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Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State [Paperback]

G. K. Chesterton , Michael W. Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Inkling Books (1 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587420023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587420023
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael W. Perry is a Seattle-based writer with an interest in numerous areas, including the group of writers at Oxford University called the Inklings that included C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as well as, had he been alive and living in Oxford, G. K. Chesterton.

Product Description

Eugenics and Other Evils "The main text of this book comes from the definitive 1922 edition ... published by Cassell and Company of London"--T.p. verso. Full description

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of GKC's very best polemics 27 April 2010
Chesterton exercises his full polemical gifts in 'Eugenics and Other Evils' (1922), targeting the once-popular view that the State should regulate how (and with whom) its citizens ought to breed. Chesterton talks a lot of pungent good sense about how morally and practically dangerous such regulatory schemes must be, and why they inevitably lead to coercive and intrusive legislation. State control of the population has been deeply discredited since Chesterton wrote but these schemes have a nasty habit of resurfacing in different clothes and it's sadly unlikely that this bracing blast will ever be out of date. While his subject-matter is serious and often pretty grim, Chesterton never loses his lightness of touch and the book is never dull or preachy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eugenics and Other Evils 29 April 2010
Standing 6'4" and weighing in at 21 stone, G K Chesterton (1874-1936) was a giant of English literature in both senses. An Illustrated London News writer for some thirty years; he considered the concentration of wealth and power which the Victorian Age industrialisation had triggered to be a social malignancy, advocating what he called "Distributism"; best understood through his explanation that "every man ought to be allowed to own three acres and a cow." Born in Kensington, he was a patriotic, christian country gentleman at heart; and not afraid to speak his mind. His classic:- "It is not bigotry to be certain we are right, but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong" remains a truism to this day.

Written in 1922, when 'blood and breeding' were much more valued, but far less understood than in today's world; he wrote 'Eugenics and Other Evils' as a warning against the 'Eugenics' craze then sweeping the European and American upper classes; making clear that in the wrong hands these ideas could be very dangerous:- "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions". He was far from opposed to scientific advance however, clearly understanding the benefits of electrification, radio, telephones etc... which were cutting edge technologies in his day.

