Keith Joseph and the Tories Eugenicist Hatred of the Working Class

Keith Joseph Pic

Keith Joseph: Maggie’s mentor, and the man who thought there were too many poor people with retarded children. And they were breeding.

Yesterday I put up a piece about how the Tories really did have a visceral hatred of the working class, a hatred and desire to preserve the privileges and position of the ruling elite that confirmed Marx’s view that the state was the instrument of class oppression. One of the most venomous expressions of this hatred came from Keith Joseph. Joseph was Thatcher’s mentor in the Tory party, and an enthusiastic supporter of Milton Friedman’s monetarism and the Chilean dictator General Pinochet. Although he guided Thatcher and served in her cabinet, he never actually became prime minister himself because of a speech he made about the poor in 1974.

Joseph’s view was that there were too many of them, who were too poorly educated, breeding too young. Too many of their children were mentally retarded, and they were thus a danger to solid, genetically and morally superior middle class folk. Owen Jones quotes him in Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class:

In a speech in October 1974, he expressed some of the attitudes towards ‘the lower orders’ that were once common among middle-class eugenicists. He argued that ‘a high and rising proportion of children are being born to mothers least fitted to bring children into the world and to bring them up. They are born to mothers who were first pregnant in adolescence in social classes 4 and 5 … Some are of low intelligence, most of low educational attainment.’ But the killer line was this: ‘The balance of our population, our human stock is threatened.’ Joseph’s message was clear. The poor were breeding too fast, and the danger was they were going to swamp everyone else. (pp. 45-6).

Keith Joseph’s speech could indeed have come from a 19th century Victorian eugenicist. Eugenics was founded by Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton. It believed that there was a real danger of the human race degenerating through the unfit outbreeding the healthy. They thus advocated a series of harsh laws to prevent those they considered genetically unfit – the dysgenic – from breeding. The movement crossed ideological boundaries, and some of the most fervent supporters of the ideology were left-wingers, like George Bernard Shaw, who wished to improve society and humanity by making reproduction more rational, and so breed healthier children. Galton himself was a member of the upper classes, and so believed they were genetically superior to everyone else, and was afraid that their superior genetic material would be outbred by the lower orders. Eugenics and Social Darwinism was taken up by many members of these classes, as it seemed to argue against the need for passing any environmental or health and safety legislation to protect the working classes from the harmful effects of industry. If people were falling ill or being killed through exposure to harmful materials, such as lead, arsenic, mercury or phosphorous, or having deformed or mentally retarded children, or killed in industrial accidents, it wasn’t because these materials were unduly hazardous, but because their stock was defective. They weren’t as constitutionally healthy as everyone else, and it was therefore better if they weren’t allowed to breed. By the 1920s 45 American states had passed eugenics legislation designed to stop the congenitally ill from having children. It also led to the compulsory castration of mentally retarded children in American mental hospitals.

The Nazis boasted that they had invented nothing in their adoption of the eugenics programme, and pointed to America and other countries, which had passed similar legislation. Under the Nazis, however, not only did contribute to the vicious racialism of the regime, which saw Jews, Gypsies and Slavs as subhumans, who were to be destroyed, but it also led directly to the planned murder of the mentally retarded by the SS under the control of Hitler’s doctors.


Ian Duncan Smith: Under him, as many as 38,000 people a year may have died through poverty. Does he share Joseph’s eugenicist hatred of the poor?

