 1931, which would legalise the operation for voluntary sterilization, was rejected by 167 votes to 89. The limited popularity of eugenics in the UK was reflected by the fact that only two universities established courses in this field (University College London and Liverpool University). The Galton Institute, affiliated to UCL, was headed by Galton's protégé, Karl Pearson.
One of the earliest modern advocates of eugenics (before it was labeled as such) was Alexander Graham Bell. In 1881 Bell investigated the rate of deafness on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. From this he concluded that deafness was hereditary in nature and, through noting that congenitally deaf parents were more likely to produce deaf children, tentatively suggested that couples where both were deaf should not marry, in his lecture Memoir Upon The Formation Of A Deaf Variety Of The Human Race
presented to the National Academy of Sciences on November 13, 1883. However, it was his hobby of livestock breeding which led to his appointment to biologist David Starr Jordan's Committee on Eugenics, under the auspices of the American Breeders Association. The committee unequivocally extended the principle to man.
Another scientist considered the "father of the American eugenics movement"
was Charles Benedict Davenport. In 1904 he secured funding for the The Station for Experimental Evolution, later renamed the Carnegie Department of Genetics. It was also around that time that Davenport became actively involved with the American Breeders' Association (ABA). This led to Davenport's first eugenics text, "The Science Of Human Improvement By Better Breeding"
, one of the first papers to connect agriculture and human heredity. Davenport later went on to set up a Eugenics Record Office (ERO), collecting hundreds of thousands of medical histories from Americans, which many considered having a racist and anti- immigration agenda. Davenport and his views were supported at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as late as 1963, when his views began to be de-emphasized (racism was no longer popular). Davenport was ultimately replaced as the head of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1969 by James D. Watson, who himself was removed in 2007 as a consequence of his racist remarks.
As the science continued in the 20th century, researchers interested in familial mental disorders conducted a number of studies to document the heritability of such illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Their findings were used by the eugenics movement as proof for its cause. State laws were written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to prohibit marriage and force sterilization of the mentally ill in order to prevent the "passing on" of mental illness to the next generation. These laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927 and were not abolished until the mid-20th century. All in all, 60,000 Americans were sterilized.
In 1907 Indiana became the first of more than thirty states to adopt legislation aimed at compulsory sterilization of certain individuals. Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a Virginia law allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.
Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was "epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded" from marrying. In 1898 Charles B. Davenport, a prominent American biologist, began as director of a biological research station based in Cold Spring Harbor where he experimented with evolution in plants and animals. In 1904 Davenport received funds from the Carnegie Institution to found the Station for Experimental Evolution. The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) opened in 1910 while Davenport and Harry H. Laughlin began to promote eugenics.
The Immigration Restriction League (founded in 1894) was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. The League sought to bar what it considered dysgenic members of certain races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock through procreation. They lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among "inferior races". Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson's second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University. The League allied themselves with the American Breeder's Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a eugenics committee chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Earnest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA's immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League's founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee's already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League.
In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the "unfit". (Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family
; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.) Though their methodology and research methods are now understood as highly flawed, at the time this was seen as legitimate scientific research. It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.
Some states sterilized "imbeciles" for much of the 20th century. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case that the state of Virginia could sterilize those it thought unfit. The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States. A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.
There are direct links between progressive American eugenicists such as Margaret Sanger and Harry H. Laughlin and racial oppression in the US and in Europe. Harry H. Laughlin wrote the Virginia model statute that was the basis for the Nazi Ernst Rudin's Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring
. Laughlin's assistance to Adolf Hitler's cause resulted in an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University in 1936. Ernst Rudin also wrote articles on eugenics for Margaret Sanger's Birth Control Review
. Sanger stated during work related to her "Negro Project
", "The minister's work is also important and he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members
." While there are two alternatives as to the interpretation of that quotation, Margaret Sanger not only attended, but actually spoke at a New Jersey meeting of the Ku Klux Klan auxiliary.
