The eugenics movement of the 20th century gave rise to some of the most controversial and confronting events in the past two centuries.
The word “eugenics” is derived from Greek and means “well-born”, as the purpose of the eugenics movement was to create a superior race.
The movement took place globally, but was strongest mainly in the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia (particularly the state of Victoria).
Eugenics thinking was perhaps first theorised by Aristotle in the time between 385 BCE and 323 BCE, and it was re-invented as ‘science’ by Sir Francis Galton in 1859. From then to recent history (1990), thousands of involuntary sterilisations and killings have taken place.
The eugenics movement decided our value as humans based on our genetics and the colour of our skin, and denied some us our most basic rights – the right to have children and even the right to life. It violated not laws, but ethics and human rights.
History shows us the discriminatory nature of eugenics and the danger of unfairly categorising people. It promoted harmful ideas of human worth.
Eugenics programs and policies should never have been implemented and the legacy of eugenics thinking continues to harm us.
Future generations should be educated about events such as the holocaust and Aktion 4, so that we can try and understand why they occurred and prevent them from re-occurring.
Eugenics has no place in society, nor will it ever.
Read more about eugenics: