That ideas have the power to unhinge
is perfectly shown by Dean Inge
Who engaged in polemics
On the subject of eugenics
whilst going about unfrocked.
More work to be done on that but it summarises the interests of the ‘Gloomy Dean’ of Saint Paul’s (1860 - 1954) who feared that the pure race of the Saxon would be diluted beyond repair by inferior types breeding unchecked and in general we would be overwhelmed by exponential population growth. The wrong sort of people were having too many children. He was also a naturist as if there wasn’t already enough suffering in the world.
Dean Inge wiki
I have been reading his Outspoken Essays (second series).
One of them is on Eugenics (from Edinburgh Review 1922 and in it he mentions his nemesis G.K. Chesterton. Russell Sparkes in an informative essay
G.K.C. and Eugenics
details G.K.C’s successful battle against the introduction of what he called ‘the feeble minded bill’:
The United Kingdom was one of the few major countries where eugenics was not effectively put into law. Yet people should not feel smug that it did not happen in Britain – because it nearly did. The United Kingdom escaped eugenics laws by the skin of its teeth, as they were backed by some of the most powerful people in the land. As far as can be seen, only one public figure waged a vigorous, and ultimately successful, campaign against the proposed Mental Deficiency Bill in 1912. That man was G. K. Chesterton. The battle against eugenics is Chesterton's great, unknown victory. To explore it properly, I have given a brief introduction to the subject, followed by an account of Chesterton's battle against what he called the "feeble minded Bill." An account of draconian eugenics laws in the United States, including forced sterilisation, shows what might have happened in Britain without his fight against it. Lastly, I have included some pieces from Chesterton's 1922 book, Eugenics and Other Evils, which show, once again, what great prophetic insight he possessed.
Throughout the Outspoken Essays Dean Inge worries about the ‘white race’.
Religious institutions are by far the toughest and most long-lived of all human associations. Nothing could destroy the Christian Churches except the complete decay and submergence of the white race, a most improbable contingency.
Dean Inge on the Roman Catholic Church:
The Roman Catholic Church is a bitter and unscrupulous opponent both of eugenics and of birth-control. I read in one of their organs the astounding statement that ' since posterity does not exist, we can, properly speaking, have no duties towards it.' Only those who have tried to rouse the public conscience on these questions know how fierce is the antagonism of the greatest among the Christian Churches to any recognition of scientific ethics.
The prejudices against eugenics are still strong. They find vent in such strange ebullitions as a recent book by G. K. Chesterton, and in frequent denunciations on the part of Roman Catholics. It is, however, strange that Christians should be anti-eugenists. For though religion is the strongest of nurtural influences, the religion of Christ, like eugenics, makes nature, not nurture, its end.
Dean Inge draws comfort from the assurances of Havelock Ellis and Sir Francis Galton concerning the superior stock bred out of the Anglican clergy:
Vaerting and Havelock Ellis agree that the list of distinguished clergymen's sons is long and illustrious; and Sir Francis Galton told me in conversation that he considered the clergy the very best sires from the eugenic point of view. I will not speculate on the causes of this; but everyone must have noticed the extremely robust appearance of the old-fashioned parson (the younger clergy are mostly drawn from a different class), and the facts, as ascertained by impartial investigators, are certainly a strong argument against clerical celibacy.
Previously in the essay he traces his mother’s line starting from his great grandfather Ralph Churton, Archdeacon, Scholar and Divine. Modest about his own achievements he instructs us to ‘see Who’s Who’.