Helen MacMurchy

Eugenics: Keeping Canada Sane

The pseudo-science behind eugenics was based on a crude misconception of heredity “Great men are almost always bad men,” Lord Acton famously said. If that is so, we are going to have to tolerate flaws if we want to celebrate “great” Canadians. The eugenics movement of the early 20th century particularly tries our tolerance of several of our textbook heroes. It was Charles Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton who coined the term “eugenics” (Greek for “well-born”) in 1883 to describe the process of improving or impairing “the racial qualities of future generations either...

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