Polly and eugenics

Despite the non-emergence of an “intelligence gene” and the predominant importance of environment over heredity, the far right’s search for reasons why the poor are inferior has a long history. Steve Jones, renowned geneticist, puts it this way: he points out that wealth is considerably more heritable than genes. He says moving to affluence increases a working-class child’s IQ by 15 points. As for super-breeding, Darwin asked a racing dog breeder how he succeeded: “I breed many and I hang many,” was his reply. Not so easy with humans.

Young’s New Schools Network is an odd beast, a charity drawing £2m, 90% of its income, from the state, to advocate and help people set up new schools. But there haven’t been any successful applications since before the 2015 election.

The closing date for the renewed contract to the NSN is 19 January – though it has always gone to the same outfit. Toby Young earns some £90,000 per year as its head. There is, in the tender, no mention of applicants being fit and proper – or non-eugenicists.

Isn’t this fun?

The Fabian left attacking someone for believing in eugenics?

60 comments on “Polly and eugenics

  1. The stupid flows deep & slow in the Guardian. “Toby Young earns some £90,000 per year as its head.” How much was the vice-chancellor of a single university on? What do charity sector chiefs usually pull in? Justified by “we must pay the market rates to get the best”.

  2. Plus she’s having a pop at the salaries paid to people running fake charities. That’s going to be awkward at the next Graniaud coffee morning.

  3. I should imagine that the Nazi period spelt the end of Eugenics being acceptable in left-wing circles.Not the case in right-wing circles: Keith Joseph ruined his coup against Edward Heath for the Conservative leadership in 1974 by proclaiming in his crucial Edgbaston speech “Our human stock is threatened”. Not to worry all those who would keep the lower orders under : rich idle housewife Margaret Thatcher took on Joseph’s mission.She boosted the middle class instead by providing them with capital : unfortunately she did so by allowing out of control house price inflation which has ruined the British economy for a generation (at least).

  4. It’s trivially obvious that eugenics is a good thing if you want to improve the fitness of humanity. Fortunately, we are on the right have generally been happy to let nature take its course because we do not believe tha it’s trivially obvious that eugenics is a good thing if you want to improve the fitness of humanity. Fortunately, we on the right have generally been happy to let nature take its course because we are not massive cunts.

  5. DBC Reed – “I should imagine that the Nazi period spelt the end of Eugenics being acceptable in left-wing circles.”

    William Beveridge – a former president of the Galton Institute I believe – intended the Welfare State to be mildly eugenic.

    And of course abortion services are mainly focused at the poor and the non-White. Especially in the US. Planned Parenthood started as an explicitly racist organisation. Still aborts a hell of a lot of Black babies. More deaths than the Holocaust.

  6. The domination of the left by the USSR finished eugenics for them as the soviets preferred Lysenkoism, being more in tune with marxist ideology in the way it saw people as perfectible and mutable, rather than the more individualistic Darwinism. Nazi eugenics would have been ignored if they’d wanted it that way.

  7. I suppose eugenics seems a bit creepy but I like it better than the dysgenics favoured in the West today. I fail to see the benefits of Britain’s huge breeding pool of useless thick peasants, both domestic and imported.

  8. Are you people trying to kid yourselves that the Nazis were a bunch of lefties?

    I suggest you don’t try to kid anyone outside the circle-jerk

  9. Actually peasants is the wrong word. Peasants, while not much use in an modern economy, are hard-working and self-supporting.

  10. “I should imagine that the Nazi period spelt the end of Eugenics being acceptable in left-wing circles.”

    Strange then that Harold Laski, leftist paragon and chairman of the Labour Party 1945–1946, was an avowed eugenicist.

  11. Margaret Sanger, Woodrow Wilson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Marie Stopes, George Bernard Shaw, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Harold Laski, William Beveridge, JM Keynes.

    All those fanatical eugenicists were undoubtedly closet Tories.

  12. @SMFS – “Such talk repels us now, but in the prewar era it was the common sense of the age. Most alarming, many of its leading advocates were found among the luminaries of the Fabian and socialist left, men and women revered to this day. Thus George Bernard Shaw could insist that “the only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man”, even suggesting, in a phrase that chills the blood, that defectives be dealt with by means of a “lethal chamber”.