Such legislation was passed in the U.S. because of widespread public acceptance of the eugenics movement, spearheaded by efforts of progressive reformers. Over 19 million people attended the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from February 20 to December 4, 1915. The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.
The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s. By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder's Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to "investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood
". Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.
When Nazi administrators went on trial for war crimes in Nuremberg after World War II, they justified the mass sterilizations (over 450,000 in less than a decade) by citing the United States as their inspiration. The Nazis had claimed American eugenicists inspired and supported Hitler's racial purification laws, and failed to understand the connection between those policies and the eventual genocide of the Holocaust.
The idea of "genius
" and "talent
" is also considered by William Graham Sumner, a founder of the American Sociological Society (now called the American Sociological Association). He maintained that if the government did not meddle with the social policy of laissez-faire
, a class of genius would rise to the top of the system of social stratification, followed by a class of talent. Most of the rest of society would fit into the class of mediocrity. Those who were considered to be defective (mentally retarded, handicapped, etc.) had a negative effect on social progress by draining off necessary resources. They should be left on their own to sink or swim. But those in the class of delinquent (criminals, deviants, etc.) should be eliminated from society ("Folkways
", 1907). (Compare to ideals in Plato's Republic
However, methods of eugenics were applied to reformulate more restrictive definitions of white racial purity in existing state laws banning interracial marriage: the so-called anti-miscegenation laws. The most famous example of the influence of eugenics and its emphasis on strict racial segregation on such "anti-miscegenation" legislation was Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned this law in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia, and declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of "inferior stock" from eastern and southern Europe. This reduced the number of immigrants from abroad to 15 percent from previous years, to control the number of "unfit" individuals entering the country. While eugenicists did support the act, the most important backers were union leaders like Samuel Gompers The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of "old stock" white Americans as members of the "Nordic race" (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing. Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.
Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted. It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.
However, several people, in particular Franz Samelson, Mark Snyderman and Richard Herrnstein, have argued, based on their examination of the records of the congressional debates over immigration policy, Congress gave virtually no consideration to these factors. According to these authors, the restrictions were motivated primarily by a desire to maintain the country's cultural integrity against the heavy influx of foreigners.
In the USA, eugenic supporters included Theodore Roosevelt. Research was funded by distinguished philanthropies and carried out at prestigious universities. It was taught in college and high school classrooms. Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood of America to urge the legalization of contraception for poor, immigrant women. In its time eugenics was touted by some as scientific and progressive, the natural application of knowledge about breeding to the arena of human life. Before the realization of death camps in World War II, the idea that eugenics would lead to genocide was not taken seriously by the average American.
The policy of removing mixed race Aboriginal children from their parents emerged from an opinion based on Eugenics theory in late 19th and early 20th century Australia that the 'full-blood' tribal Aborigine would be unable to sustain itself, and was doomed to inevitable extinction, as at the time huge numbers of aborigines were in fact dying out, from diseases caught from European settlers. An ideology at the time held that mankind could be divided into a civilizational hierarchy. This notion supposed that Northern Europeans were superior in civilization and that Aborigines were inferior. According to this view, the increasing numbers of mixed-descent children in Australia, labeled as 'half-castes' (or alternatively 'crossbreeds', 'quadroons' and 'octoroons') should develop within their respective communities, white or aboriginal, according to their dominant parentage.
In the first half of the 20th century, this led to policies and legislation that resulted in the removal of children from their tribe. The stated aim was to culturally assimilate mixed-descent people into contemporary Australian society. In all states and territories legislation was passed in the early years of the 20th century which gave Aboriginal protectors guardianship rights over Aborigines up to the age of sixteen or twenty-one. Policemen or other agents of the state (such as Aboriginal Protection Officers), were given the power to locate and transfer babies and children of mixed descent, from their communities into institutions. In these Australian states and territories, half-caste institutions (both government or missionary) were established in the early decades of the 20th century for the reception of these separated children. The 2002 movie Rabbit-Proof Fence
portrays a fictional story about this system and the harrowing consequences of attempting to overcome it.
