In the 1930s, a group of psychologists and physical anthropologists at Harvard chose 268 students whose medical, amatory, and career experiences they wished to document over the remaining decades of their lives. Department-store mogul W. T. Grant, who bankrolled the study, was curious about what made a good commanding officer or retail manager—more generally, a good leader of men. The Grant study is now ending, as its youngest subjects pass 90. George Vaillant, the psychiatrist who has directed the study since the 1960s and published periodic updates on its findings, offers a final report in Triumphs of Experience. Turns out the main thing the study has discovered is the corruption of the various worldviews in the name of which it was conducted.
Even at the height of the egalitarian New Deal, professors were certain that the place to find leadership material was in the high-achieving segment of the upper classes. Since this was to be a study of optimal, not average, development, it was screened even further. Future Washington Post editor Benjamin Bradlee ‘42, scion of the Crowninshield family of Massachusetts, was among those whose features piqued the interest of investigators. Neither Leonard Bernstein ‘39 nor Norman Mailer ‘43 made the cut.
Not to beat around the bush, the Grant study was a study in eugenics, as that term was understood in the 1930s. This was just a decade after Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision in Buck v. Bell, upholding Virginia’s sterilization policy on the grounds that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” One of the study’s early leaders, the anthropologist Earnest Hooton, hoped it would lead to “effective control of individual quality through genetics, or breeding.”
“The ultimate ideal sought,” wrote Harvey Ernest Jordan in 1912, “is a perfect society constituted of perfect individuals.” Jordan, who would later be dean of medicine at the University of Virginia, was speaking to the importance of eugenics in medicine—a subject that might seem tasteless and obsolete today. Yet nearly a century later, in 2008, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the biomedical research institute on Long Island’s north shore, published a book titled Davenport’s Dream, which shows that eugenic visions persist. Charles Davenport, a colleague and friend of Jordan’s, had directed Cold Spring Harbor for the first third of the 20th century, turning it from a sleepy, summertime marine-biology laboratory into a center for genetics research—and the epicenter of American eugenics.
Davenport’s Dream is a facsimile of Davenport’s major work, Heredity in Relation to Eugenics (1911), prefaced by nearly 200 pages of commentary by scientists, historians, and legal experts celebrating Davenport and expanding on questions of genetics and eugenics in biomedicine. In the volume, the genome guru Maynard V. Olson writes that dbSNP, the database of small genetic variations, makes possible the fulfillment of Davenport’s dream. “Here,” he writes, “is the raw material for a real science of human genetic perfection.”
Davenport thought he had the raw material for a real science of human perfection. The original conception of eugenics, described by the British polymath Sir Francis Galton in the late 19th century, was based on the breeder’s subjective, holistic understanding of heredity. The rediscovery of Mendel’s rules of heredity in 1900 seemed to place eugenics on an empirical, quantitative, scientific footing. And so it did, relative to Sir Francis.
Davenport and his cronies used genetic arguments to promote the betterment of the human race through marriage, immigration, and sterilization laws, as well as through propaganda and research. But eventually, Progressive-era human genetics and eugenics came to seem out of date. Through the second half of the 20th century, Davenport was geneticist non grata, an embarrassing black mark on the pedigree of human genetics, like a Nazi grandfather you’d rather not bring up in conversation. Since the 1970s “eugenics” has been a dirty word. But in Davenport’s Dream, the geneticist and historian Elof Carlson insists that eugenics still has a role in our time, and Matt Ridley wrote that “Charles Davenport had the best of intentions”; it’s just that his idealism got ahead of his knowledge and of the available technology. What changed? And what didn’t?
Davenport dreamed of biologically engineering society. But the mechanisms available to him were primitive and heavy handed. Progressive-era eugenics sought to eliminate undesirable traits (negative eugenics) and cultivate desirable ones (positive eugenics) by population control, mostly through regulating immigration and sex. Eugenicists were interested in the genetics of disease, personality, intelligence, and race—just as we are today. Birth control, marriage restrictions, and sexual sterilization of “defectives” (a medical term still in use as late as the 1970s) were among their means of effecting genetic change. They hoped people would voluntarily do the right thing for the greater good—but if they didn’t, the state had a responsibility to do it for (i.e., to) them.
