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The Rest of the Story — Eugenics, Racism, Darwinism

Sarah Chaffee


According to its most ardent proponents, a widespread embrace of evolutionary theory is a big win-win not only for science but for culture and ethics. Our recent report “Darwin’s Corrosive Idea” handily dispels that rosy picture as it pertains to the present day. As for history, Jason Jones and John Zmirak writing at The Stream helpfully remind readers of the link between eugenics, racism, and Darwinism.

Their specific topic is Margaret Sanger and the documentary Maafa 21: Black Genocide. Here’s what they say about Darwin and how his arguments were used to justify eugenics:

The eugenicists’ arrogant certainty that, because they had inherited money and power, they were genetically superior to the rest of the human race, found in Charles Darwin’s theories an ideal pretext and a program: to take the survival of the fittest and make it happen faster, by stopping the “unfit” from breeding. The goal, in Margaret Sanger’s own words, was “More Children from the Fit, Fewer from the Unfit.” Instead of seeing the poor as victims of injustice or targets for Christian charity, the materialism these elitists took from Darwin assured them that the poor were themselves the problem — that they were inferior, deficient and dangerous down to the marrow of their bones.

The authors note that the eugenics movement itself was undergirded by racism. The video Maafa 21, they note, links the rise of eugenics to white anxiety about the “negro problem” following the end of the Civil War.

In his book Darwin Day in America, Center for Science & Culture associate director John West has written extensively about the social damage linked to Darwinism.

Jones and Zmirak bring up some harrowing examples, among them the observation that Sanger’s friend Lothrop Stoddard was a leader in the Massachusetts Ku Klux Klan and wrote a book Hitler called his “bible.” A speaker Sanger invited to a population conference, Eugen Fisher, had operated a concentration camp in Africa imprisoning natives. Jones and Zimrak note, “It was Fischer’s book on eugenics, which Hitler had read in prison, that convinced Hitler of its central importance.” For more historical background, read historian Richard Weikart’s books including his most recent, Hitler’s Religion.

They say that history is written by the victors. With evolutionary theory holding sway in the media and academia, it’s little wonder we rarely hear about these connections and events.

Photo: Margaret Sanger, 1917, via Wikipedia.

Sarah Chaffee

Now a teacher, Sarah Chaffee served as Program Officer in Education and Public Policy at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. She earned her B.A. in Government. During college she interned at Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office and for Prison Fellowship Ministries. Before coming to Discovery, she worked for a private land trust with holdings in the Southwest.