Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eugenics, Sterilisation and Racial Improvement

Neil Whitfield has has just put up on a post two absolutely awful videos on the US eugenics movement. Please review them.

I cannot fully judge the accuracy of the videos without looking at the historical evidence. On the surface, they show what can happen when the moral majority ignores human freedom.

7 comments:

ninglun said...

I got onto this material (and more) when teaching Brave New World for the HSC; it is part of the context of that novel, published as it was in 1932 when all this was happening -- referring to the second video at least. Huxley was actually quite ambivalent about it all, in my opinion. He was both attracted to and repelled by the utopias on offer at the time.

Jim Belshaw said...

Huxley's amibivalence does not surprise me, Neil. He was writing at a particular time.

ninglun said...

He was writing at a particular time. That is partly why the HSC unit is so interesting as it requires students to tease out the implications of that. BNW is paired with the 1980s movie Blade Runner so students can see how a similar fiction (in some ways) explored the utopian idea in a different context (and medium) while owing much to the earlier text.

Jim Belshaw said...

I must say, Neil,that I never saw either Brave New World or Blade Runner - I read it when it first came out - as in any way utopian. Quite the opposite. To me, as with so many other SF movies, they showed how society could go wrong.

Jim Belshaw said...

I should have said book, of course.

ninglun said...

They are dystopian of course, but were exploring what others were offering as utopian and finding the visions wanting, Huxley especially being ambivalent, as I suggested, which is witnessed by other things he said and wrote at the time, and even in the novel itself where he allows Mustapha Mond some good arguments and the Savages in contrast some troubling disadvantages.

Jim Belshaw said...

Neil, I fear am going to have to cede this field to you. It is so long since I read BNW!