A Call to Action

It's quite reasonable to imagine that, had Hitler never been born, the Eugenics Movement of the early 1900's would have continued to flourish, and there would be eugenics programs in place in most advanced countries today. Policies would evolve to make use of new knowledge of genetics as it was acquired, and people would take eugenics for granted as merely "common sense," and "just basic human kindness." But unfortunately, the vagaries of history and limitations of the human mind have conspired to construct a psychological trap which has thus far prevented any serious discussion of eugenics since the end of World War II. The "trap" is the universally accepted belief that "Hitler supported eugenics, so eugenics must be evil." It seems incredible that this non sequitur has totally paralyzed the Western world on the issue of our own evolution for decades. There were 28 other countries besides Nazi Germany that practiced eugenics, and nothing monstrous happened there. Sweden's eugenics program lasted 40 years. Like Pavlov's dogs, we in the Western world are the objects of conditioning. Pavlov rang a bell just before feeding the dogs, and soon they began to salivate at the sound of the bell. We have heard "eugenics" paired with horrific stories of Nazi atrocities so many times that we now feel negative emotions upon hearing the word, and we fear and hate the very idea of it. Like a knee-jerk response, it may not be rational, and it may not be fair, but that doesn't matter to the more primitive mechanisms of our brains. Fortunately, such conditioning can be extinguished. There are numerous studies in the psychological literature on this. The bottom line is that if Pavlov starts feeding his dogs without ringing the bell first, then gradually the dogs will cease salivating at the sound of a bell. Similarly, if people see, hear, read, and talk about eugenics when it is not coupled with frightening images of the Holocaust, then eventually the conditioned negative emotions towards it will fade away. Making this happen becomes the responsibility of all of us who support eugenics.

The non sequitur joins forces with the unfavorable Zeitgeist

The Zeitgeist of the Western world at the turn of the millennium is completely and utterly unfavorable to eugenics. All the facts that comprise the edifice of scientific knowledge upon which it rests have been declared verboten by the liberal Thought Police. These are not matters of opinion, these are scientific facts. Twin studies and adoption studies have found that all traits have some genetic component--intelligence, kindness, phobias, political beliefs, favorite colors, sexual preference, religious faith, vegetable aversions--and on and on and on. IQ is more a function of heredity than it is of environment--adopted children show no correlation with their adoptive families whatsoever by the time they are grown. Yet these facts have been deliberately kept from the public by the media and academia, and branded "racist."

Thankfully, Communism as a political system has fallen into "the ash heap of history," as Ronald Reagan predicted, but it's ideology of egalitarianism is alive and well in both the media and academia, which currently have a strangle-hold on public opinion. Anyone who dares question egalitarianism publicly will face serious consequences.

Recall that the idea of Communism sounded nice--that "everyone will share, and work toward the common good." But behind that facade lurked the most destructive system of governement that ever existed. Likewise, egalitarianism sounds nice. It asserts: "All individuals and groups are born exactly equal on every trait that matters." The simple fact is that it's demonstrably false.

Paper Tiger

Egalitarianism and the association of eugenics with the Nazis may seem to have created a hopeless situation, but it's more like a paper tiger. The fact is, no concerted effort has ever been made to overcome it. We can even allow eugenics' unfairly sullied reputation to work for us in the beginning--we do nothing to reinforce it, of course, but if the word "eugenics" generates a lot of controversy, then so be it. The media follow controversy, and eugenics is nothing if not controversial. Talk radio thrives on it. We will get a brief "free ride," and then people will come to realize that we are serious, dedicated people who are concerned with the well-being of future generations. We might consider hiring a publicist and a marketing analyst to help us over the long term.

Eugenics needs to enter the public discourse, and people need to hear the common-sense arguments in favor of it. We should expect that some in the media will try to suppress eugenics' message, or distort it, just as they more generally do not cover (or deliberately slant) facts and events that are at variance with their own liberal, egalitarian views. However, others will cover it fairly, and with the Internet, C-Span, and who-knows-what next, eugenics won't be suppressed for long.

