At the Panda’s Thumb (go here), PvM suggests that I quoted Darwin’s remarks about the Irish out of context in a recent blog entry (go here for the quote). Darwin, quoting a certain Mr. Greg with approval, refers to “the careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman.” Mr. Greg goes on to say that the Irish multiply like rabbits whereas the more civilized Scot doesn’t. What I didn’t quote is Darwin’s subsequent qualifications, in which he sees factors as lowering Irish birthrates and raising Scottish birthrates. Thus, in my quote, I didn’t provide the proper nuance to Darwin’s theory as it applies to Irish and Scottish birthrates.
Hello, Everyone. Have you had your morning coffee? The point of the quote was not to characterize Darwin’s theory as it applies to human populations, but to highlight Darwin’s attitude toward the Irish and underscore the invidious distinctions of race and ethnicity that his theory engenders. “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman.” Try applying those adjectives to any ethnicity, and see if it doesn’t get you branded a bigot and racist.