Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has offered a litany of racist comments, which it turns out may be rooted in his deeper belief in the inherent superiority of some people ― and not others.
The Frontline documentary “The Choice,” which premiered this week on PBS, reveals that Trump agrees with the dangerous and abusive theory of eugenics.
Trump’s father instilled in him the idea that their family’s success was genetic, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.
“The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development,” D’Antonio says in the documentary. “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
The Huffington Post dug back through the archives and found numerous examples of Trump suggesting that intellect and success are purely genetic qualities and that having “the right genes” gave him his “very good brain.”
Dennis Prager said on his radio show (circa 1995) that anyone who believes that blacks have on average a lower intelligence is a racist. He was embarrassed to have had a guest on his show (circa 1994) who said that different races have different statistical IQ (accepted by virtually all psychometricians).
On Oct. 23, 2013, Dennis said to his guest, John Alford, associate professor of political science at Rice University and one of three authors of the new book,Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences: "Isn't that a risky thing that you undertook to argue that there are biological bases for political positions?"
Why would Dennis regard this inquiry as "risky?" Dr. Rushton explained in a 2002 article for the Albany Law Review:
Although it was in England that Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911),coined the word "eugenics" (meaning "well-born" or of "goodbreeding"), the concept itself goes back at least to the Ancient Greeks. Plato and his pupil Aristotle held decidedly strong views on eugenics that went far beyond anything proposed by Galton orLaughlin. The eugenics movement of the early twentieth centurywas a worldwide phenomenon spanning the political spectrum from Tory to Socialist. The First International Eugenics Congress was held in London in 1912 with ex-British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour delivering the inaugural address, and with Winston Churchill, a later British Prime Minister, as Honorary President.
In the early twentieth century, eugenic laws were enacted in Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Australia,and Latin America and just recently, in Communist China. In Sweden, for example, between 1935 and 1976 about 60,000 youngwomen deemed mentally retarded or otherwise handicapped weresterilized to ensure they did not produce defective offspring thatwould need to be supported by the state. These laws remained on their statute books until 1976.
In the U.S., the first sterilization law was passed in Indiana in 1907… By 1917 laws had been enacted in fifteen more states that applied to "socially inadequate" people, "mental defectives" and others. In Washington and Nevada the laws were particularly stringent, and in Missouri they bizarrely includedchicken thieves… In 1922, to rule out such anomalies, Laughlin codified many of these into a model sterilization law that wouldinclude: the feeble minded, the insane, criminals (including the delinquent and wayward), the epileptic (which included Laughlin himself), the inebriate, the diseased, the blind, the deaf, the deformed, and the dependant (including orphans, ne»er-do-wells, the homeless, tramps and paupers). By these standards a large partof the American population might qualify. Seen as excessive, this was part of the reason eugenics began to fall out of favor.
Eugenic thinking was still well established during the 1920s. In 1927, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supported state-mandated sterilization of the mentally retarded in the Buck v.Bell decision. Writing for an eight-to-one majority that includednoted civil libertarian Louis Brandeis, Holmes penned the often quoted line; "[t]hree generations of imbeciles are enough."
Although many conservative Americans at that time, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Alexander Graham Bell, J. C. Penney, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were enthusiastic about eugenics, so were many left-of-center Americans such as Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) and even radicals like Emma Goldman and Hermann J. Muller, a future Nobel laureate for his work ingenetics, who was a Marxian Socialist and an admirer of the SovietUnion where he worked for several years. Even some religious thinkers of both the Christian and Jewish persuasions advocated eugenic principles. For all their political differences, eugenicists shared a concern for promoting the fertility of healthy and productive individuals and for discouraging the fertility of the sick and dependent.
The Great Depression (1929-1932) hastened the decline of eugenic thinking because it became obvious that socio-economic forces also played a major role in people's life outcomes. Millions who had been productive workers suddenly found themselves unemployed and dependent. After World War II eugenics fell into further disrepute, because it became associated with Hitler's genocide… Most historians of the eugenics movement recognizethat the scientists involved embraced the study of biology,demography and genetics. Many eugenic scientists continued their work but jettisoned the term, now one of opprobrium.
