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Books: Left helps expose social Darwinism while Christian groups skirt the story


Jane Harris-Szovan’s book, Eugenics and the Firewall (when social Darwinism hit the Canadian province of Alberta), has been getting lots of attention, here for example, and here. She notes,

If you’re wondering why only the left is interviewing me, then you need to learn a bit about who runs my province. [Not the left. – d., 😉 ] Still, l it makes me sad, that the Christian and right wing media are running away from this issue like ‘fraidy cats. I expected it, but I am sad that I was right.)

The embarrassment here is that eugenics in Alberta was spearheaded by evangelical Christians, including a premier whose soubriquet was “Bible Bill.” The left has a stake in exposing this scandal, not the Christian groups. But it’s time someone did, just to clear the air.

It’s interesting to reflect on how seductive the idea must have been back then. I doubt you’d get any prominent Christian leaders on board for compulsory sterilization today.One reason may be that eugenic sterilization was tied up with a number of concepts that almost any educated person today would question, such as that

– characteristics such as proneness to crime are inherited genetically (surely, in crime prone families, they are inherited culturally)

– traits regarded in our culture as “superior” are evidence of evolutionary fitness (why?)

– we are evolving toward a super race (based on what evidence?)

– we can “help” the evolution toward a super race (by behaving unjustly to people who have done no wrong?)

Absent these beliefs, the argument for eugenics collapses.

Evangelical christians did not lead the eugenics movement. it was never on anyones mind. if a few people spoke about it thats all it is. In reality it probably was simply the leaders in the society in some areas were seen as Evangelicals but they just went to church or something. Evangelical was a word that included any protestant back then. Not the real McCoy. Stephen Harpur went to a evangelical church but in no way is he one or acts like one. This book is probably just another smear job on evangelical christians to put us in a bad light because of modern issues. Eugenics movement was all about evolutionary presumptions. Only common vague ideas about retarded people not breeding would kick in with normal people. i heard all my life people say retarded or genetically sick people shouldn't be allowed to breed. Robert Byers
Interesting.Thanks. Eugen

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