Revisionist History

We seem to be surrounded by soap-box philosophers at the moment, comparing political ideologies against each other, and comparing current public figures to those from the past.

I read a very entertaining argument on Twitter late last night comparing Jeremy Corbyn’s oratorial skills (he’s the leader of the opposition in the UK, if you were wondering) to those of Winston Churchill – the famous Prime Minster of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. The usual rabid crowd of course turned up to place Churchill on an ivory pedestal, and decry any comparisons.

I wondered how many of them knew Winston Churchill supported the idea of Eugenics?

If you’ve never heard of it, “Eugenics” was coined in the late 1800s to describe the process of improving the genetic quality of a group of individuals. Many governments looked seriously into Eugenics – and almost all involved have tried to quietly sweep any record of it under the carpet.

In the US, it was implemented – over the course of 50 years, 60,000 people were sterilized based on being judged unsuitable to procreate. It surprises many that the IQ test was originally developed to test how stupid people were – not how clever they were. If you scored lower than 70 in Northern California, for example, you would be sterilized.

Of course we all know what happened in Nazi Germany – rather than sterilize people based on unsuitability to procreate, they tried to wipe out several entire races of people by killing them.

Eugenics is just one example of course – there are similar stories (although not quite as horrifying) in the worlds of banking, healthcare, education, and so on. There are many sides to each story too.

What am I trying to say here then? Maybe that a lot of people could do with a lot more objectivity. Rather than being told what to think, believe or do by the loudest voices, they might be better served by doing some reading of their own, and listening to opposing arguments, opinions, and thoughts before launching into ignorant tirades on public forums.

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