Eugenics, alive and well in America and how Racism can be Eliminated
Eugenics, a movement that experienced significant traction following its importation to Nazi Germany from the United States, became the perceived “science” that justified atrocities during the Holocaust (Abate). Unfortunately, traces of the eugenics movement remain evident in contemporary America, shaping the country’s political philosophies and legal framework.
The term “eugenics” was initially coined by Francis Galton in 1883. Influenced by his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s seminal work “On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection or Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”, Galton authored “Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development” in 1883. This publication ignited a philosophical shift that embedded a worldview into American culture and global consciousness that persists and continues to raise ethical questions to this day.
In the early 20th century, eugenics gained prominence and was widely accepted as a scientific fact. Advocates of eugenics postulated the biological superiority of certain individuals over others, claiming to substantiate their assertions through IQ testing and biased observations. These alleged proofs sought to establish hierarchies among races, asserting that some were more intelligent and capable than others. This scientific perspective, rooted in flawed methodologies such as anthropometry, challenged the egalitarian spirit of the 14th Amendment, leading to accusations of hypocrisy. Not all individuals were considered equal or worth advocating for under this paradigm, and those regarded as genetically inferior or intellectually feeble were marginalized and subjected to oppressive measures. Unable to support euthanasia of “imperfect” children or those with developmental challenges, American society gravitated towards sterilization, particularly within marginalized communities. Distressingly, this trend continues even today.
Influenced by the widespread acceptance of eugenics, the Nazis felt entitled to apply this seemingly new science within Germany. The United States, during the Nazi regime, denied entry to over two million Jewish immigrants. However, it is noteworthy that as early as 1897, America had already initiated laws aimed at “eliminating” degenerate aspects from the national gene pool. In 1907, the first sterilization laws were enacted in the U.S., predating the rise of Nazi Germany (Head). This underscores that the foundations for maintaining a “pure race,” primarily composed of Anglo-Saxons and those of Nordic ancestry, were laid in the United States long before Hitler rose to power.
Indeed, it appears that Hitler drew inspiration for his racial purity theory from contemporary American scientific research. Hitler even expressed his admiration for Madison Grant, a prominent American advocate of eugenics and author of “The Passing of a Great Race,” stating, “Your book was my bible,” (History Channel).
Charles Davenport, a renowned American biologist and eugenicist, expanded upon Francis Galton’s work and promulgated theories of racial inferiority. Davenport was known to ask rhetorically, “Can we build a wall high enough around this country to keep out the cheaper races?” He further argued that society bore enormous costs due to “strains” of paupers, sex offenders, and criminals, implying a need to control their proliferation.
Strikingly, over a century later, a similar rhetoric reemerged from the forty-fifth president of the United States. In recent years, the president echoed Davenport’s sentiments in his speeches and tweets, underscoring how deeply the philosophies of Galton, Darwin, and Davenport are embedded within American discourse and culture. This rhetoric often goes unnoticed because of its entrenchment in our everyday language and education.
A disquieting manifestation of this is evident in a New York Times interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, where she tacitly acknowledged the eugenics-driven control of marginalized communities through abortions and sterilization. Her language and assumptions reflect the pervasive, albeit often unacknowledged, acceptance of the notion that some races are superior to others, thus shaping behaviors and policies.
The eugenics movement’s impact extends to contemporary American laws, which provide financial incentives for sterilization among addicts and inmates. Morton Birnbaum reveals, “22 states have laws that permit compulsory eugenic sterilization without patient consent,” signifying the deeply entrenched legal structures that validate eugenics-inspired rhetoric (Birnbaum).
Prominent figures such as Jack London, Alexander Graham Bell, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford, and Margaret Sanger believed in this flawed science, perpetuating a discriminatory discourse that persists today. Calvin Coolidge, then Vice-President-elect, argued in a 1921 Good Housekeeping magazine article that “biological laws show us that Nordics deteriorate when mixed with other races.” In the same vein, the forty-fifth president is known to have referred to marginalized communities as “animals.”
The legacy of the eugenics movement is underscored by the fact that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, used the term “bred” to refer to her upbringing. The choice of words implies a continued adherence to the competitive spirit fueled by eugenic philosophy.
Alfie Kohn, in his book “No Contest: The Case Against Competition,” argues that collaboration, rather than competition, is key to societal harmony. Kohn asserts that our societal obsession with winners and losers and concepts of superiority and inferiority are detrimental to our collective psyche. He advocates a shift away from the divisive and unscientific narratives of eugenics towards a more inclusive and collaborative worldview.
Wolfgang Smith, a mathematician and physicist who holds the position of Professor of Mathematics at MIT, eloquently articulates a thought-provoking idea. He challenges the dogmatic assertion that evolution is an established fact without providing information about the individuals or methods responsible for establishing it. The supposed evidence supporting evolution is touted as irrefutable and beyond verification or contradiction, yet the specifics of this evidence remain obscure.
The influence of Charles Darwin can be traced through figures like Francis Galton and Charles Davenport, and further back to ancient societies like the Spartans and Romans. These historical examples demonstrate a recurring pattern of mistreatment and discrimination against certain groups based on perceived superiority or inferiority. The root cause of these repetitive errors lies in our lack of understanding of our origin story — who we are and where we come from. Gaining insight into these fundamental questions is crucial for comprehending our true worth and identity.
Our knowledge of human history remains limited, and we continue to perpetuate narratives about racial superiority and inferiority, leading to communication breakdowns among individuals. However, in recent years, scientific advancements, particularly in the study of telomeres and DNA sequencing, have provided potential answers to our human story. The challenge ahead is to foster a figure like Darwin in our generation, who can shape a new human narrative centered around collaboration rather than competition, embracing the essence of humanity from a spiritual perspective.
While Darwin’s intentions were likely to liberate human understanding from religious influence, unforeseen consequences arose in history, such as the rise of the Third Reich and the propagation of harmful ideologies. A key figure within the Republican Party, Stuart Stevens, has confessed to exploiting racial sentiments to secure political success. Although Darwin’s contributions were significant, it is essential to enter a new era of AI and bioengineering with fresh perspectives to avoid perpetuating detrimental cycles.
The age of anthropometry, where physical and cognitive aspects of human beings are thoroughly measured, demands a profound understanding of our true selves. By comprehending our divine nature and innate collaborative abilities, we can forge a new human story that transcends the Darwinian cycle, ultimately steering us away from pandemics, wars, and superficial social media discourse.
Ancient wisdom has long suggested that humans exist in multiple realms, not merely as physical beings, but as interdimensional spirits. Proving this notion scientifically could have potentially averted historical tragedies such as euthanasia and the Holocaust. Jim Rohn, a renowned thinker, wisely said, “If you want to amend your errors, you must begin by amending your philosophy,” underscoring the necessity for a new and transformative philosophy.
The prevalent role of eugenics in American history requires a paradigm shift toward a true Fourteenth Amendment, one that genuinely promotes equality and affirms the value of every life. Embracing a synthesis of science and spirituality will lay the foundation for a philosophy and an origin story that unites all of humanity.
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