According to the loonies at Natural News, Bill Gates plans on eugenically culling 90% of the world’s population through the use of deadly vaccines and birth control. Sometimes the birth control is a vaccine *shudder*.
It is not clear to me if anyone smart enough to read the article actually believes it, but the site is chock full of more stupidity. Enjoy!
An article published in the Trouw Dutch Daily essentially subtly equates Israel’s birth and infant care system to Nazi eugenics…
Courtesy of MissingPeace.eu:
Trouw: The chosen people have to be perfect
Last week the Dutch Christian daily ‘Trouw’ reached a new low when it published a vicious article about prenatal care in Israel entitled: ‘The chosen people have to be perfect’.
The writer, Ilse van Heusden, gave birth to a healthy baby boy while temporarily living in Israel.
She succeeded in portraying the prenatal care in Israel as a government instigated ‘military operation’ aimed at the production of babies as perfect as possible.
Apart from distortions and lies the article contained many accusations and insinuations which are reminiscent of classic anti-Semitic rants….
After the publication of the article we contacted ‘Trouw’ with a request to allow the publication of an op-ed in which we could debunk the false claims and lies in Van Heusdens article.
‘Trouw’ did not even bother to respond, nor did the editors respond to a similar request by the Dutch branch of the Likud party.
Here is a prime example of the anti-Semitic content of the article:
‘To be pregnant in Israel is comparable to a military operation. Countless echos and blood tests should produce the perfect baby, nothing can be left to the luck of the draw. The state demands healthy babies and a lot of them too’.
This was later followed by an outrageous lie about child allowances in Israel.
‘What makes things even more emotionally charged is the Israeli demand to produce many children. The state promotes the birth of children by supplying, among other things, a considerable child allowance’.
To support these outrageous claims, she misused a quote made by former Minister of the Interior Shlomo Benizri in 2002. At the time Benizri declared: ‘the fear of losing Israel’s unique character obligates us to take action so as not to become a minority in our own country’.
Of course Van Heusden knew very well that Benizri was not talking about more Jewish babies, but about the influx of illegal immigrants and foreign workers.
She then suggested that the way Israel promotes having children is comparable to Arafat’s policy of using the womb of Palestinian women as a weapon.
It is of course a lie that Israel ‘demands’ many or ‘perfect’ babies. The state does not interfere in the decision to have children; that is something Israelis decide for themselves.
It is also a lie that the state promotes child birth with considerable child allowances.
In fact, since 2002, the Israeli government has considerably reduced the level of child allowances. This reduction rose to as high as 70% for a family with 8 children.
An average child now receives 35 Euros per month.
That is of course far below the Netherlands where child allowance is an average of 120 Euro per month for children born before 1995, and roughly 75 Euro for children born since then.
Furthermore, this summer thousands of Israelis demonstrated against the fact that parents themselves had to pay for daycare of their children up till the age of five years (The Israeli government recently reduced the age to three years).
After writing that she was diagnosed with the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus and as a result was requested to conduct an additional test, Van Heusden exclaimed:
‘I was surprised about the spasmodic attitude about this test and the previous one. After all children are loved and honored here and Israel is a paradise when it comes to having children… But the flipside of the story is that having children is a demand and a discussion about that demand is not possible.’
In actual fact, the prenatal program in Israel consists of recommendations only; a woman can refuse to conduct any test at all stages of pregnancy.
Van Heusden then compared the Israeli prenatal care to the Dutch system which she holds in high esteem:
‘Every time I had to undergo such a test (diabetes blood test) it caused distress. In the Netherlands my first pregnancy was without problems and it was dealt with by the obstetrician accordingly. I was boring but ‘boring was good’, explained the obstetrician.’
I am healthy and not in the category of the Ashkenazi Jews… yet I had to experience twelve echo tests and four blood tests’.
Writing about the birth of her son Van Heusden said;
‘finally we held this little baby boy in our arms that went through all those tests. When we admired his little fingers and toes we saw that one of his toes was too small. His personal revenge on the Israeli health system’.
