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<   No. 499   2004-06-08   >

Comic #499

1 Haken: {walking back towards the zeppelin} Now we have to capture die Joneses and some dinosaurs!
2 Haken: Erwin! Look! Eggs! {pointing at the amazing find, a clutch of large eggs} This is how we can transport dinosaurs back to Berlin without risking our own lives!
3 Erwin: But Herr Kolonel, they might have inferior genetics. Surely fully grown, healthy specimens would be better.
4 Haken: {picking up an egg} Nazi science sneers at die survival of die fittest!

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If you were as obssessive a fan as jwbroek, you may have noticed that Haken's hat seemed to have lost its rim in #484, #487, and #493. In fact, I borrowed his hat for use on the policeman in James Stud's #483, and when I gave it back to Haken I accidentally put it on backwards.

Now this was not an attempt on Haken's part to be cool and hip since, as we all know, Nazi science sneers at headgear fashion trends! So I've now fixed the discrepancy.

And yes, this strip is a deliberate poke at Nazi eugenics policies, in case that wasn't obvious.

2013-06-03 Rerun commentary: Eugenics is a social engineering doctrine based on the supposition that it's a good idea to breed "good genes" into the population, by either encouraging people with traits judged as desirable (such as intelligence) to breed, or by discouraging people with traits judged as undesirable (such as physical or mental disability, or criminal tendencies) to not breed, or both.

This is a tricky topic, because at first glance this might sound like a reasonable thing to want to do - make the population in general smarter and healthier. But the Devil is in the details. How do you decide what or who is "undesirable"? How do you stop such people from breeding?

In the early 20th century, several countries actually adopted eugenics policies. These included Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, and the United States. In these countries, hundreds of thousands of people deemed "unfit to breed" by the state were forcefully sterilised by medical procedures, so they couldn't have children.

Perhaps the most infamous eugenics program was that of Nazi Germany. This went a step further, not merely sterilising people, but killing them. The list of undesirables included disabled people, homosexuals, and ethnic groups such as Jews and Roma.

Eugenics, of any stripe, was a sorely misguided and horrible philosophy. If there was one positive outcome of World War II, it was Nazi Germany showing other countries just what depths of depravity humanity could sink to if allowed to follow eugenic doctrine. Thankfully, this dark mirror held up to other societies forced the eventual abandonment of eugenic policies elsewhere.

I sometimes despair when I see various websites which have reader comment threads, and some people make off-hand remarks about how some people are so stupid they shouldn't be allowed to breed, or how it would be a good thing if their own stupidity "removed them from the gene pool". Do these people have no knowledge of history? Of the horrible, horrible things done by people who expressed exactly those same thoughts?

It may be a flippant comment, but it's a stupid flippant comment with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. These commenters are spitting on the memories of millions of people who had atrocities committed on their persons in the name of an atrocious and dehumanising attempt to "rid the world of stupid people".

Yes, I make jokes about Nazis. I make fun of the Nazis because they were pathetic, evil excuses for people who deserve to be made fun of. People who display a lack of judgement on the Internet do not deserve to be lumped together and wished the sort of treatment that the victims of the Nazis or the eugenics policies in other countries got.

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