Society as much as we like to think so...has not really moved forwards. The stigma of those deemed different still exists as it did over 100 years ago and is portrayed differently.

I am currently watching Eugenics: Science’s Greatest Scandal.

(https://www2.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/adam-pearson-eugenics-science-greatest-scandal)

Did you know Eugenics means Well Born? I didn’t.

Fact: The Prime Minister of the UK, Winston Churchill was a product of his time. He was as cruel as Hitler towards the Disabled communities.

Poster from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/eugenics

The poster produced during the times of Nazi Germany above basically says:

  • Left side of the poster: This man costs society RM 5.50.
  • Right side of the poster: If we did not have this man, we would be RM 5.50 better off!
This sounds like a very familiar line that is used in popular media these days doesn’t it?

Yes.. You read that right. Churchill was a Famous Eugenicist along with:

  • Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood and Racial Eugenicist)
  • Francis Galton (Cousin of Charles Darwin and created the term Eugenics 1883)
  • Theodore Roosvelt (ex-USA President)
  • Alexander Graham Bell (Famously known as the Inventor of the Telephone)

I am not saying he is the same as the following Hitler, Stalin, Ceaușescu and Pol Pot (to name a few) who were a stain on Human history.

They did things of extraordinary unspeakable cruelty which should never be forgotten and learned from.

I’m saying that Winston Churchill played his part in the role of Eugenics in the UK. He supported confinement, segregation and sterilisation of the “feeble minded” as described by the Mental Deficiency Act 1913 which he was an early drafter of.

He supported measures which limited the freedom of people with Disabilities which included making it a criminal act to marry anyone “Feeble minded” via the Feeble-Minded Control Bill.

1920s eugenics poster Wellcome Library, London

This needs teaching in schools but it won’t be. As with whitewashing history…we able-wash history because the establishment can’t face it’s crimes against humanity.

Laws passed and the effect.

1913, the Mental Deficiency Act was passed. The idea was to institutionalise people who were deemed defective and prevent breeding.

This succeeded the Idiots Act of 1886

Did you know that it was not uncommon in places to have someone snatch a Disabled person off the streets and institutionalise them for life?

This is what Eugenicist Samuel Wormald, a county official, did at Meanwood Park, Leeds.

He was kind of a twisted Piped Piper who’s job was to select potential inmates. He’d go out on his bike, snatch someone who was “different” whether it was a child or adult, take them to Meanwood Park and imprison them for life.

“At the height of operation of the Mental Deficiency Act, 65,000 people were placed in “colonies” or in other institutional settings. The act remained in effect until it was repealed by the Mental Health Act 1959.”

Eugenics was quite popular in the USA and became part of popular culture. Hitler was a big fan of USA Eugenics and Nazi sterilisation programmes such as Aktion T4 were directly influenced USA Eugenics.

The American Eugenics Society promoted ideas of racial betterment and genetic education through public lectures, conferences, publications and exhibits at county and state fairs — like this chart labeled “The Triangle of Life” from the Kansas Free Fair.

Society as much as we like to think so…has not really moved forwards. The stigma of those deemed different still exists as it did over 100 years ago and is portrayed differently.

Sterilisation, segregation of society and the way we talk about people who are different to us still persists.

Ostracised

The point I am making is that the history of the people conveniently omits truths to make a country or government sound better than they really are.

Many people with disabilities, mental health issues, chronic conditions, neurodivergent conditions were…and are still ostracised by the political establishment as a cost…a stain on society. It is why many reports of human right abuses are coming out from “children homes”, specialist schools and such – rebranded from institutions.

Personally

I am grateful that society has moved on from confinement but it needs to keep progressing and stop ostracising those who have a perceived difference….

If you want to know more about Eugenics, have a search online. I used the term “Eugenics” and it gave me loads of hits.

Now I’ve to carry on watching the programme… It is hard to watch. Some of the topics the presenters talk about make you pause for thought.

I will be doing a follow up to this article.