Today I came across 2 articles on Eugenics – I found them both of interest and I will share a portion with you:
The first published in The New Statesman:
The eugenics movement Britain wants to forget,
By: Victoria Brignell
Published 09 December 2010
here is an exert:
This story begins 150 years ago. In 1859 Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking book Origin of Species which expounded his theory of evolution by natural selection. It wasn’t long before scientists and political theorists began to apply Darwin’s theory to human beings. With the spread of ideas about “the survival of the fittest”, social Darwinists started to question the wisdom of providing care to the “weak” on the grounds this would enable people to live and reproduce who were not meant to survive. They feared that offering medical treatment and social services to disabled people would undermine the natural struggle for existence and lead to the degeneration of the human race.
Such views took hold not only in Germany but also particularly strongly in America and Britain. The existence of disabled people was increasingly seen in the UK and USA as a threat to social progress. Darwin himself wrote in his 1871 treatise, The Descent of Man, “We civilised men…. do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick.. .Thus the weak members of society propagate their kind.”
It was a British man, not a German, who first came up with the term eugenics in 1883. Francis Galton was a cousin of Charles Darwin and he became obsessed with Origin of Species, especially its chapter on the breeding of domestic animals. This inspired him to spend much of his life studying the variations in human ability. He wrote: “The question was then forced upon me. Could not the race of men be similarly improved? Could not the undesirables be got rid of and the desirables multiplied?”.
Galton was convinced a person’s mental and physical abilities, like the plant and animal traits described by Darwin, were essentially inherited from one’s parents. He grew concerned that eminent British people were marrying late and having too few children. Galton wrote in his 1869 book Hereditary Genius: “Let us do what we can to encourage the multiplication of the races best fitted to invent, and conform to, a high and generous civilisation, and not, out of mistaken instinct of giving support to the weak, prevent the incoming of strong and hearty individuals.”
Galton argued that early marriage between healthy, mentally strong families should be encouraged by financial incentives, and reproduction by the “feeble-minded” should be curtailed. In his mind, superior mental and physical capabilities were advantageous not only to an individual but essential for the well-being of society as a whole. To try to spread his ideas, he even wrote a novel Kantsaywhere, about a society ruled by a Eugenic College that followed a eugenic religion designed to breed fitter, more intelligent humans. Galton’s views were not regarded as eccentric or offensive at the time. Far from it. In fact, he received many awards during his career. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1860 and was knighted shortly before he died.
Galton’s writings played a key role in launching the eugenics movement in the UK and America. Supporters of eugenics called for government policies to improve the biological quality of the human race through selective parenthood. They linked physical and learning disabilities to a range of social problems including crime, vagrancy, alcoholism, prostitution and unemployment. Eugenics quickly gained many backers on both sides of the Atlantic, including leading politicians and opinion formers.
It wasn’t just figures on the extreme right of politics who backed the eugenics philosophy. Some of British socialism’s most celebrated names were among the champions of eugenics – Sidney and Beatrice Webb (the founders of the Fabian Society), Harold Laski, John Maynard Keynes, even the New Statesman and the Manchester Guardian. They hoped that a eugenic approach could build up the strong section of the population and gradually remove the weak. In July 1931, the New Statesman asserted: “The legitimate claims of eugenics are not inherently incompatible with the outlook of the collectivist movement. On the contrary, they would be expected to find their most intransigent opponents amongst those who cling to the individualistic views of parenthood and family economics.”
Many early left-wing thinkers wanted government to direct social policy towards “improving” the human race by discouraging reproduction among those sections of society deemed to have undesirable genes. Supporters of state planning often found the idea of a planned genetic future attractive. As Adrian Wooldridge, author of Measuring the Mind: Education and Psychology in England 1860-1990, comments: “The Webbs supported eugenic planning just as fervently as town planning.” Beatrice Webb declared eugenics to be “the most important question of all” while her husband remarked that “no eugenicist can be a laissez-faire individualist”.
Similarly, George Bernard Shaw wrote: “The only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man.” Bertrand Russell proposed that the state should issue colour-coded “procreation tickets” to prevent the gene pool of the elite being diluted by inferior human beings. Those who decided to have children with holders of a different-coloured ticket would be punished with a heavy fine. HG Wells praised eugenics as the first step towards the elimination of “detrimental types and characteristics” and the “fostering of desirable types” instead.
