"Do As I Say": The Paradox Of Eugenics And The Jews
February 11, 2011, 04:00 AM
A+
|
a-
Print Friendly and PDF

John Glad, now 69, is a retired scholar of Russian studies and expert on Russian exile literature. He has had a distinguished career as a former director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars, Guggenheim Fellow, and professor of Russian Studies at the University of Maryland. Glad was the chief translator of The Black Book: The Ruthless Murder of Jews by German-Fascist Invaders Throughout the Temporarily Occupied Regions of the Soviet Union and in the Death Camps of Poland during the War 1941-1945 (Holocaust Library) and thus occupies a unique position as a Russian scholar who documented the mass murder of Jews in Eastern Europe during World War II.

 In 2006, Glad published Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century , a concise reappraisal of the scientific basis of eugenics. Smith College's Seymour Itzkoff noted in the preface that Glad had "clearly and authoritatively" reaffirmed the "humanistic tradition" of eugenics. Itzkoff credited Glad with debunking the widely-believed idea that the Holocaust was the culmination of eugenic policies implemented by goose-stepping mad scientists under the auspices of the Third Reich. (Future Human Evolution can be downloaded free of charge—in any of 13 languages!— here.)

Now, after five years of additional research, Glad has expanded one of the chapters of Future Human Evolution into a new book: Jewish Eugenics. It's likely to stir a hornet's nest for candidly assessing two interconnected, career-ending, Politically Incorrect subjects: Jews and eugenics.

Glad's controversial thesis: since the 1960s, a prominent group of Jewish public intellectuals has been systematically and unscrupulously campaigning to discredit eugenics—but, in a great paradox, other Jewish intellectuals, and Zionists, have been actively interested in eugenic principles, both historically and currently,  to secure the posterity—health and wellbeing—of Jews. Collectively, it amounts to a case of Do As I Say—Not As I Do.

Indeed, Glad's research suggests that Judaism itself has eugenic implications. He considers Jewry as applied Darwinian theory: the practice of group-based natural selection for successful human traits, such as mental and physical attributes of intelligence (high IQ) and health (reproductive fitness, elimination of genetic diseases, etc.). In Glad's own words:

"The essence of Jewry lies not in any purported genetic preservationism, but rather in its eugenic dynamism. By maintaining high barriers to genetic interlopers, but not excluding them entirely, a constant influx of high-quality genes was achieved, producing superior intelligence. The Jewish-British geneticist and eugenicist Redcliffe Salaman formulated the most accurate definition: an endogamous family." 

Early in the book, Glad reflects on the intellectual voyage that led him, as a humanitarian, to the topic that would dominate his retirement years, and more precisely to seek the answer to why "ideology was dictating the resolution of scientific questions…. So I resolved to learn about eugenics on my own—the best way to learn anything, really…."

Glad explains:

"Recognizing in Washington, D.C. (where else?!) the crucial role played by Jews in intellectual life and politics, and by some Jews in the suppression of the eugenics movement, I resolved to go back to basics and create a chronology of the shifting Jewish viewpoints that have led us to where we find ourselves today. And, as the reader will see, the deeper I dug, the more I found. It is now indisputable that much of what might be termed 'accepted eugenics narrative' is in crass discordance with the historical facts."

In painstaking detail, Glad explains how eugenics was a robust, respectable scientific movement in the early 1900s, an "interdisciplinary conceptualization of the genetic consequences of social practices…" which strove to "replace natural selection with scientific selection". Of course, Glad is right. At one time the ranks of the eugenics movement in the United States and Europe included a remarkable number of eminent figures—university presidents, such as Stanford President David Starr Jordan and Harvard University President A. Lawrence Lowell; Anglican priest William Inge, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral; population geneticists Ronald A. Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane; inventor Alexander Graham Bell; economist John Maynard Keynes; Leonard Darwin; H. G. Wells; George Bernard Shaw; Arthur Balfour; Vernon Kellogg (of the prominent cereal family); the Carnegie Institute; Havelock Ellis; Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger; Nobel laureates Herman Muller and William Shockley; award-winning physiologist Dwight J. Ingle, founding editor of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine; Yale University Geographer Ellsworth Huntington;  and scores of other names from the social, biological, and medical sciences.

