Saturday, July 29, 2006


By John Ray (M.A.;Ph.D.)


There is no doubt that the most offensive four-letter word in America and Britain today is "race". I gather that my occasional mentioning of it greatly limits the readership of much that I write. It is my contention, however, that it is mainly the Left that keep it that way -- by going ballistic every time that the word is mentioned. Absurd though it is, the convention that the Left have forced onto American society by their torrents of abuse is that anyone who mentions the word "race" is a "racist". And "racist" is in fact the most potent term of abuse that there is in most of the world today.

And the reason why is no mystery. Hitler's appalling application of the racial hygeine theories that were common among the Leftists of his day have made all good people super-anxious not to have anything to do with such horrors. But because a particularly nasty socialist once used the idea of race to inflict horrors does not mean that there is anything wrong with the concept of race. Atomic bombs are horrible too but the horribleness of the idea of atomic bombs does not make the reality of such bombs go away. Putting it another way, one does not have to want to persecute other races in order to recognize that they exist.

I have always been quite unhesitating in saying that races do exist and that there are differences between them -- and it is my view that anyone who says otherwise is deliberately blind. There is even good evidence from the geneticists saying so (See e.g. here and here) but I do not expect that sort of evidence to be influential with people who cannot even believe what their senses tell them every day.

I am sure that the kneejerk brigade have stopped reading this by now so I presume that I am now talking to those who are capable of acknowledging that there are races and that race can make a difference. The important question now, then, is what USE does the concept have? And my answer to that is: "Not a lot". As a libertarian conservative I believe in the primacy of the individual so I believe that each person should as far as possible be treated on his/her individual merits, regardless of whether he/she is black, white or brindle.

Unfortunately, however, as in Hitler's day, the Left do not do that. They do not treat people as individuals and they do discriminate against people on the basis not only of their race but even on the basis of their skin colour. I refer of course to "affirmative action". They practice racial discrimination without using the word "race" -- generally preferring the term "minorities" instead, which is about as big a distortion as claiming that homosexuals are "gay". Sad homosexuals are apparently not allowed and the minority that suffers most official discrimination against them in America today is undoubtedly white middle class males. Such confusion of speech makes intelligent discussion difficult so I am going to call leftists what they are: Racists. And I am going to call the categories that they use "races" too. If I try to use the deliberately confused terms that Leftists use in this matter, I run the risk of falling into the sort of confused thinking that they display -- the sort of confused thinking that denies that race exists and then proceeds to base vast policies on it.

America has had the most prolonged and vehement debate about racial questions and the racial category that American Leftists most focus on is blacks of African ultimate origin. And by constant repetition over the last 50 years or so they seem to have persuaded lots of white Americans that they should feel guilty about the problems that such blacks tend to have. White feelings of guilt about blacks appear to have been fairly uncommon before World War II. And the principal point I am aiming at for the moment is that whites should NOT feel guilty. I am not responsible for what my ancestors did nor is anybody else. We can only deal with the situation as we have it today and the plain fact is that American blacks are the luckiest of their race in the world today. If people of African ancestry in America have problems, their problems are as nothing compared to the problems of Africans in Africa. Although it was not done with benevolent intentions, the transportation of African slaves into America was in fact the best thing that anybody has ever done for Africans. The descendants of the slaves are infinitely richer and better off in a whole host of ways than are the descendants of those Africans who were not enslaved. And at least one prominent black American has acknowledged that. See also here.

So my point is that if we must use the Leftist practice of basing policy on race, the logic would be that American blacks owe whites something, and not vice versa. The guilt about blacks that many American whites appear to feel is, in other words, a giant Leftist con job. That they have managed to make people feel guilty about something that they also claim does not exist is an abiding wonder, however. If Leftists really did treat people as individuals regardless of their race, neither the guilt nor the affirmative action policies based on it would be possible.


