Internet Source: Challenge, April 11, 2001
Source URL (Archive.org): http://www.plp.org/cd01/cd0411.html#RTFToC20#RTFToC28
With this special supplement, CHALLENGE is reinvigorating our Party's struggle against the murderous theory that genes determine society. This idea starts as a "scientific" discussion, but its consequences are far from academic. In the first part of the 20th century, millions of workers died as victims of policies first developed by Harvard "eugenicists." Hitler could never have carried out his "Final Solution" without first establishing "racial science" in German universities. More recently, the U..S.imperialist war of genocide in Vietnam, racist budget cuts, the fascist Workfare slave labor scheme and many other body blows against the working class owe a lot to the Big Lies of genetic determinists like Arthur Jensen, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Like the sociobiologist E.O. Wilson, they all have close ties to Harvard. Wilson's "Consilience" (Consilience, a little-used word, roughly means "being on the same page.") is just the latest disguise assumed by this many-headed monster. Exposing and smashing this trash in a revolutionary manner is, quite literally, a matter of life and death for our class
A recent CHALLENGE editorial (2/28) described the report of the U.S. Commission on National Security as a bosses' "blueprint for fascism" -- to centralize and strengthen the state apparatus, unite the capitalist class, increase attacks on the working class and indoctrinate us for war against rival capitalist countries. The rulers need the support of millions of college students and professors. The most important blueprint for the colleges is the 1997 book by Harvard professor E.O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.
The ruling class is striving to make its government totally consilient in its preparations for "homeland security." Similarly, Wilson and the ruling class want to make all academic disciplines consilient, to effectively indoctrinate students and the general public by updating the Hitlerite lie that putting millions in concentration camps and carrying out genocidal wars is the highest calling of a genetically-based human nature. For example, Wilson claims the recent genocide in Rwanda and "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans were rooted in genetically-based "tribal instincts, ethnic rivalry, and religious dogmatism," calling Rwanda "a microcosm of the world."
Ant specialist Wilson's 1975 Harvard-published book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, updated the old social Darwinist ideology that there is an underlying biological basis for all human social behavior. The bosses showered Wilson with publicity and praise, transforming him from an obscure investigator of ant colonies into an academic celebrity.
Four years ago they extolled Consilience as the crowning achievement of a visionary elder scientific statesman. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal lavishly praised his call for the subjugation of the social sciences and the humanities to the natural sciences.
Last June, a 3-day a New York Academy of Sciences conference, "Unity of Knowledge: The Convergence of Natural and Human Sciences," based itself on Wilson's book and featured him as keynote speaker. It involved prominent supporters of sociobiology, discussing how to promote consilience.
An example of this promotion occurred last month in New York. Senior administrators from Texas Tech University (TTU) met with Steven C. Rockefeller, chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express and E. O. Wilson who has helped develop the TTU program in natural sciences and the humanities. They wanted funding for, (1) a new inter-disciplinary major in "natural sciences and the humanities," and (2) an environmental institute for government research on germ warfare.
Since the 1890s, the Rockefeller family has used philanthropy to influence how the world is organized and to shape the direction of education. The Rockefellers' financed the field of "industrial relations" to promote reforms that would quiet U.S. workers unrest and radicalism. Here Rockefeller and Wilson were looking to establish a beachhead for Wilson's views within the university and develop a pro-business environmentalism.
They told TTU officials that campuses like theirs could become the cutting edge in reforming liberal arts education according to Wilson's Consilience ideas. They apparently viewed TTU as receptive to consilience and as "business friendly."
These developments reflect a broader consilient trend in universities. Biological anthropology and sociobiology have marginalized cultural anthropology. Evolutionary psychology, a disgustingly sexist update of sociobiology, has made significant inroads into psychology. Behavioral genetics and biological psychiatry have displaced social explanations for alcoholism, mental illness and violence.
Worse still, sociobiology has been applied in practice with horrific consequences. New York psychiatrists Wasserman and Pine have drawn blood samples from, and given fenfluromine to, young black and Latin boys to test abnormal serotonin levels in the brain as a "cause" of violent behavior. These children had no history of violent behavior and were subjected to risky experimentation without informed consent. These studies are part of a larger program of U.S. government- funded research once known as the "Violence Initiative."
Further, anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon and geneticist James Neel experimented on the Yanomami, indigenous people living on the brink of extinction in the Amazon basin of Brazil and Venezuela. Beginning in the 1960s, they bribed the Yanomami with metal goods, incited internal warfare, exposed them to epidemics of infectious diseases and dislocated villages, all to obtain 12,000 blood samples to test their sociobiological and eugenic theories.
In the 1970s, Wilson invented sociobiology based on Chagnon's lies about the Yanomami as "the fierce people" to support his claims that men are genetically predisposed to fight each other over access to women. Last year, British journalist Patrick Tierney published Darkness in El Dorado, exposing the genocidal crimes scientists like Chagnon and Neel committed or justified against indigenous Amazonian people. The book has provoked sharp struggle in the field of anthropology. The ruling class values sociobiology enough to mount a concerted attack against Tierney. (See review of Tierney's Darkness in El Dorado, next page.)
These examples of racist medical experimentation on minority children and indigenous Amazonian people offer a glimpse of capitalism in crisis moving toward fascism and world war. After all, U.S. genocidal sanctions have killed 1.2 million Iraqis, imprisoned two million workers at home and forced hundreds of thousands into slave labor in prisons or welfare Workfare programs.
Our Party fought against sociobiology in the 1970s. We led modest struggle against the racist Bell Curve in 1994. Recently we've built a more sustained campaign against the Violence Initiative. We need to increase our efforts to build a broad movement against the rulers' fascist ideology and strategy of consilience. This should include campus-based struggles against local sociobiologists, classroom struggles against sociobiology curricula and exposure of consilience at academic meetings.
These beliefs that everything is genetic have become very mainstream in the U.S. Every day we hear people say that intelligence, racism, nationalism, obesity, mental illness and children's behavioral problems are genetic. Such fascist ideology is being promoted throughout popular culture -- movies, songs, TV shows, etc. We must expose it and organize many more workers, students and professionals to learn through this battle the need to join and build the PLP in order to destroy the system responsible for fascism, capitalism.
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