The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics By Edwin Black Mr. Black is the author of IBM and the Holocaust and the just released War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, from which the following article is drawn. Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a co-called “Master Race.” But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing. Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries. California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the Twentieth Century’s first decades, California’s eugenicists included potent but little known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate and Polytechnic benefactor Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles M. Goethe, as well as members of the California State Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents. Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Stamford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims. Stanford president David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation,” in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood. In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations. The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization. The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz. Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California’s quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as the Pasadena-based Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations–which functioned as part of a closely-knit network–published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis.
Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring. At the turn of the last century, Galton’s ideas were imported into the United States just as Gregor Mendel’s principles of heredity were rediscovered. American eugenic advocates believed with religious fervor that the same Mendelian concepts determining the color and size of peas, corn and cattle also governed the social and intellectual character of man. In an America demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early twentieth century. Elitists, utopians and so-called “progressives” fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton’s eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: populate the earth with vastly more of their own socio-economic and biological kind–and less or none of everyone else. The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark-haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists. How? By identifying so-called “defective” family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior–the so-called “unfit.” The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves. Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population.” Point eight was euthanasia. The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in America was a “lethal chamber” or public locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, Applied Eugenics, which argued, “From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution… Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated.” Applied Eugenics also devoted a chapter to “Lethal Selection,” which operated “through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.” Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to forty percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect. Nonetheless, with eugenicide marginalized, the main solution for eugenicists was the rapid expansion of forced segregation and sterilization, as well as more marriage restrictions. California led the nation, performing nearly all sterilization procedures with little or no due process. In its first twenty-five years of eugenic legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as “bad girls,” diagnosed as “passionate,” “oversexed” or “sexually wayward.” At Sonoma, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia. In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed, 700 of which were on women. The state’s two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton and Pacific Colony state hospitals. Even the United States Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes’s words in their own defense.
Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German official and scientists. Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti-Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. While Hitler’s race hatred sprung from his own mind, the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America. During the ’20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany’s fascist eugenicists. In Mein Kampf, published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. “There is today one state,” wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.” Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. “I have studied with great interest,” he told a fellow Nazi, “the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.” Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant calling his race-based eugenics book, The Passing of the Great Race his “bible.” Hitler’s struggle for a superior race would be a mad crusade for a Master Race. Now, the American term “Nordic” was freely exchanged with “Germanic” or “Aryan.” Race science, racial purity and racial dominance became the driving force behind Hitler’s Nazism. Nazi eugenics would ultimately dictate who would be persecuted in a Reich-dominated Europe, how people would live, and how they would die. Nazi doctors would become the unseen generals in Hitler’s war against the Jews and other Europeans deemed inferior. Doctors would create the science, devise the eugenic formulas, and even hand-select the victims for sterilization, euthanasia and mass extermination. During the Reich’s early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler’s plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association. In 1934, as Germany’s sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe upon returning from Germany ebulliently bragged to a key colleague, “You will be interested to know, that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought.…I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.” That same year, ten years, after Virginia passed its sterilization act, Joseph DeJarnette, superintendent of Virginia’s Western State Hospital, observed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The Germans are beating us at our own game.” More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany’s eugenic institutions. By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 — almost $4 million in 21st-Century money — to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 to the German Psychiatric Institute of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, later to become the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst Rüdin, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler’s systematic medical repression.
Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute’s eugenic complex of institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the Institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The Institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the Institute, once again, was Hitler’s medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin’s organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others. Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed. Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society declared of Nazism, “While we were pussy-footing around…the Germans were calling a spade a spade.” A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. For decades, American eugenicists had craved twins to advance their research into heredity. The Institute was now prepared to undertake such research on an unprecedented level. On May 13, 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York dispatched a radiogram to its Paris office: JUNE MEETING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS OVER THREE YEAR PERIOD TO KWG INSTITUTE ANTHROPOLOGY FOR RESEARCH ON TWINS AND EFFECTS ON LATER GENERATIONS OF SUBSTANCES TOXIC FOR GERM PLASM. At the time of Rockefeller’s endowment, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that Institute continued both directly and through other research conduits during Verschuer’s early tenure. In 1935, Verschuer left the Institute to form a rival eugenics facility in Frankfurt that was much heralded in the American eugenic press. Research on twins in the Third Reich exploded, backed up by government decrees. Verschuer wrote in Der Erbarzt, a eugenic doctor’s journal he edited, that Germany’s war would yield a “total solution to the Jewish problem.” Verschuer had a long-time assistant. His name was Josef Mengele. On May 30, 1943, Mengele arrived at Auschwitz. Verschuer notified the German Research Society, “My assistant, Dr. Josef Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as Hauptsturmführer [captain] and camp physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Anthropological testing of the most diverse racial groups in this concentration camp is being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsführer [Himmler].”
