Decorously leaving out the main reason why: Darwinism
When the Eugenics Record Office opened its doors in 1910, the founding scientists were considered progressives, intent on applying classic genetics to breeding better citizens. Funding poured in from the Rockefeller family and the Carnegie Institution. Charles Davenport, a prolific Harvard biologist, and his colleague, Harry H. Laughlin, led the charge.
“There were many prominent New Yorkers involved in eugenics,” Dr. Tchen said. “It was initially about how to become more efficient as a modern society.”
Researchers sought out “unfit” families in the Manhattan slums and the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. They cataloged disabilities and undesirable traits, scribbling the exact dimensions of heads and arms. More.
Nary a word , of course, about how Darwinian evolution theory was the basis of the eugenics of that day. Certainly for Davenport and Laughlin.
Note: The Kvetching Guru tweeted to say in response to this post that we might have fun with this. And if you can’t sleep, you do just that.
Note: Was there racism before Darwinism? Of course! But the unique contribution of Darwinism was making it appear to be a science of some kind. As opposed to religion or politics or just how the world is.
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