H.G. Wells was a famous fiction writer who was born in 1866, but he also wrote non-fiction works. In 1904 his Anticipations was published wherein he made some predictions of future social and technological trends. Here is Wells on blacks: "At the Cape of Good Hope, under British rule, Kaffirs are being settled upon little inalienable holdings that must inevitably develop in the same direction, and over the Southern States the nigger squats and multiplies." (Anticipations, p. 83) "There is a disposition in the world, which the French share, to undervalue grossly the prospects of all things French, derived, so far as I can gather, from the facts that the French were beaten by the Germans in 1870, and that they do not breed with the abandon of rabbits or negroes." (p. 205) "They will rout out and illuminate urban rookeries and all places where the base can drift to multiply; they will contrive a land legislation that will keep the black or yellow or mean-white squatter on the move;" (p. 263) But what does Wells recommend for 'undesirables'? "And for the rest--those swarms of black and brown and yellow people who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? "Well, the world is a world, not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go. The whole tenor and meaning of the world, as I see it, is that they have to go. So far as they fail to develop sane, vigorous, and distinctive personalities for the great world of the future, it is their portion to die out and disappear." (p. 274) This week in the Financial Post (Canada) author and broadcaster Michael Coren wrote an eye-opening piece, The origin of social engineering. He starts, "It was revealed recently that in the 1920s the Swedish government forcibly sterilized 60,000 people who were thought to be 'genetically inferior'." Coren goes on to inform: One man who was convinced he knew best, who was massively influential both in his native Britain as well as in Canada, and who was a dominant social activist for half a century, was the novelist H.G. Wells. The author of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds also wrote extensively of the need for widespread and often forced abortion, birth control, euthanasia and sterilization. [his friend Margaret Sanger also advocated forced sterilization] He advocated murder of those "who did not fit in." One of his key books on the subject was entitled Anticipations. Wells wrote in this volume the mentally and physically handicapped should not be allowed to be born, but that if they did manage to come into the world they should be "removed." There was more. "And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black? how will it deal with the yellow man? how will it tackle the alleged termite in the civilized world, the Jew?" He replied to his rhetorical question that these people would be discouraged, by any means necessary, from procreation. [in her autobiography Margaret Sanger talked about her friend H.G. Well but denounced none of his ideas] He went on to say that "the ethical system that will dominate the world-state will be shaped primarily to favor the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity -- beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds -- and to check the procreation of base and servile type." For these poor souls "the men of the New Republic will have little pity and less benevolence." Then there was euthanasia. The new order would "naturally regard the modest suicide of incurably melancholy or diseased or helpless persons as a high and courageous act of duty rather than a crime." This book, and other like it, received mostly glowing reviews. The socialist writer Arnold Bennett claimed he was "absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer intellectual vigor" and Beatrice Webb, one of the founders of Britain's Labour party, said Anticipations was "the most remarkable book of the year; a powerful imagination furnished with the data and methods of physical science working on social problems." Indeed Wells' views were so popular amongst the socialists of the Edwardian age that one prominent thinker proposed him to become a member of the esteemed Fabian Society, an intellectual think-tank that shaped much of European and North American socialism. This man said everything Wells had written was eminently correct and it was true the new world order would demand extensive social engineering. His name was George Bernard Shaw. We in Canada have name both an important theatre and a major drama festival after him. There are those people who genuinely believe the debate over social engineering is long dead. Not so. It never stopped, and some of us would argue that the advance of science and the decline in the belief in universal truth it is really just beginning.
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