The mere mention of eugenics elicits knee-jerk reaction—
Yet by any standard of rational analysis, this vision of improvement for the human species has a strong humanistic tradition to support its further application.
These ideological leadership cadres that stand in the way of the dissemination of the truth concerning the ideals of the old and new eugenics movement indulge themselves luxuriously in the watering places of the “philanthropists,” in Paris, Geneva, New York, Brussels. These international organizations—we know them well—fritter away billions of dollars for their own partying (they call them conferences), the remnant dollars dribbling supposedly into the lands of the needy, but really sucked up by the gangsters who run the tragic show of the Third World. The poor get poorer, their conditions of life increasingly pathological, unprecedented in scope at any time in history.
Thus, as Aryans, the gypsies were not subjected to premeditated total genocide The genocide began with the Nazi accession to power in Germany, 1933; in Austria, 1938. It was both chaotic and bestial, but many German and Austrian Jews made good their escapes. There was truly hatred, a chaos of despicable cruelty in Germany, Austria, and the occupied lands up to January 1942, when the Nazis realized that Britain and the Soviet Union still stood strong against their aggression, while the United States, bruised after Pearl Harbor, rearmed in fury. At Wannsee, north of Berlin, the final solution was conjured up, the industrial annihilation of the remaining Jews of Europe. If Germany would not prevail, no Jews would be left to gloat vindictively of their own victory.
The events in Europe during these decades was thus not an exemplification of the theory of eugenics, a supposed liberal and humanitarian vision turned to dross. Rather it was, as noted above, a premeditated program of dysgenics, an aristocide, as with too many other genocides of the twentieth century. How else can we understand the ideology of hate during this century that brought about the destruction of so many talented human beings, members of civilizationally achieving ethnic and social class groups?
Thus we have here witnessed, from Armenia to Biafra and Cambodia, the dysgenic destruction of tens of millions of the most intelligent, productive humans on our planet.
Dr. Glad makes this clear: universal high intelligence, altruism, a pragmatic analysis of the facts of our current situation. Our world simply is running aground in majoritarian incapacity and with this impotence, potential medical and ecological disaster.
What a program of eugenics offers potentially goes far beyond even the ongoing strong eugenic decisions made by millions of families with regard to procreation and the raising of healthy youngsters. Here, individuals, if not the power brokers, are obeying the laws of science and thereby acting to prevent more misery and suffering. What a programmatic campaign for eugenics on a worldwide basis could do over the decades if not centuries is to lift a curtain of hope, to be substituted for the cloud of concern that the middle classes have pessimistically internalized over the last decades. We are on the cusp of a scientific reality, the uncovering of a human biological nature as never dreamed possible before.
Not merely the identification of potential disabilities in unborn children, the solving of the sadness of infertility, even to the extent of cloning a desired child when no other pathway of biological reproduction is possible. Scientists today are, in addition, and all over the world, searching for enzymatic indicators during the earliest stages of gestation, for the genes of high and low intelligence. When these markers are discovered, given the acknowledged random nature of intelligence variability even within families, it will allow mothers and fathers to choose the potential intelligence of their child-to-be. The masses will here no doubt once more vote with their test tubes for a eugenic solution.
Seymour W. Itzkoff
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence.
“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
The Great War and subsequent Depression undermined the mentality of Empire and class privilege, leaving a vacuum which was filled by an intellectual climate of extreme egalitarianism.
Western society of the twentieth century came to be dominated by a new, unified ideology. Freudianism, Marxism, B. F. Skinner’s Behaviorism, Franz Boaz’s cultural history, and Margaret Mead’s anthropology all stressed the marvelous “plasticity” and even “programmability” of Homo sapiens. It was explained over and over that human minds differ little in their innate qualities, and that it is upbringing and education which explain the differences among us.
Software is everything; hardware is identical and thus meaningless. The road to utopia lies through improved nurture alone. During the last third of the twentieth century, even while scientists were generally allowed to teach the theory of evolution, that freedom did not extend to raising the topic of humanity’s future evolution. It is remarkable that this suppression coincided with a revolution in our understanding of genetics. The censorship has now been lifted, and there is agreement even among the most implacable foes of the eugenics movement that the taboo on eugenics can no longer stand.
Myth can even contradict itself - not to mention be at variance with the real world. Regardless of when or where we live, we inevitably perceive ourselves as the Middle Kingdom, and either we smile condescendingly at the mythmaking of other cultures or we go to war with them to force upon them our (uniquely correct) worldview. And if we are better at crafting weapons, we are generally able to persuade those we have physically conquered of the superiority of our myths over theirs.
