Edwin Black's War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

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Edwin Black's War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

To the average American it seems unfathomable that US based research into the "scientific" practice of eugenics could have been the foundation and impetus for Hitler's Nazi genocide and atrocities. In addition, notions of racial superiority and the scientific quest for the development of a pure Aryan nation, both by the United States and foreign countries, particularly Germany, were funded and fueled by monies from such prominent families as the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Harriman's. In his book, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, author Edwin Black traces the history of the American eugenics movement, its influence on the rise to power of the Third Reich, and how it was the foundation for the development of scientific racism. Consequently, Black fears that though eugenics in the sense that we recall from the past is gone in name, the future still presents eugenic-like research under the guise of human genetic science, which once again is supported by corporate funding whose goals are more for monetary gain and globalization, rather than for the benefit of mankind.

The origins of eugenic ideology can be traced to the mid-nineteenth century when English philosopher, Herbert Spencer coined the term "survival of the fittest." Those strong and "fittest" would naturally rise to the top, for the benefit of society. Spencer, along with other leading scientists like Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel advocated the principles of the improvement of the human race based on this superiority logic; supporting their findings through the combined applications of science and mathematics. In 1865, statistician Francis J. Galton "postulated that heredity not only transmitted physical features, such as hair color and height, but mental, emotional and creative qualities as well," and so new theories were born. (Page: 15). These characteristics were more than coincidental and Galton set about classifying and categorizing thousands of people based upon his hypothesis that negative hereditary existed, and that bad traits would out weigh the good and as a result, people would spiral biologically downward. Thus the term "eugenics" was utilized as "the study of all agencies under social control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations." (Page: 18).

Using the principles expounded by Galton and through Mendel's research in laws of recessive and dominant traits discovered in plant breeding, American researchers entered this new scientific field.

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