Mengele began searching the boxcar arrivals for twins. When he found them, he performed beastly experiments, scrupulously wrote up the reports and sent the paperwork back to Verschuer’s institute for evaluation. Often, cadavers, eyes and other body parts were also dispatched to Berlin’s eugenic institutes. Rockefeller executives never knew of Mengele. With few exceptions, the foundation had ceased all eugenic studies in Nazi-occupied Europe before the war erupted in 1939. But by that time the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the institutions they helped found, and the science it helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own. After the war, eugenics was declared a crime against humanity–an act of genocide. Germans were tried and they cited the California statutes in their defense. To no avail. They were found guilty. However, Mengele’s boss Verschuer escaped prosecution. Verschuer re-established his connections with California eugenicists who had gone underground and renamed their crusade “human genetics.” Typical was an exchange July 25, 1946 when Popenoe wrote Verschuer, “It was indeed a pleasure to hear from you again. I have been very anxious about my colleagues in Germany…. I suppose sterilization has been discontinued in Germany?” Popenoe offered tidbits about various American eugenic luminaries and then sent various eugenic publications. In a separate package, Popenoe sent some cocoa, coffee and other goodies. Verschuer wrote back, “Your very friendly letter of 7/25 gave me a great deal of pleasure and you have my heartfelt thanks for it. The letter builds another bridge between your and my scientific work; I hope that this bridge will never again collapse but rather make possible valuable mutual enrichment and stimulation.” Soon, Verschuer once again became a respected scientist in Germany and around the world. In 1949, he became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists. In the fall of 1950, the University of Münster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean. In the early and mid-1950s, Verschuer became an honorary member of numerous prestigious societies, including the Italian Society of Genetics, the Anthropological Society of Vienna, and the Japanese Society for Human Genetics. Human genetics’ genocidal roots in eugenics were ignored by a victorious generation that refused to link itself to the crimes of Nazism and by succeeding generations that never knew the truth of the years leading up to war. Now governors of five states, including California have issued public apologies to their citizens, past and present, for sterilization and other abuses spawned by the eugenics movement. Human genetics became an enlightened endeavor in the late twentieth century. Hard-working, devoted scientists finally cracked the human code through the Human Genome Project. Now, every individual can be biologically identified and classified by trait and ancestry. Yet even now, some leading voices in the genetic world are calling for a cleansing of the unwanted among us, and even a master human species. There is understandable wariness about more ordinary forms of abuse, for example, in denying insurance or employment based on genetic tests. On October 14, America’s first genetic anti-discrimination legislation passed the Senate by unanimous vote. Yet because genetics research is global, no single nation’s law can stop the threats. ************************************************************************************************************************** Eugenics is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created unequal and the food is running short; that, in the struggle for food, those who have an inherited advantage prevail and pass the advantage on to their children who prevail even more; that this is how evolution, Yale and the English aristocracy happened. A further belief is that, at this point in evolution, the more evolved must take destiny and the less evolved in hand. Selection must not be left to chance for chance is cruel, capricious and, all too often, expensive but must instead be led by the kindly elite – Harvard professors, British aristocrats, Serbian psychiatrists, Aryans and so on. But death control, which has been the main method used by natural selection or chance, for termination of useless populations, must be replaced by birth control which is cheaper, and, as Charles Darwin pointed out in The Descent of Man, more effective. The problem is that the masses will not dedicate themselves unselfishly to the production and protection of an elite while exterminating their own posterity. Over and over the eugenicists roll this rock up the hill and over and over it rolls down – often on them. Outstanding classics of scientific racism, such as The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy or The Passing of the Great Race, The Bell Curve or The g Factor are rejected in favor of “sentimental slogans” such as ” All men are created equal” or “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its Constitution”. Governments with eugenic policies come to power in Germany, South Africa, Rumania, or Alabama and the world rises against them. Then it’s all to do again. But like the ants, which these social biologists believe we resemble (or should resemble), the eugenicists toil away in their dark underground passages. For they always have a new plan. Put your head down and listen, and you can hear their latest and the greatest plan: “The ideas of eugenics are based on the assumption that men are unequal, while democracy is based on the assumption that they are equal. It is therefore, politically very difficult to carry out eugenic ideas in a democratic community when those ideas take the form, not of suggesting that there is a minority of inferior people, such as imbeciles, but of admitting that there is a minority of superior people. The former is pleasing to the majority, the latter unpleasing. Measures embodying the former fact can therefore win the support of the majority, while measures embodying the latter cannot.” ( from The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law) These are the words of Bertrand Russell, who is being quoted by Professor Glanville Williams. Williams is the Rous Ball Professor of English law at Cambridge University, a fellow of the English Eugenics Society, and, for the last twenty three years, head of the English Abortion Law Reform Association. What Williams is saying is that the elitist ideas of eugenics can come to power in democracies by encouraging attacks on minorities, much as Hitler came to power by scapegoating the Jews. The quotation expresses an attitude typical to the book, The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law, in which it is found. It is therefore distressing to find that this book is cited twice in the Roe v. Wade decision and used as the unacknowledged basis for most Justice Blackmun’s account of the history of abortion and of the personhood of the unborn child in that decision. For if eugenic ideas lie behind the Roe v. Wade discussion of personhood, then antidemocratic and unconstitutional ideas lie behind it. Furthermore, Bertrand Russell, speaking of eugenics in the Thirties, said: “Democracy stands in the way”. This underlines the point that attempts to advance eugenics include, as a component detail, attempts to undermine democracy. And what are we to make of the fact that Planned Parenthood which runs 49 abortion clinics, was founded by eugenicists – Margaret Sanger, Abraham Stone, Mrs. Louis de B. Moore, Dorothy Brush and many others? What does it mean that the Association for the Study of Abortion was founded by Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood, a former vice-president of the American Eugenic Society? Or that the Population Council was founded by Frederick Osborn a former president of both the Pioneer Fund and the American Eugenic Society? Or that NARAL was founded by Lawrence Lader of the Population Council? Or that the Catholics cited in Roe v. Wade, John Noonan and Daniel Callahan, were members of the Population Council, a eugenic front group? Above all, what does it mean that 25% of all abortions in America are performed on black women when blacks are twelve percent of the population? Why are fertile black women decreasing to post Civil War-Ku Klux Klan era levels? Why are the pictures of those who “need” abortion so frequently pictures of blacks? Shakespeare pictured the hypocrite as ” the smiler with the knife”. It seems to me that all the talk about “abortion rights” is just a piece of hypocrisy by means of which eugenics is simultaneously marketed as a right (the smiler) and as racism (with the knife) The Eugenicists The eugenicists, as I see them, are the men behind Hitler, the men behind Josef Mengele, the men behind apartheid, the men behind segregation, the men behind the Rumanian orphanages. Nazism, apartheid, segregation and Ceaucescu’s “orphanages” were all eugenically based schemes for social salvation. The failure of