Joseph’s opinions are extremely worrying, because of the way they suggest a coherent political view that sees the poor and disabled as a positive threat to be removed. German eugenicists called the congenitally ill and retarded ‘lebensunwertigenleben’ or ‘life unworthy of life’. I’ve blogged about some of the similarities between the Nazi murder of the mentally retarded and the apparent complete disregard for the welfare of the disabled shown by Atos and the DWP under Ian Duncan Smith. Mike over at Vox Political, Johnny Void, Jaypot, Jayne Linney, the Angry Yorkshireman, myself and other blogs, like Diary of Benefit Scrounger and Benefit Tales, have reported the way the DWP and Atos have been concerned to have people thrown off benefit. As a result, tens of thousands are dying in poverty and starvation each year. Some have been so desperate, that they have taken their own lives. This has been reported on the above blogs. Stilloaks has a list on his blog of 45 victims of IDS’ policies, with a brief description of their circumstances when they died. It’s harrowing reading. A number of disabled people, both commenting on these blogs, and in everyday conversation, have said they feel there is a deliberate plot to kill off the disabled. Given Joseph’s 1974 rant about the genetic threat from the working class and their subnormal children, that idea begins to look all too horribly plausible.


Does this attack on Atos really describe Tory attitudes to the poor and disabled after Keith Joseph’s rant?

I have to say, I don’t think there is a conscious plan to exterminate the working class or the disabled. It strikes me that what there is instead, is an attitude of culpable negligence arising from this attitude of class hatred and hostility to the working class disabled. There is no desire to kill them directly, in the way the Nazis did. However, they are seen as a threatening drain on resources, resources which could be better spent giving tax breaks to genetically sound multi-billionaire Tory donors. Rather than wishing to kill them actively. Rather it’s a case that their lives simply don’t matter. If they die of starvation, or kill themselves in despair or ‘while the balance of their minds’ is upset, it’s simply a case of natural wastage. They were obviously unfit to survive, as members of a feckless, profligate class. It’s simply nature’s way, and ultimately all for the best. And so rather than treat these poor souls with pity or humanity, there is simply a callous indifference to the fate of those, whose existence they regard as a real threat to society, the economy, and healthy human stock.


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32 Responses to “Keith Joseph and the Tories Eugenicist Hatred of the Working Class”

  1. stilloaks Says:

    Reblogged this on Still Oaks and commented:
    Thank you Beastrabban, another well written and researched article.
    The comparison between Keith Joseph’s speech and what is currently happening in this country is very relevant.
    At the time that Keith Joseph made that speech, Frank Field, a Labour spokesman, said it had “…all the marks of deliberately attempting to unleash a national backlash against the poor”.
    This is precisely what the main stream media are doing right now.

  2. jeffrey davies Says:

    Joseph’s view was that there were too many of them, who were too poorly educated, breeding too young. Too many of their children were mentally retarded, and they were thus a danger to solid, genetically and morally superior middle class folk. Owen Jones quotes him in Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class:
    yes another Nazi who greatly cull the poor perhaps hes helping rtu ids to jeff3

    • beastrabban Says:

      My guess is that it’s more of a general attitude that has made RTU’s policies acceptable within the Tory party, but IDS certainly seems to share Joseph’s hatred of the working class and the ‘unfit’.

  3. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  4. maxwell1957 Says:

    Reblogged this on Maxwell's Mostly Irrelevant Musings.

  5. untynewear Says:

    “Stilloaks has a list on his blog of 45 victims of IDS’ policies…”

    > You might also like to check out a thread at Urban75 forums, titled: “List of those for whom Welfare Reform and cuts were too much to bear”

  6. NMac Says:

    A very well researched and written article which graphically illustrates just how much the Tories hate and despise the poor, and how they use the right-wing mainstream media to spread their lies and hatred. An 18th century definition of a Tory was, one who fosters class divisions in order to maintain power and wealth in the hands of the landed aristocracy. The only difference today is that they are attempting to keep power and wealth exclusively in the hands of the aristocracy, the monied and the propertied classes.

    The irony of Duncan-Smith is that back in 2003 this man should have been fully investigated by the Fraud Squad and put before the courts for embezzlement. He created a fictitious job for his millionaire wife and then claimed additional parliamentary expenses allegedly to pay her “salary”. Even Duncan-Smith’s constituency agent stated that the job was non-existent and Mrs Duncan-Smith had done no work whatever. This was before the main expenses scandal and all that happened was Duncan-Smith was removed as the Tory Party leader.

