Sunday, April 17, 2011

Modernity: a definition

A modernist is anyone who can claim, with a straight face , that there is a fixed gene for capricious human creativity, without immediately bursting into laughter.

A modernist, in other words, is an eugenicist - not sometimes but all the times and always.

In the 1960s, it was possible to claim that only the Nazis were eugenicists and since they were anti-modernist, eugenics and modernity were thus, ipso facto, poles apart.

The 1970s and 1980s had scholars detail the extent to which eugenicists were common in every nation and in every form of ideology. In particular, world cultural figures of the first water were shown to be avid eugenicists.

The 1990s had scholars like Christina Cogdell demonstrate that popular or 'assumed' eugenics was endemic among the educated classes in America  and around the world until t least the end of WWII - eugenics being more 'simple common sense' than a formal organization you had to pay a membership fee to join.

I think  21st century research will suggest will move beyond the most advanced scholarship to date.

It will move beyond claiming that eugenics was a major branch of the broad church of modernity to state that it was its only dogma : modernity was eugenics ; eugenic was modernity...

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