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GG20200303 -- Eugenics by G K Chesterton Part 1 Chapter 1

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Release Date: 03/04/2020

Episode 20200911 -- We Should Talk More Episode Zero show art Episode 20200911 -- We Should Talk More Episode Zero

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Episode Zero for the new We Should Talk More podcast with Lady J. . Comments via the  Comment Line: 218-234-CALL    Contributions:

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 8 -- The End of the Household Gods: "The only place where it is possible to find an echo of the mind of the English masses is either in conversation or in comic songs. The latter are obviously the more dubious; but they are the only things recorded and quotable that come anywhere near it." Chapter 9 -- A Short Chapter: "Round about the year 1913 Eugenics was turned from a fad to a fashion. Then, if I may so summarise the situation, the joke began in earnest. The organising mind which we have seen considering the problem...

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 7 -- The Transformation of Socialism: "Socialism is one of the simplest ideas in the world. It has always puzzled me how there came to be so much bewilderment and misunderstanding and miserable mutual slander about it. At one time I agreed with Socialism, because it was simple. Now I disagree with Socialism, because it is too simple." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 6 -- The Eclipse of Liberty: "If such a thing as the Eugenic sociology had been suggested in the period from Fox to Gladstone, it would have been far more fiercely repudiated by the reformers than by the Conservatives." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 5 --The Meanness of the Motive: "Now, if any ask whether it be imaginable that an ordinary man of the wealthier type should analyse the problem or conceive the plan, the inhumanly far-seeing plan, as I have set it forth, the answer is: "Certainly not." Many rich employers are too generous to do such a thing; many are too stupid to know what they are doing." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 4 -- The Vengeance of the Flesh: "By a quaint paradox, we generally miss the meaning of simple stories because we are not subtle enough to understand their simplicity." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 3 -- True History of a Eugenist: "He does not live in a dark lonely tower by the sea, from which are heard the screams of vivisected men and women. On the contrary, he lives in Mayfair." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 2 -- True History of a Tramp: "He awoke in the Dark Ages and smelt dawn in the dark, and knew he was not wholly a slave." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Part 2 -- The Real Aim Chapter 1 -- The Impotence of Impenitence "The root formula of an epoch is always an unwritten law, just as the law that is the first of all laws, that which protects life from the murderer, is written nowhere in the Statute Book." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922. Chapter 8 -- A Summary of a False Theory: "I have up to this point treated the Eugenists, I hope, as seriously as they treat themselves. I have attempted an analysis of their theory as if it were an utterly abstract and disinterested theory; and so considered, there seems to be very little left of it." Comments to 218-214-CALL  (218-234-2255) Contributions:  

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"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922.

Narrator's Introduction:

For the next few paragraphs I will speak for myself, to set the stage for G.K. Chesterton's book, and to suggest why I believe it is still an important book.

I think G.K. Chesterton explains his book rather well in his introduction, but it might help to start with a sense of the time in question. Chesterton started work on Eugenics and Other Evils in about 1910, but it was not completed and published until 1922. In his own introduction he talks about the period before and after "The War." The war he refers to is now called World War One.

We now have a distaste for the word Eugenics, largely driven by events in World War Two. But at the time this book was published, Eugenics was lauded to the skies as a wonderful idea, and Chesterton was nearly the only person saying in writing that Eugenics was in fact evil. A case could be made, and has been made, that today, though the word Eugenics is avoided, some practices that are in fact Eugenic practices, and some sciences that are in fact Eugenic sciences, enjoy great popularity and engender great public enthusiasm. To which practices and which sciences I refer, is left as an exercise for the reader.

To the Reader:

"...It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies (not visibly very distinguishable from other babies) sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilisation, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses...."

Part 1 -- The False Theory

Chapter One:

"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."

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