If you haven’t yet heard the news, the publication of Albert Einstein’s travel diaries has revealed that, despite the fact that he was a commendable virtue-signaler before his time by notably having called racism “a disease of white people,” he himself was elitist, ableist and, yes, racist. Despite his well-known denunciations of Nazi race policies, in these diaries that have now come to light, he exhibited support of what would amount to eugenics in favor of intellectuals and against the disabled, as well as trafficking in horrid stereotypes of (Chinese) people of color. Because it has been established beyond any doubt (see generally mainstream media, academia and Hollywood celebrities) that the path of truth and justice entails judging the past according to the present-day whims of the wokest social justice warriors, we must immediately condemn and divest from Einstein and his theories. We must be resolute and absolute in our denunciation of relativity. To do less would be to choose an oppressive truth over a liberating lie.
In the unlikely event that the damning generalities I have already adduced are not sufficient to ground a full-throated condemnation of Einstein, the details follow. Thus, in a letter written to a student in 1918, while the First World War was still raging, he describes the student as “one of Germany’s most talented biologists,” and then writes: “Can this [military] post of yours out there not be filled by an unimaginative person of the type that come 12 to the dozen? Is it not more important than all that big scuffle out there [the “big scuffle out there” being World War I] that valuable people stay alive?”
Along similar lines, in August 1922, he writes approvingly of a friend’s decision to hand a child with Down syndrome over to an institution instead of keeping him at home because “valuable people [like his friend] should not be sacrificed for causes [i.e., the cause of taking care of his disabled son] without any prospects, not even in this case.”
This elitist, albeist streak in Einstein’s thinking continues unabated even when it comes to caring for his own sick child, as he callously states, in a March 1917 letter, that he is “inwardly convinced that it would be in the public interest to imitate the Spartans’ method,” i.e., abandoning weak and sickly children to die of exposure on mountainsides and the like.
From such dispatches, a chilling worldview emerges: this (now-)dead white male physicist and intellectual believed that “valuable” people were those like himself, while less valuable people — the “average,” the sickly or the disabled — were a waste of time that could be institutionalized (see generally Foucault), exposed or sent to die as cannon fodder in the trenches.
If this were not enough, despite having been a vocal defender of the rights of his own people, i.e., the Jews (who are, of course, more or less white), Einstein appears to have had a very dim and unenlightened view of people of color, i.e., the Chinese. Among his comments upon this vulnerable and marginalized group, he included demeaning observations like this:
“Chinese don’t sit on benches while eating but squat like Europeans do when they relieve themselves out in the leafy woods.”
“Even the children are spiritless and look obtuse.”
They have an “abundance of offspring,” and yet, “[i]t would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”
While it appears, regrettably, that many Chinese people, even today, are not sufficiently woke to be justly offended by Einstein’s blatant racism, it is (all the more) our duty to respond with indignation and be offended on their behalf.
For all these reasons, we should join in a call to boycott Einstein and have him retroactively stripped of his ideas, his discoveries, his accomplishments and his Nobel Prize. The only other alternatives would be:
to allow for the possibility that prominent historical figures, when judged by our current standards, could be great geniuses but morally flawed humans; or, still worse;
to engage in historical relativism (but, of course, not full-on Einsteinian relativity) and admit that our current standards of right and wrong could be as time-bound as Einstein’s own, so that we should stop poring over our history books in search of racism and stop imagining that charging historical figures with racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, heteronormativity or other miscellaneous, newly minted categories of prejudice is an interesting — or even, a coherent — exercise.