Eugenics: From Hitler’s Sparta to contemporary legitimacy


  • Aislinn Shanahan Daly


It is a dark omen that the word eugenics has resurfaced in recent weeks on social media. Prominent evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins tweeted on the 16th of February 2020 claiming whilst he deplores eugenics morally, it may work in practice.1 It may seem like shite spouting, or maybe an irrelevant rant in the echo chamber of social media, but the fact that a prominent public figure considers it reasonable to promote eugenics in any way is worrying. On 17 February, an adviser appointed to Boris Johnson resigned over a media furore over his past writings on genetics, including a quote of his stating that there are “very real racial differences in intelligence”.2 Strains of eugenic thought are snaking through the capitalist zeitgeist, and it would be wise to be vigilant about how these ideas could gain traction again. Eugenic ideas were not considered