Churchill’s Lucifer of perverted science

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In Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech he said

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Madhusree Mukerjee has shown recently how Churchill was responsible for the Bengal famine of 1943. She describes here how this was largely the consequence of heeding advice from a “trusted old friend”, physicist Frederick Alexander Lindemann and his assistant Donald MacDougall.

Consider the following perverted science that Lindemann advocated in lectures in the early 1930s. According to Madhusree Mukerjee

He had detailed a science-based solution to a challenge that occupied many an intellect of the time: preserving for eternity the hegemony of the superior classes. Any attempt “to force upon Nature an equality she has never admitted” was bound to lead to bloody strife, the scientist asserted in a draft of this talk. Instead of subscribing to what he called “the fetish of equality,” he recommended that human differences be accepted and indeed enhanced by means of science. It was no longer necessary, he wrote, to wait for “the haphazard process of natural selection to ensure that the slow and heavy mind gravitates to the lowest form of activity.” New technologies such as surgery, mind control, and drug and hormone manipulations would one day allow humans to be fine-tuned for specific tasks. Society could create “gladiators or philosophers, athletes or artists, satyrs or monks” at will—indeed, it could manufacture “men with a passion and perhaps even aptitude for any desired vocation.” At the lower end of the race and class spectrum, one could remove from “helots” (the Greek word for slaves) the ability to suffer or to feel ambition.

“Somebody must perform dull, dreary tasks, tend machines, count units in repetition work; is it not incumbent on us, if we have the means, to produce individuals without a distaste for such work, types that are as happy in their monotonous occupation as a cow chewing the cud?” Lindemann asked. Science could yield a race of humans blessed with “the mental make-up of the worker bee.” This subclass would do all the unpleasant work and not once think of revolution or of voting rights: “Placid content rules in the bee-hive or ant-heap.” The outcome would be a perfectly peaceable and stable society, “led by supermen and served by helots.”

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