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Eugenics may have been the best-organized philanthropic project of all time – philanthropy expert

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In “Eugenics as philanthropic ‘best practice’” (Philanthropy Daily , November 14, 2011), William Schambera reflects

As I was pulling together the research for my recent Chronicle of Philanthropy op-ed on philanthropic involvement in North Carolina’s eugenic sterilization program — a program highlighted recently on Brian Williams’ new TV program “Rock Center” — I was struck by this thought:

Were it not for the niggling little fact that it is now understood to be an utter moral abomination, eugenics would be touted today as one of American philanthropy’s most significant and successful undertakings.

It had grand vision, minute organization, and backing from every enlightened sector of society. Eugenicists spoke the language of science and appealed very successfully to progressives.

Founded in 1910 as part of the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Station for the Experimental Study of Evolution at Cold Spring Harbor, the ERO would be readily recognizable today as a full-service progressive think tank, with purposes ranging from scientific and policy research to public education and political advocacy. As the primary independently funded eugenics institution in America, it helped organize and train the vast cadre of professional experts whose job it was to “bring technical concepts and knowledge to bear” on the problem of defective protoplasm, and to make efficient, rational plans for its elimination.

The philanthropies that created the [Eugenics Record Office] were not only true to the progressive, root-causes philosophy, they also employed techniques that could be lifted directly from the pages of the most recent popular guide to “strategic grantmaking.”

It certainly was, to judge from how thoroughly they penetrated society with the message that there are too many rabble and they are ruining everything.

But – in fairness – elites have always believed that from time immemorial. Which means that any time it is true is probably accidental, and we should not assume either that ours is the exceptional time or that any fact base has been created by their agreement in the matter.

We did a series of interviews with an author of a book on the culture that grew up around eugenics, here.

The sobering fact is that eugenics was not discredited as science until the aftermath of World War II, when its staggering cost was revealed. That’s what it took to wake people up.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that the textbook showcased at the Scopes trial, featured in the new film Alleged, explicitly taught eugenics. Incidentally, one public sock puppet for eugenics was “Ada Jukes, mother of criminals,” a regular feature of textbooks. The pseudonymous Mrs. Jukes appealed to the educated consensus because she appeared to demonstrate that criminality can be inherited, leading to “calls for compulsory sterilization, segregation, lobotomies and even euthanasia against the “unfit.” One presumes that Ma Barker and Ma James – who promoted enough havoc in the early West – didn’t count, because they were actually encouraging their sons’ criminality. Materialist science – actual or pseudo – can’t address that, so the hunt was on for the “criminal gene” instead.

F/N: Gutenberg p. for Hunter's A Civic Biology. kairosfocus
Sobering, and the vid clip is telling too on the back-story on the textbook, Civic Biology. kairosfocus

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