Monday, December 30, 2013

How Eugenics Came to America

Eugenics Archive reports:
Financial support for the popularization of eugenics came both from individuals and foundations in America. In 1906, John Harvey Kellogg created the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek Michigan, which sponsored a series of conferences at its sanitarium in 1914, 1915, and 1928. Beginning in 1910, the Eugenics Record Office propagandized eugenics with financial support from Mrs. E. H. Harriman and the leadership of Charles Davenport and Harry Laughlin.
There's more:
After 1914, courses on eugenics were being offered at some of America's leading universities. Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, and Brown were among those listing courses that included eugenics. In the 1920s, the National Education Association's Committee on Racial Well-Being sponsored programs to help college teachers integrate eugenic content in their courses.

By 1928, eugenics was a topic in 376 separate college courses, which enrolled approximately 20,000 students. A content analysis of high school science texts published between 1914 and 1948 indicates that a majority presented eugenics was as legitimate science. These texts embraced Galton's concept of differential birthrates between the biological "fit" and "unfit," training high school students that immigration restriction, segregation, and sterilization were worthy policies to maintain in American culture.

While eugenics was indeed popular, it was poor science and it was rejected on scientific grounds. However, the hereditarian social attitudes that supported popular eugenics remain in the public consciousness to this day. From news stories about "novelty-seeking" genes, to supposedly academic tomes on intellectual "bell curves," to "reawakened" racist interpretations of American history, the social seeds for resurgent eugenics are still alive. If we are not to repeat the errors of the past, we will need to examine modern eugenic visions with intellectual rigor.
Is ObamaCare the neo-eugenics movement???