Are you well-bred? Do you know people who are ill-bred?
Do you respect your betters? Does your family get the respect that it deserves?
This is another line of questioning:
- Are your ancestors from Europe? Have you repented of your white privilege?
- Can you see our systemic racism?
The first questions come from popular thinking that is more than a hundred years old. The last two are modern.
Where does thinking like this come from, besides someone’s imagination?
One old source is Social Darwinism. When Charles Darwin published his ideas about “The Origin of the Species” he looked back in time, to the beginning of life. Darwin’s ideas were retrospective, he directed us back in time, to origins. He had a theory about where we came from.
Charles Darwin’s ideas were very popular, and evolutionary thinking came to us like a revolution. I believe one reason for the popularity of Darwin’s backward-looking ideas, is that some people looked forward.
In England, for example, people saw classes in society; as superior upper classes, who were born to rule, and the inferior lower, and working classes, who needed to know their place.
That is ancient thinking, but it had an effect on evolutionary thinking. Francis Galton was a cousin of Charles Darwin, and he promoted the idea that human evolution was moving forward. He believed that the English upper class was superior because of superior breeding. He also believed that we should be concerned about what humans would evolve into, as we moved forward.
So, there was talk about being ill-bred, and what we should do about ‘those people.’ Birth control and liberal abortion laws were partly motivated by Social Darwinism. The future of the human race was improved with controls on breeding.
The name for the popular movement was “Eugenics.”
The school that I went to, as a boy, has lost its name. The historical man, who was active in politics, had strong ideas about who should immigrate. He was one person who talked openly about the types of people who would make the best settlers, and citizens. The dark side was the idea that some people were less fit and should be kept out.
Now, we call that racism, but a hundred years ago, his ideas were progressive and liberal thinking. If we investigate more, we might change the old names of some other monuments and parks. Social Darwinism was modern science, for some people. There are pictures of people who advocated for liberal abortion and birth control, posing with people wearing white hoods and robes, members of the racist Ku Klux Klan; just do a search for “Klan and eugenics.”
One of the biggest fans of American Eugenics was Adolph Hitler. His Final Solution was to kill people, instead of only sterilizing them. After World War 2, the Eugenics movement became less popular, when the world saw what the Nazis had done.
Sterilization and forced birth control continued in many places; Canada has been investigated by the United Nations, and native people in Greenland are complaining about the things done to them by Danish doctors:
Modern “Woke” thinking about systemic racism and white privilege might be annoying and unpopular, but it is not completely wrong. There was a time, in the twentieth century, when progressive thinkers were concerned about breeding the right kind of people. Seriously.
This is one of the foundations of our modern world. Many of our leaders wanted to guide human evolution to a better future. They believed that we came from apes who climbed down from the trees, and they wanted us to continue evolving into something better.
I believe that human beings can become very corrupt when they lose their connection to God. Social Darwinism and Eugenics are good examples of how we can abuse people, in the name of progress and science.
We have some boring old words, in the Bible, and I think it’s time to read them again:
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3: 26 and 27)
The old story is, that we were made by God, and when we fail, we can be remade.
There is a spiritual way to find better things:
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