Today, only the most twisted old communist would defend Stalin against charges of being a mass murderer or try to argue that the Soviets never acted unjustly and often horrendously. This, however, is pretty recent stuff. As late as the early 1960s there were still many leftists who rejected Moscow’s revelations about the show trials and even now we hear relatively little about the true nature of the gulags. But put Stalin and his thugs aside for a moment and the tens of millions of victims exterminated by the old brute. Instead, let’s look at those assumed to be the good guys on the left, the socialist thinkers and writers who allegedly wanted only to make the world a better place. Those such as the famous science fiction writer HG Wells, who between 1905 and 1940 was one of the most admired and influential men in the world.
In describing his fellow socialist and some-time friend, George Bernard Shaw wrote of Wells, “Multiply the total by ten; square the result. Raise it again to the millionth power and square it again; and you will still fall short of the truth about Wells – yet the worse he behaved the more he was indulged; and the more he was indulged the worse he behaved.” Shaw, by the way, lied about what he had seen in Stalin’s Russia and when questioned by a Western journalist about the forced starvations in Ukraine threw a can of Russian meat at him. Wells, though, was worse.
At heart, he was a social engineer. In massively best-selling books such as Anticipations and A Modern Utopia, Wells wrote that he believed the world would collapse and from this collapse a new order should and would emerge: “People throughout the world whose minds were adapted to the big-scale conditions of the new time. A naturally and informally organised educated class, an unprecedented sort of people.” A strict social order would be formed. At the bottom of it were the base.
These were “people who had given evidence of a strong anti-social disposition,” including “the black, the brown, the swarthy, the yellow.” Christians would also “have to go” as well as the handicapped. Wells devoted entire pamphlets to the need of “preventing the birth, preventing the procreation or preventing the existence” of the mentally and physically handicapped. “This thing, this euthanasia of the weak and the sensual is possible. I have little or no doubt that in the future it will be planned and achieved.”
The people of Africa and Asia, he said, simply could never find a place in a modern world controlled by science. Better to do away with the lot. “I take it they will have to go,” he said of them. Marriage as it is known would have to end, but couples could form mutually agreed unions. They would list their “desires, diseases, needs” on little cards and a central authority would decide who was fitted for whom.
In addition, population would be rigidly controlled, with forced abortion for those who were not of the right class and race. Religion would be banned, children would be raised in communes and all would be well. The old and the ill would, naturally, have to be done away with and doctors would be given the authority to decide who had a right to live, who had a duty to die. On the Jews: “I met a Jewish friend of mine the other day and he asked me what would come of his people,” Wells wrote. “That is exactly what is the matter with them – my people.” That man’s people were about to be exterminated in the Holocaust. Writing of the First World War, Wells stated, “Throughout those tragic and almost fruitless four years of war, the Jewish spokesmen were most elaborately and energetically demonstrating that they cared not a rap for the troubles and dangers of English, French, Germans, Russians, Americans or of any other people but their own. They kept their eyes steadfastly upon the restoration of the Jews.”
Wells may have been the most prominent of these socialist slaughterers but he was not the only one. The American socialist Margaret Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood and is still a feminist and liberal icon. On black people and immigrants in general, these were “human weeds” and “reckless breeders,” “spawning human beings who never should have been born.” She believed in the sterilization of the mentally ill, in “racial purification” and the elimination of those she labelled the “feeble-minded.” She was aware, however, that her racism might cause a few problems and warned that, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population” because it might provoke “their more rebellious members.”
Canada’s own Tommy Douglas is regularly voted the nation’s more significant hero. He is celebrated as one of our greatest and purest voices because of his commitment to socialism and fight for socialized medicine. Yet on the subject of eugenics and sterilizing the mentally handicapped, he said, “Some have objected to sterilization on the grounds that it is depriving human beings of an unalienable right. But medical science declares that it is possible to be sterilized and yet have sexual intercourse. In the main this is all the defective asks. Among them the parental instinct is not paramount, but is entirely subordinated to the sex urge. Thus sterilization would deprive them of nothing that they value very highly, and would make it impossible for them to reproduce those whose presence could contribute little to the general well-being of society.”
The list goes on. George Bernard Shaw, Sydney and Beatrice Webb and the early founders of the socialist Fabian Society. While some of these ideas may have been implemented by Hitler’s National Socialists – not, by the way, by Franco, Mussolini and other rightist leaders – they were Marxist in origin and were given intellectual underpinnings by thinkers on the left and credibility by leading liberal and socialist activists, politicians and writers.
Today? The vocabulary may be less harsh and severe, but calls for population control and international abortion availability are still common. Those leading the campaign are still very much on the political left, and the actual and potential victims are still invariably the poor, the handicapped, the black and the brown. The voices may be different but the song, as they say, remains the same.