I’m afraid this title will make some switch off or ignore, and some bristle with hostility – and that is exactly the problem.
I suggest we have to face up to what Eugenics is and what it is not. It is certainly not for example, as is often suggested, Naziism, where officially proscribed life was deemed unworthy of life.
Eugenics is straightforwardly the breeding of the best. So if you’re breeding sheep you may want them to have the woolliest fleece, as was the basis of England’s prosperity in Mediaeval and Tudor times. Eugenics was your goal: wool, wool and more wool. Though you probably didn’t actually call it eugenics… All well and good – but we haven’t actually researched whether perhaps, for example, that may also help to explain why sheep follow each other rather blindly- or even, whose offspring have, in the words of a farmer of my acquaintance, ‘a death wish’.
Likewise breeding or cross pollinating grass to become productive wheat or perhaps maize, has been beneficial for man. Indeed farm animal or crop eugenics are designed by and for humans and in consequence are thus, usually pretty much, ostensibly, for man at least, entirely beneficial…
They may not actually be for sure. But certainly the examples quoted seem to have been beneficial for the flourishing of humanity.
Nevertheless eugenics for the human race itself is a lot less obvious. Of course morons breeding with morons are likely to produce more of the same.
But not inevitably. Gene mutation sees to that.
And likewise the supposed intelligentsia, where nonetheless, IQ’s are entirely suspect, or the rich and famous getting together, do not necessarily improve humanity. Indeed I suggest our current society suggests, with some provability, that this does not lead to the best outcomes….
So, yes, eugenics ‘works’ – but as ever, for whom, and for what and for why are the really important questions.
And genetics is not, as some, like Cummings, an ‘intelligent’ historian, seem to suggest, an exact science (indeed science is by definition, naturally inexact, until, of course, proved otherwise).
So seemingly historians believe in experts…whilst simultaneously misunderstanding them…
Does Cummings and his (now resigned – though, importantly, not sacked) colleague really think we are all actually sheep?
We really should beware, because I fear that that appears to be the most ‘expert’, realistic and logical conclusion….