Thursday, August 6, 2009

Eugenics in the News

A couple of eugenics controversies have made the news recently. In an interview with The New York Times, Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the following statement in response to a question about Roe v. Wade and the Hyde amendment:

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.
(emphasis mine)
It has also been belatedly noticed that Obama's science czar has made some fairly controversial statements in the past.
President Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, "compulsory sterilization," and the creation of a "Planetary Regime" that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet -- controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings. ...

Those plans include forcing single women to abort their babies or put them up for adoption; implanting sterilizing capsules in people when they reach puberty; and spiking water reserves and staple foods with a chemical that would make people sterile.

To help achieve those goals, they formulate a "world government scheme" they call the Planetary Regime, which would administer the world's resources and human growth, and they discuss the development of an "armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force" to which nations would surrender part of their sovereignty.

To which I would reply: how is it that so many people find any of these statements shocking or controversial in the slightest? Eugenics was a global movement a century ago. It was a major plank in the Progressive movement early on in the 20th century, which eventually spawned the fascist/national socialist movements. Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, and frankly, average people of the time, would have found none of these notions controversial in the slightest. Probably the most controversial element would have been the partial surrender of sovereignty to an international organization. It was generally accepted that it would be necessary to the future of mankind that undesirable populations be culled out to prevent their spoiling the gene pool. If you had read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, or knew a little bit of history, you would know all of this already. Why should it surprise people that the modern torchbearers of the Progressive movement, who even call themselves progressives for crying out loud, would articulate ideas similar to the ones they advocated not all that long ago? We should expect this behavior, not be shocked by it! Goldberg himself comments on the Ginsburg-Progressive-Eugenics connection:
Regardless, Ginsburg’s certainly right that abortion has deep roots in the historic effort to “weed out” undesired groups. For instance, Margaret Sanger, the revered feminist and founder of Planned Parenthood, was a racist eugenicist of the first order. Even more perplexing: She’s become a champion of “reproductive freedom” even though she proposed a “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” under which “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit.” (Poor blacks would have had a particularly hard time getting such licenses from Sanger.) If Ginsburg does see eugenic culling as a compelling state interest, she’d be in fine company on the court. Oliver Wendell Holmes was a passionate believer in such things. In 1915, Holmes wrote in the Illinois Law Review that the “starting point for an ideal for the law” should be the “coordinated human effort . . . to build a race.”
Ginsburg wasn't after any sort of shock value, she was simply stating what she saw to be a widely known, completely uncontroversial historical fact. And frankly, she was perfectly correct. It's just the fact that she bothered to say something un-PC that caused the controversy. Most people would simply leave such an idea unsaid, as it would be "impolite." The real scary part of the whole thing is how easily history is whitewashed and how easily we are brainwashed. We practically do it to ourselves! Global warming is the new eugenics. It is completely phony, has no physical basis in reality, but it serves as a useful crisis for those who would like to shape the world in they way they see fit. As they say, those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it...

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