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Eugenics and Other Evils : An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State Paperback – December, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"There exists to-day a scheme of action, a school thought, as collective and unmistakable as any of those by whose grouping alone we can make any outline of history. . . . I know that it numbers many disciples whose intentions are entirely innocent and humane; and who would be sincerely astonished at my describing it as I do. But that is only because evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin. . . . But Eugenics itself does exist for those who have sense enough to see that ideas exist; and Eugenics itself, in large quantities or small, coming quickly or coming slowly, urged from good motives or bad, applied to a thousand people or applied to three, Eugenics itself is a thing no more to be bargained about than poisoning."

Institutionalizing the Unfit
"I will call it the Feeble-Minded Bill, both for brevity and because the description is strictly accurate. It is, quite simply and literally, a Bill for incarcerating as madmen those whom no doctor will consent to call mad. It is enough if some doctor or other may happen to call them weak-minded."

Forced sterilization
"Indeed one Eugenist, Mr. A. H. Huth, actually had a sense of humour, and admitted this. He thinks a great deal of good could be done with a surgical knife, if we would only turn him loose with one. And this may be true. A great deal of good could be done with a loaded revolver, in the hands of a judicious student of human nature."

The Tyranny of Science
"The thing that really is trying to tyrannise through government is Science. The thing that really does use the secular arm is Science. And the creed that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but in statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by policemen‹that creed is the great but disputed system of thought which began with Evolution and has ended in Eugenics."

Eugenic Motives
"There is no reason in Eugenics, but there is plenty of motive. Its supporters are highly vague about its theory, but they will be painfully practical about its practice. And while I reiterate that many of its more eloquent agents are probably quite innocent instruments, there are some, even among Eugenists, who by this time know what they are doing."

The Poor Man and his Child
"There is one human thing left it is much harder to take from him. Debased by him and his betters, it is still something brought out of Eden, where God made him a demigod: it does not depend on money and but little on time. He can create in his own image. The terrible truth is in the heart of a hundred legends and mysteries. As Jupiter could be hidden from all-devouring Time, as the Christ Child could be hidden from Herod‹so the child unborn is still hidden from the omniscient oppressor. He who lives not yet, he and he alone is left; and they seek his life to take it away."

The Rich Begin To Fear the Poor
"So at least it seemed, doubtless in a great degree subconsciously, to the man who had wagered all his wealth on the usefulness of the poor to the rich and the dependence of the rich on the poor. The time came at last when the rather reckless breeding in the abyss below ceased to be a supply, and began to be something like a wastage; ceased to be something like keeping foxhounds, and began alarmingly to resemble a necessity of shooting foxes."

Scientific Regimentation
"That is the problem, and that is why there is now no protection against Eugenic or any other experiments. If the men who took away beer as an unlawful pleasure had paused for a moment to define the lawful pleasures, there might be a different situation. If the men who had denied one liberty had taken the opportunity to affirm other liberties, there might be some defence for them. But it never occurs to them to admit any liberties at all. It never so much as crosses their minds. Hence the excuse for the last oppression will always serve as well for the next oppression; and to that tyranny there can be no end."

"In short, people decided that it was impossible to achieve any of the good of Socialism, but they comforted themselves by achieving all the bad. All that official discipline, about which the Socialists themselves were in doubt or at least on the defensive, was taken over bodily by the Capitalists. They have now added all the bureaucratic tyrannies of a Socialist state to the old plutocratic tyrannies of a Capitalist State."

The Working Classes
"The working classes have no reserves of property with which to defend their relics of religion. They have no religion with which to sanctify and dignify their property. Above all, they are under the enormous disadvantage of being right without knowing it. They hold their sound principles as if they were sullen prejudices. They almost secrete their small property as if it were stolen property. Often a poor woman will tell a magistrate that she sticks to her husband, with the defiant and desperate air of a wanton resolved to run away from her husband. Often she will cry as hopelessly, and as it were helplessly, when deprived of her child as if she were a child deprived of her doll."


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Inkling Books; 1st edition (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587420023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587420023
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The writings of Michael W. Perry are many and varied. They range from an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's children's stories (Stories for Girls) to a scholarly 447-page look at the causes of World War II (Chesterton on War and Peace). He is the author of Untangling Tolkien, the only book-length, day-by-day chronology of The Lord of the Rings, and has contributed to encyclopedias on the writings of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R Tolkien, as well as the scandals of U.S. presidents (Presidential Scandals). His books have been translated into Polish (Klucz Do Tolkena) and Italian (Eugenetica e altri malanni).

Most recently, he's taking a look back at the experiences that shaped his life. Three books in the 'hospital series' look at what it was like to care for children with cancer (Nights with Leukemia) and teenagers (Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments), as well as a telling criticism of the legally sanctioned medical mistreatment given to an unfortunate teen-aged girl (Caria, The Girl Who Couldn't Say No).

That'll be followed by a series on politically driven hatred in America. The first in the series, tentatively named To Kill a Mockingbird Revisited, will describe what it was like to grow up in the South in the last days of segregation. The author grew up one-generation removed and some forty miles from the town described in Harper Lee's popular novel.

