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Monday, January 23, 2017

Trotsky on Eugenics

For John, BLUFEugenics is a perversion of science.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That would be Leon Trotsky, for those of you on the right.  I am assuming leftists all know about Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein.

This article from FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) is by Mr Jeffrey Tucker.  It was published on New Years Day 2017.

Here is the beginning of the article:

The unending process of getting history online has produced vast revelations.  The latest discovery to amaze me is an article by Russian communist Leon Trotsky from 1934, as printed in the publication Liberty:  “If America Should Go Communist.”

Trotsky’s 1934 article exudes confidence in how communism could be realized in the United States.  Trotsky, beloved then and now as the Menshevik and later Bolshevik leader, wrote this document in a period in his life in which he was massively popular among American intelligentsia.  He had lived in New York for three months in 1917, and established some strong and enduring ties with communists.  Following his split with Lenin, he lived in exile from 1927 to 1940, when he was assassinated in Mexico on Stalin’s personal orders.

It’s fair to say that many if not most American communists in 1934 considered themselves Trotskyites, still holding onto hope for some realization of authentic communism as opposed to the growing mess in Russia.

Trotsky’s 1934 article exudes confidence in how communism could be realized in the United States.  The New Deal was starting to be implemented while the National Socialists were intensifying their total control of Germany.  Everywhere, it seemed, capitalism was disgraced, to be replaced by rational economic planning.  Trotsky was merely writing on the far end of the spectrum of the planning consensus.

One Big Conveyor Belt

He writes as if putting his dreams into words could create reality itself.  Keep in mind that this was back when the communists actually believed that they could create more productivity than capitalism.

Here we get to the nub of the Eugenics Question.  Not a great exposition, but one that makes a lot of sense.
After researching this topic now for two years, I’ve framed a rule for thinkers of this period:  scratch a socialist and you will discover a eugenicist who aches to use the state to control who lives and dies.  It turns out to apply to Trotsky as well.

Consider this bizarre paragraph from his 1934 essay:

While the romantic numskulls of Nazi Germany are dreaming of restoring the old race of Europe’s Dark Forest to its original purity, or rather its original filth, you Americans, after taking a firm grip on your economic machinery and your culture, will apply genuine scientific methods to the problem of eugenics.  Within a century, out of your melting pot of races there will come a new breed of men – the first worthy of the name of Man.
To be sure, his views were no different from any other run-of-the-mill intellectual at the time.  Eugenics was a widely held outlook and policy aspiration, from Madison Grant’s freak out about white genocide in 1916 all the way through Gunnar Myrdal’s advocacy of Sweden’s barbaric sterilizations in the name of purifying the race.

Was his push for eugenics driven by racial panic, as was the case with many Progressive Era intellectuals?Even so, one does wonder what Trotsky had in mind.  Was his push for eugenics driven by racial panic, as was the case with many Progressive Era intellectuals?  Was it merely a general desire to improve the genetic composition of the average person? Or perhaps it was actually a political motivation.  Maybe the ultimate answer to the “bourgeois mind” was extermination through sterilization, exclusion, impoverishment, and death in one generation?

Let's face it.  The motley assembly of humans that is America probably does need sprucing up.  However, that is something that should be left to mutual attraction, not some government bureaucracy make genetic decisions for individuals, Margaret Sanger style.

Besides, Leon Trotsky was against chewing gum.  That is very un-American.

We should be thankful Mr Trotsky never lead a revolution in these United States.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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