More on the Canadian Left & Eugenics


From a reader, with kind words too:

Hey Jonah
I finished reading your book a couple weeks ago. It was outstanding. It really crystalized quite a few things for me about the left that I had been unsure about. I know that you weren’t intending on writing a sequel to Hayek’s Road to Serfdom or anything, but I think that over time, people will come to categorize it with such great works of literature. Seriously, great job.

On the Michael Coren article about Eugenics in Canada, its been the dirty little secret of Canadian progressive history for a long time. Tommy Douglas, the father of Canadian health care was a closet eugenicist. I’m not sure if the article is still available, but the now-defunct Western Standard ran a pretty extensive cover story on this aspect of the left, and Tommy Douglas in particular, a couple years ago. That reminds me of the one parallel that your book had with Canada, that being that our leftist party (New Democratic Party) is almost completely ideologically aligned with the Democratic Party in America. I had always thought the Democrats were closer to our Liberal Party.

First, thanks! Second I did manage to google-up this Western Standard piece:

The greatest Canadian of all time said we should sterilize mental defectives. Wait. Before you report this magazine to the human rights commission, or press hate crime charges for attempting to glorify some neo-Nazi or antiquated bigot, you should know this: we’re talking about Tommy Douglas. The Tommy Douglas. The New Democrat pioneer. The socialist icon. The father of our vaunted medicare system. The man voted the Greatest Canadian of all time by CBC viewers. His 1933 master’s thesis in sociology–”The Problems of the Subnormal Family”–staunchly advocated eugenics in the most merciless terms. And almost nobody dares mention anything about it.

That Tommy Douglas holds a venerated place in Canadian mythology is beyond dispute. He’s not just a hero to left-wing nationalists like Mel Hurtig or CBC television viewers. When the Reform party created a portrait gallery of “bridge builders” in their caucus room in 1996, Douglas was there (along with Louis Riel and three of the Famous Five). What’s especially disquieting about Douglas’s flirtation with eugenics is that, like recent revelations about Pierre Trudeau’s youthful anti-Semitism, reactionary clerico-political views and blindness to Nazi aggression, these are not things we did not know. We just chose not to think about them
And here’s a link to Douglas’ Master’s thesis. 


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