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Eugenics and Other Evils

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Eugenics and Other Evils

Eugenics and Other Evils

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by Gilbert Keith Chesterton. I think G.K. Chesterton explains his book rather well in his introduction, but it might help to start with a sense of the time in question. Chesterton started work on Eugenics and Other Evils in about 1910, but it was not completed and published until 1922. In his own introduction he talks about the period before and after "The War." The war he refers to is now called World War One.We now have a distaste for the word Eugenics, largely driven by events in World War Two. But at the time this book was published, Eugenics was lauded to the skies as a wonderful idea, and Chesterton was nearly the only person saying in writing that Eugenics was in fact evil. A case could be made, and has been made, that today, though the word Eugenics is avoided, some practices that are in fact Eugenic practices, and some sciences that are in fact Eugenic sciences, enjoy great popularity and engender great public enthusiasm. To which practices and which sciences I refer, is left as an exercise for the reader."Though most of the conclusions, especially towards the end, are conceived with reference to recent events, the actual bulk of preliminary notes about the science of Eugenics were written before the war. It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies (not visibly very distinguishable from other babies) sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilisation, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses. It may therefore appear that I took the opinion too controversially, and it seems to me that I sometimes took it too seriously. But the criticism of Eugenics soon expanded of itself into a more general criticism of a modern craze for scientific officialism and strict social organisation."The book is still controversial, and many people with many different political agendas point to "Eugenics" as backing up whatever claims they make. In any case, a remarkable number of comments and observations by Chesterton, on a wide variety of topics, could have been written last week. It was worth producing, and I think you'll find it worth reading.

Latest Episodes

Eugenics - Thank you!

Thank you for listening to Eugenics. You might also want to listen to my other book projects here on Podiobooks.com.

2 MIN2011 MAR 11
Comments
Eugenics - Thank you!

Eugenics Episode 16

Part 2, Chapter 8 -- The End of the Household Gods: "The only place where it is possible to find an echo of the mind of the English masses is either in conversation or in comic songs. The latter are obviously the more dubious; but they are the only things recorded and quotable that come anywhere near it." Chapter 9 -- A Short Chapter: "Round about the year 1913 Eugenics was turned from a fad to a fashion. Then, if I may so summarise the situation, the joke began in earnest. The organising mind which we have seen considering the problem of slum population, the popular material and the possibility of protests, felt that the time had come to open the campaign. ... But as a matter of fact this is not the first chapter but the last. And this must be a very short chapter, because the whole of this story was cut short. A very curious thing happened. England went to war. This would in itself have been a sufficiently irritating interruption in the early life of Eugenette, and in the early es...

29 MIN2011 MAR 4
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Eugenics Episode 16

Eugenics Episode 15

Part 2, Chapter 7 -- The Transformation of Socialism: "Socialism is one of the simplest ideas in the world. It has always puzzled me how there came to be so much bewilderment and misunderstanding and miserable mutual slander about it. At one time I agreed with Socialism, because it was simple. Now I disagree with Socialism, because it is too simple."

18 MIN2011 FEB 25
Comments
Eugenics Episode 15

Eugenics Episode 14

Part 2, Chapter 6 -- The Eclipse of Liberty: "If such a thing as the Eugenic sociology had been suggested in the period from Fox to Gladstone, it would have been far more fiercely repudiated by the reformers than by the Conservatives."

20 MIN2011 FEB 17
Comments
Eugenics Episode 14

Eugenics Episode 13

Part 2, Chapter 5 --The Meanness of the Motive: "Now, if any ask whether it be imaginable that an ordinary man of the wealthier type should analyse the problem or conceive the plan, the inhumanly far-seeing plan, as I have set it forth, the answer is: "Certainly not." Many rich employers are too generous to do such a thing; many are too stupid to know what they are doing."

24 MIN2011 FEB 11
Comments
Eugenics Episode 13

Eugenics Episode 12

Part 2, Chapter 4 -- The Vengeance of the Flesh: "By a quaint paradox, we generally miss the meaning of simple stories because we are not subtle enough to understand their simplicity."

18 MIN2011 FEB 3
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Eugenics Episode 12

Eugenics Episode 11

Part 2, Chapter 3 -- True History of a Eugenist: "He does not live in a dark lonely tower by the sea, from which are heard the screams of vivisected men and women. On the contrary, he lives in Mayfair."

24 MIN2011 JAN 28
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Eugenics Episode 11

Eugenics Episode 10

Part 2, Chapter 2 -- True History of a Tramp: "He awoke in the Dark Ages and smelt dawn in the dark, and knew he was not wholly a slave."

