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Reviving eugenics

Eugenics textI really wasn’t going to expend any energy on Jules Crittenden’s attack on my post about fatherhood and masculinity, because from the outset it was so fundamentally silly that it hardly seemed worth devoting any effort to reading carefully, let alone responding to.

But then TRex, in his response, pointed out something I’d overlooked in Crittenden’s post, to wit:

Look, staying home with the kids is fine, if that’s what you want to do. Nothing wrong with it. If your wife can take six months off every two years to squeeze another one out and breastfeed it, then fine. But for God’s sake stop whining about your manliness and use it. I have bad news for you. The people doing all the breeding around the world aren’t interested in consciousness-expanding gender neutrality and growing as New Age androgenoids or reducing their carbon footprints or trying to understand you in order to respect your differences or any of that. They are interested in your stuff, however, and sooner or later, they will swamp your kind out of existence. And a lot of them might not even bothering sticking around to be fathers at all while they’re at it.

This, folks, is clear and unadulterated eugenics. I know that Crittenden’s friends at National Review have been trying to revive eugenics as somehow “respectable,” but even John Derbyshire and Ramesh Ponnuru are smart enough to do so without appearing quite so crudely xenophobic. (“They are interested in your stuff”?)

Compare, if you will, Crittenden’s formula above with that proffered by the eugenicist Madison Grant in his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race (which was a national bestseller at the time):

We Americans must realize that the altruistic ideals which have controlled our social development during the past century, and the maudlin sentimentalism that has made America ‘an asylum for the oppressed,’ are sweeping the nation toward a racial abyss. If the Melting Pot is allowed to boil without control, and we continue to follow our national motto and deliberately blind ourselves to all ‘distinctions of race, creed, or color,’ the type of native American of Colonial descent will become as extinct as the Athenian of the age of Pericles, and the Viking of the days of Rollo.

Then there is Lothrop Stoddard’s conclusion to his 1922 book, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, also a bestseller:

“Finally perish!” That is the exact alternative which confronts the white race. For white civilization is to-day conterminous with the white race. The civilizations of the past were local. They were confined to a particular people or group of peoples. If they failed, there were always some unspoiled, well-endowed barbarians to step forward and “carry on.” But today there are no more white barbarians. The earth has grown small, and men are everywhere in close touch. If white civilization goes down, the white race is irretrievably ruined. It will be swamped by the triumphant colored races, who will obliterate the white man by elimination or absorption. What has taken place in Central Asia, once a white and now a brown or yellow land, will take place in Australasia, Europe, and America. Not to-day, nor yet to-morrow; perhaps not for generations; but surely in the end. If the present drift be not changed, we whites are all ultimately doomed. Unless we set our house in order, the doom will sooner or later overtake us all.

If Crittenden is out there reading this somewhere, I’d like him to explain to us the differences between his view of those hordes of people who are not “our kind” awaiting to invade us and that of Grant and Stoddard — men who, as subsequent history made plain, were not only terribly wrong (particularly about the threat posed by Asians and their supposed utter unassimilability) but whose eugenics proved to be a murderously foul worldview, particularly when put into action.

I don’t see how Crittenden’s argument can be seen as anything other than eugenicist. Perhaps he can explain how.

Or perhaps Glenn Reynolds, who gave this post an approving link, can similarly enlighten us.

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David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.