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Eugenics and the Left
FrontPageMagazine.com ^ | 9/25/03 | John Ray

Posted on 09/25/2003 1:24:41 AM PDT by kattracks

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California's eugenicists could not claim ignorance that Germany's sterilization program was motivated primarily by racial politics. For example, in 1935, the Los Angeles Times published a long defense of Germany's sterilization policies, in which the author noted that the Nazis "had to resort to the teachings of eugenic science" because Germany had been "deprived of her colonies, blessed with many hundreds of defective racial hybrids as a lasting memory of the colored army of occupation, and dismembered all around." Not only did California eugenicists know about Nazi efforts to use sterilization as a method of "race hygiene" -- targeted primarily at Jews -- but they also approved efforts to stop "race-mixing" and increase the birth rate of the "Northern European type of family." The chilling words of Progressive reformer John Randolph Haynes anticipated the Nazi regime's murder of 100,000 mentally ill patients: "There are thousands of hopelessly insane in California, the condition of those minds is such that death would be a merciful release. How long will it be before society will see the criminality of using its efforts to keep alive these idiots, hopelessly insane, and murderous degenerates. … Of course the passing of these people should be painless and without warning. They should go to sleep at night without any intimation of what was coming and never awake."
Another country that is to this day a model and inspiration to leftists everywhere is Sweden -- with its all-embracing welfare State. So what happened in Sweden? As we read here:

During the Nazi era in Germany, eugenics prompted the sterilization of several hundred thousand people then helped lead to anti-Semitic programs of euthanasia and ultimately, of course, to the death camps. The association of eugenics with the Nazis is so strong that many people were surprised at the news several years ago that Sweden had sterilized around 60 000 people (mostly women) between the 1930s and 1970s. The intention was to reduce the number of children born with genetic diseases and disorders. After the turn of the century, eugenics movements -- including demands for sterilization of people considered unfit -- had, in fact, blossomed in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Scandinavia, not to mention elsewhere in Europe and in parts of Latin America and Asia. Eugenics was not therefore unique to the Nazis.
So what exactly did happen in the USA? I am indebted to one of my fellow bloggers for a useful summary of one of the cases. Some extracts:

In the 1920's, the eugenics movement was ... popular. So popular in fact, that mandatory sterilization laws were passed in 34 states from the mid-1920's to mid-30's. Basically, these laws stated that sterilization was mandatory for socially undesirable persons. "The socially inadequate classes, regardless of etiology or prognosis, are the following: (1) Feeble-minded; (2) Insane, (including psychopathic); (3) Criminalistic (including the delinquent and wayward); (4) Epileptic; (5) Inebriate (including drug habitues)..." [etc]. So basically, if you were hyperactive, promiscuous, an alcoholic or drug addict, had cerebral palsy or Down's syndrome, were epileptic, (etc., ad nauseum), or exhibited ANY socially undesirable behavior at all, you were eligible for mandatory sterilization. And not you, nor your parents (if you were a minor) had any right to say "No."

In the mid 1920's, Carrie Buck, at the ripe old age of 17, fought the state of Virginia's mandatory sterilization statute. She was classified as a socially inferior woman, having born a child out of wedlock and her foster parents stated that she was "a handful". Carrie's mother had also been incarcerated in a state institution as a 'promiscuous woman'. And at the age of 7 months, Carrie's child, Vivian, was 'certified' as being 'deficient,' based on the 'history' of Carrie and her mother.

Carrie lost her case at the state court level, and it wound up in front of the Supreme Court in 1927. The prominent Supreme Court jurist, Oliver Wendel Holmes, wrote the opinion in Buck v. Bell. The decision was 8-1, Justice Butler dissenting. Here's what the majority opinion boiled down to:

"In order to prevent our being swamped with incompetents... society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes." ...

"It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…Three generations of imbeciles are enough." — Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (Buck v. Bell, 1927)


Five months after this decision, Carrie was forcibly sterilized. It later came out that her promiscuity was nothing of the sort. She'd been raped by the nephew of her foster parents, himself a violent (unsterilized) little scumbag. And her daughter's school records show that Vivian was a B student, receiving an A in deportment (behavior), and she was on the honor roll. Genetic tests later showed that neither Carrie nor her daughter had any genetic defects.
Conservative eugenics?

