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Eugenics and Social Darwinism: What Hitler Failed To See

December 26, 2011

After truly understanding what human beings are looking for, some ideas emerge as outright ridiculous. The idea of “improving” humanity through different genetic methods which in extreme cases leads to mass murder and extermination of human beings deemed “unfit” by some is one of those ideas. Due to evolutionary reasons, we all consider human life to be of most importance; I want to clarify how someone setting out to take lives based on a twisted way of perceiving evolution is actually betraying evolution in the name of representing it. This is the reason evolution strikes back and destroys its self-appointed representatives.

As I explained before in the Satisfaction Hypothesis, we are all in search of what we call “satisfaction”. That is, we are all motivated to perform tasks that we understand to be useful to us. The usefulness of our undertakings is defined by how we feel about their end results. Evolution equipped us with a set of pleasant and unpleasant feelings, each rising when a certain condition is met. We don’t need to understand why we feel this way to be able to function as an animate being. We don’t need to know why we get hungry, we just eat when we are hungry and that satisfies us, guaranteeing our existence. Likewise, we don’t care why we are attracted to members of the opposite sex, we just feel like initiating contact with them. Even when we set out to find the reasons behind our feelings and characteristics, we are actually striving to quench yet another evolutionary advantageous desire: the need to understand. Evolution gave us a list of different feelings, basically defining everything we care about. If we care for the lame, deaf or blind, it’s because Evolution wanted us to care for them; that is, there is nothing to “fix”, except perhaps for the blind man’s eye.

Some mistakenly give Evolution and the process of Natural Selection the status of a deity. It is important to understand that Evolution doesn’t have any god-like characteristics, except for being the cause of our existence. No one can please Evolution, because it is just a process, like any other process in our environment. We don’t allow fire and the process of “burning” to consume our jungles, because the end result of this process is not desired; we invent methods and devices to control that process and limit it to a level we consider satisfactory. Same holds true for the process of Natural Selection. For whatever reason, we just care about our satisfaction and not its causes. If we encounter intelligent, hostile beings created by the process of Natural Selection, we don’t respect them because “the god of Evolution created them”, we defend ourselves, defend our lives and basically defend our satisfaction against them. We also defend ourselves against hostile human beings trying to harm our satisfaction in the name of Evolution. The majority of human beings sympathize with the victims of any form of genocide. Interestingly this is what Evolution itself meant for us; otherwise it wouldn’t have given us altruistic characteristics.

Now that we’ve established what is actually important to human beings, let’s consider the argument set forth by proponents of negative eugenics and used by Hitler to justify actions that the majority consider extremely horrific and outrageous, like genocide. Those in favor of negative eugenics argue that we must eliminate the weak and defective members of our societies to “strengthen”, “empower” and ultimately “advance” and “improve” the human race.  What they always fail to carefully examine is the meaning of these words. What does it mean to “improve” the human race?

Improvement in eugenics is defined as increasing the physical and mental strength of future generations of human beings, which would eventually lead to technological advancements. To reach these goals, some may decide to prevent “defective” members from procreation, even if it means killing them. Now there is the question of “why”. Why would humans want and need these improvements? The answer may now seem very clear. Improvements and technological advancements are all means of reaching higher levels of – you guessed it – satisfaction.

There is no inherent value in the definition of “improvement”. Science and technological advancements it brings about are worthless if they don’t somehow translate into increased human satisfaction. Buildings, cars, traffic lights, vending machines and future spaceships are valuable only if they can help human beings in some way. Same holds true for literally everything human beings consider valuable. Better genes are also valuable assets as they bestow on their owner – an owner with almost the same list of feelings as anyone else – more intelligence and physical strength, so he can reach higher satisfaction levels easier. More brain cells and stronger muscles are analogous to faster computers and more powerful machines and therefore have no value unless they help their sentient owner in a way.

Here is where the eugenicists’ argument fails. They claim someone equipped with better assets must be allowed and even forced to survive and those with physical defects must be eliminated; we already established that better assets are only useful if they satisfy their owners. Therefore the satisfaction of the owner is what everyone tries to protect and increase. Even Hitler was – unknowingly, I suspect – doing the same, he just failed to contemplate his philosophy long enough to realize it shoots itself in the foot.

When a sentient being is formed in our world, its satisfaction becomes important to us. When we predict that a sentient being is going to be formed, we do what we can to ensure its future satisfaction. Sometimes we may choose to prevent such a being from being formed, because we are not sure whether we can ensure its happiness or not. We opt to go for premarital counseling and blood tests to make sure our babies aren’t born with diseases hindering their happiness. We don’t do it because we want “the quality of human race to increase”; we couldn’t care less about that. What we care about is the condition of our baby, and how it is going to feel. This is a subset of positive eugenics that didn’t lose sight of humanity’s goal. These are methods that none of us finds horrific.

Most of us think the most important quality of a human being is his capacity for sympathy. Those who don’t have this capacity are the defectives that we call psychopaths; Yes, we, the true representatives of Evolution, we call them psychopaths and keep them away – not put them down – just keep them away, as Evolution made us care even for them.


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