Before the Third Reich: America’s Darwinist Eugenics Crusade
On this classic ID the Future, John West, managing director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, explains the Darwinian basis for getting rid of the “unfit.” One way this manifested itself in the twentieth century was in the eugenics movement’s disturbing push for compulsory sterilization, right here in the United States. One of the most famous such instances was Carrie Buck (to the left in the picture accompanying this episode), sterilized as “feeble minded” despite going on to live a normal productive life. Her case went to the Supreme Court, where the court, in an opinion written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., ruled against Buck. She was sterilized five months later.
Listen in to learn about prominent scientists who supported these efforts, and the disturbing facts about how far they advanced toward making their ideas a reality. You’ll also learn about some of the religious leaders, Catholic and evangelical, who opposed them. To dig deeper, get West’s book Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science. And to explore the connection between Darwinism and Hitler’s racist ideas and goals, see the new book from historian Richard Weikart, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism.