This site is the result of countless hours of research that went into the writing of a doctoral dissertation on eugenics and Darwinism.  Most of that research could not be used in the dissertation itself, but was nonetheless very useful in understanding eugenics in the past and present.  This research is slowly being added to the site, as the author has time.  Likewise, as time becomes available to produce essays and other pieces of analysis, it shall be posted here, as well.  The focus of the site, however, is to allow the eugenicists to speak for themselves, in their own words, and on their own terms.  Indeed, attempting to put their beliefs into your own words almost always has the effect of making them much more palatable; only by seeing them ‘in the wild’ does one really see how horrific their worldview really is.  Worse is the discovery that many of these comments can be found in the mouths of moderns, who have no idea that they are treading ground already tilled by people they think they find abhorrent.

Works presently being written by the author:

Darwin’s Flinch
Anatomy of A Eugenicist

Anthony Horvath, PhD

For Further Reading:

This site aims to produce mostly primary source material, but there are a number of books that may serve as good introductions to the topic and provide, for some, the necessary context in which to understand the primary sources provided on this site.

One of the most cited books on Eugenics is Daniel Kevles’ In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity.  The book has many strengths and draws good conclusions, but doesn’t make it clear enough that eugenics was a creature of the ‘left,’ at least as much, if not more, as of the ‘right.’

That particular point is made very clear in Thomas Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era  Leonard’s book is particularly instructive when it comes to making it clear that eugenics goes far, far, beyond ‘breeding superior humans.’  Eugenicists considered everything, from economics to education, as potentially useful eugenics tools.  See also the Jaffe Memo for illustration of this.

A very good examination of eugenics and other ideologies associated with it at the time (anti-immigration, anti-miscegenation, etc), as seen through the prism of just one eugenicist, is Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant by Jonathan Peter Spiro.

Eugenics is nearly always associated with the ‘right wing’ in large part because the Nazis–otherwise known as the National Socialists–were the ones who gave it a bad name, and the Nazis are considered ‘right wing.’  The rise of eugenics in Germany is best detailed in From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany by Richard Weikart.  That Darwin(ism) had anything to do with eugenics will be a shock to many people, for whom this is the first they’ve heard of it.

But Eugenics was an American thing as much as it was a German thing.  Indeed, German eugenicists got many of their best ideas (eg, ‘segregation camps’) and their science from Americans.  Edwin Black’s War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race exposes America’s eugenics roots very well.


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    • C on May 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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    Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is famous for anti-abortion, marriage counseling, parenting, etc…

    Little known is Dobson’s 10-year directorship of American Institute of Family Relations, under the direct guidance of Paul Popenoe (author applied eugenics, architect of the california mass 50k sterilization program, etc…)

    Paul Popenoe wrote the forward/front cover endorsement to the first printing of Dobson’s “Dare to Discipline”, so they were still on favorable terms when Dobson made the transition to non-profit foundation, now famous for the anti-gay/anti-abortion stance.

    My question… How would you rectify this seeming contradiction of interests? Is it a positive/negative eugenics thing? Is this just an aftershock of the culture wars, or could there be something more here?

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.


    • M.G on February 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm
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    Like Chris, I’ve also been exploring Dr. James Dobson’s collaboration with Paul Popenoe. David Popenoe, Paul’s son wrote his father’s colleagues (he specifically mentions Dobson) shared his father’s ideology and were his protege. After observing Dobson’s silence regarding the topics of race and immigration over this past year I am inclined to believe his Focus on the Family is very much in keeping with his Eugenicist mentor, Paul Popenoe.

  1. I didn’t really expect that the ‘about’ page was going to be a clearing house on Dobson/Popenoe.

    If I recall correctly, I emailed Chris directly with a response.

    Your characterization, M.G., appears to be pretty loaded. Reading into someone’s ‘silence’ strikes me as a logically fraught exercise which usually suggests more about the one doing the reading rather than the one being read. Why not suppose that Dobson’s silence on Chinese designs for Tibet mark him as a closet Chinese communist? In a more sinister development, Dobson has said nothing about the ham sandwich I had this afternoon; probably because he is a vegetarian activist.

