The Thinking About Modern Eugenics

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According to “The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary,” eugenics, the study of methods of protecting and improving the quality of the human race by selective breeding.

And, according to Adolf Hitler, “Since the inferior is always numerically superior to the best, the worst would multiply itself so much faster…given the same opportunity to survive and procreate…that the best would necessarily be pushed to the background. Therefore, a correction in favor of the better must be undertaken.”

If that infolded quote is from some monster’s Mein Kampf in 1939, consider this: On 14 August 1983 – a year much closer to us than remote Auschwitz – on Singapore’s National Day, the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew “expressed deep concern that a higher proportion of graduate women were remaining single, compared to their less educated counterparts, and that those who married were producing fewer offspring on average.”

Therefore, to introduce productive counter-effects, Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Goh Keng Swee immediately showered several measures to reverse the trend. These included computer dating services, incentive schemes for graduate women in order to bear more children, priority-based admissions for women to the National University of Singapore and the introduction of courtship classes for undergraduates.

And what was this travesty of wardenship based on? In the Prime Minister’s own words: “There is increasing evidence that nature, or what is inherited, is a greater determinant of a person’s performance than nurture (or education and environment). Researchers on identical twins who were given away at birth to different social and economic classes show that their performance is very close although their environments are different.”

And what was the PM’s burlesque based on? Basically, on an article entitled “How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?” which appeared in the 1969 Harvard Educational Review written by the American Psychometrician A. R. Jensen who argued that the Headstart programs of compensatory education for mainly black ghetto children had failed because differences in average IQs between social classes and between blacks and whites were largely genetically determined.

Before a startled nation could say “Huh?” or, mortified academicians bury their heads in sands of shame, Nobel Laureate physicist William Shockley proceeded to shock a ready traumatized world by actually suggesting that the state welfare payments be made contingent upon low IQ parents having eugenically sterilizations. The title of his article which appeared in Shaping the American Educational System was a remarkable exercise in neutered nomenclature: “Dysgenics – A Social-Problem Reality Evaded by the Illusion of Infinite Plasticity of Human Intelligence.” At least Hitler had some human intelligence left to put the matter bluntly.

And what was the reason which made such eminent scientists mouth such pogromic profundities with so much conviction and ease? The answer ultimately can be traced back mainly to the life and work of Sir Cyril Burt who in a series of decade-spanning research with separated identical twins apparently demonstrated to the world at large that his and his colleagues’ massive statistical data clearly indicated heredity was responsible for up to 80 per cent of human intelligence.

Meaning you, your clan, tribe or race was born with an (only internally varying) intelligence capacity which, try as they might, but no amount of schooling, education or remedial action could upgrade by more than a mere marginal one-fifth. In 1946, Burt was the first psychologist to be knighted.

And now that two Americans, Charles Murray and Richard Hermstein, have produced their latest salvo in the form of a book called “The Bell Curve” should a Hitlerian correction “in favor of the better” be finally undertaken?


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