these schemes has discredited eugenics but not the eugenicists. This is because no one really knew who they are. But since they are professors, journalists, economists, gynecologists, psychiatrists and sociologists and since they have been left in place, they have continued to mold society. The difference is that in the Thirties they worked openly whereas now they work in obscurity. However, the need to hide actually works to their advantage. Recall that their goal is the destruction of democracy and the creation of an elite. Obviously this goal will be more easily achieved in a democratic society by deception than by open statement. Thus, in all democracies, the post war eugenic strategy differs from the pre war strategy in that it relies on deception rather than force. A description of the eugenic societies and a description of their present strategy is the goal of the work of Eugenics Watch. The description is in the form of lists of members of the societies together with the groups they control and the books they have written so far as the Eugenics Watch has been able to determine this. The lists include selected quotations. The membership lists come from the journals published by the groups themselves; information on the members comes from many sources, all publicly available. The chief source is Who’s Who; next in importance are obituaries and eugenic journals. Information on books written by eugenic society members comes chiefly from Who’s Who, from the Science Citation Index and from computerized library catalogs. By means of these lists, the Eugenics Watch tries to expose the eugenic strategy, particularly the secretive post war strategy. Just as the Krupp company rearmed the Germans in the Thirties by building warplanes piecemeal at scattered sites (see The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester), so these “Nazis of the soul” are rebuilding eugenics piecemeal as a series of apparently scattered projects. One group, the Pioneer Fund, maintains the Aryan/ white supremacist ideology; another works to legalize abortion world wide (Planned Parenthood), another to develop contraceptives (Population Council), another to rename control of Third World resources “conservation” as prelude to regaining control of these resources under the guise of “green protectorates” , another to control the teaching of biology (BCSC), and so on. Then, in a book, such as The Bell Curve, these scattered pieces are proposed as social policy. This organization corresponds to that of the largest modern corporations in which all activities are the outgrowth of staff work which is meshed together by committees at ever higher levels. (see The New Industrial State by John Kenneth Galbraith for description of this process). Using this model we see the American Eugenics Society as the corporation; its directors are the highest level committee within the US. These directors of course, consult frequently with their “bankers”, the large foundations, such as the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations; and the Society has international interests. The difference is that the Society does not seek name recognition even though a distinctive, eye catching, slogan generating logo, namely the swastika, is available to it. (“For a cleaner, whiter, brighter population, use RU-486 – from the makers of Zyklon-B”, “Isn’t it time for white supremacy?”, etc.) This post war strategy must be understood as an attempt to reach the pre war goals of eugenics without being hung at Nuremberg or elsewhere for crimes against humanity or genocide. The Eugenic Strategy The strategy has several parts; each part must be understood in order to understand the whole. First. The eugenicists still appeal to racism but the appeal is well disguised – going by such code names as “gene frequency”, which is a legitimate term in genetics. This intellectual camouflage is adaptive behavior in the service of survival, a technique which the eugenicists have apparently learned from the animals they strive to emulate. Second. The eugenicists adopted a policy of “crypto-eugenics” following World War II. “Crypto-eugenics” means working through other organizations, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Third. The eugenicists adopted the tactic of finding and using ambiguities and loopholes in the law. Ambiguities or loopholes found by eugenic lawyers such as Glanville Williams (ES) and Harriet Pilpel are exploited to allow eugenical doctors such as Dugald Baird (ES), Leonard Arthur (ES) and Alan Guttmacher (AES) to introduce the desired eugenic activity as a normal medical procedure, done at the patient’s request. Introducing the eugenic activity as a normal medical procedure allows it to be shrouded in medical privacy – an extra layer of haze in addition to that gained by working through other organizations. Four. The eugenicists use the techniques of modern advertising to rally support. Since the goal is antidemocratic and the means involves secrecy and legal quibbles, only advertising is really suitable as a means of, well, of advertising. After all, people have to find out somehow that steroids are available for their girlfriends, abortions and infanticide for their children, starvation for their injured realtives and a suicide machine for their elderly parents. Only advertising knows how to motivate people’s wallets while bypassing their heart and brain. And how successful eugenic advertising has been! People who would scorn to be caught believing in the Marlboro Man or to repeating “It’s the real thing” without ironic overtones, will absorb complete little fantasies from condom and abortion ads. They mouth empty slogans such as “it’s a woman’s choice” or “safe sex” with a devotion that must bring tears of ecstasy to the poll takers and ad men involved. Slogans and demons are preferred to reasons. Campaigns based on fostering hatred of the Roman Catholic hierarchy have proved very successful in persuading women to take cancer causing steroids. In another triumph, the word “selection” used by Josef Mengele at Auschwitz has been metamorphosed into “choice” and gained the support of the American Hebrew Union. Five. The great enemy of eugenics is and always has been the Roman Catholic Church. The eugenics societies therefore expend great energy on destroying or neutralizing this Church’s opposition. For example, in the early sixties, while eugenic journals were filled with discussions of how best to change society in the eugenic direction, eugenicists engaged certain deluded Catholics, such as Fr. John O’Brien of Notre Dame, in solemn discussions about “not imposing morality”. These unhappy souls were then persuaded to work to prevent the Church from taking a stand on eugenic issues because “it was not right for the Church to impose its moral values on others”. Thus, as the eugenicists worked to change society and impose their disastrous morality on everyone, (see for example, “Population Policy”, Kingsley Davis, Science, v. 158, 1967, p. 730 with its sequels “Beyond Family Planning”, John D. Rockefeller III, Bucharest, 1974 and the proposed Cairo Protocols 1994) they had the satisfaction of seeing the Catholic Church divided and weakened in its opposition to them by some Catholic bishops, priests, papers and magazines. And even today some “Catholics”, such as Daniel Callahan of the American eugenics society, do every thing they can to keep the Church from effectively opposing the imposition of eugenic morality on everyone. That’s the basic eugenic strategy. Democracy or Eugenics: It’s Everyone’s Choice It is a matter of historical fact that the Catholic Church is the only international organization run by a group of well educated, dedicated men, which opposes eugenics. Why this is so is a mystery. And the demonic delight the eugenicists feel in attacking the Catholic Church is a mystery too. But with each passing day the issue becomes clearer: eugenics or democracy. On one side are the rich and powerful eugenicists, the followers of Malthus by way of Darwin. These Scrooges think that there are too many sick, too many old, too many inferior, too many Chinese, too many Indians, too many, too many, too many people. They want to take evolution into their own qualified, elite, wonderful hands; they don’t believe in the sanctity of life or in democracy, its political expression; and they have learned nothing from the series of social disasters which their policies have inflicted on this century – except to be careful not to get caught. That’s one choice. And on the other side, there are the orthodox Catholics who believe that the world was made by a great and loving Creator on behalf of persons, all of whom are immortal souls from the moment of conception. Catholics believe that the world has a Redeemer, Jesus Christ; and a mother to teach it unselfishness – the great Mother of God, Mary most holy. Therefore they oppose that degradation of human beings which is eugenics and support democracy. That’s another choice. Between these two organized camps lie most of the people of the world. In obscure ways over the next thirty years they will choose between the two. This decision will be the first global decision. As the song says: ” Which side are you on? ” ************************************************************************************************************************** Eugenics
“Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution”: Logo from the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921, depicting it as a tree which unites a variety of different fields. Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention. The purported goals have variously been to create healthier, more intelligent people, save society’s resources, and lessen human suffering. Earlier proposed means of achieving these goals focused on selective breeding, while modern ones focus on prenatal testing and screening, genetic counseling, birth control, in vitro fertilization, and genetic engineering. Opponents argue that eugenics is immoral and is based on, or is itself, pseudoscience. Historically, eugenics has been used as a justification for coercive state-sponsored discrimination and human rights violations, such as forced sterilization of persons who appear to have – or are claimed to have – genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, in some cases, outright genocide of races perceived as inferior. Breeding of human beings was suggested at least as far back as Plato, but the modern field and term was first formulated by Sir Francis Galton in 1865, drawing on the recent work of his cousin Charles Darwin. From its inception eugenics was supported by prominent thinkers, including Alexander Graham Bell, George Bernard Shaw, and Winston Churchill. Financial support for the advocacy of eugenics came from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman interests. Eugenics was an academic discipline at many colleges and universities. Its scientific reputation started to tumble in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rüdin began incorporating eugenic rhetoric into the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Starting in the postwar period, both the public and the scientific community generally associated eugenics with Nazi abuses, which included enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation, and the extermination of undesired population groups. Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century, however, have raised many new ethical questions and concerns about what exactly constitutes the meaning of eugenics and what its ethical and moral status is . Meanings and types of eugenics The word eugenics etymologically derives from the Greek word eus (good or well) and the suffix -genes (born), and was coined by Francis Galton in 1883. Eugenics has, from the very beginning, meant many different things to many different people. Historically, the term has referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia. Much debate took place in the past, and takes place today, as to what exactly counts as eugenics. Some types of eugenics, such as race-based eugenics and class-based eugenics, are sometimes called ‘pseudo-eugenics’ by proponents of strict eugenics that deals only with beneficial and detrimental intrinsic traits. The term eugenics is often used to refer to movements and social policies that were influential during the early 20th century. In a historical and broader sense, eugenics can also be a study of “improving human genetic qualities”. It is sometimes broadly applied to describe any human action whose goal is to improve the gene pool. Some forms of infanticide in ancient societies, present-day reprogenetics, preemptive abortions and designer babies have been (sometimes controversially) referred to as eugenic. Because of its normative goals and historical association with scientific racism, as well as the development of the science of genetics, the western scientific community has mostly disassociated itself from the term “eugenics”, although one can find advocates of what is now known as liberal eugenics. Ideological social determinists, some of which have obtained college degrees in fields relevant to eugenics, often describe eugenics as a pseudoscience. Modern inquiries into the potential use of genetic engineering have led to an increased invocation of the history of eugenics in discussions of bioethics, most often as a cautionary tale. Some ethicists suggest that even non-coercive eugenics programs would be inherently unethical, though this view has been challenged by such thinkers as Nicholas Agar. Eugenicists advocate specific policies that (if successful) would lead to a perceived improvement of the human gene pool. Since defining what improvements are desired or beneficial is perceived by many as a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined objectively (e.g., by empirical, scientific inquiry), eugenics has often been deemed a pseudoscience. The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. This aspect of eugenics has historically been tainted with scientific racism. Early eugenicists were mostly concerned with perceived intelligence factors that often correlated strongly with social class. Many eugenicists took inspiration from the selective breeding of animals (where purebreds are often strived for) as their analogy for improving human society. The mixing of races (or miscegenation) was usually considered as something to be avoided in the name of racial purity. At the time this concept appeared to have some scientific support, and it remained a contentious issue until the advanced development of genetics led to a scientific consensus that the division of the human species into unequal races is unjustifiable. Some see this as an ideological consensus, since equality, just like inequality, is a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined objectively. Eugenics has also been concerned with the elimination of hereditary diseases such as haemophilia and Huntington’s disease. However, there are several problems with labeling certain factors as “genetic defects”: In many cases there is no scientific consensus on what a “genetic defect” is. It is often argued that this is more a matter of social or individual choice. What appears to be a “genetic defect” in one context or environment may not be so in another. This can be the case for genes with a heterozygote advantage, such as sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease, which in their heterozygote form may offer an advantage against, respectively, malaria and tuberculosis. Although some birth defects are uniformly lethal, some disabled persons can succeed in life. Many of the conditions early eugenicists identified as inheritable (pellagra is one such example) are currently considered to be at least partially, if not wholly, attributed to environmental conditions. Similar concerns have been raised when a prenatal diagnosis of a congenital disorder leads to abortion (see also preimplantation genetic diagnosis). Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories: positive eugenics, which encourage a designated “most fit” to reproduce more often; and negative eugenics, which discourage or prevent a designated “less fit” from reproducing. Negative eugenics need not be coercive: a state might offer financial rewards to certain people who submit to sterilization, although some critics might reply that this incentive along with social pressure could be perceived as coercion. Positive eugenics can also be coercive. Abortion by “fit” women was illegal in Nazi Germany, and William Shirer (in The Decline and Fall of the Third Reich) mentioned unsubstantiated reports that Aryan women unwilling to become pregnant were often forced into pregnancy through state-supported rape. During the 20th century, many countries enacted various eugenics policies and programs, including: • Genetic screening • Birth control • Promoting differential birth rates • Marriage restrictions • Immigration control • Segregation (both racial segregation as well as segregation of the mentally ill from the normal) • Compulsory sterilization • Forced abortions, or, conversely, forced pregnancies • Genocide Most of these policies were later regarded as coercive, restrictive, or genocidal, and now few jurisdictions implement policies that are explicitly labeled as eugenic or unequivocally eugenic in substance (however labeled). However, some private organizations assist people in genetic counseling, and reprogenetics may be considered as a form of non-state-enforced “liberal” eugenics. There are 3 main ways by which the methods of eugenics can be applied. They are: • mandatory eugenics, which is forced upon people by a government • promotional voluntary eugenics, in which eugenics is voluntarily practiced and promoted to the general populace, but not forced onto people • private eugenics, which is practiced voluntarily by individuals and groups, but not promoted to the general populace There are also different goals of eugenics. They are: • intrinsic eugenics, which seeks to exclusively improve a person’s genetic traits that are intrinsicly beneficial or detrimental to them, such as physical health, mental health, attractiveness, reproductive ability, physical aptitude, intelligence, and self-control • racial eugenics, which emphasizes selectively breeding a specific race or races • extrinsic social eugenics, which selectively breeds people that have high social status and the genetic traits thereof, such as wealth, attendance at popular colleges, college degrees, popularity, extroversion, personality, and humour History Pre-Galton eugenics Selective breeding was suggested at least as far back as Plato, who believed human reproduction should be controlled by government. He recorded these ideals in The Republic: “The best men must have intercourse with the best women as frequently as possible, and the opposite is true of the very inferior.” Plato proposed that the process be concealed from the public via a form of lottery. Other ancient examples include Sparta’s purported practice of infanticide. However, they would leave all babies outside for a length of time, and the survivors were considered stronger, while many “weaker” babies perished. Galton’s theory