    Surely, ‘silence’ is an opening wide enough to drive nearly anything through.

    The nuance here that needs to be taken into account relates to timing. Just as a quick illustration, the text book “Applied Eugenics” by Popenoe was written in 1920. 1920.. Dobson wasn’t even born until 1936. Unlike many of the other eugenicists, Popenoe appears to have lost interest in eugenics qua eugenics by the 1960s, which is when Dobson became associated with him.

    There seems to be little doubt that Popenoe founded the American Institute of Family Relations with reference to eugenics, but I have yet to see evidence that this organization was still orienting itself towards eugenics in the 1960s. In other words, the case could be made that Dobson sympathized with eugenic principles if he associated with an organization which was transparently eugenic. Pending information showing this, my best conclusion is that Dobson’s association with Popenoe was just as it seemed–centered on family relations. The one with skeletons in his closet remains Popenoe, not Dobson.

    Feel free to submit any documentation or evidence which more directly associates Dobson with eugenics, and I will be happy to amend my present conclusions.

    Thanks for the comment!

    • Christian Reactionary on February 17, 2019 at 7:40 am
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    Complete bullshit! Do you want to be ugly, dumb, fat, a hunchback, a loser through and through? Do you want to suffer from mental illnesses? If you answer yes, I might at least call you honest, although then you would be an imbecile. Eugenics works, which is what even Richard Dawkins and Matt Ridley acknowledge.

    Richard Dawkins (The Greatest Show on Earth)

    “Political opposition to eugenic breeding of humans sometimes spills over into the almost certainly false assertion that it is impossible. Not only is it immoral, you may hear it said, it wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, to say that something is morally wrong, or politically undesirable, is not to say that it wouldn’t work. I have no doubt that, if you set your mind to it and had enough time and enough political power, you could breed a race of superior body-builders, or high-jumpers, or shot-putters; pearl fishers, sumo wrestlers, or sprinters; or (I suspect, although now with less confidence because there are no animal precedents) superior musicians, poets, mathematicians or wine-tasters. The reason I am confident about selective breeding for athletic prowess is that the qualities needed are so similar to those that demonstrably work in the breeding of racehorses and carthorses, of greyhounds and sledge dogs. The reason I am still pretty confident about the practical feasibility (though not the moral or political desirability) of selective breeding for mental or otherwise uniquely human traits is that there are so few examples where an attempt at selective breeding in animals has ever failed, even for traits that might have been thought surprising. Who would have thought, for example, that dogs could be bred for sheep-herding skills, or ‘pointing’, or bull-baiting?”

    Matt Ridley: Genome. Page 297:

    “This brief history of eugenics leads me to one firm conclusion. What is wrong with eugenics is not the science, but the coercion. Eugenics is like any other programme that puts the social benefit before the individual’s rights. It is a humanitarian, not a scientific crime. There is little doubt that eugenic breeding would ‘work’ for human beings just as works for dogs and dairy cattle. It would be possible to reduce the incidence of many mental disorders and improve the health of the population by selective breeding. But there is also little doubt that it could only be done very slowly ata gigantic cost in cruelty, injustice and oppression. Karl Pearson once said, in an answer to Wedgewood: ‘What is social is right and there is no definition of right beyond that. That dreadful statement should be the epitaph of eugenics.”

    But *I* have to live this crappy life! Eugenics would have prevented it. I only continue to live because of my faith in Christ, otherwise I would simply off myself. The ugliness is horrid, but my mental illnesses are even worse.

    You guys are arrogant self-aggrandizers, selfish egotists who have it made. PhD? You can’t be serious. I’m living at the bottom of society, I will die a loser and all because of my average IQ and my mental illnesses. Fuck this shit, your minimization of other people’s suffering is disgusting.

    I will quote the great Colombian Catholic Nicolás Gómez Dávila:

    “Depopulate and reforest — first civilizing rule.”

    “Eugenics appals those who fear its judgment.”

    “No beneficiary of slaves is supporter of birth control.”

