Friday, December 16, 2011

Gilded Age or Gelded Age?

CounterPuncher David Rosen reminds us that while "the notion of race purification is associated with Nazi Germany..., the theory of race improvement was originally put forth in 1893 by the noted British scientist Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin" — Eugenics in America. He writes:
    Eugenics is an ideology of the Gilded Age and its aftermath. This was a period when the American elite championed a belief in Social Darwinism, a self-serving misreading of Darwin’s biological “survival of the fittest” hypothesis onto social relations, hierarchy. They believed that biology was destiny and that the white race sat atop the thrown of human evolution, civilization.

    Not surprisingly, many of the Gilded Age elite also believed that those least “developed” were doomed by heredity to be not merely biological inferior but socially unfit. Eugenics was espoused as the science of breeding (Galton wanted it to be a religion), of race improvement for the betterment of civilization.
The author "notes the strong support among notable progressives like Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger," continuing:
    Sanger had opened America’s first birth control clinic for Brooklyn immigrants in October 1916. With backing from the Carnegie, Rockefeller and Harriman fortunes, eugenics was legitimized and used to justify the draconian Immigration Restriction Acts of 1921 and 1924. Their efforts culminated in the 1927 Supreme Court decision approving forced sterilization.
The case in question was Buck v. Bell, and the lone dissent was the heroic Catholic Pierce Butler.Mr. Rosen goes on to suggest that "America [has] succumb[ed] to a second Gilded Age," mentioning not only the "racist and anti-immigrant groups [that] raise the specter of the end of 'white America'" (calls for cultural heterogeneity are not necessarily sinister, as any thinking person with experience outside his own country should know), but also, and far more seriously, "the increased use of pre-natal testing and genetic engineering... leading to growing incidents of fetal abortions."

He rightly warns that "the policing of sex 'predators' may involve the discovery of a new predator gene that both expands the category of those classified as predators and increases the number of those suffering indeterminate prison sentences. And who knows, perhaps other, more old-fashioned, Social Darwinian efforts will be proposed by Republican presidential candidates to control sexual excess; why not the forceful sterilization of teen girls who get pregnant?" As far-fetched as that sounds, he is right in concluding, "Moral rectitude knows no limit."

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Ever see that film "End Game" by Alex Jones?

Any truth to that stuff?

December 16, 2011 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

I haven't but will --- right now.

December 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...


December 17, 2011 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Section that comes to mind begins around the 1:25:00 mark.

December 17, 2011 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

I'm at 25:00, owing you serious pints.

December 17, 2011 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger Steve Hayes said...

"atop the thrown"?

Putt knot yore trussed inn spell chequers!

December 19, 2011 at 11:20 PM  

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