Return to NeoEugenics


Breaking Away from the Masses—Eugenics within the anti-Eugenic State.

Several countries do not have the moral constraints that we in the West face with regards to eugenics. In India, it is primarily used to select for sons while aborting daughters, not exactly a solid eugenics program. It does however imply that they will use reproductive methods deemed unethical in the West, as there are no eugenic taboos. In addition, the Hindu caste system assumes a racial hierarchy of groups of people from the lowly untouchables to the priestly Brahmans.

China, in a more centrally directed effort to control population size and quality, instituted the one child rule. Allowed to have only one child, many couples will abort females until a male is had. In addition, if the child is defective it usually does not leave the delivery room—it is euthanized or abandoned in some other way. Eugenics is openly embraced as a national goal, though China is too poor as yet to fully implement such a program.

Israel however is the most advanced when it comes to state sponsored eugenics, and with few of the reservations we impose on ourselves in the West. Israel, in my opinion, is the most advanced eugenic state today. (

Still, with the large pool of Whites in the West, with our technological sophistication, and with controlling genetic engineering virtually impossible in a mobile world where someone–somewhere will provide eugenic technology, it is just a matter of time that parents will be increasingly designing their children. Still, for many of us, this wait-and-see position is not adequate. I would like to propose therefore an alternative: creating resource-acquisition communities dedicated to eugenic programs.

Living in the West we are coerced into supporting not our own communities, but those of other communities who manipulate the political system for their own benefit—both globally and locally. It seems to me however that there is plenty of wealth, especially when as a eugenic community, we could come together using intelligence and rationality to optimize outcomes. More on increasing resources and implementing a eugenic program later.

A recent book by Marc D. Hauser, 2006, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, does a remarkable job of putting altruism, ethics and morality into an evolutionary perspective. And the message is we can devise any ethical/moral system we like to create unique communities within the larger communities we reside in.

The book looks at moral development in children, moral systems as they exist in some more advanced animals, and then lays out why an open-ended evolutionary moral/ethical system(s) that is flexible and ecologically contingent can supplant any existing moral system. We can turn our backs on moral dogma.

Relevant to a eugenic community: "Sometimes our moral intuitions will converge with those that culture spells out, and sometimes they will diverge. An understanding of our moral instincts is long overdue…. But in developing policies that dictate what people ought to do, we are more likely to construct long-lasting and effective policies if we take into account the intuitive biases that guide our initial responses to the imposition of social norms."

That is, a eugenic community must understand innate and culturally created moral systems. I have looked at this possibility for many years now, and through rational thought some moral systems can be overturned and others seem just too hardwired in. For example, I am an over-tipper—not good for a resource acquiring community. On the other hand, I also reject the need to go to restaurants in the first place, placing it squarely in the area of evolutionary maladaptation in a world that has plenty of food. (It also helps to control my weight by knowing what I am eating by buying it at a store where the product has the ingredients labeled.)

Hauser also cautions us with regards to precautions, omissions and actions and how others see them; we react differently to each. For example, omissions are tolerated more than actions that may go against local customs. He notes, "
One of the best-kept secrets of the medical community is that mercy killings in the United States and Europe have risen dramatically in the last ten years even though policies remained unchanged." That is, doctors omit treatment rather than take actions to kill a terminal or suffering patient.

Infanticide and euthanasia have been common practices in the past. It was hard enough to sustain life without adding on burdensome people who could not produce or could not contribute to future generations. As medical technology advanced, and as advocacy for the disabled, the infirm, and the downtrodden expanded, more and more money is being spent (not counting the emotional pain) on lives not worth living. By clearly establishing that resources should be targeted towards the productive and gifted, a eugenic community can increase its resources, its viability, and its internal cohesion and contentment by not having to deal with the unproductive and unwanted. Measures should be taken to make sure that only children who have high potential are born. For those who mature but become community problems, turn them out. For all adults, use discussions and living wills so that due to accidents or disease, a life not worth living can be terminated.

I assume here of course that those who advocate eugenics are more rational, intelligent, and tough minded than the average person. In Richard Dawkin's book The God Delusion, he points out that from studies it seems that intelligent atheists/agnostics actually fear death less than more religious people. I assume that this is a combination of nurture and nature, so a eugenic community will naturally be made up of somewhat likeminded people from both genetic similarity and conforming to group values.