Today, attempting to reconcile religion with science, we have created a new mythology which, not surprisingly, is ripe with contradictions. Here are some of them:
Thus, the revolution in technology has been accompanied, not by the elimination of myth, but by its modification into a denial of biology. The give and take of any political processes is necessarily determined by the relative power of the participants, so that future generations are not taken into consideration during decision-making.
Ultimately, we have to decide how pleased we are with ourselves as a species. This is the great watershed dividing those who favor genetic intervention and those who oppose it. Regardless of our personal attitudes, however, there is no denying the fact that while the genetic lottery has indeed produced many winners, there are many others who have been less fortunate.
Ant interventionists point out that, in breaking off the precious baton handed on from generation to generation, we can easily produce an irreparable disaster. But no decision is also a decision. Many of our everyday decisions are fraught with genetic consequences. Who is having the babies, and how many? Anything that influences fertility is a factor in the new selection.
This can include a stroll to the nearest pharmacy to purchase contraceptive devices, a visit to an abortion clinic, or a decision to reduce or even renounce childbearing so as to be able to advance career and education. In denying free day care and financial child support to all but the welfare population, government provides incentives to some groups to bear children and disincentives to others, and this policy has already become a momentous factor in genetic selection. Eugenicists argue that we must accept our place within the physical world - as biological creatures.
To survive as a species with greater philosophical significance than the other animals, they believe we have no choice other than to agree in the area of reproduction to subordinate our interests to those of future generations and begin to manage our populations according to principles that are uncontested when applied to all other species.
In short, they advocate replacing natural selection with scientific selection. In the words of Sir Francis Galton, the “father” of eugenics and statistics,
This book concerns the meaning of life and intelligence and our place in the universe. It is based on a rational philosophy of life and love for our children, of a consciousness of the burdens and responsibilities of parenthood. It is proffered in a spirit of collegial friendship to concerned men and women of good will - both the proponents and the opponents of the eugenics movement. Hopefully, many of them will share the same values, hopes, and fears. If nothing else, we should be able to agree on the right to disagree. Fraught with history, values, and emotions, the eugenics movement sees itself as based on science, but is not limited to science.
I will here attempt to tie together a number of fields in a syncretic approach. I ask the reader’s understanding in presenting areas which might seem disparate, but any serious, wide-ranging worldview is necessarily eclectic. Humankind has entered into the first stages of a revolution in the general understanding of genetic mechanisms, new biotechnologies, and scientific explanation of areas of human health and behavior previously viewed through a moral prism.
The genie of enlightenment cannot be squeezed back into the bottle of ignorance. The prospect of holding in one’s hands in a few years time the complete human blueprint is awe-inspiring, and we must assume that future discoveries in the field of genetics will give us capabilities that we can barely imagine now.
Disagreements on what is attributable to nature and what to nurture will seem quaint, and we will have to ask ourselves as a species what to do next, how to achieve, if not utopia, at least something closer to it than we now have, or at the very least how to survive. Proponents of eugenics see their cause as part of the struggle for human rights - the rights of people who will come after us. Like Martin Luther King, they argue, we may well wonder whether we will ever reach the Promised Land.
Perhaps there is no final goal, just the search, but we owe it to our children to begin the journey, to do our best to ensure that they will be born better people than we are, and that they inherit more of our good qualities and fewer of our flaws.
What Is Eugenics?
Once the continuity of humankind with the rest of the animal kingdom was established, invigorated attempts to improve the human genome became inevitable.
Eugenics is, after all, quite simply, applied human genetics. Five of the first six presidents of the American Society of Human Genetics were also members of the board of directors of the Eugenics Society. Historically, modern genetics is an offshoot of the eugenics movement, not the reverse.
The question of where to draw the line between closely related species and subspecies can be resolved differently by different observers. In the case of modern human populations, where scientists tend to pursue conflicting sociopolitical agendas, demarcation lines are hotly contested.
The system of binomial nomenclature established in the eighteenth century by the Swedish botanist Karl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus) for mapping the relationships among all living things (at least on our planet) lumps together the totality of modern human populations as Homo sapiens. All humans alive today, whether bushmen, Australian aborigines, Japanese, Eskimos, or caucasoids, are thus included in a single species, and any discussion of subspecies is regarded with suspicion and hostility.