Sir Francis Galton initially developed the ideas of eugenics using social statistics. During the 1860s and 1870s, 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 cousin Charles Darwin. After reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, Galton noticed an interpretation of Darwin’s work 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. Only by changing these social policies, Galton thought, could society be saved from a “reversion towards mediocrity”, a phrase that 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 it 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 that “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 that, 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. According to Galton, society already encouraged dysgenic conditions, claiming that the less intelligent were out-reproducing the more intelligent. Galton did not propose any selection methods; rather, he hoped that a solution would be found if social mores changed in a way that encouraged people to see the importance of breeding. Galton 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, hereditarily 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 cognisance 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 generalised one than viriculture 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.” Galton’s formulation of eugenics was based on a strong statistical approach, influenced heavily by Adolphe Quetelet’s “social physics”. Unlike Quetelet, however, Galton did not exalt the “average man” but decried him as mediocre. Galton and his statistical heir Karl Pearson developed what was called the biometrical approach to eugenics, which developed new and complex statistical models (later exported to wholly different fields) to describe the heredity of traits. However, with the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel’s hereditary laws, two separate camps of eugenics advocates emerged. One was made up of statisticians, the other of biologists. Statisticians thought the biologists had exceptionally crude mathematical models, while biologists thought the statisticians knew little about biology. Eugenics eventually referred to human selective reproduction with an intent to create children with desirable traits, generally through the approach of influencing differential birth rates. These policies were mostly divided into two categories: positive eugenics, the increased reproduction of those seen to have advantageous hereditary traits; and negative eugenics, the discouragement of reproduction by those with hereditary traits perceived as poor. Negative eugenic policies in the past have ranged from attempts at segregation to sterilization and even genocide. Positive eugenic policies have typically taken the form of awards or bonuses for “fit” parents who have another child. Relatively innocuous practices like marriage counseling had early links with eugenic ideology. Eugenics differed from what would later be known as Social Darwinism. While both claimed intelligence was hereditary, eugenics asserted that new policies were needed to actively change the status quo towards a more “eugenic” state, while the Social Darwinists argued society itself would naturally “check” the problem of “dysgenics” if no welfare policies were in place (for example, the poor might reproduce more but would have higher mortality rates). Eugenics in Latin America State policies in some Latin American countries advocated the whitening of society by increased European immigration and the eradication of indigenous populations. This can be seen particularly in Argentina and Brazil; in these countries this process is known as blanqueamiento and branqueamento, respectively. This was also seen in the indigenous Quechua people in Peru. The Eugenics Movement in Canada In Canada, the Eugenics movement took place early in the 20th Century, and largely in Alberta. The focus of the motion was 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, whose campaign for women’s rights seemed to take a back seat in the matter). Individuals were assessed using IQ tests such as the Sanford-Binet. This posed a problem to many of the new immigrants arriving to Canada, as their lack of mastery with the English language often led to scores denoting them as having impaired intellectual functioning. As a result, many of those sterilized under the Canadian eugenics movement were immigrants who did not necessarily fall into the category. The height of the eugenics movement’s popularity was reached during the depression. Individuals sought a scapegoat for the financial problems of the nation, and the notion of defective breeding brought about a means to place the blame on individuals considered to be subhuman. The end of the eugenics movement was brought about by the repealing of the law which made it mandatory in 1945. Eugenics and the state, 1890s–1945 One of the earliest modern advocates of eugenic ideas (before they were 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 recommended a marriage prohibition against the deaf (“Memoir upon the formation of a deaf variety of the human Race”) even though he was married to a deaf woman. Like many other early eugenicists, he proposed controlling immigration for the purpose of eugenics and warned that boarding schools for the deaf could possibly be considered as breeding places of a deaf human race. 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. Though eugenics is today often associated with racism, it was not always so; both W.E.B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey supported eugenics or ideas resembling eugenics as a way to reduce African American suffering and improve their stature. Many legal methods of eugenics include state laws against miscegenation or prohibitions of interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned those state laws in 1967 and declared antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional.
“We do not stand alone”: Nazi poster from 1936 with flags of other countries with compulsory sterilization legislation. Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler was infamous 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 horrific experiments carried out by Josef Mengele for Otmar von Verschuer on twins in the concentration camps. 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 American eugenics advocates 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. Nazi propaganda for their compulsory “euthanasia” program:
“This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Fellow Germans, that is your money, too.” 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 are common, but unproven. 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 including Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals during the Holocaust (much of the killing equipment and methods employed in the death camps were first developed in the euthanasia program). 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 postwar years. The second largest eugenics movement was in the United States. 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 opened in 1910 while Davenport and Harry H. Laughlin began to promote eugenics. During the 20th century, researchers became interested in the idea that mental illness could run in families and 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 1800s and early 1900s 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. By 1945 over 45,000 mentally ill individuals in the United States had been forcibly sterilized.
A pedigree chart from The Kallikak Family meant to show how one “illicit tryst” could lead to an entire generation of “imbeciles”. 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. Anthropometry demonstrated in an exhibit from a 1921 eugenics conference.