It is obvious that Van Heusden twisted everything that was done to safeguard her health and that of her child into an attempt to prove that Israel is a racist state which has a system to produce perfect babies.
Her claims are so outrageous that rebuttal seems beyond the pale.
However to understand the viciousness of the claims in her article it seems nevertheless useful to provide some basic facts about Israeli prenatal care and the health system in general.
First of all, prenatal care in Israel is organized according to World Health Organisation recommendations and is now on a higher level than that in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, Van Leusden was diagnosed with the CMV virus, which is the sole explanation for the many tests she had to undergo. In her article she admits that CMV can cause severe damage to the fetus.
Several Israeli women wrote us that on an average, 4 to 5 echo (ultrasound) tests are usual and not 12 as in the case of Van Leusden. Another woman from northern Israel claimed that her twins owed their lives to these echo tests.
Van Leusden’s criticism about the diabetes blood test is completely unjustified. This test – standard procedure in all modern medical systems – is designed to detect gestational diabetes; a disorder which can have serious and even fatal consequences for mother and child.
Through this type of advanced prenatal care, Israel has managed over the last 35 years to reduce the infant mortality rate by almost 70% (24.6 per 1000 infants in 1973 compared to 3.8 per 1000 in 2008).
A similar figure was reached among the Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank (now the lowest in the entire Middle East: 11 per 1000 compared to 58 in 1968 and 61 in Iraq nowadays).
It is also the reason Israel now has a lower infant mortality rate than the Netherlands, which has one of the worst rates in Western Europe.
High quality care
The high quality of Israeli health care is in part due to prevention programs such as prenatal care. There are nationwide population examinations for breast and colon cancer. Blood tests are almost standard during visits to a doctor.
As a result people are living longer (81.6 years in Israel compared with an average of 79.5 in the OECD). Israel has one of the highest cancer survival rates in the world (84% breast cancer survival rate in 2009). The same applies to the survival rate after a stroke (CVA) and Myocardial Infarction.
All this was achieved with a health budget which is approximately 60% lower than in the Netherlands ($ 2,165 per person per year compared with $ 5144 in the Netherlands) and a number of hospital beds that is far below the OECD average (2 per 1000 compared with 3.5 in OECD countries).
Of course all of this data was also at Van Heusden’s disposal.
However, she chose to write a libelous article where care for an unborn child in Israel was deliberately presented as a military operation and as a political weapon born out racist motives.
When an Israeli caretaker finally had enough of her complaints about the excellent prenatal care in Israel and made a sarcastic joke about the need for ‘the chosen people to be perfect’, she used it to make her point.
One ‘Trouw’ reader summarized the article as follows:
‘Subtle article by the way, it even manages to bring good infant care in Israel in the vicinity of ‘eugenics’ and thus comparing it to Nazism.’
Indeed such articles can normally be found on the websites of white supremacists such as David Duke or on anti-Semitic sites such as Jew watch
The fact that a Dutch Christian mainstream paper published it should sound alarms in The Netherlands.
The paper should issue an apology and dissociate itself from writers like IIse van Heusden.
Back in 1967 Elaine Riddick was raped in North Carolina at the age of 13 by a neighbor. She says that the state raped her again when it ordered that she be sterilized immediately after giving birth.
Shocking is that sounds, North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government-run eugenics boards aimed at curbing birth rates among poor, black, and disabled women.
Eugenicists believed that sterilization was a way to address poverty and the spread of lifestyles they considered to be dysfunctional, a way of thinking rooted in racism and class prejudice.
Dysgenics (also known as cacogenics) is the study of factors producing the accumulation and perpetuation of defective or disadvantageous genes and traits in offspring of a particular population or species. Dysgenic mutations have been studied in animals such as the mouse and the fruit fly. The term dysgenics was first used as an antonym of eugenics—the social philosophy of improving human hereditary qualities by social programs and government intervention.
See also: Devololution:
Use of the term by proponents of creationism
According to Christian creationists, devolution is:
A theory of origins based on scripture which begins with the ultimate complexity of all living things at the time of creation. This was followed by degeneration and the break down of all living things on the genetic level beginning at the Curse (Genesis 3) and continuing to this day with increased momentum.
