a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population, historically by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior and promoting those judged to be superior

Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention.

Francis Galton, an early advocate of eugenics
Aktion T4 marker (2009) in Berlin

Quotes edit

  • 60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People's community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read '[A] New People', the monthly magazine of the Bureau for Race Politics of the NSDAP.
  • The more severely burdened should not propagate themselves… If we do nothing but make mental and physical cripples capable of propagating themselves, and the healthy stocks have to limit the number of their children because so much has to be done for the maintenance of others, if natural selection is generally suppressed, then unless we will get new measures our race must rapidly deteriorate.
    • Eugen Bleuler (1924). Textbook of Psychiatry [Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie]. trans. A. A. Brill. New York: Macmillan. p.214.
  • We civilised men do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick .... There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands... Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man itself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
    • Charles Darwin, 1871 (p. 501). The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: MacMillan.
  • But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability? Objections such as "these are not one-dimensional abilities" apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice. I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler's death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn't the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?
  • Eugenics was not inspired by Darwin's natural selection but by ancient agricultural ARTIFICIAL selection. Eugenics is UNnatural selection.
    • Richard Dawkins, Twitter (15 February 2015).
  • One of the effects of civilisation is to diminish the rigour of the application of the law of natural selection. It preserves weakly lives that would have perished in barbarous lands.
    • Francis Galton, 1865. Hereditary talent and character. MacMillan's Magazine, 12, 157-166; 318-327.
  • There is a steady check in an old civilisation upon the fertility of the abler classes: the improvident and unambitious are those who chiefly keep up the breed. So the race gradually deteriorates, becoming in each successive generation less fit for a high civilisation.
    • Francis Galton, 1869 (p.414). Hereditary Genius. London: MacMillan.
  • The eugenics movement resists cramming into a single, unambiguous political box. ...When the Supreme Court, in the greatest victory [Buck v. Bell,] of the American eugenics movement, upheld compulsory sterilization of the mentally unfit in 1927, all liberal justices voted aye; the single dissent in this eight-to-one ruling was filed by [Pierce Butler,] the court's most conservative member, a catholic who upheld his church's position on reproductive controls.
    • Stephen Jay Gould, "Does the Stoneless Plum Instruct the Thinking Reed," in Dinosaur in a Haystack (1955)
  • I have studied with great interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock. But the possibility of excess and error is still no proof of the incorrectness of these laws.
    • Adolf Hitler according to Otto Wagener, in Hitler—Memoirs of a Confidant, editor, Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., Yale University Press (1985) pp. 145-146
  • I like Scandinavians, skiing, swimming and socialists who realize it is our business to promote social progress by peaceful methods. I dislike football, economists, eugenicists, Fascists, Stalinists, and Scottish conservatives.

Twentieth Century Authors, A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, (Third Edition). New York, The H.W. Wilson Company, 1950, (pp. 658–59)