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). With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played a central 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. The new act strengthened existing laws prohibiting race mixing in an attempt to maintain the gene pool. Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many antimiscegenation laws. 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, by far the state with the most sterilizations, 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. 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. Other countries Almost all non-Catholic Western nations adopted some eugenic legislations. In July 1933 Germany passed a law allowing for the involuntary sterilization of “hereditary and incurable drunkards, sexual criminals, lunatics, and those suffering from an incurable disease which would be passed on to their offspring.” Two provinces in Canada carried out thousands of compulsory sterilizations, and these lasted into the 1970s. Many First Nations (native Canadians) were targeted, as well as immigrants from Eastern Europe, as the program identified racial and ethnic minorities to be genetically inferior. Sweden forcibly sterilized 62,000 people, primarily the mentally ill in the later decades, but also ethnic or racial minorities early on, as part of a eugenics program over a 40-year period. As was the case in other programs, ethnicity and race were believed to be connected to mental and physical health. While many Swedes disliked the program, politicians generally supported it; the ruling left supported it more as a means of promoting social health, while amongst the right it was more about racial protectionism. (The Swedish government has subsequently paid damages to those involved.) Besides the large-scale program in the United States, other nations included Australia, the UK, Norway, France, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, and Switzerland with programs to sterilize people the government declared to be mentally deficient. Singapore practiced a limited form of eugenics that involved encouraging marriage between university graduates and the rest through segregation in matchmaking agencies, in the hope that the former would produce better children. Various authors, notably Stephen Jay Gould, have repeatedly asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965) were motivated by the goals of eugenics, in particular, a desire to exclude races considered to be inferior from the national gene pool. 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 that these were inferior races that 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 that, 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 a heavy influx of foreigners. This interpretation is not, however, accepted by most historians of eugenics. Some who disagree with the idea of eugenics in general contend that eugenics legislation still had benefits. Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood of America) found it a useful tool to urge the legalization of contraception. In its time eugenics was seen by many as scientific and progressive, the natural application of knowledge about breeding to the arena of human life. Before the death camps of World War II, the idea that eugenics could lead to genocide was not taken seriously. Marginalization after World War II In the decades after World War II, eugenics became increasingly unpopular within academic science. Many organizations and journals that had their origins in the eugenics movement began to distance themselves from the philosophy, such as when Eugenics Quarterly became Social Biology in 1969. After the experience of Nazi Germany, many ideas about “racial hygiene” and “unfit” members of society were publicly renounced by politicians and members of the scientific community. The Nuremberg Trials against former Nazi leaders revealed to the world many of the regime’s genocidal practices and resulted in formalized policies of medical ethics and the 1950 UNESCO statement on race. Many scientific societies released their own similar “race statements” over the years, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, developed in response to abuses during the Second World War, was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 and affirmed, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” In continuation, the 1978 UNESCO declaration on race and racial prejudice states that the fundamental equality of all human beings is the ideal toward which ethics and science should converge. In reaction to Nazi abuses, eugenics became almost universally reviled in many of the nations where it had once been popular (however, some eugenics programs, including sterilization, continued quietly for decades). Many pre-war eugenicists engaged in what they later labeled “crypto-eugenics”, purposefully taking their eugenic beliefs “underground” and becoming respected anthropologists, biologists and geneticists in the postwar world (including Robert Yerkes in the U.S. and Otmar von Verschuer in Germany). Californian eugenicist Paul Popenoe founded marriage counseling during the 1950s, a career change which grew from his eugenic interests in promoting “healthy marriages” between “fit” couples. Some opponents of eugenics charge that eugenics was merely “re-packaged” after the war, and promoted anew in the guise of the population-control and environmentalism movements. It is claimed, for example, that Planned Parenthood was funded and cultivated by the Eugenics Society for these reasons. Former Eugenics Society president Julian Huxley became the first Director-General of UNESCO and a founder of the World Wildlife Fund. [E]ven though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable. –Julian Huxley High school and college textbooks from the 1920s through the ’40s often had chapters touting the scientific progress to be had from applying eugenic principles to the population. Many early scientific journals devoted to heredity in general were run by eugenicists and featured eugenics articles alongside studies of heredity in nonhuman organisms. After eugenics fell out of scientific favor, most references to eugenics were removed from textbooks and subsequent editions of relevant journals. Even the names of some journals changed to reflect new attitudes. For example, Eugenics Quarterly became Social Biology in 1969 (the journal still exists today, though it looks little like its predecessor). Notable members of the American Eugenics Society (1922–94) during the second half of the 20th century included Joseph Fletcher, originator of Situational ethics; Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter & Gamble fortune; and Garrett Hardin, a population control advocate and author of The Tragedy of the Commons. Despite the changed postwar attitude towards eugenics in the U.S. and some European countries, a few nations, notably, Canada and Sweden, maintained large-scale eugenics programs, including forced sterilization of mentally handicapped individuals, as well as other practices, until the 1970s. In the United States, sterilizations capped off in the 1960s, though the eugenics movement had largely lost most popular and political support by the end of the 1930s. Modern eugenics, genetic engineering, and ethical re-evaluation Beginning in the 1980s, the history and concept of eugenics were widely discussed as knowledge about genetics advanced significantly. Endeavors such as the Human Genome Project made the effective modification of the human species seem possible again (as did Darwin’s initial theory of evolution in the 1860s, along with the rediscovery of Mendel’s laws in the early 20th century). The difference at the beginning of the 21st century was the guarded attitude towards eugenics, which had become a watchword to be feared rather than embraced. Suggestions and ideas A few scientific researchers such as psychologist Richard Lynn, psychologist Raymond Cattell, and doctor Gregory Stock have openly called for eugenic policies using modern technology, but they represent a minority opinion in current scientific and cultural circles. One attempted implementation of a form of eugenics was a “genius sperm bank” (1980–99) created by Robert Klark Graham, from which nearly 230 children were conceived (the best known donor was Nobel Prize winner William Shockley). In the U.S. and Europe, though, these attempts have frequently been criticized as in the same spirit of classist and racist forms of eugenics of the 1930s. Because of its association with compulsory sterilization and the racial ideals of the Nazi Party, the word eugenics is rarely