Eugenics and the Birth of Ethical Cleansing

Eugenics is the science of making sure that those who are deemed “unfit” to reproduce are basically forced to not do so via sterilization. People considered for eugenics include the mentally ill and, for some countries, racial and ethnic minorities. According to the article by DenHoed, scientists in the day claimed that, “social ills were caused by the proliferation of the wrong sort of people” and, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s page, eugenics were embraced because forced sterilization of certain peoples would eliminate “biologically threatening” genes. This was believed because scientists in the US misinterpreted Charles Darwin’s and Gregor Mendel’s theories and research about genetics (DenHoed article).

I believe that eugenics gives us a reason to separate science and society from each other because governments can use this science to justify harming populations of people if given the opportunity to. As we’ve seen from the Holocaust that occurred around WWII, the science behind eugenics gave the Nazi party an excuse to commit genocide on many groups of people including the Jews, Romani, disabled, mentally ill, and those who were homosexual. Their reasoning for this was to keep racial purity and to produce “acceptable” offspring. However, the Nazi party was inspired by the US’s views on eugenics as many forced sterilizations occurred a couple of decades before Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 (DenHoed and Stern articles). The US government had about 32 states that had eugenics part of their laws. The most unfortunate part of this is that some states, particularly the southern ones, used eugenics as an excuse to sterilize racial minorities such as Mexican-Americans and African-Americans on top of other groups such as the mentally ill and other “imbeciles.” Cases like these are good examples why science and society should probably be separated from each other. 

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