This breaking away from the current egalitarianism does not dismiss us of obligations demanded by the state, but we can also take steps not to give anymore than need be to the state for redistribution to others. Smaller homes with lower property taxes. Tax shelters that increase wealth. Less money going towards sales taxes by not buying what is really not needed. A eugenic community, I should think from what I have seen, will be more interested in the pursuit of knowledge and culture than showing off to friends how extravagant we can be. There are numerous "potlatch" type ceremonies, hobbies, materialism, etc., that are evolutionary maladaptations.

Another trend within the eugenic community is a desire to buy an island somewhere or relocating in a rural area away from the mainstream. To me that would be a mistake, as large urban centers offer opportunities for jobs, technology, wealth accumulation, activism, culture, and easy expansion. Being a science-based community without fanaticism, it should be easy to present one value system to those at work and adopt another when around other eugenicists. I do this at work now, and it is not at all difficult. I give some money to an annual Christmas charity that buys presents for needy children. It goes against my value system, but it also buys me points at work with fellow workers. I have found it relatively easy to change my politics to suit different occasions so as to be included and not ostracized. Though I would prefer to spend more time with people who share my values, it is not always possible.

As Hauser states it, "
Put differently, the part of our mind that evaluates intentions, actions, and consequences might be the center of moral deliberation, the piece of our psychology that delivers the initial verdict about permissible, obligatory, or forbidden behavior."

It has been noted that children develop different moral/value systems as they get older—at least one for when they are at home or at school and another when they are with their friends. By being aware of different types of moral systems being played out, and to whom they are directed, a science-based eugenic-community can become aware of when these mental systems are in play in different contexts. We would want to lead by example to attract others like us, but become transparent to any antagonists. That means knowing how to behave and what to say in different situations.

"What is central to the discussion ahead [concerning moral conflicts] is that intuition and conscious reasoning have different design specs. Intuitions are fast, automatic, involuntary, require little attention, appear early in development, are delivered in the absence of principled reasons, and often appear immune to counter-reasoning. Principled reasoning is slow, deliberate, thoughtful, requires considerable attention, appears late in development, justifiable, and open to carefully defended and principled counterclaims. Like all dichotomies, there are shades of gray. But for now, we can start with these two contrasting positions, using them to spring forward into a third." Within a science-based community, one that understands the evolutionary process that produced moral systems/emotions, intelligent people with the desire to understand the world as it is and the desire to speculate how it can be different, are well on their way to becoming intelligent and rational actors.

Robert Sternberg is one of the leading antagonists to the Jensenist position on innate intelligence differences between races. He is noted for claiming that wisdom is not the same as intelligence, though he has not produced any satisfactory studies showing how they are different. He uses wisdom as a means of claiming that those who even investigate racial differences lack this mysterious wisdom—it is a tool then for indoctrination. I submit that Sternberg then is a good example of a person who is intelligent, but incapable of acting rationally—he is so emotional about the nature–nurture debate that he becomes almost unhinged in his attacks.

A far more robust understanding of intelligence and human behavior combines mental ability with personality types that lead one, I assume, to desire to become rational. That is, if a eugenic community can develop intelligence and rationality, those objectives obviate any need to reify wisdom, compassion, altruism, etc., in lieu of understanding evolution and human nature—as it is and as it can become. On the other hand, a community can also be highly intelligent and irrational. This is seen often when Jews become emotionally charged over issues that they believe threaten them, as MacDonald points out, turning to messianism and mysticism instead of human understanding when things go wrong. The neocons are the latest example of this philosophical approach of fabricating a utopian society then arguing for its implementation—without trying to understand human nature. Now we are in a losing war in
Iraq because of this shortsightedness.

Hauser notes: "
Countless ethnographies have explicitly made the point that punishment through shame, ostracism, scapegoating, and outright violence is essential for maintaining egalitarianism and adherence to social norms in small-scale societies." If eugenic communities maintain maximum sizes of 100-150 people, the maximum number of people that one can get to know well, then egalitarianism can be implemented within the community. This would include a suppression of any type of dominance over others in the group (save it for outsiders). This should also include a flexible system of financial arrangements to avoid two primary pitfalls—fraud and loss of assets when some will leave the community. That is, those that leave should leave with their fair share.

