Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Same as it ever was

“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.”--Oliver Wendell Holmes

So, the other day, I found this:

“If Randers wanted to avoid 15 years in prison,” Barchenger writes, “Randers would have to agree to a condition. Sterilization.”
Why sterilization?  Because she'd "struggled with mental health issues" since she was a teenager, and because her infant daughter died of unexplained causes in 2012.  After two years of investigation into this "plea deal," she was transferred from jail to a mental health facility.

The infamous Carrie Buck case involved mental health issues.  Ms. Buck's allegedly low intelligence was leading her to get pregnant out of wedlock and create burdens on the state of Oklahoma.  You might have thought we were finally beyond such attitudes.  Nope:

“Over a 10-year period, that isn't a huge amount of money … compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children — as they procreated more.”

That 10-year period was from 2003 to 2013.  The California law allowing the practice of forced sterilization was repealed in 1979.  It was the law of California for 70 years.  Many states repealed their laws in 1979, it appears.  But as in the case of Ms. Randers, it still goes on.  The only change is cosmetic:  we don't call it eugenics anymore, because:

Eugenics is the now-discredited movement that sought to improve humans' genetic composition by preventing those seen as defective from reproducing. These supposed defects included mental disabilities and characteristics seen as making someone socially inadequate or unfit.

It didn't start with Nazi Germany, however.  Actually, the Nazis learned it from us:

Virginia's Sterilization Act became a model for similar legislation passed around the country and the world, including Nazi Germany. Nationwide, 65,000 Americans were sterilized in 33 states, said Mark Bold, executive director of the Christian Law Institute, which has been advocating the cause of the Virginia victims since 2013. In Michigan, more than 3,000 people were involuntary sterilized, according to a January 2009 article in the Michigan Bar Journal.
The Nazis hated Jews; we hated the poor.  There, I've proved Godwin's Law for you.  Forced sterilization was enforced against the poor, because this is America, and we have always feared the poor.

It's fair to say eugenics simply hasn't been discredited enough.  We dropped the word and continued the practice.  We don't even need to say it's "science," anymore; we just need to say it's simple economics:

People are too damned expensive.  As the LA Times noted:

... the intent of eugenical sterilization laws like California's was not simply to deprive victims of children, but also to ensure that they and their posterity ceased to exist. It was the state-sponsored means of eradicating entire classes of people. It is only when the victim dies that the stated objective is accomplished.

That may no longer be the stated objective; but it's still the intent.


  1. I know some people think I'm sort of obsessed with the topic but, as your post points out, it is here and now, today. It didn't go away and I doubt it will until natural selection is replaced with an explanation of evolution with one that doesn't lead to people concluding that some people shouldn't be allowed to have children or live.

    I'm pretty amazed that more people haven't commented on that piece at Salon. If it had managed to hate on Christians there would be 1500+ comments on it.

  2. I was struck by that, too. Of course, any mention of religion at Salon, and soon the "Jesus isn't real!" deniers come out the woodwork.

    They kill me. They think they've discovered some hidden truth the rest of the world is ignorant of.

    There's nobody quite so ignorant as someone who thinks he/she is the only smart one around.