In 1922 A.O. Neville was appointed the second Western Australia State Chief Protector of Aborigines. During the next quarter-century, he presided over the now notorious 'Assimilation' policy of removing mixed-race Aboriginal children from their parents. This policy in turn created the Stolen Generations and set in motion a grieving process that has become known as the[who?] concept of trans-generational grief, and would affect many generations to come. In 1936 Neville became the Commissioner for Native Affairs, a post he held until his retirement in 1940.
Neville believed that biological absorption was the key to 'uplifting the Native race
'. Speaking before the Moseley Royal Commission, which investigated the administration of Aboriginals in 1934, he defended the policies of forced settlement, removing children from parents, surveillance, discipline and punishment, arguing that "they have to be protected against themselves whether they like it or not. They cannot remain as they are. The sore spot requires the application of the surgeon's knife for the good of the patient, and probably against the patient's will
". In his twilight years Neville continued to actively promote his policy. Towards the end of his career, Neville published Australia's Coloured Minority
, a text outlining his plan for the biological absorption of aboriginal people into white Australia.
In Canada, the eugenics movement gained support early in the 20th century as prominent physicians drew a direct link between heredity and public health. Eugenics was enforced by law in two Canadian provinces. In Alberta, the Sexual Sterilization Act was enacted in 1928, focusing the movement on the sterilization of mentally deficient individuals, as determined by the Alberta Eugenics Board. The campaign to enforce this action was backed by groups such as the United Farm Women's Group, including key member Emily Murphy.
As in many other former British Empire colonies, eugenic policies were linked to racist (and racialist) agendas pursued by various levels of government, such as the forced sterilization of Canada's indigenous peoples and specific provincial government initiatives, such as Alberta's eugenics program. As a brief illustration, in 1928 the province of Alberta started an initiative, "…allowing any inmate of a native residential school to be sterilized upon the approval of the school Principal. At least 3,500 Indian women are sterilized under this law.
" As of 2011, research into extant archival records of sterilization and direct killing of First Nations youth (through intentional transmission of disease and other means) under the residential school program is ongoing.
Individuals were assessed using IQ tests like the Stanford-Binet. This posed a problem to new immigrants arriving in Canada, as many had not mastered the English language, and often their scores denoted them as having impaired intellectual functioning. As a result, many of those sterilized under the Sexual Sterilization Act were immigrants who were unfairly categorized. The province of British Columbia enacted its own Sexual Sterilization Act in 1933. As in Alberta, the British Columbia Eugenics Board could recommend the sterilization of those it considered to be suffering from "mental disease or mental deficiency
Although not enforced by laws as it was in Canada's western provinces, an obscenity trial in Depression-era Ontario is a perfect example of this latter province's eugenicism. Dorothea Palmer, a nurse working for the Parents Information Bureau - a well-funded birth control organization based out of Kitchener, Ontario - was arrested in the predominantly Catholic community of Eastview, Ontario in 1936. She was accused of providing birth control materials and knowledge (both illegal in Canada at the time) to the poorer classes of women in the city. The defense at her trial was orchestrated by a well-heeled eugenicist, and industrialist from Kitchener named A.R. Kaufman. Due to his support, Palmer was acquitted in early 1937. The entire ordeal lasted less than a year, and later became known as The Eastview Birth Control Trial. This event had clearly indicated that eugenics was not entirely constrained to western Canada, and is itself a perfect example of the high-water mark for eugenics in Canada.
The popularity of the eugenics movement peaked during the Depression when sterilization was widely seen as a way of relieving society of the financial burdens imposed by defective individuals. Although the eugenics excesses of Nazi Germany diminished the popularity of the eugenics movement, the Sexual Sterilization Acts of Alberta and British Columbia were not repealed until 1972.
Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler was well known for eugenics programs which attempted to maintain a "pure" German race through a series of programs that ran under the banner of racial hygiene. Among other activities, the Nazis performed extensive experimentation on live human beings to test their genetic theories, ranging from simple measurement of physical characteristics to the research for Otmar von Verschuer carried out by Karin Magnussen using "human material" gathered by Josef Mengele on twins and others at Auschwitz death camp. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi regime forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of people whom they viewed as mentally and physically unfit, an estimated 400,000 between 1934 and 1937. The scale of the Nazi program prompted one American eugenics advocate to seek an expansion of their program, with one complaining that "the Germans are beating us at our own game
The Nazis went further, however, killing tens of thousands of the institutionalized disabled through compulsory "euthanasia" programs such as Aktion T4.
They also implemented a number of positive eugenics policies, giving awards to Aryan women who had large numbers of children and encouraged a service in which "racially pure" single women could deliver illegitimate children. Allegations that such women were also impregnated by SS officers in the Lebensborn were not proven at the Nuremberg trials, but new evidence (and the testimony of Lebensborn children) has established more details about Lebensborn practices. Also, "racially valuable" children from occupied countries were forcibly removed from their parents and adopted by German people. Many of their concerns for eugenics and racial hygiene were also explicitly present in their systematic killing of millions of "undesirable" people, especially Jews who were singled out for the Final Solution, this policy led to the horrors seen in the Holocaust.
The scope and coercion involved in the German eugenics programs along with a strong use of the rhetoric of eugenics and so-called "racial science" throughout the regime created an indelible cultural association between eugenics and the Third Reich in the post-war years.
Two scholars, John Glad and Seymour W. Itzkoff of Smith College, have questioned the relation between eugenics and the Holocaust. They argue that, contrary to popular belief, Hitler did not regard the Jews as intellectually inferior and did not send them to the concentration camps on these grounds. They argue that Hitler had different reasons for his genocidal policies toward the Jews. Seymour W. Itzkoff writes that the Holocaust was "a vast dysgenic program to rid Europe of highly intelligent challengers to the existing Christian domination by a numerically and politically minuscule minority
". Therefore, according to Itzkoff, "the Holocaust was the very antithesis of eugenic practice
The ideas of eugenics and race were used, in part, as justification for German colonial expansion throughout the world. Germany, as well as Great Britain, sought to seize the colonial territories of other 'dying' empires which could no longer protect their possessions. Examples included China, the Portuguese Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Dutch Empire and the Danish Empire.
"Thus the colonies Germany required for her bursting population, as markets for her overproductive industries and sources of vital raw materials, and as symbols of her world power would simply have to be taken from weaker nations, so the pan-Germans asserted publicly and the German government believed secretly.
Research has suggested that in the modern world, the relationship between fertility and intelligence is such that those with higher intelligence have fewer children, one possible reason being more unintended pregnancies for those with lower intelligence. Several researchers have argued that the average genotypic intelligence of the United States and the world are declining which is a dysgenic effect. This has been masked by the Flynn effect for phenotypic intelligence. The Flynn effect may have ended in some developed nations, causing some to argue that phenotypic intelligence will or has started to decline.
Similarly, Richard Lynn has in the book Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations
argued that genetic health (due to modern health care) and genetic conscientiousness (criminals have more children than non-criminals) are declining in the modern world. This has caused some, like Lynn, to argue for voluntary eugenics. Lynn and Harvey (2008) suggest that designer babies may have an important eugenic effect in the future. Initially this may be limited to wealthy couples, who may possibly travel abroad for the procedure if prohibited in their own country, and then gradually spread to increasingly larger groups. Alternatively, authoritarian states may decide to impose measures such as a licensing requirement for having a child, which would only be given to persons of a certain minimum intelligence. The Chinese one-child policy is an example of how fertility can be regulated by authoritarian means.
As I've demonstrated, Eugenics is by no means a New Idea. What is truly frightening is it's continued popularity:
Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution, it has obviously succeeded not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community of purpose. The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history. ~ David Rockefeller
, New York Times
August 10, 1973