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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Ugly Side Of George Barnard Shaw

You are likely familiar with one particular work of George Barnard Shaw, who wrote numerous works and won both the Nobel Prize for Literature and an Oscar for Pygmalion, upon which the delightful musical My Fair Lady was based:

But what of George Barnard Shaw the man? Facts you didn't learn in school:

George Barnard Shaw was a eugenicist and a Socialist (hat tip to Bunkerville for the video below):

How interesting and how dismaying that a mind could conceive of the delightful story presented in Pygmalion and also support wholesale murder!


  1. Thanks for the H/T. Once again, it is the wolf in sheeps clothes that we need to fear. A good lesson for today.

  2. His is a common phenomenon among progressives of that era.

    Rousseauean mythologizing of nature and construction of soulless institutions of human improvement provide an innocuous patina for their self-hatred and hatred of mankind.

    It is a very real realization that man if flawed, but it is devoid of God, and therefor goes horribly astray.

  3. ...and I hate to say this, but what "Rousseauean mythologizing" does Shaw exhibit? I don't believe that Shaw believed that all men were inherently "good", as your comment implies. And by "getting rid" of the "unproductive", I don't think that Shaw believes all men to be "inherently good", either.

  4. Rousseau declared that "while Nature has made man happy and virtuous, it is society that renders him miserable and depraved ..."

  5. Farmer: Go back and reread. I said the opposite. Like Christians do, Shaw and all progressives believe man is inherently flawed. Their mistake is to believe man can be perfected through man-made institutions.

    Those undesirables not worthy of perfection are stuffed.

  6. I'm still not following you.

    So what does Rousseau have to do with Shaw? That's all I want to know.

    I'm a huge fan of Roussea. Shaw, not so much.

  7. In his day, Rousseau was persecuted rather mercilessly by his "Enlightenment" colleagues (Voltaire and the Encyclopediasts) because he would not join their "socialist/revolutionary project" to "fix" mankind.

  8. ...and so will everyone else. Rousseau wasn't the first "Romantic" and therefore the "inventor of lying" to ever come along. That's all I'm saying. Platonic, et al, utopia's/dystopia's have been around for a long, LONG time.

    Rousseau was NOT one of those. Rousseau was very much against importing social changes for the sake of "improving mankind". His letter to D'Alembert on Spectacles very concisely outlines his position on the subject. He was a man of REAL culture, NOT artificial spectacles intended to change it.

  9. FJ is an expert on philosophers.

    But no philosopher is "perfect" as far as I can tell.

  10. ...as is no one, single way of life, "perfect". There are merely a myriad of opinions as to which way of life would "best" suit our present circumstances. ;)

  11. He was very popular in the Soviet Union. He was officially sanctioned and people genuinely liked his play because he was a good writer.

  12. Shaw was caught up in the eugenics
    trend of the era...so was Winston Churchill
    ...history is full of inconvenient

  13. Yes, but it was progressives like Margaret Sanger who actually set about killing "undesirables."

    And liberals to this day honor her:


    Live it, learn it, eat it, own it.

  14. The concept of Eugenics -- i.e. breeding human beings the way cattle, horse and dog breeders produce stringer and more "refined" specimens of their kind -- was a plausible, highly seductive theory fashionable among "thinking people" in the early part of the twentieth century.

    So was Communism when it first came out. The aristocracy was rife with "Parlor Pinks."

    Shaw was not the first and certainly not the last brilliant person to have a romance with fallacious thinking.

    Wagner reportedly didn't like Jews. So what? It takes absolutely nothing away from the grandeur and sheer magnificence of his work, which is far more important than the man, himself -- as it always is with creative geniuses of the first rank.

    If all you want to know about Franz Schubert is that he was very likely a closet homosexual who died tragically young of syphilis, you've missed the whole point of Schubert's blessed existence.

    I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.

    My help cometh from the Lord who made Heaven and earth.

    He will not suffer thy foot to be moved.

    Behold! He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

    The Lord is thy keeper. He is the shade upon thy right hand.

    The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

    The Lord shall preserve the from all evil. He shall preserve thy soul.

    The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from his time forth and even forever more.


    ~ FreeThinke

  15. BB-Idaho,
    the eugenics trend of the era

    The link you left about Churchill refers to "the feeble minded."

    I'm not sure when, here in the United States, forced sterilization of the feeble minded became illegal.

    But I DO remember when such sterilization was indeed legal -- the idea being that the mentally retarded not be allowed to reproduce because the retarded ended up (1) being a burden to the taxpayers and (2) the mentally retarded were often sexually promiscuous or commit sex crimes of passion and (3) sooner or later, ended locked up in mental wards where abuse of all kinds was common.

    How do I know those details?

    Not because I subscribe to eugenics, but because I actually knew someone who was sterilized in the late the 50s or early 60s.

    Back in those days, we had what amounted to a village idiot here in Northern Virginia. This individual was much like Lenny in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men -- except that our "village idiot" was very wealthy as his father was a doctor and left a substantial inheritance and trust fund for his only child.

    Neither of the two separate individuals that I've mentioned above was Downs Syndrome. I don't know exactly what was wrong with them.

    Now, as I look around me, I wonder this: Where are such "mental defectives" now? Clearly, they are not milling around amongst us. Perhaps there are fewer of them due to medical advances involving childbirth complications and complications from certain illnesses.

    Hitler, of course, had a political and racial definition of "mental defectives." As, apparently, did Margaret Sanger.

  16. FreeThinke,
    You are absolutely correct that many artistic geniuses have flaws that should not prevent us from enjoying the products of their genius.

    Also see my comment above to BB Idaho.

    I ask you, Where are those individuals now?


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