Monday, July 4, 2016

making the BIOLOGICAL case against Auschwitz, Aktion T4 & modernity

Most people in the western democracies were once convinced that (a) the brutal Adolph Hitler was very morally wrong to kill chronically 'unfit' individuals yet (b) gentle Mother Nature would equally never ever permit the chronically 'unfit' to survive, 'there out in the wild'.

That positive reference to Mother Nature's supposed harsh treatment of those chronically unfit to survive the evolutionary race was the very hallmark of the Era of Modernity,1860s -1960s.

It thus seems possible to at least suggest that Hitler might have gotten a much better historical press, if instead of Aktion T4 and Auschwitz, he had taken up the methods used by the western democracies to see that the numbers of their unfit aboriginals gradually faded away to extinction.
What the western democracies basically did was to tether their surviving aboriginals on tiny pieces of poor land out in the middle of the wilderness where short rations and societal depression at the loss of their way of life led to disease and premature death : genocide by 'benign neglect'.

Their methods never gets taken seriously today as a clear case of attempted (or more accurately, interrupted) state-planned genocide.

Benign neglect worked for the Young Turks as well - the academic world is still debating whether driving Armenian grandmothers and babies into the barren desert to starve to death fully qualifies as 'genocide', in the way that driving them in the barren desert to then shoot them definitely does.

Hitler did plan to try the benign neglect method - working on efforts to send millions of urban Jews into the wilds of Madagascar and tens of millions of urban Slavs into the wilds beyond the Ural mountains.

Hitler never got to put those plans into practise but he did indeed tether millions of Polish Jews into tiny closed ghettos with almost no food, heat or health care and he did seek to deny enough food to urban Slavs in his conquered Russian territories (the Hunger Plan) to ensure that tens of millions would starve to death within a year.

These operations were hardly gradualist and indeed were almost as brutal as his mass shootings and mass gassings.

That is because Hitler lacked the patience for the long view that allowed the western democracies to attempt mass genocide and get clean away with it.

I suggest that, but for WWII and the revulsion against Auschwitz, the conditions for the aboriginals in the western civilizations might well have worsened, not improved, in the 1960s and 1970s to the point where they would all have died away like Beothuks or Tasmanian aboriginals.

Hitler, in a sense, did Western modernity a favour by not letting it work itself out to its ultimate rational conclusion as to the fate of the chronically 'unfit' - instead he speed to that logical conclusion so fast and in such a blatant manner as to render even gradualist genocide as no longer palatable.

(We must remember that worldwide polling support for eugenic methods rose in the very late 1930s, after the Nuremberg Laws were passed and peaked in 1943 despite the brutal effects of Nazi eugenics becoming very apparent during the course of that war.)

What hints are there then - in strictly historical fact - to suggest that eugenics would have been less, not more, popular after 1945 -------- but for WWII ?

The problem, as I see it, was that those holding moral objections to eliminating those judged chronically unfit were never able to outweigh, on their own, the popular counterclaims that in terms of Nature, moral sentiment was merely an unnatural and religious affectation.

Henry Dawson obviously had serious moral objections to abandoning the chronically 'unfit' --- his career revolved around their care.

And this is why he worked so hard with Dr Goldwater in 1936 to push through plans for a large modern care and research hospital for NY City's chronically ill.

But he also had an inchoate theory, developed during a decade of researching the backwaters of microbial diversity among the bacterial 'unfits', that the ancient, tiny, weak,"simple" microbes had flourished precisely because they had permitted - indeed encouraged - oddballs and outcasts in their midst - turning to those oddball unfits' unique features whenever a new crisis threatened the survival of all.

For nearly four billion years, the microbes had tolerated and encouraged their gene pool to grow as big as possible and also for genetic resources to be shared by all microbes worldwide, via HGT , horizontal gene transfers between microbial species.

Henry Dawson's  biological  not just moral case against Auschwitz's draining of the human gene pool has today become (almost) a scientific and popular consensus

The long microbial record of reproductive success was potent evidence against Modernity's un-time-tested claims that it was best to never permit sexual pooling of genes between ethnicities, let alone human sub species ("races"), let alone among various non-human species in the manner of the microbes.

Modernity wanted to drain each ethnicities' gene pool down to its pure essence and then keep it clean and pure by enforcing immigration and miscegenation restrictions.

Bigger the better gene pools or the smaller the better gene pools -- which was more successful in terms of long term evolution reproduction success ?

In human terms, since HGT was something microbes could do (in a limited fashion) to humans but humans could not do in reverse, the equivalent might be things like humans sharing food and shelter with all other humans.

And, more generally, in humanity welcoming the sharing of cultural information.

In wartime, that meant hard work and patience building broad coalitions between nations and between ethnicities, tolerating differences in culture and in goals, all to defeat a common enemy.

It also meant encouraging, not suppressing, dissent and questioning in times of war, seeking a ministry of all possible talents, a Big Tent of all that encouraged the oddballs as well as the conventional to offer up critiques and solutions.

It meant not tethering Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing out in the wilderness to quietly die, because one was a 'faggot' and the other a 'crip', but taking them as fully equal members of the human race, to offer what they could to the war effort.

In early October 1940, possibly even surprising Henry Dawson himself with its speed, he suddenly decided to turn the inchoate theory he secretly held in his head into a concrete object lesson.

He took impure penicillin, made by the much despised fungus, and used it to try and save the lives of some (SBE) patients whom the Anglo-Saxon medical community, in a burst of war hysteria hardnosedness, had decided were not a medical priority because they never be well enough to be soldiers or war workers.

And despite the fact that his own body was killing him and his own government threatening to put him in jail, Dr Dawson kept on with his diversity-affirming Manhattan Project until even the Allied government took it up as a major way to build a war-winning global coalition....

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