I should note that economist Steven Levitt's work suggests that the old leftist eugenics program of reducing the birth rate (via abortion) among the "lower classes" was not totally misconceived. Levitt's findings seem to show that making voluntary abortion available to poorer mothers reduces the crime rate years later. He is at pains of course to indicate that his empirical findings are not an endorsement of either eugenics nor abortion.
Slate featured a three-day correspondence between him and Steve Sailer dealing with the issue.

Given the traditional conservative regard for individual liberty, it seems to me that the only eugenics programs that conservatives could justify would be voluntary ones, such as the large material incentives to reproduce that the Singapore government offers to highly educated Singaporean women. Christian conservatives, however, tend to regard all reproduction as God-given so would oppose even voluntary eugenic programs that limit reproduction, such as the
Woodhill Foundation programs that pay crack-addicted mothers to undertake contraception.

Leftists, however, oppose the Woodhill programs because they are voluntary and privately-funded. They like such matters to be in the hands of the State (i.e., under their control).

And the problem of a self-perpetuating and substantially criminal underclass does not need to be addressed by eugenics. It can be addressed by addressing its major causes, such as the over-generous welfare system that the Left has created to thunderous praise.

And despite everything, there are useful and non-coercive eugenics programs in operation right now.
Genetic screening in the U.S. Jewish community has now all but eliminated the awful hereditary disease Tay-Sachs.

Shifting the blame

Modern-day left-wingers hate it when you point out that it was they who inspired Hitler and in their reaction try to shift the blame, even to the most unlikely targets.
A recent book has tried to lay the blame for the Left's eugenics of the early 20th century at the door of someone who opposed all compulsion. As the book reviewer says:

It has long been open season on Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). Perhaps because he was the 19th century's most prominent defender of individual liberty and critic of the violence of the state, Spencer has always been the object of hatred and distortion; indeed, it sometimes seems that no accusation is too bizarre to be leveled against him...

What common ground could there be between Spencer and the eugenicists? Both, to be sure, were 'Social Darwinists,' if that means that both thought there were important sociopolitical lessons to be drawn from evolutionary biology. But Spencer and the eugenicists drew opposite lessons. For the eugenicists, the moral of evolutionary biology was that the course of human evolution must be coercively managed and controlled by a centralized, paternalistic technocracy. For Spencer, by contrast, the moral was that coercive, centralized, paternalistic approaches to social problems were counterproductive and so would tend to be eliminated by the spontaneous forces of social evolution ....
It is a good comment on the dismal minds of leftists that they think that nothing can be accomplished except through compulsion. And accomplish a lot they have. And in the realm of eugenics, Adolf Hitler remains their most successful disciple.

References:

De Corte, T.L. (1978) Menace of Undesirables: The Eugenics Movement During the Progressive Era. University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Pickens, D. (1968) Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
Toland, J. (1976) Adolf Hitler Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday.

1 posted on 09/25/2003 1:24:42 AM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks
Well I think the progressive - eugenics connection is pretty well established. I know this because a while back I was debating online with someone who claimed that of course progressives weren't liberals.

This is of course revisionism of the highest order. The central aspects of progressivism were raising taxes, regulating business, and creating new social programs. Heck, the term is becoming the preferred name the left uses for itself.
2 posted on 09/25/2003 1:32:32 AM PDT by swilhelm73
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To: kattracks
Accidently place a container of bleach near a food product in a restaurant and an inspector will dock you points. If the score is low enough, they can shut you down.

Wouldn't an inspection system be more important for abortion clinics that use an evasive medical procedure? Shouldn't they be graded?

Should they not be held accountable for incompetent staff that mutilate and harm some paitents?

And they break the law with impunity when they don't, under the law, report an underage girl wanting an abortion that has been impregnated by an adult male which is technically statuatory rape.

And most abortion lovers think minors should be able to make health decisions without parental consent. In most states someone under 18 can't even get a tatoo or piercing without parental consent.

