Adolph Hitler and his followers espoused the theory of a master race. The Nazi Party proclaimed that persons of supposed Nordic or Aryan descent appear most frequently among Germans and other northern European peoples and are superior to persons of other races. Slavs, Gypsies, and Jews were specifically defined as being inferior, and their presence in central and western Europe was thought to make them a danger to the Aryans. The solution was to remove these inferior breeds by means of expulsion, enslavement, or extermination.
Horrific slaughters were the evil fruit of this insane theory. Almost 6 million European Jews died in the holocaust, and it is estimated that at least an equal number of non-Jews were murdered in furtherance of the Nazi’s racial policies. In the former Soviet Union, 20 to 27 million soldiers and civilians were killed in the war that was meant to push the Slavs out of Europe and give Germany its lebensraum.
Nazi racial theories have no basis in scientific fact. Unfortunately, such evil and twisted beliefs continue to live on in the fringes of our society. In America, the KKK, the American Nazi Party, and similar hate groups are Hitler’s spiritual heirs. I believe they are few in numbers. Nevertheless, they must be watched carefully. Even a small cadre of haters can do much harm.
After the mid-20th century a consensus developed among anthropologists and geneticists that race, as the previous generation had thought of it, did not exist. There were no discrete, geographically distinct, homogenous gene pools. Modern scientific theories suggest that most human differences have little to do with one’s so-called race. The principal differences between peoples (races) are cultural. Differences between peoples may also spring from environmental (geographic or climatic) factors. Within each group of peoples there are a wide variety of differences between individuals, and these differences are greater than those that separate one group from another.
The Nazi’s talked of a master race, but they were evil, deluded men. You cannot create a better breed by concentrating on one racial prototype. Remember lessons from biology and the principle of hybrid-vigor. Though this term is usually applied to plants rather than to humans, I have become convinced that nature itself gradually produces a heathier, more vibrant population by the constant intermixing of different peoples.
Consider some examples from history. Great Britain was once the home of Celtic peoples. First came the Roman conquest. As Roman power waned, Germanic tribes invaded the land. Shortly afterwards there were the Danish and Norwegian incursions. Finally, in 1066, came the Norman-French conquest. In the north, in Scotland, there was a similar mixture of Celtic, Scandinavian, and Norman-French elements. And what came out of this mish-mash of peoples? A brilliant, energetic, and creative civilization arose on this island off the northwestern corner of Europe.
Similar things happened in western and central Europe. The French people arose from a mixture of Celtic, Latin, and Germanic peoples. The Germans themselves, Hitler’s beloved Aryans, are a mix of Germanic, Slavic, and other racial strains (including the mysterious Huns).
And what about America? We are a melting pot of many diverse peoples from all parts of the world. In previous posts I described the ethnic or racial diversity of my own forbearers. I can identify ancestors from England, Scotland, Germany and Wales, but most Americans probably have a much more varied and interesting ethnic heritage. This is certainly true of my extended family, which, in addition to the English, Scot, German and Welsh ancestors mentioned above, now includes persons of French, Irish, Dutch, Filipino, Vietnamese, Spanish, American Indian, African, Sri Lankan and Swiss ancestry. This sort of racial mixing is happening all across America.
What happens when you mix all these diverse peoples together? The American people are not only an interesting and perhaps unique mixture of genetic strains but a mixture of cultures, and out of that mixture has come an explosion of creativity. We have seen this creative energy manifest itself in America over the past century and a half, and we are only at the beginning.
If we continue to pursue the dream, if we constantly seek the higher ground, if we link our arms in brotherhood, our diverse peoples will unite to produce a true
E PLURIBUS UNUM!