    In the words of one Tory grandee they are the Nasty Party.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks, NMac. I’d forgotten all about the scandal surrounding the non-existent job IDS created for his wife. I think I missed that one. I’d always assumed it was because IDS was incompetent and unpopular, rather than corrupt, incompetent and unpopular. There is something very, very wrong about our political system when it allows someone like him power over the lives of millions of the unemployed, sick and disabled.

      • NMac Says:

        Yes, I feel very angry and frustrated that our political system allows toxic criminals like Duncan-Smith to oppress the sick, the disabled and the poor. Thank you for an excellent article and the knowledge that I am not alone in my thoughts about this poisonous bunch of nasty politicians.

  7. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  8. Keith Joseph and the Tories’ Eugenicist Hatred of the Working Class – Beastrabban’s Weblog | Vox Political Says:

    […] Joseph was Thatcher’s mentor in the Tory party, and an enthusiastic supporter of Milton Friedman’s monetarism and the Chilean dictator General Pinochet. Although he guided Thatcher and served in her cabinet, he never actually became prime minister himself because of a speech he made about the poor in 1974, writes the Beast. […]

  9. nearlydead Says:

    Reblogged this on nearlydead.

  10. eegginton59 Says:

    Reblogged this on eegginton59.

  11. eegginton59 Says:

    well thought out reblogged

  12. amnesiaclinic Says:

    Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    A very thoughtful piece from beastrabban which ties in Joseph to the 19th century eugenics movement. I came across Joseph in his Black Papers role in the 70’s when the improvements in primary education were halted and disgraced.
    A nasty piece of work.

  13. loobitzh Says:

    Reblogged this on Lindas Blog and commented:
    I am one of those who live in constant fear of what they will do next. My lifeline to hope is reading blogs such as this one which tell it as it truly is and not how the press propagate.

    Never in my 55 years did I expect to end up is such a dismal and fearful situation.
    Keep up the good work all of you for all of us.

  14. loobitzh Says:

    reblogged on lindasblog

    Thank you for your tenacity and support. you bring hope that we are not truly alone.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thank you for your appreciation, Loobitzh. I’m really touched. I do my best with this blog, and it’s important to realise that, despite the sneers and propaganda of the Tories and the media, there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing. People like yourself, Tom Pride, Johnny Void, Stilloaks, A6er, Mike, Jaynelinney, Unemployed in Tyne and Weare, the Angry Yorkshireman, the people at DPAC and so on. I apologise for leaving anybody out. And they are not ever going to be silenced.

  15. Graham Armstrong Says:

    Your writings confirm to me a certainty that many of the views of the Tory party are thinly veneered versions of Mein Kampf. The language the Tories use if translated into the Fuehrers mother tongue would fit easily within the books appendix.
    They are and always will be British Nazis.

  16. Florence Says:

    Thank you once again for bringing the disgrace of the class war based in eugenics to the fore – we can never allow ourselves to forget this or to have the memories replaced/erased by the false memories of propaganda. (We have had the “WWI truce football match” ad nauseum to remind us of the power of propaganda this year.) Even Marie Stopes was a eugenecist, and her efforts to provide birth control to the masses was simply to reduce their numbers, not to improve quality of life or choice, or reduce maternal & child death rates.

    I think that eugenics never went away for the “upper crust” but they have tended to keep it under wraps. The current bunch may be thought to have extended their sphere of influence to the rich & filthy rich, but it may also be viewed that they are in fact the new working class to support the aristocracy. Like Thatcher/Joseph and their hatred of workers and the irrational destruction of our once powerful industrial sector, oligarchs, new money and industrialists will never be “one of us”, for the Bullingdons, hence the conflicted relationship with Murdoch, for example.