Around 15 years ago, I went to the library at the University of Queensland and looked up their PsycLIT CD-ROM. The CD was published by the American Psychological Association and indexes what has been published in all the world's academic psychology journals. I entered the search terms "racism" and "ethnocentrism" and looked at the authorship of the stream of articles that came out. There was one author who had published far more than any other -- accounting for about a fifth of the articles concerned. So, by normal academic conventions, that author would clearly be the world's leading authority on the psychology of racism. I am that author. See here

No doubt the situation has changed considerably since then. I neither know nor care nor does anybody else. My research generally arrived at conclusions uncongenial to Leftists so has always been thoroughly ignored by my fellow academics and I have therefore long since stopped doing any of it. I mention the matter only to establish that I do know the subject exceptionally well and am not talking through my hat in what I am about to say. And what I am about to say I have set out in more academic terms, complete with references, here and here.

In psychology, a "stereotype" is the word used to refer to a belief that someone has about a particular group of people. A common stereotype would be the belief that blacks are lazy. Stereotypes are therefore in general greatly condemned. The grounds for condemning them are twofold: 1). It is argued that no group has distinct characteristics; and 2). That even if a majority of a group has some characteristic, not all members of the group will have so it is pernicious to judge the individual by the group to which he belongs.

The first claim is simply silly. Of course groups have common characteristics. Most people of African ancestry have dark skin, for instance. Even if there are some or even many exceptions to the rule, the rule still exists. To say that no rule may have any exceptions would exclude most rules we use in life. The second claim is of course correct. To say that a person has a characteristic that he does not is plainly foolish and unjust and any public policy (such as the Jim Crow laws or "affirmative action") that assumes characteristics in an individual because of some group to which he belongs is also therefore foolish and unjust. The United Nations charter says that each person should be treated according to his/her individual merits and that is probably the most uncontroversial pronouncement the UN has ever made. Whether people act on it, however, is another matter.

So there are intellectually compelling reasons why public policy should not take group membership into account. Enquiries can always be made about the characteristics of the individual who might be affected by a policy instead of assuming the characteristics of the individual from some group to which he/she might belong. If a policy is designed to help poor people, for instance, enquiries should be made about the income and assets of each individual concerned before they are helped rather than assuming that because he/she is a member of a generally poor group (such as blacks) he/she should automatically be helped.

Private life, however, is another matter. In private life we very often HAVE to deal with people on the basis of very imperfect knowledge about them. A landlord deciding on whether or not to let his property to someone, for instance, will often know very little about the prospective tenant. He will of course ask for references etc but as crooks often have the best references, that will not get him far. So he will necessarily use very imperfect rules in deciding what to do. If, for instance, he has had repeated bad experiences with (say) Korean tenants, he may well decide not to accept a particular prospective tenant who is Korean. He will undoubtedly make some mistakes in doing so but he will probably make fewer mistakes that way than if he had used no rules at all. But clearly, what he has done is "stereotyped" Koreans as bad tenants. So what is quite improper in public policy may be perfectly proper in a limited-information, day-to-day environment. Circumstances alter cases and to say that stereotyping is ALWAYS undesirable is in fact to stereotype stereotyping.

So the rational conclusion from realities such as those mentioned above is that consideration of group membership should be outlawed in public policy but allowed in private life. Needless to say, Leftists advocate the exact reverse of that.


"But what about the moral dimension?" someone will no doubt want to ask at this stage. Leftists advocate the policies they do to redress wrongs. Should not such wrongs be addressed?

My reply is that governments do not have to be racist to redress wrongs. If there is a desire to provide accomodation for unpopular tenants, for instance, the government could acquire housing suitable for renting out to such people (which is what many governments already do) and that should be the end of the matter. The government will realize that tenants unacceptable to private landlords are probably going to be costly for the government to accomodate but if their voters vote for that, so be it. There will be no need for government to enquire about the race of any of the tenants concerned nor will there be any need to prevent private property-owners from making such enquiries.

Similarly with education: If the government is concerned at the poor secondary school attainments of some people, the answer is not to pretend that those attainment are adequate but rather to offer extra courses -- summer schools, remedial courses or whole years of education -- to such people. Once again, no enquiry about the race of the low-achievers should be needed. And it appears that something like that is now beginning to happen. See here.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A slightly edited version of this article appeared in Front Page magazine of September 25, 2003. There is also a supplement giving further evidence in support of the contentions of this article here and a much more broad-ranging paper by a German historian on nationalism, socialism, eugenics and social Darwinism here (PDF).



