07 October 2008

War against the weak

The belief that human stock could be improved by careful breeding is not something devised by the Nazis alone. Much before the Nazis got onto it, eugenics, or the study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding, was practiced in the United States of America.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, frustrated by the influx of immigrants from various parts of the world (particularly from Asia and southern and eastern Europe), America had become quite concerned with the racial composition of the immigrants, and, in turn, its own population.

In response to this growing problem, a group of eugenics practitioners in America had decided to take serious measures in limiting immigration. What is of greater importance is that some of these measures actually led to a sort of ethnic cleansing of the American population.

In his 2003 book, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, American investigative author Edwin Black states that “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.”

According to Black’s November 2003 article in the History News Network titled The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics, from which I’ve quoted above,

“Elitists, utopians, and so-called ‘progressives’ fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented [Sir Francis] 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.”

[Citation: The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics by Edwin Black, History News Network, 24 November 2003.]

You can also read a previous post of mine Eugenics, an American point of view.

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