    Such thinking was not alien to the great Liberal titan and mastermind of the welfare state, William Beveridge, who argued that those with “general defects” should be denied not only the vote, but “civil freedom and fatherhood”. Indeed, a desire to limit the numbers of the inferior was written into modern notions of birth control from the start. That great pioneer of contraception, Marie Stopes – honoured with a postage stamp in 2008 – was a hardline eugenicist, determined that the “hordes of defectives” be reduced in number, thereby placing less of a burden on “the fit”. Stopes later disinherited her son because he had married a short-sighted woman, thereby risking a less-than-perfect grandchild.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/17/eugenics-skeleton-rattles-loudest-closet-left

  13. @DBCReed

    You are funny as well as ignorant. Humanists UK, where Val Policella is a Vice-President, shared a Chairman with the Eugenics Society up until 1962-3.

    One Sir Julian Huxley.

  14. Gosh, no gene for intelligence? Must be nurture then. Is there a gene for beauty, I wonder? Or is that nurture too?

  15. “Fortunately, we are on the right have generally been happy to let nature take its course because we do not believe tha it’s trivially obvious that eugenics is a good thing if you want to improve the fitness of humanity.”

    It is the Left that wants to “improve the fitness of humanity.” The FAR right thinks people have rights; the Left doesn’t care (except when they can use human rights as a foil).

  16. “I fail to see the benefits of Britain’s huge breeding pool of useless thick peasants, both domestic and imported.”

    Yes, the West has gone insane. We no longer look for qualifications for emigration, rather the lack of qualification.

  17. Anyone who think’s eugenics is dead & buried is kidding themselves. It shows itself alive & well in the reaction to Brexit. That the electorate is not fit to judge these issues & they should be the preserve of the “educated”class. Our own DBC is its resident exponent.

  18. “Are you people trying to kid yourselves that the Nazis were a bunch of lefties?”

    Strong, autocratic central control. What else you need for lefty?

  19. @Fatty
    The German National Socialist Party was born out of the same intellectual roots as the British Labour Party. Possibly why so many pre-war Labour luminaries were so much in love with it.

  20. “than the dysgenics favoured in the West today.”

    The left today just practices a different type of eugenics. Welfare, destruction of the family, immigration. These are all eugenic policies designed to reduce the number of self sufficient European people and increase the number of a different kind of people.

  21. BiS
    Our own DBC is its resident exponent.

    Our own thick-as-pigshit DBC is its resident exponent.

    FIFY.

  22. “Strong, autocratic central control. What else you need for lefty?”

    Economic planning rather than markets, compulsory membership of a State/Party run Union for workers, nationalisation of industries who didn’t play ball?

    Oh, that’s all there too.

    I’m amazed at how little is known about German 1930’s economics, probably since it’s rather embarrassing for the types of people who design school / university curricula. Never had a straight answer from a lefty to the question “what is the fundamental difference between Soviet New Economic Period economics and German National Socialist economics?”

  23. We have eugenic policies at present — eg prenatal screening with subsequent abortion; limiting child benefit to the first two births, which is removing an incentive to breed from the welfare dependent; long-term contraception for the mentally retarded; and campaigns to reduce teenage pregnancies. All Sir Keith Joseph was suggesting was targeting contraception at the welfare dependent, and in effect that is now what is done.

    Increasingly, we will have neo-eugenics – the selection of genes rather than people, in which bad genes will be modified or replaced in the embryo or after birth. Neo-eugenics will be consumer and market driven, rather than state driven…..We live in interesting times.

  24. SMFS

    “And of course abortion services are mainly focused at the poor and the non-White.”

    Not in the UK. The typical UK woman who has an abortion is 22 and middle class.

    Planned Parenthood “Still aborts a hell of a lot of Black babies”.

    Fewer feral blacks is surely not a bad thing…

  25. It’s regrettable how few people have actually read Mein Kampf.. There’s whole sections of it wouldn’t look out of place in a Labour Party policy document. In fact, it’s long been a trollish sport getting translated passages onto leftish discussion sites & savouring the agreeing responses.

