Monday, April 03, 2006

H.G. Wells: Precursor to "Dr. Doom" Pianka

To follow up on yesterday's post, I'll highlight a few "gotcha" quotes from H.G. Wells' lesser-known political writings. The first is from the forward to a book called The Pivot of Civilization, written by one of Wells' lovers:

The New Civilization is saying to the Old now: "We cannot go on making power for you to spend upon international conflict. You must stop waving flags and bandying insults. You must organize the Peace of the World; you must subdue yourselves to the Federation of all mankind. And we cannot go on giving you health, freedom, enlargement, limitless wealth, if all our gifts to you are to be swamped by an indiscriminate torrent of progeny. We want fewer and better children who can be reared up to their full possibilities in unencumbered homes, and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict upon us."
Pivot of Civilization, Introduction

The Pivot of Civilization was a book agitating for Birth Control, written by the foundress of Planned Parenthood herself, Margaret Sanger.

H.G. Wells' book The New Republic also has some curt words for most of the world's population:

And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black? . . . the yellow man? . . . the Jew? . . . those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? Well, the world is a world, and not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go. . . . And the ethical system of these men of the New Republic, the ethical system which will dominate the world state, will be shaped primarily to favor the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity—beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds. . . . And the method that nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world, whereby weakness was prevented from propagating weakness . . . is death. . . . The men of the New Republic . . . will have an ideal that will make the killing worth the while.
Quoted by Stephen Barr, The Devil's Chaplain Confounded

The parallel between Wells and Pianka is clear. Their juvenile endorsement of mass death belongs in the comic books, not in awards ceremonies. The modern scientific project was in many ways a charitable endeavor, founded "for the relief of man's estate," to use the words of Francis Bacon. The post-modern scientific project could very well relieve the estate of mankind's burden out of a diabolic sense of charity.

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