Hauser concurs with Frank Salter in his book On Genetic Interests: When
given a choice, we should help kin over non-kin, our race over other races, and humans over other species—and only if that help benefits our own gene pool. Individual moral judgments reflect evolved, universal decision-making processes that increase genetic fitness. Evolutionary research has finally put an end to any possibility of formulating a universal ethical code other than arbitrary ones merely agreed to by a group of people. Moral/ethical behavioral systems evolved for the propagation of genes carried by the group. Group conflicts, where both groups were genetically similar, tended to differentiate the groups through customs, dress, language, etc. And the slight genetic differences between two genetically similar groups were enough to push an evolutionary strategy where the more cohesive and savvy group displaced the other.

Morality and altruism have always been a part of evolutionary fitness—for universal altruists however, morality and altruism directed outside of the immediate in-group is maladaptive. Humans carry with them a set of emotions to enhance this in-group–out-group rivalry. Hauser notes, "If empathy is the emotion most likely to cause us to approach others, dis
gust is the emotion most likely to cause us to flee. Unlike all other emotions, disgust is associated with exquisitely vivid triggers, perceptual devices for detection, and facial contortions. It is also the most powerful emotion against sin, especially in the domains of food and sex." Disgust is a powerful emotion that many of us are unaware of. Under the indoctrination of diversity and multiculturalism, we are encouraged to set aside the emotion of disgust in favor of universal tolerance.

For the eugenic community, disgust can similarly be used as a tool for separation. One of the most innate emotions is disgust for others who deviate from what is the norm. My wife is rather liberal, and yet she succumbs easily to disgust for people who shuffle along the street (usually Blacks), beggars on the street, people with hostile attitudes (again usually Blacks), reckless and aggressive drivers (usually Hispanics and yuppies), etc. This is a powerful evolutionary emotion meant to be directed at out-groups to make it easier to suppress any empathy—if the other looks and acts disgusting—they are much easier to act against whether in business dealings or all out warfare. As Hauser notes, "
Thus, once we leave core disgust, we enter into a conception of the emotion that is symbolic, attaching itself to objects, people, or behaviors that are immoral. People who consume certain things or violate particular social norms are, in some sense, disgusting…. Disgust wins the award as the single most irresponsible emotion, a feeling that has led to extreme in-group–out-group divisions followed by inhumane treatment. Disgust's trick is simple: Declare those you don't like to be vermin or parasites, and it is easy to think of them as disgusting, deserving of exclusion, dismissal, and annihilation. All horrific cases of human abuse entail this kind of transformation, from Auschwitz to Abu Ghraib."

Disgust may be an irresponsible emotion if it is not controlled, but it is not as maladaptive as universal altruism where the White race allows itself to be displaced by other, less empathetic races. So as a corrective, the promotion of disgust, especially in socializing children, is a useful tool for promoting eugenics and one's own kin group. The trick is to use it wisely, not capriciously.

Hauser states, "
The capacity for delayed gratification reveals something profound about a person's personality. Patience is not only a virtue but a marker of success in life." Research has shown it is also linked to intelligence and conscientiousness. These two psychometric traits are responsible more than any others in making a person successful. You need the intelligence to know how to perform, and the conscientiousness to want to accomplish goals. As far as a eugenic community is concerned, it seems we would attract intelligent and conscientious people. However, conscientiousness is less heritable than intelligence, so children should be raised to pursue their own interests, rather than being pushed into every available program to make them "well rounded," whatever that means. We live in a world of specialization; children too then can find their own niche without being driven by their parents at too early an age. (Research has shown that demanding, pushy parents do not produce more successful children—instead it causes anxiety later in life.)

Hauser also discusses a subject that may be important with regards to changing the political climate. That is, humans are naturally equipped to calculate social contracts and there are also considered to be social rules to be followed. But things that are perceived to be precautions, that is anything that is dangerous to one's person, cannot be modified by social contracts—these are considered to be objective facts. However, these objective facts are presented to the public by the media, and people are not capable of easily calculating probabilities of danger. (Hauser misses this point.)

For example, we have been spending billions of dollars on the war on terrorism that was a one-day event within the
United States (it seems now the war in Iraq was a secondary action to rearrange the Middle East for the benefit of Israel). However, from a rational position, I am in far more danger of harm or death driving in urban areas that are poorly controlled by police. In Chicago, both on highways and within the city, there is virtually no police enforcement any longer of driving rules. And with the addition of cell phone use, near accidents seem to be a daily occurrence in my experience.