John J. Ray

Hitler's American inspiration

Everybody now knows how evil Nazi eugenics were: How all sorts of people were exterminated not because of anything they had done but simply because of the way they had been born. And we have all heard how disastrous were the Nazi efforts to build up the "master race" through selective breeding of SS men with the best of German women -- the "Lebensborn" project. Good Leftists today recoil in horror from all that of course and use their "Hitler was a Rightist" mantra to load those evils onto conservatives. But Hitler was a socialist. As he himself said:

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." (Speech of May 1, 1927. Quoted by Toland, 1976, p. 306)

So it should come as no surprise that Hitler's eugenics were an intergral part of his socialism and that the great supporters of COMPULSORY eugenics worldwide in Hitler's day were overwhelmingly of the Left. Left-influenced historians commonly blur the distinction between a belief in eugenic or dysgenic processes and actually advocating a State-enforced eugenics program but we can find the facts if we look carefully. And it was American Leftists upon whom Hitler principally drew for his "inspiration" in the eugenics field.

In the USA, the great eugenicists of the first half of the 20th century were the "Progressives". As it says here:

A significant number of Progressives -- including David Starr Jordan, Robert Latham Owen, William Allen Wilson, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Robert Latou Dickinson, Katherine Bement Davis, and Virginia Gildersleeve--were deeply involved with the eugenics movement

And as we read further here:

The second stage in the development of the eugenics movement extended from 1905 to 1930, when eugenics entered its period of greatest influence. More and more progressive reformers became convinced that a good proportion of the social ills in the United States lay in hereditary factors....

An educator, biologist, and leader of the American peace movement, Jordan's main contribution as a major architect of American eugenics was to bridge the gap between eugenics and other reform groups. Like other progressives, Jordan subscribed to the Populist-Progressive criticism of laissez-faire capitalism. Jordan had faith in progress and in a new generation. Yet, this optimistic environmentalism of Jordan's contradicted his Darwinian-hereditarian outlook of the world. Ironically, a similar ambivalence - - a "love-hate" attitude toward environmentalism - - ran through most progressive ideology.

For Jordan, the first president of Leland Stanford University, education permitted society's better members to outlive inferior peoples. Jordan believed the twentieth century had no place for the weak, the incompetent, and the uneducated. In addition, Jordan urged an end to indiscriminate and sentimental charity, a major factor he believed in the survival of the unfit. Jordan, like most progressives, viewed the urban setting as detrimental and destructive to human life. He held the general progressive belief in the social goodness of the small town or farm. The progressive's romantic attraction to the countryside can be partly explained by the alien character of the urban population. An increasing number of city dwellers belonged to the "undesirable foreign element".

And who were the Progressives? Here is the same writer's summary of them:

"Originally, progressive reformers sought to regulate irresponsible corporate monopoly, safeguarding consumers and labor from the excesses of the profit motive. Furthermore, they desired to correct the evils and inequities created by rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. Progressivism ..... asserted that the social order could and must be improved..... Some historians, like Richard Hofstadter and George Mowry, have argued that the progressive movement attempted to return America to an older, more simple, agrarian lifestyle. For a few progressives, this certainly was true. But for most, a humanitarian doctrine of social progress motivated the reforming spirit"

Sound familiar? The Red/Green alliance of today is obviously not new. So Hitler's eugenics were yet another part of Hitler's LEFTISM! He got his eugenic theories from the Leftists of his day. He was simply being a good Leftist intellectual in subscribing to such theories.

Both quotes above are from De Corte (1978). Against all his own evidence, De Corte also claims that the Progressives were "conservative". More Leftist whitewash! Unless it was glaringly obvious that someone was of the Left, just believing in eugenics MADE that person conservative in De Corte's view. Other evidence of their conservatism was not needed or cited. There is a detailed discussion of what the "Progressivism" of the time actually was here. Whatever else it was, it was clearly not conservative.

But the book by Pickens (1968) sets out the connection between the Progressives and eugenics far more throughly than the few quotes here can indicate.