  • Eugenics is dead.
    • Daniel Kevles, 1985. In the Name of Eugenics. New York: A. A. Knopf.
  • Abortion hope after 'gay genes' finding.
    • Jason Lewis, (16 July 1993) Daily Mail, headline; as quoted in Shea, Matthew; Lewis, Jacob, "We Spent Yesterday Talking to People Who Are Hated by the Daily Mail", VICE News, (7 October 2013).
  • Birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances of our time. If they had been advanced for eugenic reasons, it would have retarded or stopped their acceptance.
  • ... there is a fundamental difference between a regulatory system where eugenics [under whatever name] is practised for the well-being of the individual - whether human or non-human - and an authoritarian society where eugenics is practised for the notional benefit of a class, race or nation.
  • While modern social conditions are removing the crude physical checks which the unrestrained struggle for existence places on the over-fertility of the unfit, they may at the same time be leading to a lessened relative fertility in those physically and mentally fitter stocks, from which the bulk of our leaders have hitherto been drawn.
    • Karl Pearson, 1901. National Life from the Standpoint of Science. London, Methuen.
  • The only remedy, if one be possible at all, is to alter the relative fertility of the good and the bad stocks in the community.
    • Karl Pearson, 1903. On the inheritance of the mental and moral characters in man. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 33, 179-237.
  • [T]he campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal, with the final aims of Eugenics.
  • But I see a third motive which unconsciously plays an important part; it is the idea of sacrifice. A lunatic may cause the mental and economic decay of a family and also ruin it morally. If healthy human beings make great sacrifices for the community and lay down their lives by order of the state, the insane person, if he could arouse himself mentally and make a decision, would choose a similar sacrifice for himself. Why should not the state be allowed to enact this sacrifice in his case and impose on him what he would want to do himself?"
    • Dr. Robert Servatius, attorney for Nazi war criminal Karl Brandt at Nuremberg, summing up the argument presented to the court in defense of the Nazi euthanasia program and Dr. Brandt's role therein: Nazi rationale for euthanizing the "unfit." "Final Plea for Defendant Karl Brandt, by Dr. Servatius," July 14, 1947, "The Medical Case" in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law, (1949), No. 10, vol. II, October 1946 - April 1949, Nuenberg, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., p. 136. [7] This 15-volume series, also known as “The Green Series,” focuses on the 12 trials of almost 200 defendants [8] [9] (Scholars have noted similarities between the language of Buck v. Bell and that of Dr. Robert Servatius, defense attorney for Dr. Karl Brandt at Nuremberg: "Brandt's attorney introduced documents quoting extensively from the eugenics literature. He cited Harry Laughlin's 1914 proposal calling for the sterilization of fifteen million Americans and also quoted a translation of the Buck v. Bell opinion from a German text on eugenics. Brandt's defense of Nazi experiments resulting in the death of concentration camp prisoners seemed to echo the Holmes opinion. Other Nuremberg defendants also cited Buck, and a translation of the Holmes opinion appeared again as a defense example in the exhibit 'Race Protection Laws of other Countries'." Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck V. Bell, 2008, Paul A. Lombardo, Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0801898242 ISBN 9780801898242 p. 239. [10]) See also: War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, Edwin Black, Dialog Press; 2003, expanded edition, 2012, ISBN 0914153293 ISBN 9780914153290 [11][12]
  • It appears after analyzing the Fabians rationale, that the ideological links of eugenic with democratic socialism is stronger than with Nazism, fascism and communism.
    • Alberto Spektorowski and Liza Ireni-SabanQuote, Politics of Eugenics: Productionism, Population, and National Welfare (Extremism and Democracy), Routledge (2013) p. 46.
  • To aid the bad in multiplying is, in effect, the same as maliciously providing for our descendants a multitude of enemies. Institutions which 'foster good-for-nothings' commit an unquestionable injury because they put a stop to that natural process of elimination by which society continually purifies itself.
  • We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. 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.
  • Selective breeding can alter man's capacity to learn, to keep sane, to cherish justice or to be happy. There is no more certain and economical a way to improve man's environment as to improve his nature.
    • Edward Thorndike, (1913). Education Psychology: briefer course. p.13; as quoted by Richard Lynn, (2001). Eugenics: A Reassessment. Praeger.
  • In the same way as the state demands the death of its best men as soldiers, it is entitled to order the death of the condemned in its battle against epidemics and diseases. No antique sacrifices to gods and demons are demanded any longer, only a well considered expiation as a help for the community and indeed exclusively in its interest.
  • In one of my last conversations with Darwin he expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity , on the ground that in our modern civilisation natural selection had no play and the fittest did not survive... It is notorious that our population is more largely renewed in each generation from the lower than from the middle and upper classes.
  • … no man shall be subjected to any sort of mutilation or sterilisation except with his own deliberate consent, freely given.
    • H. G. Wells, The Rights of Man, or what are we fighting for?, (1940)

See also edit

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