Eugenics still exists. There’s no nice or PC way to say this, but we abort our imperfects now.
JP Morgan, a rich bastard everybody hated and for good reason, was drug up before the Senate for whatever. A flak for the Ringling-Barnum circus stuck a midget in his lap as a PR stunt.
Lya Graf didn’t like the world spotlight, retired back to Germany. She was decreed a “useless person” by the Nazi state, arrested in 1937, sent to Auschwitz in 1941. The rest is obvious.
In the 21st century, we tend to make sure that such persons are never born in the first place. This is progress.
At the request of Christopher Carr and Brother Rufus—and spurred by some of the thought-provoking comments, I did think there was interest in discussing this further.
Eugenics, of course, was one of the first very big and very lousy ideas of post-Darwin modernity. When man came down from his self-built pedestal and became just another animal, there seemed no logical or scientific reason why he couldn’t breed himself into something more perfect: smarter, stronger, more beautiful. This also meant that some individuals or groups were considered better breeding stock than others—and it made sense to breed more of the better and less of the worse.
We look back with disgust on the 1927 Supreme Court forced-sterilization case Buck v. Bell, where Oliver Wendell Holmes infamously ruled that “three generations of imbeciles are enough,” that
We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. 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.
Nazism took these modern ideas to the absurd extreme, a self-anointed “master race,” and suppression and extermination of the lesser ones. Lya Graf wasn’t only a midget, she was half-Jewish, born Lia Schwartz. She had no chance.
We are properly revolted at Nazi eugenics, and we are agreed, Never Again.
But as Brother Rufus pointed out, in the Western world, we now routinely abort over 90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies. In the UK, where abortions are more restricted than in the US, spina bifida, cleft palate and club feet are still reasonable grounds for abortion.
And in the developing world, in India and particularly China, pregnancies are aborted for gender selection: in China, so much so that among those under 20, there are now 123 boys for every 100 girls [the natural ratio is 106 to 100].
The Western world is largely appalled. However, under our own rightstalk, abortion is a “choice,” but as we see, it’s only a legitimate and allowable choice if “we” agree with the reasons.
An interesting play of some years back was called “Twilight of the Golds.” In some not-distant future the “gay gene” has been identified [it has not been, so far], and a family is faced with the choice whether to abort.
“Choice” was seen as a solution to our legal and moral conundrum, as if it’s the last word on the subject. But all it has done is mask the dilemma—we have not yet begun to think about the question at all, we’ve simply buried it under a single facile word. We remain moral imbeciles.