3 posted on 09/25/2003 1:36:06 AM PDT by Fledermaus (While Bush doesn't usually please my conservative heart, no DimbulboRat can keep us safe!)
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To: kattracks; dansangel
Great post, these are the type of posts that need to be widely posted and read...
4 posted on 09/25/2003 1:48:21 AM PDT by .45MAN ("I am what I am because of what I am")
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To: kattracks
Very interesting stuff, especially for those of us studying the origins and leadership of the current Communist International. Copied to my private library for further study and reference.
5 posted on 09/25/2003 3:21:15 AM PDT by Imal (I only made this post to show off this cool tagline.)
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To: kattracks
Bump for further study. Fascinating.

In Kansas hair salons are under stricter regulation than abortion clinics.
6 posted on 09/25/2003 3:51:36 AM PDT by heckler (wiskey for my men, beer for my horses)
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To: kattracks
Thanks - Excellent post! It will be put to good use...
7 posted on 09/25/2003 5:37:52 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Defund PBS, NPR & PRAVDA)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
8 posted on 09/25/2003 5:55:19 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: kattracks
If this is John Jay Ray, he does good work.
9 posted on 09/25/2003 6:15:19 AM PDT by sauropod (I love the women's movement. Especially walking behind it.)
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To: kattracks
INTREP!!
10 posted on 09/25/2003 7:24:07 AM PDT by LiteKeeper
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Marking
11 posted on 09/25/2003 7:45:13 AM PDT by SpookBrat
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To: kattracks
Don't forget proponents of Eugenics in the U.S. of A (as usual, when in doubt, follow the money)

MARGARET SANGER for example

12 posted on 09/25/2003 8:17:51 AM PDT by DTA
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To: swilhelm73
What's wrong with eugenics?
The only thing I have ever had against it is that it is usually a for vehicle stupid race theories (Like "Aryans" or "New Socialist Man"). There is no "master race," there are only superior individuals.
We should be at least as concerned with improving our species by whatever means (eugenics and genetic engineering), as we are with domesticated animals... I, for one, find it objectionable that the Federales subsidize bastardy and breeding among the least competent elements of our population (aka "welfare" and WIC).
Then they tax us and tell us “its for the children…”
13 posted on 09/25/2003 8:27:47 AM PDT by Little Ray (When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!)
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To: kattracks; swilhelm73; DTA
There's a huge difference between government-mandated eugenics programs and private citizens making individual eugenic decisions on their own. It is intellectually dishonest to lump the two together. When Jewish couples screen themselves and/or their embryos for Tay-Sachs, that's eugenics, but it isn't Nazism. When couples who discover that they're carriers for cystic fibrosis decide to adopt instead of having biological children, that's eugenics, but it isn't Nazism.
14 posted on 09/25/2003 8:28:22 AM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: Little Ray
I tend to agree with you on this one. My girlfriend and I have often commented on how we think sterilization should be part of applying for welfare.


15 posted on 09/25/2003 12:26:54 PM PDT by FierceDraka ("I got SOUL, and I'm SUPER BAD")
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To: GovernmentShrinker
When Jewish couples screen themselves and/or their embryos for Tay-Sachs, that's eugenics, but it isn't Nazism.

Sure it is -- just privatised. The "deselected" embryos are just as much murder victims as anyone who ever entered Auchswitz by the gate and left through the chimney, and the "parents" are every bit as guilty as the death camp kapos who collaborated in the extermination of their own race.

Eugenics is precisely where Hitler started.

16 posted on 09/25/2003 12:38:17 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: FierceDraka
My girlfriend and I have often commented on how we think sterilization should be part of applying for welfare.

Why stop there? Why not also when applying for a government job? Or enrolling in a public school? Or voting?

Your lack of imagination disappoints me.

17 posted on 09/25/2003 12:40:43 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: Little Ray
We should be at least as concerned with improving our species by whatever means (eugenics and genetic engineering), as we are with domesticated animals...I, for one, find it objectionable that the Federales subsidize bastardy and breeding among the least competent elements of our population (aka "welfare" and WIC).

Based on your comment above, here's a book I'm sure you will enjoy since the author's views so closely match your own.

18 posted on 09/25/2003 12:50:13 PM PDT by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Little Ray
    "The demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring. . . represents the most humane act of mankind."


19 posted on 09/25/2003 1:02:08 PM PDT by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: kattracks
Abortion is the modern version of eugenics.
20 posted on 09/25/2003 1:09:53 PM PDT by MEGoody
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