Issued in response to a statement by the rightist French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen on racial inequality, a 1997 statement signed by a group of prominent biologists denied the very existence of race in human populations. Actually, the denial of race had first been made by the eugenicist Julian Huxley in 1935. Again, the assertion had been triggered by political events - in this case the promulgation of Hitler’s anti-Jewish pronouncements.2 Accordingly we now have a single “modern man,” and he comes in different colors. It is true that modern genetic studies have shown remarkable similarity among all humans, but for that humans and chimpanzees share something like 99% of their non-duplicative DNA.
In the words of the scholar Seymour Itzkoff, we are dealing here with a “will to believe [which] is reminiscent of the seduction of intellectuals with abstract ideological models in politics and social thought.”4 The family trees of the cheetah and the horse provide useful contrasting models. Genetic studies have demonstrated that today’s cheetahs display so little diversity that their ancestors must at one time have come through such a narrow bottleneck that only a few individuals were able to perpetuate the species by inbreeding. Horses, by contrast, display tremendous variance as a result of independent taming and breeding in different parts of the world.
Ultimately, genetics is more like a game of chess, where the development of a position is of strictly historical interest and plays no role in determining the game’s outcome, than it is like bridge, where success is determined largely by the player’s ability to remember which cards were played earlier. The variability so obvious in human populations, even on an intragroup basis, opens the possibility of intervening in human evolution to guide it and even to search for new horizons, regardless of how present variability came about. Where we came from is a fascinating question, but where we are heading is quite another.
Since human populations have had a far longer time to evolve in Africa than outside the mother continent, African populations display far greater genetic diversity than do other races, and the tiny populations who wandered out of Africa may well have reflected at least part of this diversity. Moreover, the émigrés may have interbred with other hominid species both in Africa and with those that had arrived still earlier. Animal breeders, by comparison, can achieve significant changes in just a few generations.
These factors, combined with the professional specialization of modern society and selective mating, represent the chief sources of intra-species variance. If Homo sapiens has been around for perhaps 150,000 years, our future existence may be considerably more ephemeral. Humanity is thus a colony with a beginning and evidently an end and is viewed here, not just as all people alive at any given moment, but as the totality of future people over the entire lifespan of this community. Eugenicists reason that our moral obligations are to all of them, that we are not only part of the planet’s ecology, its custodians as well.
As the mythologist Joseph Campbell put it, we are no less than its consciousness.5 The renowned geneticist James V. Neel studied the society and genetic makeup of the Yanomama of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil and persuasively argued that the structure of their society was typical of human populations during the period when people still lived exclusively in bands, that is, for all but the last 10,000 years.
These were small, isolated populations which
practiced polygamy and incest, permitting nature to select among a
rich variety of genotypes in widely differing environments. Such
conditions were conducive to rapid evolution. Panmixia may still be
a long way off, and indeed may never be total, but the
ever-increasing outbreeding of human populations is reducing human
diversity while at the same time creating large populations that
are, perhaps, less prone to sudden, major
At the same time the issue has been blurred, racism being defined as,
The two topics are really quite different, albeit not unrelated.
Society’s elites have decided that studies of intergroup differences are too volatile to permit them to be widely discussed and have falsely presented such studies as claiming total separation of group qualities rather than relative statistical frequency of specific characteristics.
Regardless of the magnitude of such intergroup
differences, the reality is that even on an intragroup basis we
ought to be less than pleased with ourselves.
Since IQ testing was first initiated in the early part of the twentieth century, it has been utilized intensively by the US army both to select recruits and to determine the areas in which they might best be employed.
Proponents of the egalitarian grain have delighted in attacking century-old science and then applying their conclusions wholesale to modern science. Certainly early IQ tests contained questions that elicit embarrassed smiles among today’s testers. For example, was the Knight engine used in the Packard, the Lozier, the Stearns, or the Pierce Arrow? Or does Velvet Joe appear in advertisements of tooth powder, dry goods, tobacco, or soap?7
While such questions might have had some limited validity when addressed to young people who had grown up in America, they were obviously inappropriate for people who had recently immigrated to the United States and barely spoke English. Such persons performed badly on the test, but it does not automatically follow that modern tests, which have been worked on assiduously by thousands of psychologists, are equally flawed and thus totally invalid.
As the psychologist Edwin Boring quipped in a debate with the columnist Walter Lippman, “IQ is what IQ tests measure.” This is not necessarily the same thing as raw intelligence. One must distinguish between a conceptual variable and its operational definition. IQ is simply one possible measure of phenotype.
This is a potentially very encouraging result. It indicates that IQ differences may prove to be relatively more malleable than was previously thought, and the egalitarian ideal, which lies at the heart of the eugenic cause, may be more easily realizable than previously believed. On the other hand, we still can only surmise the constraints laid upon phenotype by genotype. What evidently has happened, if Flynn is correct, is a phenotypic improvement that has overridden genotypic deterioration.