used by the advocates of such programs. Perhaps the newest idea of applying Eugenics is for the extermination of Homosexuality. These advocates are typically driven by the belief or perhaps misbelief that God considers Homosexuality love a sin. One outspoken advocate is Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Christian leader in USA. In his March 2nd 2007 blog, Mohler acknowledged that a mounting body of scientific research suggests that sexual orientation is shaped by biological factors and is not a behavioral choice. He went on to say, “If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is developed, and if successful treatment to reverse sexual orientation to heterosexual is developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.” China Only a few governments in the world have anything resembling eugenic programs today, the most notable being China. In 1993, the Chinese government announced a law, “On Eugenics and Health Protection,” designed to “avoid new births of inferior quality and heighten the standards of the whole population.” In 1994 they passed the “Maternal and Infant Health Care Law”, which included mandatory premarital screenings for “genetic diseases of a serious nature” and “relevant mental disease”. Those who were diagnosed with such diseases were required either not to marry, agree to “long-term contraceptive measures” or to submit to sterilization. Divorces have been granted for reasons such as schizophrenia. Cyprus A similar screening policy (including prenatal screening and abortion) intended to reduce the incidence of thalassemia exists on both sides of the island of Cyprus. Since the program’s implementation in the 1970s, it has reduced the ratio of children born with the hereditary blood disease from 1 out of every 158 births to almost zero. In the government controlled areas, tests for the gene are compulsory for both partners, prior to marriage. Dor Yeshorim Dor Yeshorim, a program which seeks to reduce the incidence of Tay-Sachs disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Canavan disease, Fanconi anemia, Familial Dysautonomia, Glycogen storage disease, Bloom’s Syndrome, Gaucher Disease, Niemann-Pick Disease, and Mucolipidosis IV among certain Jewish communities, is another screening program which has drawn comparisons with liberal eugenics. In Israel, at the expense of the state, the general public is advised to carry out genetic tests to diagnose these diseases before the birth of a baby. If an unborn baby is diagnosed with one of these diseases among which Tay-Sachs is the most commonly known, the pregnancy may be terminated, subject to consent. Most other Ashkenazi Jewish communities also run screening programs because of the higher incidence of genetic diseases. In some Jewish communities, the ancient custom of matchmaking (shidduch) is still practiced, and in order to attempt to prevent the tragedy of infant death which always results from being homozygous for Tay-Sachs, associations such as the strongly observant Dor Yeshorim (which was founded by a rabbi who lost four children to Tay-Sachs in order to prevent others suffering the same tragedy) test young couples to check whether they carry a risk of passing on fatal conditions. If both the young man and woman are Tay-Sachs carriers, it is common for the match to be broken off. Judaism, like numerous other religions, discourages abortion unless there is a risk to the mother, in which case her needs take precedence. The effort is not aimed at eradicating the hereditary traits, but rather at the occurrence of homozygosity. The actual impact of this program on allele frequencies is unknown, but little impact would be expected because the program does not impose genetic selection. Instead, it encourages disassortative mating. Ethical re-assessment In modern bioethics literature, the history of eugenics presents many moral and ethical questions. Commentators have suggested the new “eugenics” will come from reproductive technologies that will allow parents to create so-called “designer babies” (what the biologist Lee M. Silver prominently called “reprogenetics”). It has been argued that this “non-coercive” form of biological “improvement” will be predominantly motivated by individual competitiveness and the desire to create “the best opportunities” for children, rather than an urge to improve the species as a whole, which characterized the early 20th-century forms of eugenics. Because of this non-coercive nature, lack of involvement by the state and a difference in goals, some commentators have questioned whether such activities are eugenics or something else altogether. But critics note that Francis Galton, did not advocate for coercion when he defined the principles of eugenics. In other words, eugenics does not mean coercion. It is, according to Galton who originated the term, the proper label for bioengineering of “better” human beings. Daniel Kevles argues that eugenics and the conservation of natural resources are similar propositions. Both can be practiced foolishly so as to abuse individual rights, but both can be practiced wisely. Some disability activists argue that, although their impairments may cause them pain or discomfort, what really disables them as members of society is a sociocultural system that does not recognize their right to genuinely equal treatment. They express skepticism that any form of eugenics could be to the benefit of the disabled considering their treatment by historical eugenic campaigns. James D. Watson, the first director of the Human Genome Project, initiated the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Program (ELSI) which has funded a number of studies into the implications of human genetic engineering (along with a prominent website on the history of eugenics), because: In putting ethics so soon into the genome agenda, I was responding to my own personal fear that all too soon critics of the Genome Project would point out that I was a representative of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that once housed the controversial Eugenics Record Office. My not forming a genome ethics program quickly might be falsely used as evidence that I was a closet eugenicist, having as my real long-term purpose the unambiguous identification of genes that lead to social and occupational stratification as well as genes justifying racial discrimination. Distinguished geneticists including Nobel Prize-winners John Sulston (“I don’t think one ought to bring a clearly disabled child into the world”) and Watson (“Once you have a way in which you can improve our children, no one can stop it”) support genetic screening. Which ideas should be described as “eugenic” are still controversial in both public and scholarly spheres. Some observers such as Philip Kitcher have described the use of genetic screening by parents as making possible a form of “voluntary” eugenics. Some modern subcultures advocate different forms of eugenics assisted by human cloning and human genetic engineering, sometimes even as part of a new cult (see Raëlism, Cosmotheism, or Prometheism). These groups also talk of “neo-eugenics”. “conscious evolution”, or “genetic freedom”. Behavioral traits often identified as potential targets for modification through human genetic engineering include intelligence, depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, sexual behavior (and orientation) and criminality. Diseases vs. traits While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology there is at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Eugenic manipulations that reduce the propensity for criminality and violence, for example, might result in the population being enslaved by an outside aggressor it can no longer defend itself against. On the other hand, genetic diseases like hemochromatosis can increase susceptibility to illness, cause physical deformities, and other dysfunctions. Eugenic measures against many of these diseases are already being undertaken in societies around the world, while measures against traits that affect more subtle, poorly understood traits, such as criminality, are relegated to the realm of speculation and science fiction. The effects of diseases are essentially wholly negative, and societies everywhere seek to reduce their impact by various means, some of which are eugenic in all but name. The other traits that are discussed have positive as well as negative effects and are not generally targeted at present anywhere. Slippery slope A common criticism of eugenics is that it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical (Lynn 2001). In the hypothetical scenario