Ah, Progressives!

Here is the great progressive thinker H.G. Wells on the future of humanity:
And for the rest, those swarms of black and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? Well, the world is a world, not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go... It is their portion to die out and disappear.


  1. H.G. Wells was a eugenicist and was influenced by Social Darwinism. It is no surprise that he had odious and hateful opinions like this.

    There were numerous conservative supporters of eugenics and social Darwinism too.

    I note that the progressive William Jenning Bryan was a harsh critic of Social Darwinism.

  2. Anonymous1:23 AM

    Lord Keynes, we discussed this in your blog, I believe. It was an interesting discussion.

    I remarked that although not all and not even most progressives are necessarilly such harsh social engineers, it is a somewhat consistent result of somebody who wants to make "society better".

    In the end, such a Greater Good thinker sees the miserable and oppressed as a problem to be removed, if they can not be solved. My reasoning was that such ideas were the reasons that we see eugenics programs in 1950s Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, or in 1970s social democratic India, and yet never in Britain.

    You, on other hand, equivocated, and said there was also a long tradition of equally abhorrent thinking among non-progressives in Britain and America, citing Herbert Spencer. Thus, both sides have had minorities guilty of wanting to eliminate the unfit in society.

    Be that as it may, I feel one finds that in terms of actual policy and deliberate activism, only progressives and social democrats have managed to implement eugenics policies. So far, no Spencerian ever managed to pass a legislation to make charity illegal, and such people only managed to have an abhorrent opinion, which was never translated into abhorrent action.

  3. What Prateek said.

    Also, I think it is more accurate to classify Bryan as a populist than as a progressive. And Spencer was certainly no conservative!


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