unacceptable. More interesting perhaps was
the use of language and terminology borrowed from eugenics. Harty did
not just consider the moral choice between the life of mother and child.
The national value to society of each life was weighed; the potential
beneﬁts of a fertile mother against the potential genius and eventual fertility of a child. Indeed, the whole article was set within the context of
eugenic fears and concepts.97
He was not the ﬁrst to display sympathy with eugenics. In 1911,
Thomas Slater, a professor from St Beuno’s Jesuit College in Wales and an
appropriated into Chinese vernacular religion along with other cultural imports including soap operas, comic books and fashion items from Japan in the 1970s (Moskowitz, 1998 , 2001 ; Hardacre, 1997 ). Initially foetus ghosts played a minor role in Taiwan’s religious landscape; the societal catalyst which propelled foetus-appeasement rituals into a ‘national phenomenon’ was the eugenics legislation of 1985, which essentially decriminalised abortion – a fact reflected by the coincidence of the increasing popularisation of new foetus-appeasement rituals marketed to provide
eugenics, to thereby maintain existent ethnic hierarchies.28 Dillingham’s
reports on marital fertility by ethnic group confirm this.29
In Ireland, the same pressures of population and unequal impoverishment that triggered mass migration from Ireland from around
1828–30, had led the country’s eastern areas to delayed marriage and
to the practice of inheritance of farm holdings by one male heir only
(with dowry negotiated as accompaniment to an incoming bride). This
system became more general after the Famine. The young delayed, even
avoided, family formation
, it was able to permeate a far broader section of Catholic
society. Compared with Germany, Catholic antisemitism in England
often had a discernible premodern element in it. From an examination of the use of religious and racial antisemitic stereotypes, where
the latter usually signifies more modern forms of Jew-hatred, it is
clear that the religious foundation was more important in England.
This could be seen in the fact that missionary work among the Jews
was warmly supported by lay Catholics in England. The diametrically
opposed attitude to eugenics in both
combination set about its
task by means of an immoral literature, in order to undermine the
moral stamina of the race. This being accomplished, the next step
is to set Christian nations by the ears, and make them go for each
other’s throat. That will eliminate the youth of those nations, leaving only elderly and C3 people to deal with. After that the
combination thought it would be master of the situation to
monopolise in its own hand power and wealth.26
At a time when the advantages and disadvantages of eugenics were
widely discussed in the British public, the meaning and
it was not the duty of the Church
to educate the people in (race) hygiene, eugenics or biology.
Nevertheless, pointing towards traditional methods of positive eugenics, the booklet added, the Church had contributed to the ‘health of
the peoples’ blood’ by, for example, promoting a way of ‘breeding’
(Zucht) that advanced the health of the nation by insisting on chastity
and by providing a solid marital and family basis.62 Writing on the
learned defence literature, Hermann Greive had suggested that
Catholic literature often asserted that race theory had its deserved
outlawed.154 There was a place for Jews
in the cooperative state, as long as they were confined to their own
guilds and societies.155 Distributism stood for the individual’s liberty
from the state and the protection of private property. However, it also
Church, nation and race
paradoxically supported the confiscation of land (in order for it to be
redistributed) and deplored the workers’ alienation through exploitative employers. Distributists objected to eugenics for similar reasons.
They interpreted it as
, he objected even more strongly to its ideological transformation. He felt that, without a divine ideal for humanity to follow, all ‘abuses’ of humanity could eventually become ‘uses’. 23 The transfer of evolutionary theory into ethics (eugenics) and politics (where, Chesterton believed, it helped undermine democracy) was a fearful, if logical, development that promised to unleash the savagery of natural selection on the delicate fabric of human culture. At a time when proto-fascism was emerging in France, Chesterton had already identified and rejected the
in Magic and Religion (approved abridgement) (London: Macmillan, 1954 ), p. 360.
86 McLeod, Religion and the Working Class , p. 66.
87 See: David Thatcher, Nietzsche in England 1890–1914: The Growth of a Reputation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970).
88 See: Dan Stone, Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002).
89 Ibid ., p. 54.
90 Wilson, The Victorians , p. 168.
91 Rose, The Edwardian Temperament , p. 3.
92 Ibid ., p. 12.