    • beastrabban Says:

      I think you’re right. And Eugenics certainly never went away entirely. It simply changed its name and kept very quiet. The Eugenics Society changed its name to the Francis Galton Society, after Darwin’s biologist cousin, who founded it. They’re listed among other, much more innocuous and innocent societies, in the relevant section of the 1987 edition of Whitaker’s Almanac, for example.

      And I think there are still some scientists, who are convinced of the necessity of the eugenics project. Back in the 1990s and Noughties there were a number of articles in New Scientist in which the view was expressed that without natural selection pressures, harmful mutations resulting in birth defects were building up in the human race, especially as modern science was allowing those with quite severe disabilities to survive, where otherwise they would have perished. This seemed to be the view of a number of scientists interviewed. These scientists never said straight out that they believed some kind of eugenics programme was necessary. It’s possible that they don’t believe this, and instead want some kind of programme of artificial genetic intervention instead, like some kind of gene therapy. Nevertheless, it’s clear where their thinking was going.

  17. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  18. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) Says:

    I posted the following when the assisted dying bill on assisted suicide was debated in the House of Lords:

    Euthanasia is increasingly viewed by debt-ridden, industrialized nations as a panacea to their aging and infirm populations. Don’t be fooled by Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill. Euthanasia is destined to be introduced under the guise of compassion and choice; a euthanasia law was recently passed in my hometown province of Quebec. Lethal injection was obfuscatorily termed “medical aid to die.” (An Ipsos Marketing survey found only one-third of Quebecers understood this meant a lethal injection.) It is a cost-saving mechanism: The economic argument in favour of euthanasia regards the elderly, sick and disabled as all cost and no benefit—and it is designed to save the government monies in benefits provision and elderly care costs.

    People in Britain should be asking: Have we forgotten so soon the lessons of the Liverpool Care Pathway scandal?

  19. johncresswellplant Says:

    Reblogged this on johncresswellplant and commented:
    Does anyone have any thoughts or comments on this article? If so, I’d like to hear them!

  20. concernedkev Says:
    I came across this blog some time ago and the person who researched it is probably dead now. It goes to the heart of the design of the WCA and shows how senior Medics and civil servants as well as politicians were persuaded that the sick and disabled were in a conspiracy with their GPs and other doctors to stay sick.
    This is what IDS is always banging on about that people need rescuing from a life on benefits. From his Catholic background he can pursue what he considers a crusade with impunity. If deaths occur and I am sure he knows all about this, then he can go to confession and wash away his guilt. Cameron knows full well what is happening and is content to keep a distance for when the true revelations come out. I think you are mistaken in not believing there is a plan it is just a little slower and not as obvious as the Gas Chamber method. It follows logically that take away a persons means of support then despair will set in and suicide will be an option. Eugenics is alive and rampant in the minds of the illuminati world wide.

  21. Keith Joseph and the Tories Eugenicist Hatred of the Working Class | Still Oaks Says:

    […] Re-Posted from Beastrabban… […]

  22. creatorsnotconsumers Says:

    Reblogged this on Creators not Consumers and commented:
    Human stock unworthy of life…

  23. Right Wing Dependence? – Radical Rhymes Says:

    […] hadn’t declared that the poor should not be allowed to breed, Thatcher might now be unknown… Anyway, this misappropriation of credit is also compounded by those who see rightist politics as […]

  24. Humanity’s Historical Ties with Eugenics – Highlighting Environmental, Health & Human Rights Issues Says:

    […] to value and support the eugenics thinking. In 1974, British senior conservative politician, Keith Joseph, said in a speech, “the balance of our population, our human stock is threatened”, meaning the […]

  25. %title% Says:

    […] Em 1974, o político conservador sênior britânico, Keith Joseph, disse em um discurso, “o equilíbrio de nossa população, nosso estoque humano está ameaçado”, significando que os pobres estavam se reproduzindo rápido demais, e o perigo era que eles […]

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