When I was at college, I didn’t major in history – I majored mostly in meals! But I do love to dabble in history, both ancient and modern and there is a great deal to be learned from just reading history. Wasn’t it the philosopher, George Santayana, who said, “Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them” – or words to that effect?
When the rumour started recently that the notorious Nazi doctor Mengele, was still alive, the world was shocked – I hope – by the mind-chilling stories of his diabolical experiments on helpless human beings in the death camps of Germany. And we lay all the blame on Hitler and his gang of Nazi criminals. We cringe at the idea that certain human beings, who were termed untermenchen or “less than fully human,” were experimented on and then discarded as garbage – all in the interests of a more pure human race.
Eugenics is the science which concerns itself with the betterment of the human race through improving heredity. The word itself was coined by an English scientist named Francis Galton, who was a cousin to Charles Darwin. The science of inherited physical characteristics was pioneered by the Austrian monk, Mendel (1822-1884) – don’t mix him up with Mengele – but it was Galton who speculated as to whether characteristics of behaviour were inherited. Bad behaviour as well as good.
Sterilize the unfit
These theories of “heredity” gave birth to the “eugenic campaigners” who wanted a human race made up of “thoroughbreds.” And like Mendel’s plants, they had to be carefully cultivated. From this philosophy, sprang the idea of getting rid of those of “inferior breed.” That is, all those who showed signs of feeble-mindedness, alcoholism, criminal tendencies, waywardness (a euphemism for promiscuity), pauperism (being poor) and, in general, all those with undesirable or anti-social manifestations. But how was the creation of this “super race” to be achieved? It was very simple. By government decree, all the “unfit” were to be sterilized to prevent them from breeding their kind and so “staining” the race.
The first eugenicists
The Eugenic Societies came into existence between the 1890s and the 1930s – long before Hitler. They had the support of some of the most respected names in England and America. Sidney Webb, founder of the London School of Economics and The New Statesman, was one of the leaders. So were scientists like Sir Julian Huxley (older brother of Aldous of Brave New World fame) and J.B.S. Haldane. The feminists go into the act in a big way under the leadership of Margaret Sanger (America) and Marie Stopes (Britain). Sex expert, Havelock Ellis, and writer George Bernard Shaw, plus inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, were strong advocates of the campaign to “clean up” the human race. Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are said to have been “sympathetic” to the movement. The eugenicists had several obsessions but their main fear was that the “lower orders” would outbreed the “superior classes” and their solution was the sterilization of those whom the State declared to be “unfit.” That they were not fully successful in their efforts is obviously by the fact that you and I are still around!
Green with envy
When Hitler came along and promulgated the “eugenic sterilization” law which forcibly sterilized the feeble-minded, schizophrenics, epileptics, the blind and all those who suffered deformities (which were “offensive” to the perfect society), some American Eugenicists were green with envy. One of them wrote: “the Germans have beaten us at our own game.”
It’s still happening
Have we learned from the mistakes of history? Not al all. In fact, great “progress” has been made in the manner of the selection of the “unfit.” These days, one doesn’t have to be feeble-minded or schizophrenic in order to qualify for extinction. You just have to be “inconvenient” or “unwanted” or “conceived out of due time.” It’s really easy to pass the “unfit” examination. You don’t even have to go to the trouble of being born. Big Brother is watching you even while you are in your mother’s womb, and if you don’t measure up to certain specifications, decided on by your mother or the doctor or society in general, one of two things will happen to you. The first is that you will simply be crushed or vacuumed out of existence. The second is that you may have the honour of being experimented on – while you are still alive – for the good of the human race.
If this seems outlandish, go back to the September issue of The Imterim where you will read the following “In Britain, experimentation on dead aborted babies and on ‘spare embryos” – still living – “has been going on for some time. Publicly on these experiments followed the blocking of a private member’s bill that would have prevented experiments on embryos.” The British government-appointed Warnock Commission Report recommends that experimentation on embryos be allowed up to 14 days after conception. Do you think they will stop there?
I believe Hitler is dead. But I’m not sure about Doctor Mengele.