In 1921, the soon-to-be President Calvin Coolidge expressed his fear in a popular magazine that "[b]iological laws show . . . that Nordics deteriorate when mixed with other races." An earlier president, Theodore Roosevelt, was hoping to unite thewhite settlers from diverse European nations into a purely Caucasian nation. He opposed the immigration and settlement of non-Europeans in what he wanted to be an America populated by peoples of European descent. These were consensus views among "Old Americans." Many prominent psychologists saw the continuing ascendancy of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants as consistent with their analyses ofthe World War I (1917-1918) data from the military conscription, in which tens of thousands of young men were tested on verbal and non-verbal IQ tests. European groups such as the Italians, Greeks, Russians, and Eastern Europeans scored lower, and they along with the Jews were popularly thought to be inferior, subversive, or otherwise a threat to the earlier immigrants of Nordic and Anglo-Saxon stock. Discrimination against these recent immigrants and the resident Native American and African populations whose ancestors had been dispossessed and enslaved, led to measures meant to protect the resident White Americans from "degeneration." Strong legislation was enacted against African Americans enforcing segregation in the Southern States, while other state legislatures passed laws prohibiting marriages between African Americans and Whites. In several states, marriages were prohibited between individuals deemed to be "feeble minded", mentally defective, or suffering from venereal disease.
Now that eugenics is out of favor and has few defenders, there is little to prevent those like Lombardo from adopting the extreme and distorted position that all of its multifarious facets can be dismissed as nothing more than a smokescreen for "pro-Nazi" and "white supremacist" prejudice. In this writer's opinion, The Great Depression led many to over-react to the point that they believed free market economies had to be replaced by centrally planned socialist ones and likewise, that hereditarian theories had to be completely replaced by culture-only theories. When legally enforced school segregation of Blacks and Whites in the Deep South was overturned in the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, many over-reacted again confusing the ethical concept of equality before the law with the empirical question of whether there is evidence of a genetic component in the average difference between Blacks and Whites in cognitive ability. Lombardo's equating of eugenics with Nazism does not hold. Undoubtedly, the eugenics movement includes several dark episodes in American history. However harshly today we may judge support for policies such as sterilization of those deemed to be unfit, prohibition of racial intermarriage, repatriation of Blacks to Africa, and much more restrictions on immigration policy, it iswrong to equate these ideas with Nazism, gas chambers, and someof the worst mass murders, war crimes and crimes against humanity ever committed. Expressions of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) ethnocentrism, and even admiration for the Nordic founders of America, are a long way from supporting Nazi exterminations. There is a clear difference between ethnic pride, or even ethnocentrism, on the one hand, and xenophobia on the other.
Nothing in the history of the behavioral sciences has been as contentious as the question of how much genes play a role in humanbehavior, especially regarding ethnic and racial group differences. Ever since World War I and the widespread use of standardized mental tests, mean group differences in cognitive performance have been regularly discovered. The vexing question that still remains is whether the cause of group differences in achievement is purely social, economic, and cultural, or whether genetic factors are also involved.
In the 1920s and 1930s the Franz Boas culture-onlyschool of anthropology succeeded in decoupling the biological from the social sciences. Darwinism as a whole became marginalized in the human sciences, swept away by various environmentalist doctrines… In the 1950s, revulsion at the record of Nazi racial atrocities tainted any attempt to restore Darwinism to the social sciences. From that time on, it became increasingly difficult to suggest that individuals or groups might differ genetically in behavior without being accused of harboring Nazi or racist sympathies. Those who opposed the genetic-evolutionary perspective and who believed in the biological sameness of people remained free to write what they liked, without fear of vilification. In the intervening decades the idea of a genetically based core of human nature, on which individuals and groups might differ, was derogated. From the above it is easy to see why the egalitarian culture-only perspective became politically enmeshed with Third World decolonization, the U.S. civil rights movement, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and the renewed debates over immigration. Playing the "Nazi race card" against scientists who have investigated the genetic and evolutionary basis of human behavior has been a repeated occurrence…
Today most scientists and historians engaged in the serious study of race do so from either the race-realist or the hermeneutical perspective. On one side, those I have termed race-realists view race as a natural phenomenon to be observed, studied, and explained. They believe human race is a valid biological concept, similar to sub-species or breeds or strains. On the other side, those I term the hermeneuticists view race as an epiphenomenon, (like gender as opposed to sex ) a mere social construction, with political and economic forces as the real causal agents. Rather than actually research race, hermeneuticists research those who study race. Alternative and intermediate positions certainly exist, but the most heated debate currently takes place between advocates of these polar positions…