Eugenics, however, was popular science generally in the first half of the 20th century. As a scientific idea it was not confined to Leftists. But note the difference in the IMPLEMENTATION of eugenic ideas (again from De Corte):

Even early social crusaders held similar illiberal views. Josephine Shaw Lowell, a leader in asylum reform, stated in 1884 that "every person born into a civilized community has a right to live, yet the community has the right to say that incompetent and dangerous persons shall not, so far as can be helped, be born to acquire this right to live upon others. Thus, strands of eugenic-style racism not only found their way into conservative philosophy represented by Sumner and other Social Darwinists but so did progressive reform ideals. Consequently, reformers began viewing the criminal, insane, epileptic, retarded and impoverished as more products of their heredity than of their social surroundings.

Whereas Social Darwinists desired to let nature take its course in eliminating the "unfit," eugenicists, on the other hand, felt Social Darwinism had not accomplished the task of guaranteeing the "survival of the fittest" quickly enough. For eugenicists, the "vigorous classes" should be encouraged to have more children, while the "incompetent classes" should be compelled to have fewer. Consequently, eugenicists in their distrust of laissez-faire concluded that "natural selection" must be helped along.

So conservatives, in their usual way, wanted to leave well enough alone. It was the LEFTISTS, in their usual way, who actually wanted to start compulsion in the matter.

And in Britain too the Leftists of the first half of the 20th century were outspokenly in favour of eugenics. As just one instance, that famous philosopher, peacenik and anti-nuclear camapaigner, Bertrand Russell spoke in favour of it. Writing in "Icarus Or the Future of Science" in 1924 he clearly approved of it though he did voice doubts about it falling into the wrong hands. And in a letter to his first wife, feminist Alys Pearsall Smith, about socialism and "the woman question," he wrote of eugenics in words that could well have been Hitler's -- even echoing Hitler's bad grammar:

"Thee might observe incidentally that if the state paid for child-bearing it might and ought to require a medical certificate that the parents were such as to give a reasonable result of a healthy child -- this would afford a very good inducement to some sort of care for the race, and gradually as public opinion became educated by the law, it might react on the law and make that more stringent, until one got to some state of things in which there would be a little genuine care for the race, instead of the present haphazard higgledy-piggledy ways."

(Quoted from here)

Even when Russell came to realize that State-sponsored eugenics could very easily fall into the wrong hands -- a realization he expresses in Icarus he still clearly saw it as desirable at least in theory.

And Russell was not alone in Britain. As it says here:

The fact is that eugenics was popular across the political spectrum for many years, both in England and in North America (e.g., Paul, 1984; Soloway, 1990). In England, many socialists supported eugenics. Even those viewed as critics, such as J. B .S. Haldane, Lancelot Hogben and Julian Huxley were not against eugenics per se, but came to believe that eugenics in capitalist societies was infected with class bias. Even so, some (see Paul, 1984), accepted the idea of upper class genetic superiority.

Not only were R. B. Cattell's eugenic beliefs commonplace in that milieu, but he was influenced by prominent socialists who supported eugenics, men such as Shaw, Wells, Huxley and Haldane, some of whom he knew (Hurt, 1998). Jonathan Harwood (1980) actually cited the example of Cattell to demonstrate that British eugenics was not a right-wing preserve in the inter-war years (although Keith Hurt, 1998, has noted that Harwood later characterised Cattell's 1972 book on Beyondism as a "right-wing eugenic fantasy").

Oppenheim (1982) claimed that American eugenicists were opposed by those in the Progressive Movement, juxtaposing the hereditarian reformism of the former with the environmental reformism of the latter. Actually many progressives were also eugenicists and incorporated the idea of eugenic reforms into their larger agenda (e.g., Burnham, 1977); there was a great deal of cross-over between the two movements (e.g., Pickens, 1968).

The few real critics of eugenics in the early 20th century were mainly conservatives and Christians like G.K. Chesterton who saw eugenic planning as just another arm of the wider campaign to impose a "scientific" socialist planning. In fact Chesterton subtitled his anti-eugenics tract "Eugenics and Other Evils" as: "An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State".

So, as we see from all the quotes above, the racialist thinking of the eugenic socialists was quite "scientific" and progressive in it's day, much as 'global warming' is seen as scientific and progressive today. And many of the eugenics true believers continued on postwar moving into campaigns for legalised abortion, planned parenthood and population control. In fact some modern-day pro-lifers have highlighted the racist roots of much of the liberal pro-abortion movement.

And eugenics of a sort IS back on the Left: The Zero Population Growth brigade are back with their "people are pollution" attitudes! Only this time they want to HALVE our population! And it does seem to be the old gang from the 1960's again -- including Paul Ehrlich. The abject failure of their earlier prophecies -- e.g. that we would all be doomed by the 1970s -- has not dampened them down a bit.

The Feminist connection

And are feminists conservative? Hardly. And feminists are hardly a new phenomenon either. In the person of Margaret Sanger and others, they were very active and prominent in the USA in first half of the 20th century, advocating (for instance) abortion. And Margaret Sanger was warmly praised by Hitler for her energetic championship of eugenics. And the American eugenicists were very racist. They wanted to reduce the black population and they shared Hitler's view that Jews were genetically inferior -- opposing moves to allow into the USA Jews fleeing from Hitler. So if Hitler's eugenics and racial theories were loathsome, it should be acknowledged that his vigorous supporters in the matter at that time were Leftists and feminists, rather than conservatives.

The Greenie connection

As in America, Hitler's eugenics were in fact just one aspect of a larger "Greenie" theme -- a theme that continues, of course, as the Red/Green alliance of today. The Nazis were in fact probably the first major political party in the Western world to have a thoroughgoing "Green" agenda. A good short summary of that has been written by Andrew Bolt. Excerpts:

Hitler's preaching about German strength and destiny was water in the desert to the millions of Germans who'd been stripped of pride, security and hope by their humiliating defeat in World War I, and the terrible unemployment that followed.

The world was also mad then with the idea that a dictatorial government should run the economy itself and make it "efficient", rather than let people make their own decisions.

The Nazis -- National Socialists -- promised some of that, and their sibling rivals in the Communist Party more.

The theory of eugenics -- breeding only healthy people -- was also in fashion, along with a cult of health.

The Nazis, with their youth camps and praise of strong bodies and a strong people, endorsed all that, and soon were killing the retarded, the gay and the different.

Tribalism was popular, too. People weren't individuals, but members of a class, as the communists argued, or of a race, as the Nazis said. Free from freedom -- what a relief for the scared!

You'd think we'd have learned. But too much of such thinking is back and changing us so fast that we can't say how our society will look by the time we die.

A KIND of eugenics is with us again, along with an obsession for perfect bodies.

Children in the womb are being killed just weeks before birth for the sin of being a dwarf, for instance, and famed animal rights philosopher Peter Singer wants parents free to kill deformed children in their first month of life. Meanwhile support for euthanasia for the sick, tired or incompetent grows.

As for tribalism, that's also back -- and as official policy. We now pay people to bury their individuality in tribes, giving them multicultural grants or even an Aboriginal "parliament".....

People need to feel part of something bigger and better than ourselves -- a family, or a church, or a tradition or a country. Or, as a devil may whisper, the greens.

The greens. Here's a quote which may sound very familiar -- at least in part. "We recognise that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind's own destruction and to the death of nations. "Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger . .

"This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought."

That was Ernst Lehmann, a leading biologist under the Nazi regime, in 1934, and he wasn't alone. Hitler, for one, was an avid vegetarian and green, addicted to homeopathic cures. His regime sponsored the creation of organic farming, and SS leader Heinrich Himmler even grew herbs on his own organic farm with which to treat his beloved troops.

HITLER also banned medical experiments on animals, but not, as we know to our grief, on Jewish children. And he created many national parks, particularly for Germany's "sacred" forests.

This isn't a coincidence. The Nazis drew heavily on a romantic, anti-science, nature worshipping, communal and anti-capitalist movement that tied German identity to German forests. In fact, Professor Raymond Dominick notes in his book, The Environmental Movement in Germany, two-thirds of the members of Germany's main nature clubs had joined the Nazi Party by 1939, compared with just 10 per cent of all men.

The Nazis also absorbed the German Youth Movement, the Wandervogel, which talked of our mystical relationship with the earth. Peter Staudenmaier, co-author of Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience, says it was for the Wandervogel that the philosopher Ludwig Klages wrote his influential essay Man and Earth in 1913.

