Modern Eugenics and the Child Tax Credit Benefits Cap

I handed my dissertation in a few days ago, a liberating moment for any final year student! I was happy in the knowledge that my dissertation was focused upon the past, I am a history student after all! It was a dissertation that looked primarily at the Eugenics Society, analysing its political leaning surrounding some matters of Editorial Controversy. The man I focused upon was called Ernest MacBride a Right Wing Neo-Lamarckist whose policies, even within the context of 1930’s Britain, were controversial. He resigned from the Eugenics Society for many reasons, extremist politics, Nazi sympathies, and ultimately just being an incredibly difficult man who could not accept that his Lamarckian science was becoming redundant in the face of growing evidence to support Natural Selection, Evolution and Darwinism

He believed that the poorer members of society should be discouraged from reproducing because they presented an economic burden to society, not only that but the poorer people were in essence a lesser form of human being, unworthy of reproducing. MacBrides also placed the wealthy, white, educated male at the top of his hierarchy, he viewed these as the epitome of Lamarckian Evolution. For Macbride, the rapid reproduction of the lower classes was increasing the amount of people who were now being classed as Mentally Deficient.

What MacBride posited as the answer to the over-reproduction of the lower classes was Forced Sterilisation, an idea that we now look at with horror, Forced Sterilisation? It not only violates a woman’s human rights, but it also places women as the gender to blame for excessive reproduction. Such attitudes are surely a thing of the past, yet what the new Child Tax Credit represents is a salute to our British Eugenic past. When Theresa May introduced the policy she aligned himself with the Eugenic values of our British past, she, in not so many words, has attempted a forced sterilisation of the impoverished, and in doing so she is discouraging poorer families from reproducing.

So the benefit cap in detail:  From 6 April 2017 support provided through Child Tax Credit will be limited for some new births – if you already have 2 or more children any subsequent children born on or after 6 April 2017 will not be eligible for further support. You can still receive a child element for more than 2 children if the children were born before 6 April 2017. In addition to the 2 child limit, the ‘family element’ of £545 per year will be abolished. In effect, this will mean that families with at least one child born before 6 April 2017 will continue to get the family element but claims where the eldest child is born on or after 6 April will not receive the family element.

This Benefit Cap that award Tax Credits to just the first 2 children creates a society in which a families validity is measured primarily through its monetary worth. It says that we no longer support poorer families having more than 2 children, essentially a forced sterilisation of the financial kind. I know that there are many reading this who may believe that families should not have children they can not afford, but I argue that this is not for Theresa May to decide, her power should not extend to deciding how many children she will support the most vulnerable families having. So, for the theoretical third child what does this mean, it shows that for the government at least the Conservative Party truly do not support the reality of social mobility, an utter lack of faith in this third child that they don’t want to support the family in having them.


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