Read rest here
The brave new world is here, written by a Hamilton, NJ Lawyer: Gregory J. Sullivan .
Sullivan writes, In a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal, there were two thoroughly chilling articles that reflect a grave moral transformation that is taking place with virtually no legal regulation or even public concern. The Journal reports on the aggressive use of reproductive technologies that are commodifying children and relegitimizing eugenics. The brave new world is now, in many concrete ways and without exaggeration, our world.
In “Assembling the Global Baby,” the Journal reports on the developing international network of egg and sperm donors and surrogate mothers who provide babies to order. The article concentrates on one particular California company, PlanetHospital.com LLC, which brokers this service. The Journal notes that, because of its international reach “” that is, its willingness to exploit poor women in Third-World countries — PlanetHospital is a comparatively inexpensive option for infertile and homosexual couples: Its “services run from $32,000 to around $68,000, versus up to $200,000 for a U.S. surrogate.”
Indeed, the Journal writes that “PlanetHospital’s most affordable package, the “India bundle,’ buys an egg donor, four embryo transfers into four separate surrogate mothers, room and board for the surrogate, and a car and driver for the parents-to-be when they travel to India to pick up the baby.”
The “parents-to-be” can be anyone who has the money to buy the service. The standards are not, to say the least, exacting. PlanetHospital’s chief executive is a cretin named Rudy Rupak. “‘Our ethics are agnostic,’ Mr. Rupak says in an example of his moral rigor. “How do you prevent a pedophile from having a baby? If they’re a pedophile, then I will leave that to the U.S. government to decide, not me.'” Still, even Rupak found a point beyond which he would not go: “In one case, he suspected a woman wanted to use her own eggs and her son’s sperm. “Whatever the case was, these people weren’t honest. It worried us, so we said no.'”
“The potential for abuse on many levels is big,” according to Arthur Caplan, the tiresomely omnipresent director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, in an obtuse and almost comical understatement. “You’re straddling all these [international] boundaries to buy the ingredients and the equipment.” Caplan refers to this area as the “wild, wild West of medicine.”
It certainly is. More important, our enslavement to reproductive technologies has thrust us into the wild, wild West of moral understanding. And the radicality of our predicament is clear in the Journal’s second article, “Donors With Dossiers (and Star Looks).”
When a child is transformed from gift to commodity and the “parents” treated as consumers, then consumer choice becomes paramount. When it comes to children, that means eugenics “” in other words, genetically selective breeding to create the best possible baby. American elites enthusiastically pursued eugenics in the early 20th century. Once the Nazi regime revealed where this enthusiasm led, the popularity of eugenics receded in this country. With the explosion in reproductive technologies in recent decades, it has come roaring back.
In its companion article, the Journal looks at California Cryobank, which is a sperm bank. The eugenic aspect is paramount: “Last month, California Cryobank began selling donor information packages, on top of free information like medical histories and personal information. For $145, customers can buy three months of access to detailed profiles, childhood photos and a feature called “Express Yourself,’ which allows the donor to write anything from a letter to poetry.”
The Journal continues: “On California Cryobank’s website, a “Celebrity Look-A-Like’ section lets women choose from a long list, including approximations of Adam Sandler, Bill Gates, Andy Gibb, Ben Affleck, Garth Brooks, Colin Firth and Conan O’Brien.”
Silly, to be sure, but this selection process is anything but silly. It will become increasingly ruthless as more genetic traits “” height, eye and hair color, health potential, intelligence “” become more precisely identifiable. Couples who reproduce by copulation will be seen increasingly as ignorant consumers who deserve what they get.
Children as consumer products; parents as consumers of these products. We are not headed in this direction; we have reached this destination. The issue is whether we have the moral wherewithal to resist a complete envelopment in this consumerist and Darwinian universe and maintain at least a residual commitment to the intrinsic worth of children and the integrity of reproduction.
And I again remind you of the powerful Eugenics documentary: Maafa21, which shows how Darwin, Galton, and the Elites are trying to control reproduction of the so-called ” Unfit”