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Genetica

, Volume 99, Issue 2–3, pp 153–163 | Cite as

Beyondism: Raymond B. Cattell and the new eugenics

  • Barry Mehler
Article

Abstract

A significant confusion has arisen out of the mass of work done on the history of eugenics in the last two decades. Early scholars of the subject treated eugenics as a marginalized or obsolete movement of the radical right. Subsequent research has shown that eugenic ideas were adopted in diverse national settings by very different groups, including — among others — liberals, communists and Catholics, as well as radical rightists. This complexity is sometimes taken to mean that eugenics has no special ideological associations, that it is historically and potentially a beast of a thousand heads. It is not. Although people of varied ideological commitments have been attracted to eugenics, ideologues of the radical right, and above all interwar fascists, have been uniquely and centrally involved in its development. Fascism and the radical right are also complex entities, but for all the heterogeneity of both eugenics and fascism, the special historical relationship between the two cannot be ignored. This relationship is exemplified in the work of the influential psychologist, Raymond B. Cattell. Cattell was an early supporter of German national socialism and his work should be understood in the context of interwar fascism. The new religious movement that he founded, ‘Beyondism’, is a neo-fascist contrivance. Cattell now promulgates ideas that he formulated within a demimonde of radical eugenists and neo-fascists that includes such associates as Revilo Oliver, Roger Pearson, Wilmot Robertson and Robert K. Graham. These ideas and Cattell's role in the history of eugenics deserve deeper analysis than they have hitherto received. Far from being of merely antiquarian interest, his work currently encourages the propagation of radical eugenist ideology. It is unconscionable for scholars to permit these ideas to go unchallenged, and indeed honored and emulated by a new generation of ideologues and academicians whose work helps to dignify the most destructive political ideas of the twentieth century.

Key words

beyondism beyondist foundation Raymond B. Cattell eugenics new religious movement 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Mehler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesFerris State UniversityBig RapidsUSA

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