Monday, July 16, 2018

"but I want to justify natural selection to you" - Hate Mail

There is no debating as to whether or not Karl Pearson was a major figure in mainstream Darwinism or science, as was his teacher Francis Galton.  For that we have the testimony of no one more than Charles Darwin who endorsed Galton's eugenics and other conclusions Galton drew from the theory of natural selection and so confirmed Galton's authority on the matter.  Francis Galton was still alive and working when his prize student gave the lecture published as National Life From The Standpoint of Science.  There is no evidence I found that he disagreed with that and the other equally putrid conclusions Pearson came to from mainstream Darwinism.  He trusted Pearson to the extent that he named him as his official biographer. 

If you haven't read much of the literature of the first generation of Darwinists,  starting with Charles Darwin, going to those scientists he cited most glowingly to support natural selection, Francis Galton, Ernst Haeckel, Thomas Huxley, you might be surprised at the excerpt I typed out below to prove my point that even a renowned socialist, though a British mainstream, Fabian socialist, would present conclusions from the theory of natural selection that are indistinguishable from Nazi discourses of two to four decades after he presented this.  He sounds exactly like today's neo-Nazis with a better writing style .  Starting on page 21.

What I have said about bad stock seems to me to hold for the lower races of man.  How many centuries, how many thousand of years, have the Kaffir or the negro held large districts in Africa undisturbed by the white man?   Yet their intertribal struggles have not yet produced a civilization in the last comparable with the Aryan.  Educate and nurture them as you will, I do not believe that you will succeed in modifying the stock.  History shows me one way, and one way only, in which a high state of civilization has been produced, namely the struggle of race with race, and the survival of the physically and mentally fitter race.  If you want to know whether the lower races of man can evolve a higher type, I fear the only course is to leave them to fight it out among themselves, and even then the struggle for existence between individual and individual, between tribe and tribe, may not be supported by that physical selection do to a particular climate on which probably so much of the Aryan's success depended.

If you bring the white man into contact with the black, you too often suspend the very process of natural selection on the evolution on which the evolution of a higher type depends.  You get superior and inferior races living on the same soil, and that coexistence is demoralizing for both.  They naturally sink into the position of master and servant, if not admittedly or covertly into that of slave-owner and slave.  Frequently they intercross, and if the bad stock be raised the good is lowered.  Even in the case of Eurasians, of whom I have met mentally and physically fine specimens, I have felt how much better they would have been had they been pure Asiatics or pure Europeans.  Thus it comes about that when the struggle for existence between races is suspended, the solution of great problems may be unnaturally postponed;  instead of the slow, stern processes of evolution, cataclysmal solutions are prepared for the future.  Such problems in suspense, it appears to me, are to be found in the negro population of the southern States of America, in the large admixture of Indian blood in some of the South American races, but, above all, in the Kaffir factor in south Africa.  

You may possibly think that I am straying from my subject, but I want to justify natural selection to you.  I want you to see selection as something which renders the inexorable law of heredity a source of progress which produces the good through suffering, an infinitely greater good which far outbalances the very obvious pain and evil.  Let us suppose the alternative were possible.  Let us suppose we we could prevent the white man, if we liked, from going to lands of which the agricultural and mineral resources are not worked to the full;  then I should say a thousand times better for him that he should not go than that he should settle down and live alongside the inferior race.  The only healthy alternative is that he should go and completely drive out the inferior race.  That is practically what the white man has done in North America.  We sometimes forget the light that chapter in history throws on more recent experiences.  Some 250 years ago there was a man who fought in our country against taxation without representation, and another man who did not mind going to prison for the sake of his religious opinions.  As Englishmen we are proud of them both, but we sometimes forget that they were both considerable capitalists for their age, and started charted compaines in another continent.  Well, a good deal went on in the plantations they founded, if not with their knowledge with that at least of their servants and of their successors, which would shock us all at the present day.  But I venture to say that no man calmly judging will wish either that whites had never gone to America, or would desire that whites and Red Indians were to-day living alongside each other as negro and white in the Southern States, as Kaffir and European in South Africa, still less that they had mixed thier blood as Spaniard and Indian in South America.  The civilization of the white man is a civilization dependent upon free white labour, and when that element of stability is removed it will collapse like those of Greece and Rome.  I venture to assert, then, that the struggle for existence between white and red man, painful and even terrible as it was in its details, has given us a good far outbalancing its immediate evil.   In place of the red man, contributing practically nothing to the work and thought of the world, we have a great nation, mistress of many arts, and able, with its youthful imagination and fresh, untrammeled impulses, to contribute much to the common stock of civilized man.  Against that we have only to put the romantic sympathy for the Red Indian generated by the novels of Cooper and the poems of Longfellow, and then - see how little it weighs in the balance!