Proponents of creationism and intelligent design sometimes discuss the concept of devolution. Examples include Mastropaulo, who argues that “Change over time, ‘definition one’ of evolution, actually describes devolution to extinction, the exact opposite of evolution…. actual epidemiological data from human genetic disorders and fatal birth defects, identify ‘natural selection,’ the alleged ‘primary mechanism’ for evolution, as actually a mechanism for devolution to extinction, the exact opposite of evolution.” and elsewhere, “Evolution is the development of an organism from its chemicals or primitive state to its present state. Devolution is the sequence toward greater simplicity or disappearance or degeneration.”
The term was used in the play Inherit the Wind (a parable that fictionalizes the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial), when the character of Matthew Brady (representative of William Jennings Bryan) argued that “Ladies and gentleman, devolution is not a theory but a cold fact … the ape devolved from man”, mocking evolutionary theory by offering an alternative he considers just as plausible. During the Scopes Trial itself, a report in The New York Times said “After flocking to view the monkeys, Dayton has decided that it was not man who evolved from the anthropoid, but the anthropoid which devolved from man; and it points now at the two chimpanzees and the “missing link” to prove the assertion”. The suggestion of ape degenerating from “man” had already been brought up by the early young-earth creationist George McReady Price in a work published before the trial:
Accordingly, by every just rule of comparison and analogy, we may well declare that if there is any blood relationship between man and the anthropoid apes, it is the latter which have degenerated from the former, instead of the former having developed from the latter. I do not say that this is the true solution of this enigma; but I do say that there is far more scientific evidence in favour of this hypothesis than there ever has been in favour of the long popular theory that man is a developed animal.
The Young Earth creationist Ken Ham claims Adam and Eve were made into a state of perfection, with perfect DNA, no mistakes or mutations and that because of man sinning against God in Genesis of the Bible, that God cursed the ground and animals and sentenced man to die. Ham claims this is where mutations come from, and the incredible amount of genetic information that God had created at the beginning has been devolving ever since; according to Ham organisms in nature are losing genetic information.
Creationists like Ham claim that mutations lead to a loss of genetic information and this is evidence for devolution. Ken Ham for example has stated:
Observations confirm that mutations overwhelmingly cause a loss of information, not a net gain, as evolution requires.
John C. Sanford a plant geneticist and creationist has argued for devolution, he has written a book entitled Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome (2005) in which he claims that the genome is deteriorating and therefore could not have evolved in the way specified by the Modern evolutionary synthesis. Sanford has published two peer reviewed papers modeling genetic entropy.
The creationist author Lee Spetner is a critic of the role of mutations in the modern evolutionary synthesis, he has argued in his book Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution that mutations cause devolution.
Peter Stoner an old earth creationist claimed that the universe was immensely old, writing on astronomy he wrote that “every star is losing energy and mass”, he claimed that the second law of thermodynamics proves “cosmic devolution”.
The concept of devolution is also found in the teachings of Hindu creationism. Michael Cremo a member of ISKCON has authored a book titled Human Devolution: A Vedic alternative to Darwin’s theory, published by ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, Cremo suggests that Darwinian evolution should be replaced with “devolution” from the original unity with Brahman.
Examples of devolution cited by creationists, include vestigial organs, Stickleback, Amblyopsidae and the Greta oto. Evolutionary biologists point out, however, that examples such as this are not evidence for devolution and the creationists have misunderstood the mechanisms of evolution.
Victims Testify: North Carolina Forcibly Sterilized Thousands Of Poor, Uneducated, And Mentally Unstable People
Forced sterilization is a human rights abuse we typically associate with another time and another place. But yesterday a North Carolina task force heard heart-wrenching testimony from some of the victims of the state’s 40-year-long forced sterilization program that targeted poor, undereducated, and mentally unstable residents.
North Carolina is considering compensating some of the nearly 7,600 victims of the program or their relatives. The program was overseen by the North Carolina Board of Eugenics and persisted well into the 1970s. Some of the victims were as young as 10 years old, and many were poor women the state deemed too “promiscuous” to be good mothers:
Think Progress has video and more:
Victims and family members packed into a room at a Department of Agriculture office building Wednesday to hear stories from survivors. One who testified was Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized without her knowledge at the age of 14 after she was raped and became pregnant. The state said Riddick “was promiscuous and didn’t get along well with others.” “They cut me open like I was a hog,” Riddick said.
