Happy Darwin Day! Not everyone feels like celebrating, of course, including this writer, who points to an Indiana connection with the "dark side" of Darwinism:
As of 2007, it is exactly a century since the key turning point in the Darwin-inspired American eugenic movement. In 1907, Indiana achieved the distinction of becoming the world's first government entity to enforce sterilization of institutionalized "idiots," "imbeciles" and others deemed genetically "unfit." The idea caught on.With Washington and California following in 1909, some 30 states in all passed similar compulsory sterilization laws by the early 1930s. But California was the leader in the field, accounting for half of coercive sterilizations in the years leading up to World War II.In America as a whole, by 1958 some 60,000 citizens had been sterilized against their will. Only the horrors of Nazism succeeded in casting a pall over America's romance with eugenics, when it came out that German doctors were following the lead of their California colleagues and sterilizing undesirables.
But the writer goes on to acknowledge that Darwin himself did not believe in discriminating against the weak and helpless. Some of his more zealous disciples just decided to go there in his name. Sounds a lot like somebody else and his followers.