In it, Klages warned of the growing extinction of species, the destruction of forests, the genocide of aboriginal peoples, the disruption of the ecosystem and the killing of whales. People were losing their relationship with nature, he warned.

Heard all that recently? I'm not surprised. This essay by this notorious anti-Semite was republished in 1980 to mark the birth of the German Greens -- the party that inspired the creation of our own Greens party.

Its message is much as Hitler's own in Mein Kampf: "When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall."

Why does this matter now? Because we must learn that people who want animals to be treated like humans really want humans to be treated like animals.

We must realise a movement that stresses "natural order" and the low place of man in a fragile world, is more likely to think man is too insignificant to stand in the way of Mother Earth, or the Fatherland, or some other man-hating god.

We see it already. A Greenpeace co-founder, Paul Watson, called humans the "AIDS of the earth", and one of the three key founders of the German Greens, Herbert Gruhl, said the environmental crisis was so acute the state needed perhaps "dictatorial powers"....

The "big government" connection

As they do today, the Leftists of the 1920s and 1930s captured most of the intellectuals and much of the educated class of the day and this gave them access to the levers of government power -- which is of course what Leftists want above all. Leftists never tire of finding reasons for big government. But once something gets into the hands of big government, it can turn out to be very destructive indeed. And the American eugenics laws of the first half of the 20th century are a very good example of that. As it says here:

"President Woodrow Wilson signed New Jersey's sterilization law, and one of his deputies descended to greater fame as a Nazi collaborator at Buchenwald. Pennsylvania's legislature passed an 'Act for the Prevention of Idiocy,' but the governor vetoed it .... Other states, however, joined the crusade. ... Eventually, the eugenicist virus found a hospitable host in Germany. There... it led to the death chambers of Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Thanks to the Nazis, highly praised by eugenicists here, the movement eventually collapsed. But not before nearly 50,000 Americans were sterilized."

And someone from the past who is still something of a hero to the Left is the American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who famously said: "When you pay taxes you buy civilisation". This was quoted approvingly in 2003 by Simon Crean, Federal Parliamentary leader of the Australian Labor party. Crean somehow failed to note that Holmes was also known for ordering compulsory sterilizations of the supposedly mentally ill: Yet another forgotten American inspiration for Adolf.

And California was one of the earliest supporters of Eugenics laws and in fact provided the model for Hitler's laws. -- as it says here:

Under the banner of "national regeneration," tens of thousands, mostly poor women, were subjected to involuntary sterilization in the United States between 1907 and 1940. And untold thousands of women were sterilized without their informed consent after World War II. Under California's 1909 sterilization law, at least 20,000 Californians in state hospitals and prisons had been involuntarily sterilized by 1964. California, according to a recent study, "consistently outdistanced every other state" in terms of the number of eugenic sterilizations....

California not only led the nation in forced sterilizations, but also in providing scientific and educational support for Hitler's regime. In 1935, Sacramento's Charles M. Goethe praised the Human Betterment Foundation for effectively "shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler." In 1936, Goethe acknowledged the United States and Germany as leaders in eugenics ("two stupendous forward movements"), but complained that "even California's quarter century record has, in two years, been outdistanced by Germany." In 1936, California eugenicist Paul Popenoe was asking one of his Nazi counterparts for information about sterilization policies in Germany in order to make sure that "conditions in Germany are not misunderstood or misrepresented." .....

California's eugenicists could not claim ignorance that Germany's sterilization program was motivated primarily by racial politics. For example, in 1935, the Los Angeles Times published a long defense of Germany's sterilization policies, in which the author noted that the Nazis "had to resort to the teachings of eugenic science" because Germany had been "deprived of her colonies, blessed with many hundreds of defective racial hybrids as a lasting memory of the colored army of occupation, and dismembered all around." Not only did California eugenicists know about Nazi efforts to use sterilization as a method of "race hygiene" -- targeted primarily at Jews -- they also approved efforts to stop "race-mixing" and increase the birth rate of the "Northern European type of family." The chilling words of Progressive reformer John Randolph Haynes anticipated the Nazi regime's murder of 100,000 mentally ill patients: "There are thousands of hopelessly insane in California, the condition of those minds is such that death would be a merciful release. How long will it be before society will see the criminality of using its efforts to keep alive these idiots, hopelessly insane, and murderous degenerates. . Of course the passing of these people should be painless and without warning. They should go to sleep at night without any intimation of what was coming and never awake."