  26. There’s a Jewish organisation New York that does eugenics. Couples who want to get married have their DNA tested. If each carries the same recessive gene that is known to cause a horrible hereditary disease – any one of several that are atypically prevalent among the Ashkenazi – then they are advised not to marry. I’d be astonished if there isn’t a similar service in Israel.

    Perhaps Polly could explain why this is not a sensible response to an awful problem but is, on the contrary, just Naziism writ large. Gosh she’s an ignorant dimwit, that woman.

  27. bis: the main obstacle to reading Mein Kampf is how appallingly turgid it is. I wholly concur that it should be more widely read, since it lays out quite plainly the Nazis’ programme well in advance of its being enacted. By the same token, the contents of the similarly unreadable Koran should be more widely disseminated and then perhaps people would see Islam for the bestial doctrine that it is rather than swallow the lies about a “religion of peace”.

  28. @Gamecock – “The difference is only in who owns the means of production.”

    Not even quite that – it’s how much of it the State owns vs. how much is left nominally in private hands but has to do the State’s bidding. Ask Junkers (of aircraft fame) what happens if you don’t, and his nationalisation brought everyone else into line.

  29. “The difference is only in who owns the means of production.”

    In socialism/communism the workers are lied to and told they own the means and benefits of production. The difference with fascism is there no lie about who actually does own and benefit.

  30. BiS: I was quoting chunks of the 1945 Conservative Party manifesto to friends a few days ago and they couldn’t tell it apart from a Labour Party manifesto. Self-governance moving to independence for the Colonies. Four-year economic plan. High levels of employment. 200,000 houses per year building program. Old age, sickness and family allowance benefits. Health care available to all regardless of ability to pay. Universal secondary education. Nationalisation of Coal, Gas, Electricity and Rail. YES, The TORIES’ manifesto policy.

  31. “YES, The TORIES’ manifesto policy.”

    After the state planned war economy, perhaps not so surprising. That Churchill lost with that manifesto is with hindsight unsurprising. The voters wanted socialism, so they voted for the real thing. Churchill should perhaps have offered something different….something more conservative.

  32. Why don’t you get on to the Fish Faced Cow Theo? That’s a message she and her empty skirt brigade need to hear.

    What with you being a paid up party member and all.

  33. What an utterly stupid argument. “There’s no intelligence gene been found, therefore it must be the environment.”

    I suppose Polly has never heard of Gregor Mendel – the man who came up with the theory long before the discovery of DNA. I don’t suspect her classmates heard of him either; it’s hard to hear your biology teacher when someone is snoring loudly next to you.

  34. @ Fatty

    Ah, the idolising of the dear leader, the silencing of dissent in the party, removal of those shall we say less enthusiastic with the new program, use of violent verbal and physical abuse…
    Threats to businesses that refuse to keep to the party line, rewards for cronies…

    Let me introduce the dear leader Herr Corbyn… Heil (oh!) Jeremy Corbyn.

    Bit difficult to tell the difference…

  35. I wonder what Mendel’s explanation for the Flynn effect would be?

    He’d possibly wonder why you were confusing the measurement of the characteristic with the characteristic itself.

  36. “He’d possibly wonder why you were confusing the measurement of the characteristic with the characteristic itself.”

    Are you arguing that the measurement of IQ is distinct from IQ itself?

  37. Intelligence is more heritable than height. It’s about the most heritable characteristic. Of course Toynbee understands what “heritable” means (the extent to which variance of a trait can be explained by genetic factors, not the degree of variance itself), because she’s shown herself to be knowledgeable on complex subjects before.

  38. “The Flynn effect is over”

    In the UK, maybe. We’ve already achieved prosperity.

    “Studies of twins suggest intelligence is up to 60% inherited.”

    Certainly it is. And none of that is related to skin colour.

    Brains are built according to a genetic program. There are genes that affect the way the brain is wired, and faults can certainly have an adverse effect. It’s the result of a combination of several hundred genes, with lots of complicated interactions that cannot yet be pinned down.

