Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Against the Eugenicons

Michael Lind Compact Magazine

Image for article: Against the Eugenicons
August 11, 2023

Photo: HarperCollins

In May 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump promised, “Five, 10 years from now—different party. You’re going to have a worker’s party.” In the presidential and midterm elections since 2016, the GOP has picked up more working-class black and Hispanic voters, while losing more college-educated whites to the Democrats, in defiance of progressive predictions. But it will be impossible for the Republican Party to win over more working-class white and nonwhite voters by adopting pro-worker policies—as long as a substantial share of GOP donors, journalists, think-tankers, and activists structure their politics around hereditarian theories that claim that the patterns of class and race in America and the world are the result of unalterable DNA.

Call them the eugenic conservatives, or “eugenicons.”

The term “eugenics” was coined by Francis Galton (1822-1911), a cousin of Charles Darwin, who urged superior people to breed with one another. His theories seemed to offer scientific support for the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, who assailed Christian and egalitarian ideals, arguing that most human beings were of little value compared to the highly evolved Übermensch, or “overman,” who would eventually transcend traditional moral categories (fit for slaves) and pursue, instead, his own creativity and vitality beyond good and evil.


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