When speaking from a 20/21'st Century viewpoint many today find it easy to ridicule the Bible based lifestyle of our forfathers, but it should be remembered that in their time these idea's were far more deeply rooted and widely accepted than liberal/socialism, racial equality etc..... are in today's world, because they had firmly underpinned a socially stable and highly successful European culture for generations.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and chilling warning 21 Aug 2003
By P. Chan - Published on Amazon.com
This masterpiece gravely addresses the dangers of scientism and genocide while still maintaining Chesterton's trademark wit and humor. Not only did Chesterton predict the Holocaust years before it happened, but he also provided a blueprint as to how such inhumanity could have been prevented. This book both promotes enlightenment and sparks controversy.
33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book: In reply to John Wright's Review 21 Jan 2004
By Juan Valdez VI - Published on Amazon.com
This negative review of Eugenics and Other Evils and its attack on Chesterton is all wrong. Chesterton understood "political economy" and other sterilizing Benthamite ideas all too well. Capitalism is ultimately anti-God, anti-Christian and evil, just as evil as atheistic Communism/Socialism. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc both advocated a distributivistic economy with private property, small owners and less wage workers. (Cheap labor, i.e., illegal and legal Mexican immigrants, does keep wages down and increases the proportion of the dispossesed in society. Why are all the high skilled computer jobs going overseas? Are we all going to be wage workers at Wal Mart?) Chesterton understood that the usury that enables massive growth is also ultimately dehumanizing for larger and larger segments of the population. Mad science and technology represented in part by Eugenics and today's human genome project (both originiating in the US at the Cold Spring Harbor lab. Hitler modeled his eugenics program after laws on the books in the Southern US prior to WWII) is rigourously controlled from top down to potentially serve the elite at the expense of you and me. History truly is a struggle against good and evil. Bentham and the elites of his day understood this and spent a lot of time devising clever ways the privileged few could keep an eye on the rest of us. Bentham's scientific Panopticon is implemented throughout society today (unconstitutional "temporary" federal income tax, licenses for everything, national id cards, color coded security risks, security cameras, smart shopping cards, rising prison populations, three-strikes laws, KNOWING OUR DNA/GENETIC MAKEUP) and defended by the likes of the anti-Chesterton's of this world. I have a feeling many libertarians deep down understand this but their hatred of humanity and self leads them to a hatred of God and prevents them from joining the good fight.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Evils of the Scientifically Managed State. 9 July 2004
By New Age of Barbarism - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the book _Eugenics and Other Evils_, Roman Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton takes on the eugenists and their immoral and unethical program for human breeding. At the time, eugenists (among both the Social Darwinist "Right" and the Socialist Left) proposed various methods for interfering with human breeding to promote a social agenda and impact the human population. One form of eugenics, referred to as "positive eugenics", sought to increase the birthrate of the "fit" (mainly the upper, educated classes) through incentive programs. Another form of eugenics, referred to as "negative eugenics", sought to decrease the birthrate of the "unfit" (mainly the lower classes, the "mentally feeble", and chronically ill populations) through birth control (or even more diabolical means, later on, such as abortion or euthanasia). Chesterton takes on both forms of eugenics as well as the "birth controllers", both of whom planned on limiting the rights of those deemed "mentally feeble" to procreate, and shows through a series of paradoxes exactly how immoral, unethical, and downright mean their program is. Chesterton's condemnations of this program are consistent with his Roman Catholic beliefs and the condemnation of both eugenics and birth control by subsequent popes. It is for this reason that many involved in the birth control movement came to label Chesterton as a "deeply reactionary man" who stood in the way of progress. In his book _The Servile State_, Chesterton's friend and fellow writer Hilaire Belloc notes how society is progressing in a direction towards servility, in which more and more will work for less and less, collectively losing their liberties. Belloc contrasted this state of affairs to the current capitalist state (run according to the principles of competition and greed, amounting to plutocracy) and that state dreamed up by socialist reformers (calling for the elimination of property rights, and thus a complete suppression of liberty), both of which Belloc regarded as immoral and un-Christian. As an alternative, Belloc proposed a "distributivist state" which would allow for mass ownership of private property and the means of production, while curtailing the evils of monopoly capitalism run amok. Like Belloc, Chesterton too advocates a distributivist state, championing property while at the same time pointing to the excesses of monopoly capitalism and plutocracy-oligarchy. In addition, Chesterton notes that while the "servile state" is upon us, so is the "eugenic state" in which the right to marriage and procreation will be limited by the elite controllers within the state. Chesterton points out how diabolical and grossly unfair this situation is, with plenty of recourse to his usual writing style and witticism. As Chesterton notes, within the current state of affairs, those among the lower classes and the poor do not stand a chance, their rights to property being denied them (contrary to the situation that existed within the Middle Ages, where a serf could at least maintain a right to property), and are often imprisoned unfairly or abused by the system. Chesterton sees within the eugenics movement another form of abuse (particularly of the poor and those deemed "feeble minded"). Indeed, much of this book is spent critiquing various legislative actions taken against the so called "feeble minded", which Chesterton shows to be a term without meaning, being used merely as a slur against certain unpopular and not well liked individuals among the lower classes. To explain the rise of eugenics Chesterton examines the social Darwinist views of the capitalist class. As Chesterton notes, many of those in the highest class have swung full spectrum from the Socialist Left to the extreme "Right" as they accumulate wealth and advance plutocracy. In America, robber barons such as Rockefeller notoriously funded the eugenics movement, in an attempt to further his power and as Chesterton cynically notes to provide workers for his business. Indeed, the documented evidence against Rockefeller's involvement in such immoralities is enormous and certainly merits additional study. While many of those who supported eugenics (and especially birth control) consisted of those among the Socialist Left, Chesterton notes that these individuals remain largely dupes to their elite controllers, as well as radical feminists who fail to understand the true virtues of womanhood. Certainly these radical feminists (almost entirely composed of women from the upper classes, coincidentally) do not represent the vast majority of the female race, who are certainly not opposed to motherhood, whether or not they personally desire to become mothers themselves. These sorts of observations of Chesterton would prove especially prescient, especially in light of the events that were to come during the Second World War (as well as the evils of the Soviet state bureaucracy) and the modern day legalization of abortion and proliferation of birth control methods. While eugenists maintain that they are champions of the poor or of the unborn child, as Chesterton shows they are merely evil individuals among the elite classes whose sole interest is limiting the growth of "undesirable" elements within society, or alarmist Malthusians. This essay of Chesterton reveals him as a champion of liberty and individualism against the encroaching influence of a maleficent state, under the control of elite plutocrats, as well as a compassionate individual who truly cares for the human person. The book ends with a series of compiled pieces from various eugenics journals and birth control writers, noting their diabolical features as well as their arrogant criticism of Chesterton and Belloc.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best 8 Aug 2008
By James H. Beauchamp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After completing Michael Creighton's book, Next, I scanned his resources: much to my surprise, he listed this book by Chesterton. I cannot enhance Creighton's comments in this review, but can state that G. K. Chesterton, a man with a remarkable gift of memory and humor and insight and wisdom, did us all a service (albeit 90 years ago) by penning this book. This one is not theological (as in The Everlasting Man), poetic (The Ballad of the White Horse), or in the form of a novel or short stories (all of which he wrote during his lifetime, such as the Father Brown mysteries, The Man Who Was Thursday, etc.). This book touches on life in the 21st Century in the United States of America: from topics ranging from political correctness, to genetics and eugenics, to ecology and the environment, to evolution, and even to the topic of whether smoking should be banned.
I've often pondered whether the United States has ever produced its own Chesterton (perhaps Will Rogers; but he did not write at the same depth or level as Chesterton, though his observations were always laced with humor). Notwithstanding, we should not miss Chesterton's messages.
Would that our press corps and educators and political pundits learn from him.
This rambling review will benefit no one; the benefit will only come if those who bother to read comments as mine buy the book and savor its delights.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eugenics and Other Evils : An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State 10 Sep 2007
By Joseph Vlachos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For a collection of essays written prior to the first World War, Chesterton may have been addressing a modern audience rather than his contemporary one; yet anyone who has read Chesterton could say that regarding any number of his books. True, this book was published after WWI, much of it was written as a response to what Eugenicists were asserting at the time. A note for the editor: have the copy proofread prior to publishing. There are many errors which ought to have been caught before printing. The idea of re-printing the Eugenic articles is a novel idea.

On a final note, much of the eugenic ideal has been absorbed into modern thinking. The hate has been better disguised, but the hateful ideas are well incorporated into the fabric of modern life.
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