NPR points out that just 40 years ago, “it wasn’t uncommon for a single mother on welfare, or a patient in a mental hospital in North Carolina, to be sterilized against her will.” More than half the states had eugenics laws, but unusually, North Carolina conducted most of its sterilizations after World War II and the atrocities of Nazi eugenics programs came to light.
John Derbyshire has been at National Review, the magazine founded by the venerable William F. Buckley decades ago, for quite a while. His profile has been accelerated with the publication of his book We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. That book has been actively promoted by Lighthouse Literature, the publishing house founded by skinhead hearthrob and protege of Holocaust denier David Irving, Janelle Antas. Derbyshire has his own section hosting his columns and musings on National Review’s website, in addition to a semi-weekly podcast “Radio Derp” - sorry - “Radio Derb,” hosted by National Review.
Prior to 2008, Derbyshire’s thoughts were fairly temperate semi-libertarian fair. I listened to the podcast for a good while and most of the subject matter was on our indebtedness to China, questioning of the accomplishment of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, history and opposition to illegal immigration and open borders. Subtle undertones of reactionary politics were there (one podcast after Obama was elected had him arguing that the election of Obama would lead to liberals telling blacks that the problem is solved) but, since 2008, Derbyshire has absolutely transformed into some sort of neo-Rudyard Kipling, a proponent of the “natural” superiority of the white man to a world in which the white man is no longer on top.
Derbyshire, like his fellow bigot all stars, is a contributor at the neo-fascist screed site Alternative Right. Here’s a little taste of his scribblings, which should give you a pretty easy illustration of what he’s selling:
Unfortunately this is not because, or only very partially because, proper understanding of biology is now more widespread. It is much more an aspect of what my friend Peter Brimelow calls “Hitler’s revenge.” We defeated the Nazi armies and killed their ideology; but the horrors that ideology had generated left us terrified that it might rise from the dead. To prevent that happening, we ruled out of polite discourse all the intellectual streams that had fed into the Nazi pond, of which social Darwinism was certainly one.
That we might be throwing out some babies with the bathwater was not considered. That the ideas of social Darwinism — however wrong-headed the implication that they had something to do with actual Darwinism — that those ideas might have some merit, was no longer a thinkable thought.
The Trotskyists of my college days, defending Marxism against the charge that it inevitably led to tyranny and mass murder under despots like Stalin, Mao, and Castro, used to chide us that “an idea should not be held responsible for the people who hold it.” That Hitler was, as he undoubtedly was, a variety of social Darwinist, killed off social Darwinism stone dead. Somehow the fact that Stalin was, as he undoubtedly was, a variety of socialist, did not kill off socialism. These are the paradoxes of intellectual history.
Next comes his speech to the Black Law Students Assocation of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was for some bizarre reason invited to speak:
When the organizers first emailed me to suggest I appear on the panel, I told them that this is my view of the matter. I said that I was flattered to be invited to speak at such a prestigious institution, and that, having two teenage children, I am always glad to get out of the house for a few hours; but that racial disparities in education and employment have their origin in biological differences between the human races.
Those differences are facts in the natural world, like the orbits of the planets. They can’t be legislated out of existence; nor can they be “eliminated” by social or political action.
It’s pretty easy to demonstrate where he’s going with all this and his prominence within conservatism should demonstrate easily that the racism that has begat the Birther conspiracy is not a relapse but a full blown terminal illness. Old intellectual horseshit that decent people long ago buried is being dup up by these sociopaths, placed in front of us and presented as fresh fruit. I worry the most about impressionable youth who don’t know the full connotations of what they’re being sold.
A local state representative has surrendered his seat following continuing pressure to resign after making inflammatory comments to an agent of a local nonprofit.
A public backlash followed the comments of 91-year-old freshman state representative Martin Harty, of Barrington, who said last week funding for the mentally ill should be cut because he doesn’t support state funding for “the crazy people” who should be sent to “Siberia.”
