Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Atheists, eugenics and Margaret Atwood

Barbara Kay in today's National Post takes a swipe at Margaret Atwood. More specifically she denigrates Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, as "drivel."

I am not a big fan of Atwood, naturally, since I am a male and she is eunuch-maker supreme, and I don't disagree with Kay on that point. However, Kay, after a promising start, lapses into some rambling thing about eugenics. The context of The Handmaid's Tale is the reverse of eugenics (active breeding rather than active culling and sterilization), so it is a bit head-scratching why this got into her column.

What becomes clear, according to Kay, is that the evil of abortion and eugenics is all the work of atheists married to fascism and "anti-religious pagans." Kay claims that the bulwark against these things is Western conservatives, whether religious or not.

When eugenics arose as a serious scientific philosophy it was in a very religious age. It was first practiced in the United States in 1900, by all accounts one of the most religious countries in the west. In Europe it was supported by such conservatives as Winston Churchill.

Anti-religious pagans is an oxymoron unless you think only religions of the Abrahamic tradition count as religions.

Finally, history's most notorious practitioner of eugenics, Nazi Germany, was a Christian country, even though it flogged some pagan rituals for crowd control. Hitler considered himself to be Catholic and SS belt buckles were engraved with a slogan that would do just to a Yankee greenback. In destroying Europe's Jews this was considered as carrying on a Christian tradition, probably dating back to the commencement of the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century.

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