Now let's take up another issue—crime. Mexican immigration has caused an increase in crime because Mexicans have higher crime rates than Whites, the majority population in the
United States. The press has ignored the issue, even though the majority of Americans want immigration reduced—both legal and illegal. Now however, years after 9/11, all of the right wing talk show pundits have gone from pro-immigration to anti-immigration, as if they are all following a common script. I will speculate that it is a fear of an eventual massive increase in Muslim immigrants due to the crisis in the Middle East, or a perceived threat of Muslim terrorists slipping over our borders. In any event, they have changed their positions 180 degrees without explanation.

The reason this is important to eugenicists is because fear (precautions) is a better means of changing public opinion than debate or rational arguments. People's minds, through evolution, are biased towards taking sides and then maintaining their belief systems to conform to that of the group(s) they are aligned with. Because of our penchant for conformity to the norm, those who dictate what the norm or value system is control the minds of the masses. One hundred years ago in the
United States, the masses followed the dictates of the military, business, and religious organizations. Today, it is academia, the media, and political organizations that determines the current value systems (MacDonald, 2002). For this reason, Whites will continue to be relegated to the status of the universal pariah, responsible for all of the world's past and present inequities. I don't see this situation changing anytime soon.

Returning to fear or precaution, a eugenic community can put into place actions that directly confront the current zeitgeist. By actually breeding highly intelligent children, in a way that cannot be ignored or dismissed, we can begin to crack the dogma against eugenics. Just one example will highlight such a strategy. Carefully select one male and one female for mass breeding using surrogate mothers. Let the children be raised by the surrogate mothers under highly divergent environmental and family arrangements. In addition, let the children get to know each other and interact as they like (I'm thinking of ten to twenty brothers and sisters).

From an early age, the media would be all over these children, and I believe they would become celebrities—with the need for some protection from overexposure. I know that this can work because there is already an example in place. A male sperm donor has fathered a number of children from different families and the mothers and half-siblings have been in contact. The children, according to press reports, are comfortable with this information that they have a common father, even though the father has not been uncovered as yet. In the future, just like many other taboos, donors, surrogates, and children will not be as obsessed with secrecy, and will see these new types of families as quite normal. At least that seems to be what is unfolding in the sperm- and egg-donor bank industry.

It also addresses a major dilemma in behavioral genetics. When it comes to plants and animals, controlled experiments can be performed. In collecting human empirical data, because of ethical constraints, twin and adoption studies are said to be flawed in determining heritability ratios because of numerous claims such as "twins are placed in similar environments." There are numerous other examples of these so-called unknowns used to attack the nature side of the nature–nurture debate. (The nurture side could be similarly attacked but the behavioral geneticists are too busy doing empirical research.)

But, are controlled experiments with humans impossible? Isn't it possible to provide funds for a lower class White person to carry a superior selected child from sperm banks, then see how well the children perform with no intervention except an occasional intelligence test? That would be as controlled an experiment as animal breeding is today. And it could all be voluntary and carried out here in the
United States (Some Western countries have restrictions on some of these procedures).

Moral indignation against established moral taboos fade with time as the environment changes, especially our highly changing technologies. First, in-place moral systems resist change, but eventually yield to the reality that it is never as catastrophic as portrayed by antagonists. Hauser notes that "acquiring a second moral system, [different from the one acquired from one's upbringing], would be equivalent to acquiring a second language: slow, laborious, requiring rote memory, and hours of tutelage—something quite different from the effortless, fast, and almost reflexive acquisition of the first system." And I would add, the more intelligent and rational a person is, the easier it is to self-indoctrinate oneself with a new moral system—especially one reinforced by a community of like-minded futurists. And far easier than acquiring a second language.

So how would the moral code be formulated by a eugenic community? Hauser gives us a glimpse: "
Do unto others to the degree to which they share your genes. With this simple formulation in mind, the mystery of altruism vanishes. I am willing to incur a personal cost if it benefits individuals who share my genes. From the gene's-eye view, I should sacrifice myself to save two brothers, four grandchildren, or eight first cousins." Salter in On Genetic Interests has noted that in a closed breeding population, after several generations with the same genes being passed around, the relatedness of any two individuals increases. So it would be possible to have a community where virtually everyone is genetically no further apart say than second or third cousins.

It has always been assumed that inbreeding is harmful, and yet as Hauser points out: "In Graeco-Roman Egypt, reports indicate that up to 30 percent of urban marriages were between brothers and sisters. First-cousin marriages have been even higher and more omnipresent, across both time and place." It seems however that the best breeding comes from a combination of inbreeding to consolidate good genes and isolate/destroy bad genes along with some outbreeding to add beneficial genes. In short, inbreeding can produce village idiots by consolidating recessive genes, but without any further breeding by the village idiots these genes are reduced in frequency.

Ethnic nepotism is a natural attraction—humans want to be with those like themselves, and the more heritable the trait the more it attracts. (See Rushton, 2005.) And humans can take differences even further than animals. Hauser states, "The first point of note is that humans, in contrast to any other animal, show more marked differences between groups. Neighboring groups can have different languages, dress codes, marital principles, rules for punishment, and beliefs about the supernatural as well as the hereafter….The lack of variation between animal groups, together with the relatively high migration rates, virtually eliminates the possibility of group selection. In contrast, the significant variation between human groups creates an opportunity for group selection.

"Added to intergroup differences are two mechanisms that create greater homogeneity within groups: imitation and a conformity bias. Though chimpanzees and perhaps some other animals may be close contenders in terms of their capacity to imitate, imitation in humans differs in
at least three ways: its immediate and reflexive appearance in development, its independence from a particular sensory modality, and its close connection with the mental states of others, including their intentions and goals. Imitation, together with our capacity to teach and transmit precise information, enables high-fidelity copying. It enables psychological cloning within groups, creating a potential for differences between groups. Added to these mechanisms is a conformity bias, a tendency to do what others do, leaving dissent to the outliers. As I mentioned in part II, dozens of experiments in social psychology reveal our chameleon-like minds, activated without our consent."

Rushton points out that spouses/friends' attractors are: age, ethnicity, education, opinions and attitudes, intelligence, personality, and physical traits. For those who hope to see the browning of all races, it seems far likelier that with increased mobility, there will be interracial unions, but there will also be increased assortative mating. That is, many of us will choose to live amongst people like us, just as we will be breeding what we think is the ideal type. Likewise, our children will be more alike on those traits that attracted us together as a group. I would be extremely surprised if eugenicists did not fall into a fairly narrow range of personality types. More intelligent, dynamist/futurist, scientific, rational, less emotional, willing to seek long-term goals, skeptical, etc. I am not trying to define the best personality profile for a eugenic community—it could very well be multi-polar. But I would be very surprised if it was a normal bell curve of personality types.

Now that we can put morality behind us, we no longer have to debate what is right or wrong—only what works based on science. If others want to embrace some form of humanism or religion, where all humans are considered equal—so be it. A eugenic community can merely turn their back on these other communities, and get on with improving our branch of our species until we become a new species. I also do not assume a smoothly organized community, but one that keeps fracturing along interests and specialties—business, academics, athletics, the arts, beauty, or even just happiness as the primary goal.

Hauser states, "If a biological perspective on morality is true, then the moral principles must be encoded in the DNA. Different amino acid sequences link to different deontological rules, some for harming and some for helping. This idea is indeed incoherent, but it has no resemblance to what I
have argued. To say that we are endowed with a universal moral grammar is to say that we have evolved general but abstract principles for deciding which actions are forbidden, permissible, or obligatory. These principles lack specific content. There are no principles dictating which particular sexual, altruistic, or violent acts are permissible. Nothing in our genome codes for whether infanticide, incest, euthanasia, or cooperation are permissible, and, if permissible, with which individuals. And the simplest way to see that this must be so is to recognize that each child, depending upon his or her cultural origins, will acquire a distinctive moral system. The universal moral grammar is a theory about the principles that enable children to build a large but finite range of distinctive moral systems."

The eugenic community now needs to start laying down its own moral code and practices, stop wasting so much time debating with our detractors, but rather show them by example. After all, there are plenty of articles in the mainstream media now discussing genetic engineering, pharmacogenetics, reducing heritable diseases, selecting the best fertilized-eggs for implantation, etc. The pendulum is swinging back towards an appreciation of racial differences.