    But everyone is a mix of thousands of family trees, one for each gene, and on almost all of those you are more closely related to some Africans than you are to many of even your British neighbours. Humans are genetically well-mixed. We are one species – we can all interbreed, and that would not be the case if we were not nearly identical, genetically. A handful of skin colour genes have no detectable effect on brain-building, none is expected, and even if there was one, it would be lost amid the noise of all the others.

    The point of the Flynn effect is that culture, education, prosperity, and technology make a big difference to intelligence. Given the differences between African and European culture, differences in intelligence are to be expected. There is *no* evidence that any other explanation is required to account for the difference. Spreading European culture, education, and prosperity to the Africans should therefore be expected to fix it, and assuming we think low intelligence is a bad thing, surely fixing it should be a priority?

    Mendel I’m sure would have pointed out that skin colour is external evidence of only one gene, and we cannot assume that organisms with one gene in common have all their other genes in common too.

    It would be like judging books on the basis of one word.

  39. The problem with eugenics is that the traits you are selecting are the “best” ones. The other problem is that desirable traits are often intertwined with undesirable ones.

    From a pure genetic spreading standpoint, Ghengis Khan is the most successful that we know about. His progeny is spread across Europe and Asia. Maybe we need to emulate him more.

  40. dearieme – “There’s a Jewish organisation New York that does eugenics. Couples who want to get married have their DNA tested. If each carries the same recessive gene that is known to cause a horrible hereditary disease – any one of several that are atypically prevalent among the Ashkenazi – then they are advised not to marry. I’d be astonished if there isn’t a similar service in Israel.”

    It is called Dor Yeshorim and it was founded by Rabbi Josef Ekstein after his first five children all died of Tay-Sachs disease. They offer their services worldwide I believe. Tay-Sachs is now more common in non-Jews than in the Orthodox community.

    However this is dysgenic, not eugenic. They are not getting rid of those genes. They are simply spreading them out further in the Jewish community. Because people who would have got married and had no surviving children would not have passed those genes on. Now they marry other people and they do.

  41. Since IHT only seizes 40% of the assets above the IHT theshold that are not protected by some tax break (like forestry or AIM stocks) it would not be that surprising if IQ was less hereditable than money.

    Polly has not observed the emergence of an “intelligence gene” because it has been around for thouands of years and has passed her by (which is why she could not, even withj 1 to 1 tuition, cope with studying at Oxford)

  42. NiV – “In the UK, maybe. We’ve already achieved prosperity.”

    And yet average IQ is declining. How is that possible when we are getting richer?

    “But everyone is a mix of thousands of family trees, one for each gene, and on almost all of those you are more closely related to some Africans than you are to many of even your British neighbours. Humans are genetically well-mixed.”

    Neither of those claims are true actually. We are invariably more closely related to other White people, especially other British people. And humans are made up of several groups that did not inter-breed to any significant extent until the modern period. In the Americas that is obviously true but it is also true of other racial groups.

    “We are one species – we can all interbreed, and that would not be the case if we were not nearly identical, genetically.”

    For various definitions of nearly. It looks like Europeans did interbreed more with Neanderthal than any other group. It may be that East Asians and South-East Asians also inter-bred with various other hominids. So we may not even be one species depending on how you want to define it.

    “The point of the Flynn effect is that culture, education, prosperity, and technology make a big difference to intelligence.”

    British prosperity and technology is declining?

    “Spreading European culture, education, and prosperity to the Africans should therefore be expected to fix it, and assuming we think low intelligence is a bad thing, surely fixing it should be a priority?”

    So colonialism was a good thing? If this is true, why hasn’t the average IQ of African Americans in the West picked up? Why is Chicago such a dump? Or Jamaica? Jamaica looks richer than Britain did 100 years ago. How is its IQ doing?

    “Mendel I’m sure would have pointed out that skin colour is external evidence of only one gene, and we cannot assume that organisms with one gene in common have all their other genes in common too.”

    Except it isn’t. There is no one gene for skin colour. We cannot assume your point in general. But when there seems to be sizable bodies of evidence linking skin colour and IQ we cannot ignore it either.

    I think there is likely to be a cultural cause. But that culture is so hard to shift it hardly matters.