Glad even reminds readers that Winston Churchill, the much-lionized British Prime Minister during World War II, was an avid eugenicist—a particular irony, given that Marxist-leaning Jewish critics have used guilt-by-association tactics to smear the eugenics movement as crypto-Nazi.

Glad's research has led him to conclude that the Nazi atrocities were not eugenics-inspired. The mass murder of Jews was an act of revenge and "the result was decidedly dysgenic".  Nor was this alleged connection recognized at the time. Glad writes:

"During the first 47 years following the end of World War II—nearly a half century—only one book associating 'eugenics' with 'Holocaust' is shown by a 'Worldcat' search."

But the anti-eugenics activism of Jewish academics was presaged by the race denial of Franz Boas, Ashley Montagu, and others.  Montagu was the main author of UNESCO's notoriously denialist "Race" statement in 1950. After the 1960s, a publishing cottage industry developed, from Robert Jay Lifton's The Nazi Doctors to Arthur Caplan's edited volume When Medicine Went Mad to Edwin Black's War Against the Weak, aiming to discredit eugenics by linking it to the Holocaust.  Other Jewish scholars vocally spearheading this anti-eugenics jihad included Daniel Kevles, Richard Lewontin, Leon Kamin, Steven Rose, Stephen Jay Gould, Ashley Montagu, and Sander Gilman. Glad argues that they have succeeding in perpetrating anti-eugenic fallacies as an intellectual orthodoxy in academia—an orthodoxy that relies on argumentum ad verecundiam (argument from authority).

The rise of this anti-eugenic Jewish clique in the biological and social sciences can be viewed as a reaction to what Steven Rose, the biologist and radical critic of evolutionary psychology, considers as the "arch-Darwinian" influence of sociobiologists and behavioral geneticists. (See Richard Dawkins interview with Rose on YouTube.). As Glad notes, it was in part a collective response to the publication of Edward O. Wilson's Sociobiology, Arthur R. Jensen's landmark research in racial differences in IQ, Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve. Similarly, the insistence that minor discrepancies in Cyril Burt's twin studies data were fraudulent is part of this larger effort to discredit any research that underscores the contribution of genetics to human behavior, which Glad summarizes.

Paradoxically, however, over the years Jewish scholars have played and are still playing an active role as pioneers in eugenic research. As Glad notes, contributors to the Eugenics Quarterly "or whose work is reviewed or advertised there" include: William E. Fineberg, Joseph Felsenstein, Bertram Fleshler, H. Green, Bernard Greenburg, Arnold R. Kaplan, R. C. Lewontin, Samuel Levin, N. Mantel, Ashley Montagu, Edward Pohlman, Reich Rosenthal, J. Samuelson, and Melvin Zelnick. Geneticist Irving Isadore Gottesman served as an officer of the American Eugenics Society in the late 1960s.

This paradox constitutes the core of Jewish Eugenics. Glad contrasts Jewish intellectual hostility to eugenics, reflected in contemporary authors  on the Holocaust, with the pioneering work of leading Jewish researchers seeking to eliminate genetic diseases (to which Jews are disproportionately prone), increase fertility rates, and enhance IQ levels in the Jewish gene pool.

One important focus of Jewish eugenic research has been Jewish fertility rates, including concerns over the level of out breeding (intermarriage rates between Jews and non-Jews). Glad summarizes a multitude of sources, including various studies and quotes of prominent Jews, which over the years reveal the intense interest in Jewish fertility, genetic screening, and the elimination of Jewish genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs, Bloom's Syndrome, Mucolipidosis type IV (ML IV), and a host of other hereditary conditions. (Various websites bolster Glad's arguments, such as the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Jewish Genetics Disease Center" and MazorGuide's Jewish Genetic Diseases)

None other than American Zionist activist Alan Dershowitz summarized the essential concern in his book The Vanishing American Jew:

"Despite, perhaps because of, the growing threats of assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates, many Jews are writing about the Jewish future. Many more are thinking and speaking about it. The time is ripe for bringing our disparate ideas together in a collective enterprise devoted to devising a plan—or plans—of action to preserve the Jewish future…. There is no reason why one of the oldest continuing human civilizations cannot turn to the newest of technologies to enhance its prospects for the future. For the first time in our long history, our survival is in our own hands, and not in those of our enemies."

