The most important point in Michael Chrichton’s runaway best seller “State of Fear” is his comparison of the global warming theory to the theory of eugenics.
The theory of eugenics contends that the human condition would be improved through government-mandated selective breeding. The theory of global warming contends that government-mandated reduction in the use of fossil fuel is required to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics” in 1883 to describe the practice of studied, selective breeding to improve the human race. It was a reasonable idea at the time, supported by the growing practice of agricultural selective breeding to produce more productive farm animals.
The eugenics theory attracted popular support on both sides of the Atlantic. The first International Congress of Eugenics was held in 1912, and the American Eugenics Society was organized in 1922. Yale University professor Irving Fisher served as president. Similar organizations were formed in Europe, headed by leading scientists and academicians.
Eugenics proponents reasoned that since society could be improved by insuring that only the “well-bred” should produce offspring, then society would be diminished by the offspring of people who were not “well-bred,” or who were poor, criminals or “feebleminded.” It was quickly discovered that marriages among the rich, professional classes tended to produce fewer offspring than marriages among the poor, uneducated working classes.
Social progressives concluded that were this situation allowed to continue unchecked, within a few generations the whole earth would be overrun by undesirables. Consequently, the scientific community, led by August Weismann, produced studies and scientific papers that justified a range of laws governing mixed-race marriage and even government-mandated sterilization of “degenerates.”
The theory of eugenics was taught in public schools, recommending government-mandated sterilization and race segregation. Eugenics was a common subject of sermons in many churches. John Harvey Kellogg created the Race Betterment Foundation. America’s leading families, such as E.H. Harriman, Charles Davenport and Harry Laughlin, provided funding and leadership to organizations such as the Galton Society, created to promote the theory of eugenics.
Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Brown and many other major universities included courses on eugenics. The National Education Association set up a special committee on “racial well-being” to help teachers integrate the principles of eugenics into their courses.
By the mid 1930s, the theory of eugenics was accepted as fact in America and throughout Europe. Julian Huxley (founder of UNESCO and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) was the president of the European Eugenics Society. Scientists, academicians, politicians and individuals who did not embrace the eugenics theory were ostracized as heretics and contrarians. Eugenics was the consensus belief among the scientific, academic, political and philanthropic communities.
They were all wrong.
Eugenics gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan, to the white supremacy movement and to Adolf Hitler’s gas chambers. Despite these horrors, it was not until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s “Racial Integrity Act” and similar laws in 15 other states. Government-mandated sterilizations continued until the mid 1970s. Interestingly, the American Eugenics Society changed its name in 1973, to the Society for the Study of Social Biology.
Eugenics proponents misused science to advance their social-engineering agenda.
When it was introduced, the global warming theory sounded reasonable: Since carbon dioxide was known to be increasing in the atmosphere, the “thickened” atmosphere would trap the sun’s heat and cause global warming. (Of course, initially, in the 1970s, it was thought that the result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be global cooling and the onset of a new ice age).
Had computers been available to the eugenicists, no doubt they would have produced computer models to predict how long it would take for mixed-race marriages and cross-breeding degenerates to destroy the world as they knew it. They did the best they could without computers, and were successful in forcing more than 60,000 sterilizations in the United States and the slaughter of 6 million Jews in Germany.
Scientists who dare to question the global warming “consensus” are ridiculed and branded as contrarians, as were the skeptics of eugenics. Government and foundations withhold grants from researchers whose work product fails to advance the global warming consensus, in much the same way skeptics of eugenics were denied research grants. Universities and education associations teach the global warming theory as fact, just as they taught the theory of eugenics as fact. Even churches are pressured to take up the global warming cause – just as they were pressured to preach eugenics. Politicians who fail to toe the global-warming line are targeted for replacement – as were the politicians who opposed segregation and forced sterilization.
Social progressives who are advancing the global warming theory would do well to consider the similarity of their campaign to the rise and fall of the eugenics campaign.
In the end, the truth will prevail. If it takes a century for the global warming theory to collapse, the bodies of people who were denied electricity – and the heat, clean water and refrigeration it can provide – will weigh more heavily than the Holocaust upon a society that should have learned from its mistaken belief in eugenics.