Partial Bibliography

* Assistant editor and major contributor: The C. S. Lewis Readers Encyclopedia (Zondervan, 1998), winner of the 1999 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award as the best biography/autobiography.

* Major contributor: Presidential Scandals (CQ Press, 1999).

* Editor of a research edition of G. K. Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils (2000) that was praised in by bestselling author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), who said that: "The editor of this editor of this edition has included may quotations from eugenicists of the 1920s, who read astonishingly like toe words of contemporary prophets of doom."

* Author of Untangling Tolkien (2003), a detailed chronology of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and a must-have reference work for Tolkien fans.

* Contributor: J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia by Michael D. C. Drout. (Routledge, 2006)

* Editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II. Winner of the American Chesterton Society "Outline of Sanity" award for 2009.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By P. Chan on August 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This masterpiece gravely addresses the dangers of scientism and genocide while still maintaining Chesterton's trademark wit and humor. Not only did Chesterton predict the Holocaust years before it happened, but he also provided a blueprint as to how such inhumanity could have been prevented. This book both promotes enlightenment and sparks controversy.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By AGaul on January 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This negative review of Eugenics and Other Evils and its attack on Chesterton is all wrong. Chesterton understood "political economy" and other sterilizing Benthamite ideas all too well. Capitalism is ultimately anti-God, anti-Christian and evil, just as evil as atheistic Communism/Socialism. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc both advocated a distributivistic economy with private property, small owners and less wage workers. (Cheap labor, i.e., illegal and legal Mexican immigrants, does keep wages down and increases the proportion of the dispossesed in society. Why are all the high skilled computer jobs going overseas? Are we all going to be wage workers at Wal Mart?) Chesterton understood that the usury that enables massive growth is also ultimately dehumanizing for larger and larger segments of the population. Mad science and technology represented in part by Eugenics and today's human genome project (both originiating in the US at the Cold Spring Harbor lab. Hitler modeled his eugenics program after laws on the books in the Southern US prior to WWII) is rigourously controlled from top down to potentially serve the elite at the expense of you and me. History truly is a struggle against good and evil. Bentham and the elites of his day understood this and spent a lot of time devising clever ways the privileged few could keep an eye on the rest of us. Bentham's scientific Panopticon is implemented throughout society today (unconstitutional "temporary" federal income tax, licenses for everything, national id cards, color coded security risks, security cameras, smart shopping cards, rising prison populations, three-strikes laws, KNOWING OUR DNA/GENETIC MAKEUP) and defended by the likes of the anti-Chesterton's of this world. I have a feeling many libertarians deep down understand this but their hatred of humanity and self leads them to a hatred of God and prevents them from joining the good fight.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on July 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the book _Eugenics and Other Evils_, Roman Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton takes on the eugenists and their immoral and unethical program for human breeding. At the time, eugenists (among both the Social Darwinist "Right" and the Socialist Left) proposed various methods for interfering with human breeding to promote a social agenda and impact the human population. One form of eugenics, referred to as "positive eugenics", sought to increase the birthrate of the "fit" (mainly the upper, educated classes) through incentive programs. Another form of eugenics, referred to as "negative eugenics", sought to decrease the birthrate of the "unfit" (mainly the lower classes, the "mentally feeble", and chronically ill populations) through birth control (or even more diabolical means, later on, such as abortion or euthanasia). Chesterton takes on both forms of eugenics as well as the "birth controllers", both of whom planned on limiting the rights of those deemed "mentally feeble" to procreate, and shows through a series of paradoxes exactly how immoral, unethical, and downright mean their program is. Chesterton's condemnations of this program are consistent with his Roman Catholic beliefs and the condemnation of both eugenics and birth control by subsequent popes. It is for this reason that many involved in the birth control movement came to label Chesterton as a "deeply reactionary man" who stood in the way of progress. In his book _The Servile State_, Chesterton's friend and fellow writer Hilaire Belloc notes how society is progressing in a direction towards servility, in which more and more will work for less and less, collectively losing their liberties.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James H. Beauchamp on August 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After completing Michael Creighton's book, Next, I scanned his resources: much to my surprise, he listed this book by Chesterton. I cannot enhance Creighton's comments in this review, but can state that G. K. Chesterton, a man with a remarkable gift of memory and humor and insight and wisdom, did us all a service (albeit 90 years ago) by penning this book. This one is not theological (as in The Everlasting Man), poetic (The Ballad of the White Horse), or in the form of a novel or short stories (all of which he wrote during his lifetime, such as the Father Brown mysteries, The Man Who Was Thursday, etc.). This book touches on life in the 21st Century in the United States of America: from topics ranging from political correctness, to genetics and eugenics, to ecology and the environment, to evolution, and even to the topic of whether smoking should be banned.
I've often pondered whether the United States has ever produced its own Chesterton (perhaps Will Rogers; but he did not write at the same depth or level as Chesterton, though his observations were always laced with humor). Notwithstanding, we should not miss Chesterton's messages.
Would that our press corps and educators and political pundits learn from him.
This rambling review will benefit no one; the benefit will only come if those who bother to read comments as mine buy the book and savor its delights.
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