where it’s scientifically proven that one racial minority group making up 5% of the population is on average less intelligent than the majority racial group it’s more likely that the minority racial group will be submitted to a eugenics program, opposed to the 5% least intelligent members of the population as a whole. For example, Nazi Germany’s eugenic program within the German population resulted in protests and unrest, while the persecution of the Jews was met with silence. H. L. Kaye wrote of “the obvious truth that eugenics has been discredited by Hitler’s crimes” (Kaye 1989). R. L. Hayman argued “the eugenics movement is an anachronism, its political implications exposed by the Holocaust” (Hayman 1990). Steven Pinker has stated that it is “a conventional wisdom among left-leaning academics that genes imply genocide.” He has responded to this “conventional wisdom” by comparing the history of Marxism, which had the opposite position on genes to that of Nazism: But the 20th century suffered “two” ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn’t believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it’s not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones. Richard Lynn argues that any social philosophy is capable of ethical misuse. Though Christian principles have aided in the abolition of slavery and the establishment of welfare programs, he notes that the Christian church has also burned many dissidents at the stake and waged against nonbelievers in which Christian crusaders slaughtered large numbers of women and children. Lynn argues the appropriate response is to condemn these killings, but believing that Christianity “inevitably leads to the extermination of those who do not accept its doctrines” is unwarranted (Lynn 2001). Genetic diversity Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted improvement of the gene pool may, but would not necessarily, result in biological disaster due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change and other factors both known and unknown. This kind of argument from the precautionary principle is itself widely criticized. A long-term eugenics plan is likely to lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition. To the contrary, some studies have shown that dysgenic trends lead to a decrease of genetic diversity, a development that in theory could be countered by a eugenic program. The possible elimination of the autism genotype is a significant political issue in the autism rights movement, which claims autism is a form of neurodiversity. Many advocates of Down Syndrome rights also consider Down Syndrome (Trisomy-21) a form of neurodiversity. Heterozygous recessive traits In some instances efforts to eradicate certain single-gene mutations would be nearly impossible. In the event the condition in question was a heterozygous recessive trait, the problem is that by eliminating the visible unwanted trait, there are still as many genes for the condition left in the gene pool as were eliminated according to the Hardy-Weinberg principle, which states that a population’s genetics are defined as pp+2pq+qq at equilibrium. With genetic testing it may be possible to detect all of the heterozygous recessive traits, but only at great cost with the current technology. Under normal circumstances it is only possible to eliminate a dominant allele from the gene pool. Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, the practical value for “eliminating” traits is quite low. Counterarguments Reductio ad Hitlerum One website on logic has used the statement “Eugenics must be wrong because it was associated with the Nazis” as a typical example of the “association fallacy” known as a Reductio ad Hitlerum. Dysgenics Some supporters of eugenics allege that a dysgenic decline in intelligence is occurring, which may lead to the collapse of civilization, and justify eugenic programs on that basis. Potential Benefits Small differences in average IQ at the group level might theoretically have large effects on social outcomes. Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray altered the mean IQ (100) of the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth’s population sample by randomly deleting individuals below an IQ of 103 until the population mean reached 103. This calculation was conducted twice and averaged together to avoid error from the random selection. This test showed that the new group with an average IQ of 103 had a poverty rate 25% lower than a group with an average IQ of 100. Similar substantial correlations in high school drop-out rates, crime rates, and other outcomes were measured. Indeed, many studies suggest that IQ correlates with various socioeconomic factors. However, to what extent IQ is a cause of these socioeconomic factors, as opposed to a consequence of them, is disputed. Studies have suggested, for example, that education increases an individual’s IQ. Eugenics in popular culture Eugenics is a recurrent theme in science fiction, often with both dystopian and utopian elements. The two giant contributions in this field are the novel Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley, which describes a society where control of human biology by the state results in permanent social stratification, and The Island of Dr Moreau by H G Wells, which portrays a latter-day Dr Frankenstein who uses genetic manipulation experiments to create an island population of half-human, half-animal beings. The Brave New World theme also plays a role in the 1997 film Gattaca, whose plot turns around reprogenetics, genetic testing, and the social consequences of liberal eugenics. Boris Vian (under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan) takes a more light-hearted approach in his novel Et on tuera tous les affreux (“And we’ll kill all the ugly ones”). Other novels touching upon the subject include The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper and That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. The Eugenics Wars are a significant part of the background story of the Star Trek universe (episodes “Space Seed”, “Borderland”, “Cold Station 12”, “The Augments” and the film The Wrath of Khan). Eugenics also plays a significant role in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy where eugenics practicing Neanderthals from a near-utopian parallel world create a gateway to earth. Cowl (novel) by Neal Asher describes the collapse of western civilization due to dysgenics. In Frank Herbert’s Dune series of novels, selective breeding programs form a significant theme. Early in the series, the Bene Gesserit religious order manipulates breeding patterns over many generations in order to create the Kwisatz Haderach. In God Emperor of Dune, the emperor Leto II again manipulates human breeding in order to achieve his own ends. The Bene Tleilaxu also employed genetic engineering to create human beings with specific genetic attributes. There tends to be a eugenic undercurrent in the science fiction concept of the supersoldier. Several depictions of these supersoldiers usually have them bred for combat or genetically selected for attributes that are beneficial to modern or future combat. In the novels Methuselah’s Children and Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein, a large trust fund is created to give financial encouragement to marriage among people (the Howard Families) whose parents and grandparents were long lived. The result is a subset of Earth’s population who has significantly above-average life spans. Members of this group appear in many of the works by the same author. In Eoin Colfer’s book The Supernaturalist, Ditto is a Bartoli Baby, which is the name for a failed experiment of the famed Dr. Bartoli. Bartoli tried to create a superior race of humans, but they ended in arrested development, with mutations including extra sensory perception and healing hands. In Gene Roddenberry’s science-fiction television series Andromeda, the entire Nietzschean race is founded on the principals of selective breeding. In Larry Niven’s Ringworld series, the character Teela Brown is a result of several generations of winners of the “Birthright Lottery”, a system which attempts to encourage lucky people to breed. In season 2 of Dark Angel, the main ‘bad guy’ Ames White is a member of a cult known as the Conclave which has infiltrated various levels of society to breed super-humans. They are trying to exterminate all the Transgenics, including the main character Max Guevara, whom they view as being genetically unclean for having some animal DNA spliced with human. See also Charles Darwin Francis Galton Karl Pearson The Holocaust