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God and White Men at Yale

(Original story by Richard Coniff at Yale Alumni Magazine...)

"Irving Fisher ’88, ’91PhD, a dapper, balding figure, with a white van dyke beard and rimless eyeglasses, was one of America’s best-known scholars. The New York Times ran long, flattering profiles about his work, and for years the Wall Street Journal published “Fisher’s Weekly Index,” for tracking market prices. The rich and powerful, including congressmen and presidents, sought his advice.

And with good reason: even today, Fisher is widely regarded as the greatest economist America has produced. He devised many of the basic concepts for analyzing the modern financial system and explained them so clearly that, at his death in 1947, the Harvard economics faculty en masse would sign a letter saying, “No American has contributed more to the advancement of his chosen subject.”

But Fisher was also a leading voice of the eugenics movement, which aimed to improve human populations through carefully controlled breeding. The aim, more precisely, was to build up the white northern European population, and discourage all others. This agenda, as it found its way into state laws, would mean evicting other Americans from their homes, depriving them of the ability to have children, and locking them away in institutions..."

A concise history of the eugenics movement in the Anglo-American world, with particular focus on the United States (naturally). Especially bizarre were the eugenics competitions at state fairs...

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