Deadly Progressivism

THE POLITICAL AND SCIENTIFIC THREAT TO HUMANITY IN 21ST CENTURY AMERICA

A thoughtful and thorough examination of the intersection of public policy and ideology.

A debut book examines the connection between political progressivism and the practice of eugenics.

As Reilly explains, eugenics began not as an aggressive program of social engineering, but as a response to monumental advancements in technology and science. In addition, the original 20th-century advocates of eugenics, albeit infected with a bout of excessive exuberance, were largely motivated by the best of intentions. But later, eugenics became beholden to radical ideologies, which were animated by darker motivations. For example, Nazi racialism and global attempts at population control are the genealogical descendants of eugenics untethered from any sense of political moderation or a cautious respect for the sanctity of human life. Many readers will likely be surprised to learn how ubiquitous such programs were, even under the supervision of widely respectable institutions and leaders: “Even under the Reagan administration in 1984, an auditor found that USAID was supporting abortions, the imposition of penalties for high birth rates, and payment of financial rewards for sterilization in five countries.” The emphasis of the book is not on the science of eugenics per se, but the marriage between its advocacy and the ideals of modern progressivism. Infatuated with the goal of societal perfection, and science as the means to achieving it, progressivism gradually became insensitive both to individual rights and the limits of human nature. Reilly’s prose is thankfully more journalistic than academic, and a full appreciation of the book does not require a prior understanding of eugenics and its fraught history. For the most part, he avoids any axe-grinding political commitments, although his analysis of more recent versions of progressivism is a bit heavy-handed, especially his views of their assault on traditional values. And a more historically searching view of the relationship between modern, liberal progressivism and an ideology as illiberal as Nazism would have deepened the study. Finally, Reilly makes a plea at the conclusion of the volume for the religiously inclined, especially Christians, to unite against social engineering, but never fully fleshes out what that response should entail. His study remains a provocative and accessible one, though, that forces the reader to reconsider the parameters of contentious debates like abortion and stem cell research.

A thoughtful and thorough examination of the intersection of public policy and ideology.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 159

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2016

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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