An article on the Internet states: "
A neo-Nazi organization that was poised to purchase a hotel in a town in Germany and turn it into a 'eugenics indoctrination center' has been outbid by local residents. People in Delmenhorst near Bremen held bake sales and staged fund- raising barbecues to scrape together money to thwart a rich neo-Nazi lawyer's organization from buying property in their town. Civic officials and a citizen group said Wednesday their purchase of the empty downtown building for 3 million euros (4 million dollars) was complete, but no one knows what to do with the site now. There have been suggestions it become an old-people's home or a community center. Negotiations with the vendor began in August. Residents of the small city of 80,000 on the coastal plain of northern Germany had worried that the empty, 100-room Hotel am Stadtpark would be turned into a workshop for neo-Nazi racial purity ideology. The right-wing extremist organization Wilhelm Tietjen Stiftung fuer Fertilisation Ltd (Foundation for Fertilization Research) had sought to buy the building. The organization is named after a rich Nazi from Bremen who died childless in 2002. The group is run by a far-right lawyer, Juergen Rieger, who reportedly offered 3.4 million euros. The vendor was finally persuaded to accept slightly less from the civic-action group. German anti-sedition agencies described Rieger as an 'incorrigible racist.' However critics said the campaign, which included fund-raiser concerts, played into the hands of Nazis and property-owners, who could repeat the threat to move in at other places in Germany." (Circa December, 2006 http: // )

Everywhere it seems nations are fracturing under diversity and multiculturalism. In the
United States, communities are passing their own laws against illegal aliens. As this continues, communities will start to split, along with the moral code that has seemed so monolithic not long ago with regards to eugenics and race.

I just finished Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, and Trial of a "Desk Murderer" by David Cesarani, 2004. Adolf Eichmann was the Nazi that facilitated the deportation of Jews to their deaths, escaped to
Argentina after the war, was abducted by Israeli agents, then tried and hanged in Israel. The point of the book is that there was nothing special about Eichmann; he did what men do sometimes during war when those in charge condone it. But the book does have some interesting passages that reflect on a discussion of eugenics and morality.

Cesarani explains, "
It is a myth that Eichmann unthinkingly followed orders, as Hannah Arendt argued. Apart from the possibility that he could have sought a reassignment, we now know that the Nazi command and control system did not work that way. In 1960 the Third Reich was understood to have been a totalitarian state under the sway of a dictator with absolute power. In the light of this received wisdom, Eichmann's catalogue of policy conflicts, failed expedients, in-fighting and confusion sounded like nothing more than a lame alibi. However, during the 1970s German historians such as Martin Broszat and Hans Mommsen began to reinterpret the Third Reich in a way that lent credibility to Eichmann's statements. Their research revealed Nazi Germany as less of a totalitarian monolith and more like a tangle of competing Party and state agencies over which Hitler presided erratically and in which policy routinely emerged as a compromise between powerful individuals and interest groups. Despite studies that revealed evidence of confusion and equivocation, Arendt's assessment possessed almost scientific status thanks to Stanley Milgram's 'research' on the propensity for obedience to orders."

And later, "Ironically, her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, more than the trial itself shaped Eichmann's legacy. Anyone writing on the subject today works in the shadow of Hannah Arendt. Her notion of the 'banality of evil', combined with Milgram's theses on the predilection for obedience to authority, straitjacketed research into Nazi Germany and the persecution of the Jews for two decades. This was not just because they offered persuasive explanations of Eichmann's conduct and past events. On the contrary, it was because they seemed to offer a way of understanding the modern world: totalitarian systems, the threat of nuclear annihilation at the press of a button, and the depredations of the Vietnam war. During the Cold War it was both comforting and powerful propaganda for conservatives in the west to imply that there was no difference between the Third Reich and the Soviet system: that Eichmanns flourished under both dispensations. At the other end of the political spectrum, the left appropriated Eichmann to explain how it was possible for men to operate weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations. The officer in the SS uniform who just obeyed orders seemed the precursor of men like Lt Calley who committed atrocities in Indochina."

It is shown that
Germany in many ways reflected how Israelis felt after the 1967 war—fearful of annihilation. Think of how Israel would have reacted if the United States was also Israel's enemy? Germany was desperate, chaotic, and failing in the war. The Jews were simply seen as "the enemy," and as they came under Nazi control they had to be dealt with just like any other combatant. We have done a similar thing with terrorists today—they are assumed to be guilty and interned until proven innocent. "The language and thinking of warfare [in Germany] merged with racial eugenics to neutralize any reservations" about actions taken against the Jews, no matter how repulsive. That is, propaganda against the Jews facilitated the war effort by enhancing disgust towards the Jews.

