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Saturday, November 13, 2010

When Social Darwinism found Africa ...

Well, the Social Darwinists did not find Africa as it was. But they sure found the Africa they were looking for.

In his Telegraph review (August 16, 2010) of David Olusoga and Casper W Erichsen's The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism, "an impressively researched account of the killing fields of Namibia," Ian Thomson admits he is "chilled":
Hitler’s murder of Jews and Slavs was, the authors concede, “unique” in its scale and industry, yet they manage to find many connections between the Nazis’ murderous social Darwinism and the Kaiser’s barbarism in Namibia. Hermann Göring's father, Dr Heinrich Ernst Göring, served as the first Commissioner of German South West Africa, orchestrating that barbarity, before becoming the Kaiser’s ambassador to Haiti in 1893. The notorious brown shirts worn by the Nazi storm troopers had originally served as uniforms in Namibia.

[ ... ]

A great deal of the book is devoted to the social Darwinists and eugenicists in late-19th-century Germany who helped to create new values of totalitarian dominance. Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, with its brutally materialist account of nature as bleak survivalism, was made to serve as justification for the extermination of Namibian tribes and, later, for Hitler’s biological anti-Semitism. In a racist age, nature was seen as a competitive market place, where black people were born to be mastered and the fittest survived. Armed with callipers and craniometry charts, the Kaiser’s race engineers were keen to measure the severed heads of Nama tribesmen: handle-shaped ears, prehensile feet and other “apish” stigmata were considered telltale atavisms. Civilisation, according to these pseudo-scientists, depended on the separation of races, not on their harmonious integration.

Read more here.
It's nice to see that Richard Weikart has some company in carefully researching the social Darwinist roots of Nazism and other fascisms.

To those Darwinists who yawn, “Why can’t people forget this?,” I am afraid the answer is, we never really remembered it until recently. Whitewash wears off eventually, you know. It's better just to acknowledge the role popular Darwinism played in the bloody utopias of the twentieth century. Many churches have learned this in recent decades, with respect to their own sins.

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