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Eugenics and Other Evils

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  253 ratings  ·  31 reviews
This scarce antiquarian book is included in our special Legacy Reprint Series. In the interest of creating a more extensive selection of rare historical book reprints, we have chosen to reproduce this title even though it may possibly have occasional imperfections such as missing and blurred pages, missing text, poor pictures, markings, dark backgrounds and other reproduct ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by IndyPublish.com (first published January 1st 1922)
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Jordan
For the most part, eugenics has receded as a respectable academic discipline. But while one would have a hard time finding blatant exponents of the idea of eugenics, the principles of eugenics are very much alive today. The common misconception is that they died with Nazism, but even a cursory glance at the social and political landscape proves that to be false.

So, while much has been done to discredit eugenics, its spectre still hovers around us today, threatening to snatch up the wage-earners,
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D.M. Dutcher
Don't be fooled by the title or how old this book is. It is an amazing takedown of the entire basis of eugenic thought as well as a profound argument against unregulated capitalism. It not only does those, but highlight problem after problem that you never have even considered before. And it was done contra mundi, during a time when eugenics was considered even more respectable than evolution is today.

It doesn't do the book justice to summarize its many arguments, but I'll list a few just to giv
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David
This book was truly prophetic. George Bernard Shaw said of G.K. Chesterton "he was a man of colossal genius"-- he most certainly was. But Chesterton was beyond intelligent. He was wise.

That is, he had a firm grasp on human nature. He represented the absolute best side of cynicism and while he may have been a cynic, Chesterton was not a pessimist.

His social commentary was priceless, not to mention way ahead of its time. To my knowledge, Chesterton was the one of the only voices at the time to spe
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Nicole
If a gross injustice appeared disguised in scientific lingo and talk of progress, would I recognize it for what it is? That was the question I had in mind as I started this book. I greatly admire Chesterton and his contemporaries for recognizing eugenics for the monster it was, and without the benefit of hindsight.

Few writers can make me feel so utterly uneducated and dimwitted as Chesterton can. But somehow the challenge is rewarding rather than defeating. This book challenged my views on the
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Brent
Jun 15, 2010 Brent rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A fantastic work, rivaling even Orthodoxy with its razor sharp insight, wit and prescience.

Chesterton was an early opponent to eugenics at a time when it was very fashionable. With a clarity that is as tragic as it is brilliant, Chesterton foretold what was to come. There are many things that can be said about the Holocaust, but one thing that cannot be said is that we were not warned.

In addition to dealing with the Eugenists, Chesterton also speaks on economics and freedom. Building on the fou
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Skylar Burris
Chesterton began this book in the 1910’s, before eugenics realized its full horror in the holocaust, but it is a disturbingly prophetic and surprisingly poignant book even in our own day. What makes this book so arresting is that it is about far more than eugenics: it is about how evil succeeds subtly, about politics, and about economics.

Especially interesting was Chesterton's categorization of the four types of defenders of eugenics, because these categories can apply to the defenders of a gre
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Daniel
Bloody amazing.

I am kicking myself for not having read Chesterton constantly, continually, and so very thoroughly much, much earlier in my career. And I have no plausible excuse. I was quite familiar with the name Chesterton due to the ongoing friendly rivalry that he had with George Bernard Shaw. And there was always the indirect Chesterton quote that the very famous personality Michael Palin eventually delivered during the opening segment of the Ripping Yarns series. Yet I never picked anythi
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Mary
What's Chesterton's theory? I'm kind of on a Chesterton kick--don't know if you noticed--but I'm still trying to sort his ideas out. He combines a kind of libertarian dislike of government interference in morality with a Christian (especially Catholic) concern for "living wages" for the poor. This book is very bold, especially at a time when even U.S. president Woodrow Wilson was a proponent of eugenics and, as the Chesterton society points out "The New York Times gave it constant and positive c ...more
Joel Dougherty
"You will observe that he tacitly takes it for granted that the small wages and the income, desperately shared, are the fixed points, like day and night, the conditions of human life. Compared with them marriage and maternity are luxuries, things modified to suit the wage-market. There are unwanted children; but unwanted by whom?" (Eugenics and Other Evils, part 2, chap. 5)

"We call in the doctor to save us from death; and, death being admittedly evil, he has the right to administer the queerest
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Jesse Broussard
I write down commonplaces as I read books: little items worthy, as N. D. Wilson said, of imitation and remembrance. I have several of these empty, unlined notebooks filled, and have broken tradition with Chesterton in not actually keeping track. With Tolkien, I devoted an entire commonplace book. With Chesterton, I'm not even going to bother trying. His complete works are contained in 37 (or more) large volumes put out by Ignatius Press, and I will just have to allow that to be my Chesterton com ...more
Russell
The thing that impressed me most about this book, aside from Chesterton's genius at writing with paradoxes, was how relevant it still is. The problems he wrote about are still here, almost like the modern world got stuck around post WWI and never moved past certain ideas. Chesterton's spiritual vision is piercing, able to see through many arguments and positions to correctly identify the moral dangers and evils behind. He's not just an engaging author and a master of logic, he's a voice for comm ...more
Brent McCulley
Chesterton was a literary genius. His satirical prose and command of the paradox leads the reader dumbfounded how anyone could accept the tenants that Chesterton argues against in his Eugenics and Other Evils. Don't be fooled by the age of this book; the eugenics movement has notgone away, it has just changed its shape and name. Things like state-run birth control and abortion may have been theory back in the late 19th century, but they currently are our reality.