He then goes on to describe National Socialism. "
German nationalists located the true spirit and biological reservoir of the German Volk, or people as defined racially, among the peasantry, and invested the 'Germanic landscape' with mystical significance. Blood and soil were commingled: the vistas which Eichmann loved symbolized to him the unity of the pure German Volk with its unsullied Heimat, or homeland. The local Wandervogel group that Eichmann joined, called the 'Griffon', shared members with the right-wing Austrian militias and through it he gradually made contact with one of the right-wing militias which dominated Austrian political life."

And later, "You didn't need to be a fanatical, racial anti-semite to join the Nazis; although Nazi policy on the Jews wouldn't put you off, either. There were other equally or more pressing reasons for becoming a Nazi: to reverse the humiliation of Versailles, to check the threat of Communism and curb the socialists, to make your country politically stable and economically vibrant, to enjoy comradeship with like-minded men, to march, to wear a handsome uniform. Eichmann was probably being quite honest when he said that at the moment he joined the Nazi Party, he didn't hate Jews." To become a Nazi then was not unlike becoming a Democrat or a Republican—I see more polarizing views in the United States under our two-party system.

National Socialism looked very similar to our current war on terror, with the "your either with us or against us" attitude. Cesarani states, "Both Himmler and Heydrich conceived of intelligence work within an ideological context: its purpose was to defend the Nazi movement against its enemies, who were predefined as Marxists, socialists, liberals, Jews and Freemasons. These hostile forces were, they believed, conspiring against the SS, the NSDAP, and the German people, the Volk. Yet notwithstanding its grandiose objectives, the SD was initially tiny and it was run on a shoestring. In 1932 its Munich headquarters boasted just seven full-time personnel. They were camped out in the apartment of a female sympathizer known as 'Mother Edrich'."

Contrast this state with the Soviet Union that had already killed millions of people before 1940. Stalin, safely ensconced in Moscow, drew up lists of people that were to be exterminated or sent to die in concentration camps. Cesarani explains the Nazi's attitude towards the enemy: "On 22 June 1941 the German armed forces surged into the territory of the Soviet Union and the moment came which the Nazi elite had been anticipating. This was no ordinary war. It was, as Hitler had explained to his generals in March 1941, an 'ideological war of extermination'. The Soviet Union represented the home of both Bolshevism and international Jewry: they would both be rooted out and destroyed. In preparation for the assault, the SS had been given special tasks. Four mobile task forces, Einsatzgruppen, composed of Sipo-SD personnel, Waffen-SS units, and police, were charged with collecting intelligence, ensuring security and eliminating 'enemies' of the Reich. These included partisans and saboteurs, commissars, state and Communist Party officials and Jews 'connected with the party and state apparatus'. In order to avoid conflicts of jurisdiction and squabbles while this program was carried out, as had occurred under similar circumstances in Poland in 1939, Himmler ensured that the army and the SS reached an agreement to demarcate their respective spheres of operation."

President Bush calls this preemptive warfare, and it has been justified over the past few years because terrorists killed three thousand Americans. Then, the Bolsheviks were just across Germany's border, they had already killed millions of people, invaded numerous neighbors, and were seen as a real and deadly threat. The United States on the other hand has never been threatened directly by another nation that could commit land forces—two oceans prevent the possibility without going nuclear.

Cesarani's main point in the book, according to him, was to show how anyone could become caught up in genocide, as numerous recent incidents have shown us from Rwanda to the breakup of the Soviet Union. When any two groups can dehumanize the other, genocide can follow. Cesarani also makes clear that the Holocaust had nothing to do with eugenics, euthanasia, racial supremacy or any other biological theory. Propaganda was used to dehumanize Jews, but they were killed because they were seen as the primary enemy of German nationalism during a time of war.

What Cesarani seems to completely miss is any evolutionary explanation for genocides. Many of these books are written by people who apparently are totally unaware of human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, so they end up with one explanation after another based on proximate causes and unable to connect these with ultimate causes: humans are all competitive in order to pass their genes into the future. To do that, from childcare to ethnic nepotism, the "other" becomes the enemy when resources are scarce. We are just temporary vessels for our genes, and we have been programmed to behave altruistically or genocidally, depending on circumstances.

Matt Nuenke--2/2007