In our current cultural climate, it is very difficult to have a useful discussion of the contribution Darwinism made to modern racism, as evidenced by racist yammer today featuring “natural selection.” To recap, Darwinism made racism “scientific.” That was much easier to sell to the educated classes in the nineteenth century than the idea that some people’s papa was a god and the rest of us were just bricks. And many committed and devoted Darwinists believed in and co-operated with the new, “scientific” racism. Until all that can be fully and freely acknowledged, the matter can never be laid to rest.
This article about Francis Galton, Charles Darwin’s cousin, a key figure in the eugenics movement, manages to avoid mentioning Darwin, even though he was clearly among those Victorians for whom racism was a normal point of view.
We warned the Darwinians to take the racism and eugenics in their past seriously while there was time but they assumed that if they spoke in Darwin’s name, all would be forgiven.