There are always those whose nefarious schemes are said to be done for our own “good”. The word eugenics means ‘good birth’ or ‘well born’. Hitler thought what he was doing was for the good of the German people, if not all of Europe. The eugenicists thought what they were doing was for the good of mankind.
Planned Parenthood founder and hard-core eugenicist Margaret Sanger of course felt she was doing “good” and she was happy to embrace and apply evolutionary theory in doing so. And Darwin did not just write about what he observed in nature and the animal world in his 1859 The Origin of Species – he of course applied it to mankind in his 1871 The Descent of Man.
All these differing streams of course are not isolated incidents. All felt they had the welfare of humanity at heart, and all drew from a common worldview. As Richard Weikart put it in his important 2004 volume, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany:
“Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism… neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.”
Read more at BarbWire