    “The two most pressing problems of the contemporary world: demographic expansion and genetic deterioration are unsolvable.
    Liberal principles prevent the solution of the first, egalitarian ones that of the second.”

    “Population growth disquiets the demographer only when he fears that it will impede economic progress or make it harder to feed the masses.
    But that man needs solitude, that human proliferation produces cruel societies, that distance is required between men so that the spirit might breathe, does not interest him.
    The quality of a man does not matter to him.”

    “A totalitarian state is the structure into which societies crystallize under demographic pressures.”

    “Demographic pressure makes people brutish.”

    And so on. Bye.

  2. Every now and then we get malevolent beasts like “Christian Reactionary” to drop in to remind us that far from being a discarded and fully repudiated outlook of the past, ‘eugenics’ still has a broad base of support.

    Does anyone else seriously believe lines like this:

    “But *I* have to live this crappy life! Eugenics would have prevented it. I only continue to live because of my faith in Christ, otherwise I would simply off myself. The ugliness is horrid, but my mental illnesses are even worse.”

    So, not only does he embrace eugenics, but he wishes it had been applied to himself, so that he wouldn’t exist at all? Such faith in Christ here displayed! He loves Christ so much, he resents the fact that he exists in order to love Christ so much.

    Looks like a troll job by a ‘new atheist’ to me.

    • David Ashton on October 4, 2020 at 2:18 am
    • Reply

    There is nothing evil about family planning that reduces severe heritable suffering and increases heritable competence in future generations. Eugenic contraception is not murder. Humanitarian eugenics can and should rule out the killing of any innocent human before and after birth. Eugenics was neither motive nor effect of the Nazi killing of Jews, but it is the motive and effect of the reduction of Tay Sachs disease among Jews.

  3. Assuming that ‘eugenic contraception’ can be prevented from becoming actual murder (eg, if our our concern about Tay Sachs leads people to use a condom rather than abortion), the question of just what counts as ‘severe heritable suffering’ has never once been settled without resorting to horror, in part because the raising of ‘avoiding suffering’ as a moral virtue is far too commanding to allow itself to limit itself to such limitations as ‘contraception.’ The epitome of this was the ‘scientific’ paper a few years back on “After-birth abortion” which made it abundantly clear that any argument for abortion logically applied to infants. They explicitly raise the example of the Down Syndrome child, who, despite having inherited a deformity tends to be very happy–that is, NOT one that suffers–who can nonetheless be aborted… and, by extension… killed after birth. Naturally, they don’t have the courage to run their logic all the way up the flag pole. If they would have, the Nazi comparisons would have been unmistakable, and they themselves would not have failed to make them. But that is where their logic would take them.

    You don’t think that this was the ‘motive nor effect of the Nazi killing of Jews’ but that can’t be because you’ve actually examined the question, for if you did, you would find that in point of fact the Nazis very much had ‘eugenics’ in mind. It was about purging from the ‘social body’ that which hinders and harms it. There is a reason why before the Nazis exterminated millions of Jews, they exterminated hundreds of thousands of disabled people, many of whom were actually blue-eyed Germans. Why would they kill fellow Germans if it was only ‘race’ that was spurring them on?

    It is the raw logic of eugenics which is the problem. It assesses that it is good and right for mere mortals to decide who should live and die, nay, who should even exist. Any kind of ‘barrier’ to try to hedge in this logic, such as invoking ‘eugenic contraception’ and asserting that innocents should not be killed before or after birth, has as much strength as a wet paper bag.

    God save us from ‘humanitarians.’

  1. […] I would also recommend this book in conjunction with some others.   This one is a (much) more in depth treatment of Wesley Smith’s Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America.  If you’re just starting, I would go with Smith’s book, first.  But I wouldn’t by any means stop there.  I would definitely follow up with Weikart’s book, and then from there move on to the books I have listed for ‘further reading’ on my eugenics website. […]

  2. […] eugenics movement of the early 20th century because it was clear from reading some of the important secondary research that many extremely important facets of the eugenic mindset were overlooked, understated, ignored, […]

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