The SAT I is intended as an aptitude test, as opposed to the SAT II, which measures knowledge in specific subjects. The SAT I consists of two parts, the SAT V (verbal) and the SAT M (math). Flynn goes on to point out that, simultaneous with the above-mentioned IQ gains, an opposite trend was noted in SAT verbal scores.
But the coalition did not have the general support of one group that is allied with it on many other issues.
Jews invariably come off well in testing, and thus it is not
surprising that the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation
League, and the American Jewish Congress have all filed amicus
briefs with the Supreme Court in opposition to Affirmative Action
Does such a thing as general intelligence (“g”) exist, or does each individual possess a disparate collection of unrelated abilities - that is, multiple intelligences? Any scientific discussion of “unitary intelligence” is fraught with political significance for it can be interpreted as providing the measure of a person’s overall worth or ranking.
On the other hand, there is no denying the existence of idiot-savants - people who have difficulty in coping with even the most elementary everyday tasks but who may be accomplished musicians or sculptors, can add a series of numbers with no less precision than a calculator, or can easily recount weather conditions on a randomly selected day in the eighteenth century. In other words, the correlation between their one special ability and their other abilities is negative.
And we need not limit ourselves to the exceptional. When specialized aptitude tests were administered to a group of students in place of global measures of intelligence, more than half of them scored in the top 10% on a specific ability.14 How then to compare or evaluate disparate abilities?
The significance of g-loadings may well be
exaggerated - or even a non sequitur. Given the limited physical
space occupied by the brain, hyper-development of certain abilities
may even necessarily come at the expense of others. In many ways the
question is like the proverbial glass which is either half empty or
half-full. It all depends on the observer’s point of view.
How can we best protect the interests of still unborn generations?
This is extremely difficult in a world where many regard children as an ordinary commodity. The so-called “demographic transition,” in which people in advanced societies choose to have fewer children, is even studied by economists and demographers in all manner of curves, graphs, and charts, establishing the cost of one child as the equivalent of X number of automobiles, televisions, or what have you.
What are the consequences for the gene pool of selecting out
young women of ability to pursue education and careers, thus
reducing their fertility (in 20% of U.S. couples, delayed fertility
turns out to be cancelled fertility) while remunerating young women
of lesser ability on the basis of how many children they bear, even
denying them abortions when they themselves request them?
Whereas girls in countries with developed welfare programs can choose to escape school by becoming pregnant if they find themselves unable to cope with an academic program, an early 2001 study showed that fully a third of American women earning more than $55,000 a year are childless at age 40 and are likely to live out their lives without ever giving birth.15 While “Total Fertility Rates” (TFR - the number of children a woman has in her lifetime) represent an important yardstick in measuring fertility patterns, generational length also plays a role. Obviously, the earlier a woman begins having children, the more offspring she can bear.
Imagine two groups, in one of which women have their children at the average age of 20 and the other at 30. The first group will effectively have 50% more children than the first even if the TFR is identical. In the New York Longitudinal Study of Youth, for example, women in the bottom 5% of intelligence had their first baby more than seven years earlier than women in the top 5%.16
Abortion is significant in terms of the eugenics argument to the degree that it affects selection, particularly when the service is readily available to high-IQ groups, who can easily pay for it, but is denied to low-IQ groups, who are dependent on receiving the service on a subsidized or free basis. The abortion rate is related to years of education, which can be used as an imperfect substitute for IQ. In 1979, the standardized U.S. abortion rate by years of education for women 20 years of age and older was 44.3 for women with a high school education but only 3.2 for those who had less than eight years of schooling.17 Another significant dysgenic factor is war.
The creature who sees himself as molded in the image of God has used his improved technology to do vastly greater violence not only to his environment but also to himself. And it has been the egalitarians, not the hereditarians, who have been the least squeamish about murder and exile, be it in Russia, China, or Cambodia. There is a sad consistency to their logic: if everyone is the same, anyone who interferes with achieving utopia in our time can simply be eliminated and replaced when the next generation shows up.
The contribution of outstanding individuals to culture, science, and the general quality of life is disproportionate to their numbers. Just imagine what the history of music would be like without just a handful of the great composers - Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn. The same sort of “short list” could be made up of physicists, mathematicians, philosophers. Eliminate these geniuses and the average ability level of the next generations will not be altered perceptibly, but how impoverished our world would be!
The lesson to be drawn is that
the turbulence and magnitude of social upheaval do not have a
necessary relationship to their genetic consequences.