Posted on November 19th, 2012
G.K. Chesterton published Eugenics and Other Evils in 1922. It is an interesting insight into the early eugenics movement, and contains a rebuttal by a great thinker of the twentieth century. There are some pithy gems here, such as:
The modern world is insane, not so much because it admits the abnormal as because it cannot recover the normal.
The thing that really is trying to tyrannise through government is Science…. And the creed that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but in statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by policemen—that creed is the great but disputed system of thought which began with Evolution and has ended in Eugenics. Materialism is really our established Church; for the Government will really help it to persecute its heretics.
I’m glad I read it, but doubtless could not profit as much from it as Chesterton intended because of my lack of knowledge of the political situation in WW I era Britain. He spends a fair amount of time discussing problems with both Capitalism and Socialism as they are encountered in his government, and its relevance has passed somewhat. In all, I only recommend Eugenics and Other Evils for the person particularly engaged in the pro-life cause.
If I were writing this review in 1922 I would probably give it 4 of 5 stars.
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)