George Bernard Shaw – Champion of Eugenics

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) was most famous as a playwright, a Nobel Laureate, and a socialist, but did you know that he was also a prominent eugenicist?

Of course you didn’t, because that’s not something the establishment wants you to know. Shaw read the works of Charles Darwin early in his life, and, like so many other elites, eugenics was the central principle of Shaw’s ethic.

Although portrayed as a socialist “humanitarian” interested in “equality”, Shaw saw socialism as the only possible means of achieving the central goal of eugenics. He wrote that: “The only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man.” [1] His writings were littered with eugenical and socialistic references and themes, and his many popular plays were an effective means of propagandising his political and philosophical agenda. He wrote:

“I, as a Socialist, have had to preach, as much as anyone, the enormous power of the environment. We can change it; we must change it; there is absolutely no other sense in life than the task of changing it. What is the use of writing plays, what is the use of writing anything, if there is not a will which finally moulds chaos itself into a race of gods.” [2]

Clearly Shaw’s staunch commitment to socialism was based on his central ethic of eugenics, and he saw his playwriting as a means of popularising his philosophy.

Along with Fabian Society members Sidney and Beatrice Webb and Graham Wallas, Shaw founded the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1895. The School was a haven for eugenicists and a special department was eventually created for the purpose of studying eugenics, called the Department of Social Biology, a common synonym for eugenics. The department was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

In a newsreel interview released on 5 March 1931, Shaw says:

You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can’t justify your existence, if you’re not pulling your weight in the social boat, if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.

Thankfully the tape survives, and so cannot be denied by those wishing to cover for Shaw in order to further eugenics today. Watch below …

Shaw also spoke about his preferences for methods of extermination. In a 1910 lecture before the Eugenics Education Society (which was later renamed the Eugenics Society) he said:

We should find ourselves committed to killing a great many people whom we now leave living… A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people’s time to look after them.

In 1933 Shaw made an “appeal to the chemists to discover a humane gas that will kill instantly and painlessly. Deadly by all means, but humane not cruel…” A gas of this sort (Zyklon B) was later invented in Nazi Germany.

In a speech in 1907 Shaw preached:

When you are asked, “Where is God? Who is God?” stand up and say, “I am God and here is God, not as yet completed, but still advancing towards completion, just in so much as I am working for the purpose of the universe, working for the good of the whole of society and the whole world, instead of merely looking after my personal ends.

Shaw believed that a godlike race could be produced via the self-direction of human evolution. This is a concept pioneered by the philosopher Nietzsche, whom Shaw admired. Nietzsche is often called a proto-Nazi, a progenitor and major influence on Nazi ideology, and he was admired by Adolf Hitler, who gifted his war ally, Mussolini, with Nietzsche’s writings.

Shaw said that “Extermination must be put on a scientific basis if it is ever to be carried out humanely and apologetically as well as thoroughly,” he wrote. “[I]f we desire a certain type of civilization and culture we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it.” [3]

After visiting the USSR in 1931 where he met Stalin, Shaw became a supporter of the Stalinist USSR. Shaw continued this support in the preface to his play On the Rocks (1933) writing:

But the most elaborate code of this sort would still have left unspecified a hundred ways in which wreckers of Communism could have sidetracked it without ever having to face the essential questions: are you pulling your weight in the social boat? are you giving more trouble than you are worth? have you earned the privilege of living in a civilized community? That is why the Russians were forced to set up an Inquisition or Star Chamber, called at first the Cheka and now the Gay Pay Oo (Ogpu), to go into these questions and “liquidate” persons who could not answer them satisfactorily.

In 1936, Shaw publicly defended Stalin’s Great Terror, saying:

“Even in the opinion of the bitterest enemies of the Soviet Union and of her government, the [purge] trials have clearly demonstrated the existence of active conspiracies against the regime… I am convinced that this is the truth, and I am convinced that it will carry the ring of truth even in Western Europe, even for hostile readers.” [4]

Shaw also defended Stalin’s mass executions:

“We cannot afford to give ourselves moral airs when our most enterprising neighbor… humanely and judiciously liquidates a handful of exploiters and speculators…” [5]

Shaw admired not just Stalin, but Mussolini and Hitler. He wrote: “Mussolini… Hitler and the rest can all depend on me to judge them by their ability to deliver the goods and not by… comfortable notions of freedom.” He was filmed calling Mussolini a “most amiable man” with a “kindly nature”.

 

 

1. Preface to Man and Superman (1903)

2. In a letter to Henry James dated 17 January 1909

3. Preface to On the Rocks (1933)

4. Arnold Beichman, “Death of the Butcher,” Hoover Digest, 2003 No. 2

5. Paul Hollander, Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society (New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers, 1998)

 

 

 

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