And a country that is to this day a model and inspiration to Leftists everywhere is Sweden -- with its all-embracing welfare State. So what happened in Sweden? As we read here:

During the Nazi era in Germany, eugenics prompted the sterilisation of several hundred thousand people then helped lead to antisemitic programmes of euthanasia and ultimately, of course, to the death camps. The association of eugenics with the Nazis is so strong that many people were surprised at the news several years ago that Sweden had sterilised around 60 000 people (mostly women) between the 1930s and 1970s. The intention was to reduce the number of children born with genetic diseases and disorders. After the turn of the century, eugenics movements--including demands for sterilisation of people considered unfit--had, in fact, blossomed in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Scandinavia, not to mention elsewhere in Europe and in parts of Latin America and Asia. Eugenics was not therefore unique to the Nazis.

So what exactly did happen in the USA? I am indebted to one of my fellow bloggers for a useful summary of one of the cases. Some extracts:

In the 1920's, the eugenics movement was ... popular. So popular in fact, that mandatory sterilization laws were passed in 34 states from the mid-1920's to mid 30's. Basically, these laws stated that sterilization was mandatory for socially undesirable persons. "The socially inadequate classes, regardless of etiology or prognosis, are the following: (1) Feeble-minded; (2) Insane, (including psychopathic); (3) Criminalistic (including the delinquent and wayward); (4) Epileptic; (5) Inebriate (including drug habitues)..." [etc]. So basically, if you were hyperactive, promiscuous, an alcoholic or drug addict, had cerebral palsy or Down's syndrome, were epileptic, (etc., ad nauseum), or exhibited ANY socially undesirable behavior at all, you were eligible for mandatory sterilization. And not you, nor your parents (if you were a minor) had any right to say "No".

In the mid 1920's, Carrie Buck, at the ripe old age of 17, fought the state of Virginia's mandatory sterilization statute. She was classified as a socially inferior woman, having born a child out of wedlock and her foster parents stated that she was "a handful". Carrie's mother had also been incarcerated in a state institution as a 'promiscuous woman'. And at the age of 7 months, Carrie's child, Vivian, was 'certified' as being 'deficient', based on the 'history' of Carrie and her mother.

Carrie lost her case at the state court level, and it wound up in front of the Supreme Court in 1927. The prominent Supreme Court jurist, Oliver Wendel Holmes, wrote the opinion in Buck v. Bell. The decision was 8-1, Justice Butler dissenting. Here's what the majority opinion boiled down to:

"In order to prevent our being swamped with incompetents... society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes."

"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."
- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., (Buck v. Bell, 1927)

Five months after this decision, Carrie was forcibly sterilized. It later came out that her promiscuity was nothing of the sort. She'd been raped by the nephew of her foster parents, himself a violent (unsterilized) little scumbag. And her daughter's school records show that Vivian was a B student, receiving an A in deportment (behavior), and she was on the honor roll. Genetic tests later showed that neither Carrie nor her daughter had any genetic defects.

Conservative eugenics?

I should note that economist Steven Levitt's work suggests that the old Leftist eugenics program of reducing the birth rate (via abortion) among the "lower classes" was not totally misconceived. Levitt's findings seem to show that making VOLUNTARY abortion available to poorer mothers reduces the crime rate years later. He is at pains of course to indicate that his empirical findings are not an endorsement of either eugenics or abortion. Slate featured a 3 day correspondence between him and Steve Sailer dealing with the issue.

Given the traditional conservative regard for individual liberty, it seems to me that the only eugenics programs that conservatives could justify would be voluntary ones -- such as the large material incentives to reproduce that the Singapore government offers to highly educated Singaporean women. Christian conservatives, however, tend to regard all reproduction as God-given so would oppose even voluntary eugenic programs that limited reproduction -- such as the Woodhill Foundation programs that pay crack-addicted mothers to undertake contraception.

