My Dad Is Genetically Superior To Your Dad Part 2

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This is Part 2. You should really read Part 1 first. You can find it by clicking here.

In the early twentieth century, eugenics was a rapidly growing and accepted science in the world of the intellectuals. Thanks to money and support from the rich and powerful, most major universities had programs for eugenics research and many organizations worked to sway public opinion in favor of its teachings. Thanks to the idea of eugenics, the wealthy and successful no longer had to feel bad for those beneath them, for their right to their stations in life was preordained by evolution and provable by science. After all, if two wealthy and successful people had a child, wouldn’t that child also turn out to be wealthy and successful? Such was the popular thinking of the time. Of course, not all people were quite so convinced by such so-called research, but you can probably guess which side got the lion’s share of the research funding.

As part of the so-called great leap forward, many of pro-eugenic scientists and organizations began pushing for policies that would put their beliefs into practice. The first target were the mentally handicapped and insane. As studies began to show that mental illness could be passed down to later generations, laws began to be passed allowing for the forced sterilization of those in state mental institutions. One of the first countries to adopt such policies was the United States, with California at the forefront of new eugenic laws, but such policies quickly spread across most of the developed world. Eugenics was seen as a progressive cause, with its main opponent being the Catholic church, which ironically argued against the movement on the basis that the body was sacred and that control of one’s body should lie with the individual. In some countries, including some U.S. states, sterilization policies were eventually expanded to include people with low IQs, criminals, and in some cases those born with genetic physical disabilities.

As time went on, the eugenics movement quickly expanded to judging entire groups of people as inferior rather than just certain individuals. According to research just as flawed as everything else the eugenicists produced, entire races of people were genetically inferior, as could be shown by their level of economic development. It should come as no surprise which racial groups got the shitty end of that stick. Such racist beliefs had been around long before eugenics, but with the so-called trials of scientific rigor suddenly applied, it became much more okay to push through some truly shitty laws and policies.

What followed was a truly insane amount of circular thinking. For most countries in Europe and North America, the widespread belief in eugenics raised concerns over racial purity. These claims were used to pass numerous racist, segregationist, and anti-immigrant laws. The purpose of these laws were to keep the blood lines of the so-called Nordic race, people whose ancestors came from western and northern Europe, as pure as possible. It was all exactly as fucked up as it sounds. Similar policies were followed in Japan, though of course those policies focused on the idea of the genetic superiority of Japanese people over everybody else. In Brazil, things took a decidedly different turn, with the dominant white minority enacting eugenic policies meant to encourage intermarriage in order to breed out the declared bad traits of the black population. Similar policies were enacted in Australia regarding its aborigine population.

As the idea of eugenics became more mainstream throughout the developed world, its claims became much more widely believed. Raising the quality of a country’s genetic stock was seen as paramount for not only its continued existence, but for the overall success of humankind. The embracing of eugenics was seen as the final shaking off of the old rituals of the past in order to embrace the shining golden age of a scientific future. It was seen as human civilization shaking itself free of the shackles of the natural world, taking control of its own evolution. Those deemed unfit would be left behind, the harm to them not mattering since they were of inferior stock anyways. Few other ideas have ever sprouted so much evil.