Safety in Numbers

Eugenicists need to join together in an organization, and to speak out publicly in articles, speeches, debates, and every forum possible. (I can say from my own somewhat limited experience that in debates, most anti-eugenicists aren't very formidable opponents, as they tend to be overly-emotional and terribly ill-informed.) Within 2 or 3 years, we should hold an international eugenics conference. A number of eminent scientists favor eugenics (such as Francis Crick, James Watson, Joshua Lederberg, Lee Silver, et al). The conference will be a great accomplishment, in and of itself, and we can publish the proceedings. It ought to be a held again every other year. It will also be newsworthy, in light of the many luminaries in attendance--to say nothing of the noisy protesters marching outside!

It's essential to groom several individuals as our media spokespeople. I deliberately use the word "groom" in 2 senses. The first is to prepare for a role, the second is to "spruce up." Like the politicos, we must be media-savvy in order to succeed, so our spokespeople must practice debating, dealing with unruly audiences, etc., and in addition, we must take all necessary steps to make them as "camera friendly" as humanly possible.

The fact that eugenics is a taboo subject means it's worse than being ignored--it means there's a "built-in" opposition to it on the part of the public before the subject is even broached. By temperament, most people are too timid to become directly involved in such a controversial issue, although some can do it behind the scenes. This leaves only a tiny percentage of the smartest and the bravest people who are even capable of working on it, so those of us who can, should!!

It would be a mistake to conclude that because the taboo against eugenics is unfair and unwarranted, we should simply ignore it, and the psychological dynamic keeping it in place. There are things we can do to eradicate the taboo (described below). It is also pointless to bemoan the blind conformity of the average person, which plays a role in maintaining it. We need to be objective about human nature, and to work with it.

Consider the role of conformity in our evolution. The human species evolved as a social animal, and individuals had a difficult or impossible time trying to survive alone. Those who were too terrified to express strong disagreement with the group would be more likely to survive and pass on their genes in primitive circumstances in which ostracism usually meant death. It's no wonder conformity is a very strong instinct. Therefore, psychologically, it's important for the public to see respectable, articulate people speak out in support of eugenics, and then to see these same individuals again and again over time. Only then they will understand--not only intellectually, but emotionally, on a gut level--that eugenicists are not in danger of being crucified, burned at the stake, or shunned by every living creature. If someone says something in favor of eugenics, and is denounced as a racist or a Nazi, he/she should maintain a "high profile" afterwards, confident and un-cowed, and other members of the organization should immediately hold a press conference to express their support.

"Jimmy the Greek"

Eugenicists can learn a lesson from what happened to "Jimmy the Greek." In response to a question about why blacks seemed to excel at sports, he said something to the effect that perhaps plantation owners had encouraged reproduction of the strongest men so they could get more work done in the fields. He was instantly fired from CBS, and from then to his death was never seen nor heard from again. Most people were hard-pressed to say precisely what was so offensive about his remark. Perhaps he said something derogatory off camera. But the point is, the public gets the message: "Race is a taboo subject. Terrible things happen to those who breech the taboo."

This is precisely the message we want the public to un-learn about eugenics, and we can take simple, practical steps to insure that it does un-learn it. Here is the essential thing, which bears repeating: We must speak out about eugenics at every opportunity, and we must insure that the public sees that those who do so go on to survive and prosper!! After they've witnessed this a number of times, eugenics will no longer be a taboo subject. It's just that simple. We will have won a major psychological victory.

It will take years of hard work to accomplish this. But if this problem were easily solved, someone would have solved it long ago! In that case, we wouldn't have the honor and privilege of taking on the challenge ourselves! We have before us an exceedingly difficult problem demanding every ounce of our creative intelligence. But it is also the most "worthy" of problems because the happiness and well-being of countless people of the future depend on our efforts.

There's always a multitude of worthwhile causes, but I can't imagine any more important than eugenics, because the health, intelligence, and character of the population are essential to the recognition and solution of all problems. We can never fully anticipate what difficulties the future will bring, and solve them in advance. Would it even be advisable to try? Certainly it would not represent the optimal use of our resources. Far and away the best thing we can do for the children of the future is to bequeath to them the gifts of excellent health, high intelligence, and good character so that they will have the maximum innate capacity to meet whatever challenges might arise.

Ask yourself this question: Would you rather be a healthy, smart, honorable person with number of problems to overcome, or chronically ill, retarded, or a psychopath with no other problems? I think everyone--past, present, and future--would make the same choice. Biological integrity is the number one priority for individuals, and for our species.

Marian Van Court

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