Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Day Today 11/07/2007

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

GOT MINE!



Eugenics

In an eerily prescient piece, considering what Jim Flyn has been saying this week, Charles Murray predicted that eugenics would be a cause of the left, just as it was. And no, I don't agree with everything he writes.

But I can illustrate the nature of the spillover with one of the few obvious possibilities—that eugenics will become a cause of the Left.

Now turn to the eugenicists’ political conclusion, that government should act to shape fertility patterns. It is not something that today’s Left likes to recall, but eugenicism was predominantly a movement of the British Fabian and socialist Left, not of Tories or the old Liberals. This political affinity was no accident, for a reason expressed by Sidney Webb, one of the brightest lights of British socialism. "No consistent eugenicist can be a ‘Laisser Faire’ individualist," he wrote, "unless he throws up the game in despair. He must interfere, interfere, interfere!" Sidney and his wife Beatrice were joined in their enthusiasm for eugenics by the likes of George Bernard Shaw, Emma Goldman, and H. G. Wells.

On a related note, here is E.O. Wilson (mentioned by Charles Murray) on Human Nature, and Virginia Postrel on one of the downsides of central planning .

5 comments:

Josh said...

The history of eugenics movements makes for interesting reading -- it was a popular psuedoscience all over the world until the Nazis came along and spoiled everyone's fun. However, I understand that the much of the modern science of genetics grew out of it in the same way that astronomy grew out of astrology.

Josh said...

I'd also point out that it's not on the lefty sites where you currently hear people expressing worries that the Muslisms are outbreeding nice white folk...

Anonymous said...

For shame, jumping onto the 'take-an-academic's-arguments-out-of-context-
for-the-purposes-of-a-media-beatup ' bandwagon. And then to extrapolate out from that to ridiculous generalisations about 'the Left'. Bad form.

Paul said...

Curse you, Olthwaite, you have uncovered our dastardly plan. Had it not been for your pesky meddling, we would have reintroduced not just Eugenics but also straw boaters and the Charleston.

HORansome said...

It is a pity that everyone jumped on to the whole 'Look, the left is evil' bandwagon as soon as the Sunday Star-Times inaccurately reported the content of what Flynn was talking about. It's even more of a pity that you didn't do the research to verify the SST, since criticism of the SST has been readily available since Monday morning...