Some of Our Heros Promoted Eugenics

We usually associate the eugenics movement with Nazi racial hygiene – mass sterilizations, killing of homosexuals, handicapped people, gypsies and Jews.  Eugenics helped to shape Adolf Hitler’s view of the world. He was not the first, or last, to promote the idea of cleansing the human race.

I came upon an interesting Youtube video that quotes some prominent people in history and their views on eugenics. In each instance, the speaker wished to rationalize inequality.

Not included in the video: The Alberta 1928 Sexual Sterilization Act. “The danger of procreation with its attendant risk of multiplification of the evil by transmission of the disability to the progeny were eliminated.” An amendment in 1936 permitted the sterilization of “mental defectives” without their consent.

There were many famous figures in history who held extreme eugenic points of view:

Winston Churchill

“The best men must cohabit with the best women…if the flock is to be as perfect as possible.” Plato 360 BC

“It does not, however, seem impossible that by an attention to breed, a certain degree of improvement, similar to that among animals might take place among men.” Thomas Malthus 1798

“Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally.” Francis Galton, 1883

“I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding: and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done.” Theodore Roosevelt

“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” Margaret Sanger 1922

“We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Margaret Sanger 1939

“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 1946

“There are three ways of securing a society that shall be stable as regards population. The first is that of birth control, the second that of infanticide or really destructive wars, and the third that of general misery except for a powerful minority.” Bertrand Russel 1953

“In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it is just as horrible not to say it.” Jacques Cousteau 1991

The theme of my upcoming novel, Quietus: A dictator uses euthanasia as a form of population control. Is it really so far from reality?



2 thoughts on “Some of Our Heros Promoted Eugenics

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  1. I remember reading about promoters of eugenics a long while ago – and that Oxford and Harvard were involved in research early on in the 1900’s .. pretty scary. Thanks Madelaine for this post.


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