Leftists, however, oppose the Woodhill programs because they are voluntary and privately-funded. They like such matters to be in the hands of the State (i.e. under their control).

And the problem of a self-perpetuating and substantially criminal underclass does not need to be addressed by eugenics. It can be addressed by addressing its major causes -- such as the over-generous welfare system that the Leftists have created in their hunger for praise.

And despite everything, there ARE useful and non-coercive Eugenics programs in operation right now. Genetic screening in the U.S. Jewish community has now all but eliminated an awful hereditary disease -- Tay-Sachs -- from that community.

Shifting the blame

Modern-day Leftists hate it when you point out that it was THEY who were the inspiration for Hitler. So what do they do? They try to shift the blame -- to even the most unlikely targets. A recent book has tried to lay the blame for the Leftist eugenicists of the early 20th century at the door of someone who opposed ALL compulsion. As the book reviewer says:

"It has long been open season on Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). Perhaps because he was the 19th century's most prominent defender of individual liberty and critic of the violence of the state, Spencer has always been the object of hatred and distortion; indeed, it sometimes seems that no accusation is too bizarre to be leveled against him...

What common ground could there be between Spencer and the eugenicists? Both, to be sure, were 'Social Darwinists,' if that means that both thought there were important sociopolitical lessons to be drawn from evolutionary biology. But Spencer and the eugenicists drew opposite lessons. For the eugenicists, the moral of evolutionary biology was that the course of human evolution must be coercively managed and controlled by a centralized, paternalistic technocracy. For Spencer, by contrast, the moral was that coercive, centralized, paternalistic approaches to social problems were counterproductive and so would tend to be eliminated by the spontaneous forces of social evolution ..."

It is a good comment on the dismal minds of Leftists that they think that nothing can be accomplished except through compulsion.

Hitler's Marxist inspiration

It may be objected, however, that comparing Hitler with the fashionable eugenicists among Western Leftists of the 20s and 30s is rather beside the point. Western Leftists surely did not contemplate anything as extreme as Hitler's genocide. Given some of the pitiless utterances of Western Leftists already mentioned, that is a fairly feeble protest but it should be noted that Hitler did not get ALL his ideas from the West of his time. He got some of them from none other than Marx and Engels. And if it can be argued that Western Leftists did not condone genocide, the same cannot be said of Marx and Engels. They in fact vociferously ADVOCATED genocide. Note this quote:

"In January 1849, months before he migrated to London, Karl Marx published an article by Friedrich Engels in Die Neue Rheinische Zeitung announcing that in Central Europe only Germans, Hungarians and Poles counted as bearers of progress. The rest must go. "The chief mission of all other races and peoples, large and small, is to perish in the revolutionary holocaust."

Genocide arose out of Marx's master-theory of history -- feudalism giving place inevitably to capitalism, capitalism to socialism. The lesser races of Europe -- Basques, Serbs, Bretons and others -- being sunk in feudalism, were counter-revolutionary; having failed to develop a bourgeoisie, they would be two steps behind in the historical process. Engels dismissed them as left-overs and ethnic trash (Voelkerabfall), and called for their extinction.

So genocide was born as a doctrine in the German Rhineland in January 1849, in a Europe still reeling from the revolutions of 1848. It was to become the beacon light of socialism, proudly held and proudly proclaimed."

The above is a quote from an article by George Watson -- a literary historian specializing in the early history of socialism (I have an earlier article of his posted here and there is a review of his major book here). The quote is taken from an article in the December 2004 issue of Quadrant, Australia's premier intellectual conservative magazine.

The fact that Hitler's genocidal ideas largely originated with Marx and Engels themselves has of course been hidden from public awareness with almost total success by a Left-dominated media and academe. It would be too embarrassing to admit. But if we look at all the historical materials available to us, there can be no doubt of the Leftist origins of Hitler's genocidal "eugenics".


De Corte, T.L. (1978) Menace of Undesirables: The Eugenics Movement During the Progressive Era. University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Pickens, D. (1968) Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
Toland, J. (1976) Adolf Hitler Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday.


There is a follow-up to the above article here