Harty said in his resignation letter Monday that he was sorry his “big mouth caused this furor.” He said with all the “slightly unfavorable publicity” he couldn’t be effective.
“Representative Harty came to my office today to offer his resignation in person,” said House Speaker William O’Brien in a statement released Monday. “We both agreed that this is what is best for the House to move forward and focus on critical issues, like balancing our budget without raising taxes and giving the voters an opportunity to pass a school funding amendment to ensure local control. We will move quickly to request a special election to fill this vacancy.”
Harty’s letter of resignation will be read on the House floor Tuesday, at which point his seat will become vacant.
NH GOP Chairman Jack Kimball released the following statement regarding Harty’s resignation.
“I am pleased Mr. Harty acknowledged his comments were not appropriate for a legislator and I am satisfied with his decision to resign. He failed to represent the sentiments of his constituents and the core values and principles of the Republican Party.”
New Hampshire GOP lawmaker believes in eugenics, says the world would be better off without ‘defectives’
A 91-year-old state representative told a constituent that he believes in eugenics and that the world would be better off without “defective people.”
Barrington Republican Martin Harty told Sharon Omand, a Strafford resident who manages a community mental health program, that “the world is too populated” and there are “too many defective people,” according to an e-mail account of the conversation by Omand. Asked what he meant, she said Harty clarified, “You know the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions - the defective people society would be better off without.”
Harty confirmed to the Monitor that he made the comments to Omand. Harty told the Monitor the world population has increased dramatically, and “it’s a very dangerous situation if it doubles again.” Asked about people who are mentally ill, he asked, apparently referring to a lack of financial resources, “Can we afford to bring them through?”
Harty said nature has a way of “getting rid of stupid people,” and “now we’re saving everyone who gets born.”
Harty’s conversation with Omand became public at a hearing on the state budget yesterday when Laurie McCray, a registered nurse and board member of the Disability Rights Center, read Omand’s account to the House Finance Committee. Afterward, McCray said she wanted people to know about the representative - whom she did not identify publicly - because he “didn’t deserve to represent people in New Hampshire.”
In an interview and in an e-mail Omand sent to her friends, Omand said she called Harty, who represents her district, to tell him her concerns about the House Finance Committee’s proposed cuts to mental health services. Omand said Harty said he disagreed with her and made the comments about eugenics.
Omand says Harty then stated, “I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population.”
Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, “Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it).”
Harty told the Monitor he was “just kidding” about Siberia. He denied making the comment about Hitler and said it was Omand who brought up Hitler.
Harty, a retired peddler and market vendor, served as a quarter master in Gen. George Patton’s Army in North Africa and Italy during World War II. Colleagues say he is hard of hearing and has appeared confused in recent House sessions.
“He’s shown signs of great confusion in committee in terms of House process and content,” said Rep. Marilinda Garcia, a Salem Republican who serves with Harty on the House Legislative Administration Committee.
Rep. Jon Richardson, an Allenstown Republican on the Legislative Administration Committee, said he does not condone Harty’s comments on any level, but he takes into account the fact that Harty is a World War II veteran in his 90s.
“In our committee … he is constantly confused, easily swayed, hard of hearing, and prone to offer up unrelated commentary or go off on unrelated tangents,” Richardson said.
Harty, a first-term representative, wrote a letter to Foster’s Daily Democrat last month stating, “So far I really don’t know what I’m doing… . A new Rep really needs a coach along with him at first but there is no room for anyone to sit with him, and no way they could holler at him in a committee meeting.
“The few votes I’ve made so far I really didn’t know what I was voting for or against,” his letter said. “Just looked at the people around me and went along with them.”
House Speaker William O’Brien said in a statement that he does not endorse Harty’s comments but respects “his longstanding commitment to protect the values we cherish.”
Wow, honestly? What’s going on in New Hampshire? I remember growing up as a kid in New England and seeing NH as a liberal place. The crazies are running the place now.
I thought Glenn Beck said only Progressives (does Beck even know what a Progressive was and is?) and Imam Woodrow Wilson believed in eugenics?
And if this state rep is hard of hearing and often confused, why did he even run for office and who thought it’d be a good idea to vote this guy into office?