Glad documents in unprecedented detail the dual roles that Jews have played over the past four decades in distorting the legacy of the eugenics movement while aggressively advancing a eugenic agenda to fortify Jewish culture and Zionism. Glad shows how Jews maintained an active role in the eugenics movement in a compelling narrative, threaded with a multitude of examples, of Zionists and Rabbinical clerics warning in the early twentieth century of the dangers of "intermarriage" with non-Jews.

Examples Glad puts forth include: the founding of The Journal of Jewish Demography and Statistics (Zeitschrift für Demographie und Statistik der Juden) in 1904, which among other research areas, examined "Jewish biology"; statements attributed to leading Zionists, such as Ze'ev Jabotinsky, over concern of "complete assimilation" of Jews into non-Jewish societies and that the "source of national feeling…lies in a man's blood…in his racio-physical type"; prominent Zionist physician Aaron Sandler warning in Anthropology and Zionism that inbreeding and "separating out" alien blood have helped Jewry remain racially pure (rassenrein); and a host of observations over the years by prominent Jewish eugenicists and physicians on the necessity of preserving Jewish heritage.

Glad notes that

"For all its excesses, eugenics has been an astounding, indeed and existential success for Jews, molding them into a uniquely resourceful and intelligent people, and the current assault on eugenics by an understandably emotion-driven minority Jewish faction represents a frontal assault on the very essence of Jewry."

In a revealing Q & A interview in The Occidental Quarterly, Glad explains his interest in a subject that, he says, would end the career of any aspiring young academic.  He argues eugenics is simply a matter of human rights:

"I define humanity, not as the totality of people alive today, but as the totality of people who will ever live. Thus the greater good argument (utilitarian ethics) dictates that we assume our parental responsibilities"

(Glad also argues in his TOQ interview that there is no inherent conflict between eugenics and religion and that "[g]iven the reality of Jewish political muscle, the only way that eugenics can resume its formerly leading role is to explain to the Jewish community that they are acting contrary to their own best interests. The same is true for immigration controls.")

 Glad ultimately frames the essence of the matter:

"How, the reader must invariably ask, has it come about that the fundamental pro-eugenics thrust—not just of Judaism and Zionism, but of Jewry in its essence and totality—has been so assiduously concealed, but that eugenics has been wed in the public consciousness to a tragic infatuation with the topic on the part of a political figure who put a bullet through his brain in a besieged Berlin bunker?

"The Jewish attitude toward eugenics is truly paradoxical. We are dealing here with a disconnect between practice and theory. For lack of a proper understanding of the nature of eugenics as a worldview, the rage has been directed at the word, so that a number of alternative terms have been proposed—'reproductive genetics', for example (as if such a beast as 'non-reproductive genetics' actually existed). It is like writing an encyclopedia article about horses without using the word 'horse'."

Of course, Jewish Eugenics deserved a major trade publisher and mass distribution, like the anti-eugenics cottage industry it so effectively refutes. But, given the current climate, Glad has found only a minor press. This has some unfortunate consequences. The core of the book, after an introductory essay, is an extensive 271-page "Micro-Chronology of Jewish Eugenics" which has a somewhat cumbersome format.

But the material is eye-opening. Glad's "Micro-chronology" is the print equivalent of time-lapse photography. The reader can track over time simultaneous developments in Jewish advocacy of eugenics, Jewish rejection of eugenics, and the annual context of events.

Glad cites  some 400 sources (pro- and anti-eugenic statements), which span over 150 years—from 1844, with the famous claim of Benjamin Disraeli's character, Sidonia, in the novel, Tancred, "All is race; there is no other truth" to statements on U.S. immigration policy in 2010 from former Director of National Affairs at the American Jewish Committee Stephen Steinlight). Glad's sources include path-breaking findings from genetic studies of Jewish groups, observations of researchers from Jewish universities, and a multitude of quotations from Israeli politicians, professors at Ben-Gurion University, prominent American Jews, various rabbinical authorities, newspaper editorials, book reviews as well as Jewish and non-Jewish IQ researchers, such as Richard Lynn and evolutionary psychologist Kevin MacDonald.

Glad dedicates his book "to the memory of those Jewish and non-Jewish eugenicists who were defamed and persecuted in the Western world…."

Jewish Eugenics is an indispensible manual for anyone interested in deconstructing the paradoxical Jewish achievement in simultaneously advancing and discrediting the eugenics movement.

Cooper Sterling [email him]  is a freelance writer in the Washington, DC area.