Eugenics Movement

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Eugenics was a group of sciences aimed at controlling hereditary factors in an effort to improve the human race through biological and social means. During the 19th and early 20th century the principle that the white race was superior was widely accepted in both intellectual and mainstream thought in America and Europe.

After Darwin published his principles of evolution, important writers in America and Europe began to develop a new science which they called eugenics. Many eugenic laws were passed in America and other countries, especially Protestant counties, aimed at sterilizing retarded individuals--often youths. The NAZIs built a much expanded program aimed at not only retarded children and adults, but physically handicapped children as well. At first the Nazis’ program focused on sterilization, but eventually it evolved into the T4 euthanasia program--state sanctioned murders by medical personnel.

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

The movement targetted all those who suffered from a disability or possessed low intelligence or 'weakness' were considered 'defective'. This included the 'feeble-minded', 'lunatics', epileptics, alcoholics, deaf-mutes, the unemployable, the tubercular, the immoral, prostitutes, anyone from another race, those with incurable diseases such as syphilis or tuberculosis, and even 'mouth-breathers'. These 'defective' people were thus taken from society and locked away into institutions. The Eugenics movement wanted the general population to be of "good quality stock". It considered racism, exploitation and discrimination to be of the norm.

All about Eugenics Movement

The Eugenics idea developed during the nineteenth century when new scientific and philosophical ideas became popular, though the methods used have been around for as long as the human race has been on the planet.

One of the best examples of eugenics can be seen during the 1930s and 1940s Hitler's plan to create an Aryan or "Master Race". He began his plan during the Second World War with his building of Death Camps and the extermination of Jews. Had he been allowed to continue, Hitler would have exterminated any human being that did not have blue eyes, blond hair and white skin.

Embraced as a "science"

Eugenics was embraced as a "science" and an ideology in the U.S., and to a lesser degree in Britain Some of America's leading lights - among them presidents, Supreme Court judges, millionaires, Protestant clergymen and eminent scientists - supported the movement or became active member. America was perceived as a "Nordic" race that should not be mixed with inferior blood.

The movement was not only aimed at barring the immigration of inferior races such as Blacks, Latinos, Asians and East Europeans, but fully supported "improving racial stock" by sterilizing people who were "not useful" to society. Even physically eliminating the defectives, "putting them to sleep" as an act of mercy and compassion, was also advocated.

The idea extended to prohibiting these people from marrying, banning interracial unions, and forcing unfit couples who had not undergone sterilization to have abortions. Between the two world wars, some 60,000 persons were forced to undergo sterilization, most of them poor women or Native Americans. At the same time, nationwide contests were held for "the fittest couples" (Nordic, of course) and the most fertile men and women.

Britain

The British Eugenics Education Society was founded in 1907. The Society attempted to translate the ideals into legislative measures for controlling marriage and the reproduction of the “unfit”. Many categories of deviant behavior such as alcoholism, promiscuity, and criminality, and also what eugenicists termed “the feebleminded”, by whom they meant the “mentally retarded”, and “moral imbeciles”, such as single women who had children, were considered “unfits.” Further eugenicists in Europe and the United States attempted to prevent evolution’s losers from expanding their number by introducing birth control and sterilization.

Germany

Social welfare under Hitler aimed “punishment” which was used to cleanse the “body of the race” of its undesirable members. Cleansing meant targeting Jews, Roma (Gypsies), the mentally ill, and political dissenters for elimination. The entire asylum population in Germany was eradicated under Nazi “euthanasia” programmes. Although eugenics may not have led directly to the construction of the “final solution”, it played a significant role in providing it with a rational authority. It provided similar legitimate authority to the debate about population quality elsewhere.

CopperBytes

  • Regulated eugenics continues in some parts of the world; China enacted restrictions on marriages involving persons with certain disabilities and diseases in 1994. [1]
  • Modern eugenics is directed chiefly toward the discouragement of propagation among the unfit (negative eugenics) and encouragement of propagation among those who are healthy, intelligent, and of high moral character (positive eugenics). [1]
  • The first half of the 20th cent. saw extreme coercive application of such principles by governments ranging from miscegenation laws and enforced sterilization of the insane in the United States and other nations to the Holocaust of Nazi Germany. [1]

90 degrees

In the United States interest in eugenics in recent years, has centered around genetic screening . It is known, for example, that hemophilia, albinism, and certain structural abnormalities are inheritable. Family gene maps, called pedigrees, can help families with serious diseases avoid having children with the same diseases through genetic counseling, and, increasingly, prospective parents can be tested directly for the presence of undesired genes. If conception has occurred, tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling can be used to detect certain genetic defects in the fetus. Embryo biopsy , or preimplantation diagnosis, can be used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization prior to pregnancy to test embryos for a number of genetic defects; only those found free of defects are implanted and allowed to develop. [1]

Unlearn

The principal manifestations of eugenics are racism and abortion. Eugenics is the driving force behind euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, and embryo and fetal research. It is the driving force in global population policy, and affects American foreign policy.

References:

  • INTRODUCTION TO EUGENICS
  • The Evil of Eugenics

Source

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Encyclopedia.com