Chesterton was ahead of his time,
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Alex
This is a beautifully written book, still relevant today... But it's not a "pro-life" or "pro-choice" book. It's a "plague on both your houses" book.

Yes, he opposed divorce and abortion, probably would be outraged by mere idea of gay pride and homosexual marriage, and would think pretty much the entire notion of social liberalism is an irrelevant red herring...

But he would be equally horrified about the way his "wrong kind of socialism" with inspectors instead of bread and bewildering laws des
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Johanna
A bit lengthy, but compelling none the less. It is terrifying to think that such evil people existed, and perhaps even more terrifying that they still exist today, masquerading their cold-blooded intents under the guise of science and the "betterment" of human society. If you thought that eugenics and ethnic cleansing ended with the nazis, take a close look at the major heads of the green movement. Many are calling for a culling of the human race, and where else would they start but with the sic ...more
Giedre
This is a brilliant book, I don't know how I managed to avoid reading G.K.Chesterton up until now. I wish I'd read this book ages ago, it's easy to read, clear, written with humour and sarcasm at times and it made me think and change my views on things I never really stopped and thought about.

Although there were one or two arguments where I couldn't fully agree with Chesterton (perhaps due to my lack of in depth knowledge or analysis of the subject), this is such a current book despite the fact
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Ellen
This book, like Chesterton's Orthodoxy, is a collection of arguments and speeches given in response to the assertions of leading eugenics supporters in England in the 1920s. Many of his thoughts apply to today's battles over abortion and contraception and the government's role in providing them. Chesterton makes a clear and powerful reasoning for keeping the grasping government's hand out of the individual's most private life.
Kathy
It's amazing how many topics that Chesterton tackled are still with us today. They have different names, but the concepts are still there. I think his main point is the dignity and worth and value of every living soul. No one has the right to trample on the rights of others, even in the name of "helping" them. Some of the allusions are out-dated now, but Chesterton is always biting and bright.
Steve
If one is familiar with the Eugenics argument, then Eugenics and Other Evils is well worth reading. If one does not have at least a basic grasp of the Eugenics argument then I would not recommend this book. There is a good argument for Distributism in the last couple of chapters in this book that are well worth reading for anyone.
Tony
★★★★ for Part 1, as much for the delightfully clear, incisive, and at times hilarious, style of laying out his case, as for the argument itself. There are many delightful little nuggets that still resonate, but also a few too many places where something he mocks as being beyond all reason has since come not only to be accepted, but to have completely extinguished every other way of thinking.

Only ★★, though for Part 2, which is effectively a second book (the Chapter numbers even reset to 1). It
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Thomas
Excellent, written 90 years ago, but you would think it was written today- except that Chesterton was a fantastic writer, most modern journalists are not fit to stand in his shadow, and it was a big shadow.
Athens
Chesterton is really quite enjoyable to read.

I often disagree with his premises and outcomes of his thinking, but the thinking itself is something to behold. A brilliant man.

Will read more of his.
Erik Olson
Chesterton is an amazing linguist. Some examples are dated, but the language and concepts involved are not. A great read!
Precentor
Definitely an excellent book and timeless in many of the social problems it points out.
Keith Zuniga
great book, gives some good arguments and explanations. interesting read
Ryan
Who would have thought that a book on such a topic would be such a great read.
Carl Hesler
I am thankful that G.K.C. could write a book like this.
Robert Vandiver
More mind stretching writing.
Phil Chapman
liked it, but mostly as a defense of the poor. Chesterton himself says that often times a tyranny has to be combated before it comes to fruition. Simply because this danger was never fully realized does not mean that the book doesn't have merit all that the arguments that are favorable to eugenics are not out there lurking still. For now Nazism all but closed people's minds to it, but as well all know, public memory tends to be short. Pardon, if I sound like an alarmist.
Mike
In truth, I didn't read the whole thing, but abandoned the book about halfway through. Not because I disagree with Chesterton's reasoning or conclusions, but I only began the book as a continued exploration of the subject matter of "The Immortalists," but soon knew that my enthusiasm lay with resuming my fiction reading list. Mayhap one day I'll circle back and finish "Eugenics and Other Evils."
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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“The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.” 60 likes
“Government has become ungovernable; that is, it cannot leave off governing. Law has become lawless; that is, it cannot see where laws should stop. The chief feature of our time is the meekness of the mob and the madness of the government.” 31 likes
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