  43. john77 – “Polly has not observed the emergence of an “intelligence gene” because it has been around for thouands of years and has passed her by (which is why she could not, even withj 1 to 1 tuition, cope with studying at Oxford)”

    And at Saint Anne’s too. Which is hardly the most rigorous of colleges.

    However this is an argument for her point. Polly could not have had better genetics. She still couldn’t hack a Lady’s College.

  44. We should not overlook the fact that Polly and others have essentially invented the fact that Toby Young believes in eugenics as part of their (successful) campaign to retain the ideological purity of educational quangos. As he himself points out he once attended a conference in his role as a journo and the left wing mob claimed that he therefore believes everything that anybody there has ever said on the subject.
    Toby Young caved in to social media pressure and apologised, desperate for approval from lefty so called intelligensia, just like David Cameron did. But yielding to them only makes them despise you more, so they are now attacking him on trumped up charges of believing in eugenics, dog whistle for Nazi.

    What we now see as the real ‘genius’ of Trump is that he, almost alone, refuses to apologise to the lefty Taliban that controls us via the media. Twitter is their medium and he has hijacked it and refuses to yield.

  45. “Interested
    January 12, 2018 at 11:02 am

    It’s trivially obvious that eugenics is a good thing if you want to improve the fitness of humanity.”

    That only works on paper.

    Because once you get into the details of questions like ‘what does it mean to improve the fitness of humanity’ you realize that the answer is not at all objective. Its completely up to the eugenicists desires and goals.

    Fitness for what? Servitude? Shall we breed a more docile human? One that is more agreeable to labor for the benefit of the hive (and those who direct the hive)?

  46. @ SMFS
    Certainly Polly could have had better genetics for intelligence – her father attended Christ Church which is known for the wealth, not the intelligence, of its undergraduates; wikipedia does not say anything about her mother’s intellectual achievements so one would guess that they did not match those of my mother and many of her friends.

  47. “Neither of those claims are true actually. We are invariably more closely related to other White people, especially other British people.”

    That wasn’t what I said.

    Consider blood group, for example. There are two antigen genes for the A and B blood groups, and you can have A, B, AB (i.e. both) or O (i.e. neither). Someone of blood group A got that gene from one of their parents, who got it from one of their parents, and so on back up the family tree. The A gene originated somewhere back in the mists of time, and everyone with A or AB blood groups is a descendant. And each gene has its own family tree.

    You could define a “race” on the basis of possessing an A gene for blood group, that makes as much logical sense as defining one based on the skin colour genes. Everyone A or AB is one race, everyone B or O is the other. It’s not as easy to tell from the outside, but if blood group was the only thing we could perceive about people, categorising them that way would make just as much sense.

    So if you have blood group A, are you “invariably” more closely related to other people with blood group A or AB than you are to people with blood groups B or O?

    Bearing in mind that the split happened before we separated from the chimpanzees, does this mean that you are more closely related to a chimp with blood group A than a human with blood group B?

    Black and white people interbreed, and always have. (White people have probably only been around for about 10,000 years, and there has been long-distance trade over most of that period). Go back 400 generations, and *all* our ancestors were black. But if a black person entered the European gene pool 10 generations ago (250 years), they’d have an average of a thousand descendants, each with one thousandth of their genome. You’re pretty unlikely to still have the black skin colour genes, but you’ve probably got around 20 of their genes. And there were a hell of a lot of black slaves brought over here at that time, with no doubt a hell of a lot of illegitimate kids!

    There are plenty of white British kids who are unknowingly more closely related to people living in Africa than to some of their neighbours.

    The only reason skin colour is used as a genetic classification is because it is easy to identify visually. It’s got no particular significance over and above any other gene, every one of which also splits humanity into a discrete set of allele groups that could be called races. ‘Race’ as a major classification of humans is entirely a political, cultural, and historical construct – it’s got no objective genetic basis.

  48. @ SMFS
    On second thoughts, Polly is a prime example of environment *not* being sufficient (as she and fellow-lefties claim) to ensure academic suddesss. She had all the environmental advantages – money, private school, biassed selection system to favour daughter of prominent communist “intellectual” – that they say makes the difference. She just didn’t inherit enough intelligence or character.

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