This differs in no way from the Nazi's theory of Lebensraum except that in their case it was white Europeans they killed instead of the inhabitants of The Americas.  AND THAT IS NO KIND OF MORAL DISTINCTION OF ANY KIND UNLESS YOU ARE A RACIST.   Nor, in fact, does it differ from Charles Darwin's own declarations on the great boon to the world that white men, especially Brits, going around the world doing what Pearson got his Aryan rocks off over in this scientific poison, killing entire racial groups and stealing their land and resources.  You can hear the drooling enthusiasm for murder in his elegant Victorian prose.

Apparently, from the Appendices of the published volume, Leonard Darwin, Charles Darwin's son was in the audience of a similar proto-Nazi talk by Pearson.  In the notes on the discussion it says:

From our standpoint we are forced to realize that in judging of social conduct - e.g. - of the suitability of persons for charity, etc., we should be particular in inquiring concerning ancestry.  Pity and help the weak, but remember that it is a national evil when any charitable or social institution allows the indefinite multiplication of the unfit in mind or body.  

In all social work and in all legislative action true progress is impossible if the reformer and the legislator do not know and pay attention to the principles of heredity.

Major L. (Leonard) Darwin moved a vote of thanks to Professor Pearson, and said his own interest in the subject was inherited;  and he gave an emphatic warning against the evils which may, without care, result from the present movement for educating defective children.  The danger was lest their education, by making their departure from the ordinary standard less obvious should make it possible for them to marry and hand on their defects of mind and body to their descendants.  

Just less than thirty-five years later, on the outbreak of World War Two, Leonard Darwin was still lauding the great progress, the great turn of German thought to the right direction since the Nazis instituted Darwinian principles in eugenic policy. You might note at the link, that Leonard Darwin, corresponding with Karl Pearson, said he was carrying on his father's work in his eugenics.  There was and is no one with a higher standing to make that claim than Leonard Darwin, it is a definitive attribution.

Really, since I started this stuff more than a decade ago, I've found that I could open literally any writing of any of the major figures in the history of Darwinism, including those who knew Darwin personally and I could almost predict the depravity I would find which was explained as scientific fact on the basis of the theory of natural selection.   Natural selection has always and will always generate these kinds of claims.  It is inherent to the theory.

t is an irony that today's Republican-fascist party which contains so many bitter opponents of Darwinism that they, nevertheless, fully endorse the entire thing, natural selection, innate biological inequality,  in so far as this kind of stuff is concerned.  It's no more ironic, though, than that lefties who believe themselves to be champions of racial equality and the like turned the originator of this kind of proto-Nazism as science into a demi-god of secular, atheist, modernism.   Especially when those lefties are Marxists.   Karl Marx had an entirely more skeptical and critical view of it than they do. 

Update:  I forgot, I strongly suspect that one of those Englishmen of old that Pearson mentioned must have been William Penn, the founder of the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania.   I can only imagine what he would have thought of being mentioned in such a putrid document, it is impossible to imagine he would have consented to being used for such an evil purpose.


  1. "From our standpoint we are forced to realize that in judging of social conduct - e.g. - of the suitability of persons for charity, etc., we should be particular in inquiring concerning ancestry. Pity and help the weak, but remember that it is a national evil when any charitable or social institution allows the indefinite multiplication of the unfit in mind or body."

    "Three generations of imbeciles is enough!" Back when, I have to remind a contemporary audience, "imbecile" was a legal term of art with a statutory definition. It wasn't just a general term of opprobrium. Holmes literally meant people so classified were not fit to live among the rest of us. Society must be defended, ya know.

    1. It was so widespread among the Anglo-American and other European elites that it's harder to find prominent people who didn't buy into that than could be believed.

      I have come to see Nazism as part of a continuum of Darwinist advocacy of getting rid or entire races, ethnicities, classes of people based on their alleged inferiority - oddly, none of those in the elites suspect they and theirs are susceptible to that inferiority, one of the first things that struck me in this was, as a famously chronically ill person (some modern scholars speculate he had severe lactose intolerance) Charles Darwin should have voluntarily been childless, as it was he sired a large family WITH HIS COUSIN, most of whom don't seem to have had many children among themselves.

      I would be curious to know how much of Pearson's stuff like this was translated into German or how many times this kind of stuff was cited in German sources. I don't have access to a university library anymore so I can't research that question. It is obvious proto-Nazism in English, written by a Fabian "socialist" who was clearly hostile to democracy. He was only one of many such Fabians who casually talked about entire races being murdered to improve the species, and the poor. The hostility to the British as well as the poor in other countries is palpable, it's like falling into a vat of toxic waste to try to understand their motives.

  2. It's so well known that the Nazis had sympathizers among the British aristocracy (starting with the Prince who abdicated, a fortuitous circumstance for Britain and the Windsors, as it turned out) that it shows up now in contemporary British TV stories set after the war.

    So, of course there's a connection. I mean, how could there not be?