The Suppression of Eugenics

Although the attack on eugenics had been launched in the late 1920s, eugenics survived even the embrace of Nazi Germany, and in 1963 the Ciba Foundation convened a conference in London under the title “Man and His Future,” at which three distinguished biologists and Nobel Prize laureates (Herman Muller, Joshua Lederberg, and Francis Crick) all spoke strongly in its favor. Despite this upbeat note, eugenics was about to undergo a total rout.

Outraged by pictures of police dogs attacking civil rights protesters in the South, the public found discussions of genetic racial differences intolerable. In 1974, a large group of black students descended upon the office of Professor Sandra Scarr in the Institute of Child Development of the University of Minnesota: One graduate student in education said he was going to kill us if we continued to do research on black children. Another paced up and down in front of us calling, “honkie, honkie, honkie.” When Arthur Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley visited the Institute in 1976, he and Scarr were spat upon by a phalanx of radical students, some of whom physically attacked the speakers and those who had invited him. Not only were Jensen’s lectures regularly broken up, he also received bomb threats, and he had to be put under constant guard.

In March 1977, the National Academy of Sciences sponsored a forum in Washington, D.C., on research with recombinant DNA. As the first session began, protestors began marching down the aisles waving placards and charts.144 Hans Eysenck at a lecture to have been delivered at the London School of Economics was first prevented from speaking by the chanting of “No Free Speech for Fascists!” and then physically attacked and had to be rescued from the stage, his eyeglasses broken and blood streaming from his face. When his book The IQ Argument appeared in the United States, wholesalers and booksellers were threatened with arson and violence, and the book became almost impossible to obtain.
The above scenes, and many others like them, were triggered by assertions of mean IQs differing between racial groups, specifically between whites and blacks. No one seemed to notice that the issue was essentially irrelevant to the cause of a universalist eugenics advocated for all groups, without exception.

The second chief factor in the suppression of eugenics was the launching of the Holocaust memorial movement subsequent to the 1967 Arab/Israeli war. So effective was the campaign that polls show that many more Americans can identify the Holocaust than Pearl Harbor or the atomic bombing of Japan. Those who are familiar with the term “eugenics” now associate it with “Holocaust” and “racism.” The general public is totally unaware that on September 16, 1939, the leaders of the eugenics movement in the United States and England explicitly rejected the racist doctrines of the Nazi government (see Appendix 1), as did many German eugenicists. An enormous, albeit fully understandable, confusion has taken place within the Jewish community, and this confusion is fraught with significance for Jews today. According to the National Jewish Population Survey, Jews in America entered into a precipitous decline in numbers in the decade 1990-2000, reflecting a pattern typical of high-IQ groups.147 Half of Jewish women aged 30-34 have no children, and nearly half of American Jews are 45 or older.148 This is literally a matter of survival.

Beginning in the early 1980s, publications on eugenics enjoyed a considerable upswing, including a huge number of articles in the published literature and later over the Internet, but even so the majority of these publications are still either hostile or, at best, guarded. One relatively recent example is William H. Tucker’s The Science and Politics of Racial Research (1994). While claiming to support freedom of scientific inquiry, Tucker dismisses “the trivial scientific value of IQ heritabilities,” maintains that scientific rights of research “might be qualified by the rights of others,” muses whether certain research topics should be pursued at all, advocates denying government funding to racial research, proposes applying the Nuremburg Code to researchers, states that the subjects of psychological research “can be wronged without being harmed” and that they should be informed of the nature of the research in case they find the results of the research unflattering. He goes on to quote the phrases “those miserable 15 IQ points” and “Are you using such gifts as you 90 Future Human Evolution possess for or against the people? Tucker can best be seen as a moderate in the egalitarian camp.

Missa and Susanne’s 1999 book De l’eugénisme d’État à l’eugénisme privé (From State Eugenics to Private Eugenics) is a collection of articles authored by a group of Belgian and French scholars and scientists, some of whom are hostile to eugenics while others are actually supportive. Even so, eugenics in various places is described as “utopian” and “unrealistic.” Its goals are “unachievable,” and it represents “a collection of false ideas” which are “contradictory” and “disproven by research.” The very mention of the term can call up “unconditional condemnation for a shameful practice.” Other phrases include “opprobrium,” “the horrors of classical eugenics,” “the danger of a eugenic drift,” “American charlatans,” “a dangerous trend,” “the threat of eugenics,” “fear,” “risk,” “menace,” “peril,” “insidious,” “rampant,” “radical,” “immoral,” “elitist,” “the demon of eugenics,” “the temptation of eugenics,” “the worrisome Trojan horse of eugenics,” “the specter of eugenics,” “Nazi atrocities,” “gas chambers,” “racism,” “ethnic discrimination,” “the slippery slope of eugenics,” “detestable reputation,” “barbaric,” “fear,” “warning,” “fatal,” “vigilant resistance to this tendency,” “genetic discrimination,” “sterilizations and lobotomies,” “creeping determinism,” “genetic reductionism,” “reduces culture to nature,” “the cult of the body,” “totalitarian,” “utilitarian drift,” “inhumane,” “a mad idea,” “materialist reductionism,” “biologism,” “geneticism,” “existential or metaphysical horror,” “vehement, categorical, and definitive condemnation,” “universal and absolute condemnation,” “absolutely evil,” “worse than murder,” “Thou shalt not clone!,” “radical evil,” “absolutely bad, absolutely contrary to good,” “perversion,” “intrinsically evil,” “intrinsically and necessarily negative with regard to the autonomy of others,” “instrumentalization and objectivization of others,” “the genetic impoverishment of cloning.

The campaign has been remarkably effective in achieving its goals. In 1969, Eugenics Quarterly, successor to Eugenic News, was renamed the Annals of Human Genetics. The following year, shortly after the first isolation of a DNA frag ment which constituted a single identifiable gene, the young scientists involved in the project decided they would not continue their work on DNA. The reason, they reported, was that such work would eventually be put to evil uses by the large corporations and governments that control science.151 Borrowing a phrase from the Soviet purges, egalitarians denounced eugenics as a “pseudo-science,” so that the American Eugenics Society was forced to change its name, in 1973, to the Society for the Study of Social Biology. In 1990, the College Board changed the name of the SAT from Scholastic Aptitude Test to Scholastic Assessment Test. In 1996, it dropped the words altogether and declared that the initials no longer stood for anything whatsoever. The eugenicists themselves all ran for cover, reclassifying themselves as “population scientists,” “human geneticists,” “anthropologists,” “demographers,” and “genetic counselors.”




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