April 18, 2008 (National Review Online) – Get ready for the great Darwin-Hitler debate. There’s already been a volley of advance attacks on a new film’s suggestion of a link between Darwinism and Nazi ideology. The movie is Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opening this weekend, a cheeky documentary that is not primarily about evolutionism in prewar Germany. Reviewers in Time, Scientific American, Variety, Fox News, and elsewhere have denounced the filmmakers for suggesting that Hitlerism without the contribution of Darwinism would be hard to imagine…

The Darwin-Hitler connection is no recent discovery. In her classic 1951 work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote: “Underlying the Nazis’ belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwin’s idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human being.”

The standard biographies of Hitler almost all point to the influence of Darwinism on their subject. In Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Alan Bullock writes: “The basis of Hitler’s political beliefs was a crude Darwinism.” What Hitler found objectionable about Christianity was its rejection of Darwin’s theory: “Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest.”…

While it must be very clearly emphasized that the gentle-souled Darwin himself never supported ill treatment of any race or group, his words inspired a movement to “scientific” racism…

You only have to read Mein Kampf to see the indebtedness. A shrewd manipulator of his fellow Germans’ sympathy for scientifically flavored racial theorizing, Hitler gives a Darwinian-style analysis of how the struggle for existence mandates a defense of the Aryan race.

He invokes the “principles of Nature’s rule,” “her whole work of higher breeding,” in which “struggle is always a means for improving a species’ health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development.” He warns against racial decline from the mixing of blood – his own spin on Darwinism – arguing that the preservation of a “creative race” is “bound up with the rigid law of necessity and the right of victory of the best and stronger in this world.” He calls for “a more noble evolution.”

Other Nazi propaganda followed his lead. In a 1937 German propaganda film, Victims of the Past, the audience is shown a retarded person as the narrator intones, “In the last few decades, mankind has sinned terribly against the law of natural selection. We haven’t just maintained life unworthy of life, we have even allowed it to multiply.”…

More… (source)

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