We’ve been fighting the idea that economic reasons are an acceptable excuse for supporting abortion. As Christians, we fight for the intrinsic value of life. But here comes an attack on life again, this time in the guise of not valuing the life of the elderly, the at risk and those with pre-existing conditions in light of the economic cost. Both of these positions are just thinly disguised arguments for eugenics.
The same questions about what life was worth preserving occurred in the intelligentsia circles of city life in Chesterton’s day during the Spanish Flu pandemic. “The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting almost 36 months from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time.” Gilbert and Frances lived through the Spanish flu pandemic of their day during which time he published the following along with other news articles:(1918), How to Help Annexation, (1919), Irish Impressions, (1920), The Superstition of Divorce, (1920), The Uses of Diversity, and in (1920), The New Jerusalem.
But he wrote one other important piece in 1922 as a result of the eugenic type thinking that was going on during that pandemic and how it affected the thinking of “the medical and scientific authorities, egged on by religious leaders” of the day: “Eugenics and Other Evils.”
“What turned the tide of opinion against eugenics? The racist barbarism of Nazi Germany — the cries of the victims of Auschwitz — revealed to the world the appalling logic of eugenics. Yet there were other voices as well: the conservative and traditionalist Christians who never were taken in by the promises of a human biological paradise. In 1922, the influential Catholic thinker G.K. Chesterton published “Eugenics and Other Evils,” the only book of its time unabashedly opposed to the movement’s claims and objectives. Indeed, Chesterton anticipated the totalitarian direction of the eugenic agenda, which he derided as “terrorism by tenth-rate professors.”” – Joseph Loconte, The Hill