25 MIN2011 JAN 25
Comments
Eugenics Episode 10

Eugenics Episode 9

Part 2 -- The Real Aim Chapter 1 -- The Impotence of Impenitence "The root formula of an epoch is always an unwritten law, just as the law that is the first of all laws, that which protects life from the murderer, is written nowhere in the Statute Book."

20 MIN2011 JAN 18
Comments
Eugenics Episode 9

Eugenics Episode 8

Part 1, Chapter 8 -- A Summary of a False Theory: "I have up to this point treated the Eugenists, I hope, as seriously as they treat themselves. I have attempted an analysis of their theory as if it were an utterly abstract and disinterested theory; and so considered, there seems to be very little left of it."

12 MIN2011 JAN 7
Comments
Eugenics Episode 8

Latest Episodes

Eugenics - Thank you!

Thank you for listening to Eugenics. You might also want to listen to my other book projects here on Podiobooks.com.

2 MIN2011 MAR 11
Comments
Eugenics - Thank you!

Eugenics Episode 16

Part 2, Chapter 8 -- The End of the Household Gods: "The only place where it is possible to find an echo of the mind of the English masses is either in conversation or in comic songs. The latter are obviously the more dubious; but they are the only things recorded and quotable that come anywhere near it." Chapter 9 -- A Short Chapter: "Round about the year 1913 Eugenics was turned from a fad to a fashion. Then, if I may so summarise the situation, the joke began in earnest. The organising mind which we have seen considering the problem of slum population, the popular material and the possibility of protests, felt that the time had come to open the campaign. ... But as a matter of fact this is not the first chapter but the last. And this must be a very short chapter, because the whole of this story was cut short. A very curious thing happened. England went to war. This would in itself have been a sufficiently irritating interruption in the early life of Eugenette, and in the early es...

29 MIN2011 MAR 4
Comments
Eugenics Episode 16

Eugenics Episode 15

Part 2, Chapter 7 -- The Transformation of Socialism: "Socialism is one of the simplest ideas in the world. It has always puzzled me how there came to be so much bewilderment and misunderstanding and miserable mutual slander about it. At one time I agreed with Socialism, because it was simple. Now I disagree with Socialism, because it is too simple."

18 MIN2011 FEB 25
Comments
Eugenics Episode 15

Eugenics Episode 14

Part 2, Chapter 6 -- The Eclipse of Liberty: "If such a thing as the Eugenic sociology had been suggested in the period from Fox to Gladstone, it would have been far more fiercely repudiated by the reformers than by the Conservatives."

20 MIN2011 FEB 17
Comments
Eugenics Episode 14

Eugenics Episode 13

Part 2, Chapter 5 --The Meanness of the Motive: "Now, if any ask whether it be imaginable that an ordinary man of the wealthier type should analyse the problem or conceive the plan, the inhumanly far-seeing plan, as I have set it forth, the answer is: "Certainly not." Many rich employers are too generous to do such a thing; many are too stupid to know what they are doing."

24 MIN2011 FEB 11
Comments
Eugenics Episode 13

Eugenics Episode 12

Part 2, Chapter 4 -- The Vengeance of the Flesh: "By a quaint paradox, we generally miss the meaning of simple stories because we are not subtle enough to understand their simplicity."

18 MIN2011 FEB 3
Comments
Eugenics Episode 12

Eugenics Episode 11

Part 2, Chapter 3 -- True History of a Eugenist: "He does not live in a dark lonely tower by the sea, from which are heard the screams of vivisected men and women. On the contrary, he lives in Mayfair."

24 MIN2011 JAN 28
Comments
Eugenics Episode 11

Eugenics Episode 10

Part 2, Chapter 2 -- True History of a Tramp: "He awoke in the Dark Ages and smelt dawn in the dark, and knew he was not wholly a slave."

25 MIN2011 JAN 25
Comments
Eugenics Episode 10

Eugenics Episode 9

Part 2 -- The Real Aim Chapter 1 -- The Impotence of Impenitence "The root formula of an epoch is always an unwritten law, just as the law that is the first of all laws, that which protects life from the murderer, is written nowhere in the Statute Book."

20 MIN2011 JAN 18
Comments
Eugenics Episode 9

Eugenics Episode 8

Part 1, Chapter 8 -- A Summary of a False Theory: "I have up to this point treated the Eugenists, I hope, as seriously as they treat themselves. I have attempted an analysis of their theory as if it were an utterly abstract and disinterested theory; and so considered, there seems to be very little left of it."

12 MIN2011 JAN 7
Comments
Eugenics Episode 8
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