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Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:11 PM

Our hidden history still resonates: American Eugenics

I'm reading a book on the history of eugenics: War against the weak : Eugenics and America's campaign to create a master race
by Edwin Black.

I was startled to find out that eugenics was invented in America and exported all over the world.

What really caught my attention was how so many of the attitudes of the eugenicists pervade right wing politics today.

The eugenicists felt that there was an underclass of degenerate whites who refused to work and were parasites on the productive. Sound familiar?

Romney: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like. I mean, when you ask those people…we do all these polls—I find it amazing—we poll all these people, see where you stand on the polls, but 45 percent of the people will go with a Republican, and 48 or 4…

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video#47percent

Eugenicists felt that the US was being swamped immigrants who were lower specimens of humanity and a drain on hard working Americans. They wanted no more immigration by "dark" people and wanted to encourage immigration from proper Nordic stock :

Romney: " Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you're welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life. "
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video#47percent

"In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.

“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/mitt-romney/9424524/Mitt-Romney-would-restore-Anglo-Saxon-relations-between-Britain-and-America.html

Of course, the current predictions that whites will soon be just another minority is the eugenicists' nightmare come true. Eugenicists drove American immigration policies in the early 20th century. How different are the fears over Latino immigration today?

Now, I am not saying Romney or any other Republican wants to round up lesser types into camps and sterilize them to protect the gene pool. However, I see the attitudes that were the basis of eugenics driving right wing politics today. Among those attitudes are the views that certain people are trash and parasites on the productive people, that care for those in distress merely perpetuates the problem, that true patriots will protect the future by allowing "those people" to die out. Just as the eugenicists dressed up their racism in pseudo-science, today's right wingers dress up their objectives with phony economics and sociology. The solemn discussions about the cost of "entitlements" and health care are echoes of the eugenics movement.

*****
An aside that didn't fit into my main discussion:
Alexander Graham Bell feared the development of a race of deaf people. He pushed for the suppression of sign language as a means of preventing this. Knowing this explains a lot of the controversy in the deaf community over main streaming and cochlear implants.

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Reply Our hidden history still resonates: American Eugenics (Original post)
hedgehog Jan 2013 OP
handmade34 Jan 2013 #1
hedgehog Jan 2013 #2
Drale Jan 2013 #3
hedgehog Jan 2013 #5
freshwest Jan 2013 #4
hedgehog Jan 2013 #7
GeorgeGist Jan 2013 #6
AdHocSolver Jan 2013 #8

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:20 PM

1. must read...

I have been aware for a long time and so fascinated and disgusted by the Carrie Buck case... a part of history not familiar with many but it should be... thanks for the post


"...I am not saying Romney or any other Republican wants to round up lesser types into camps and sterilize them to protect the gene pool..."

you're not saying it but I sure bet a lot of them are thinking it!!

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:34 PM

2. They don't want to round them up any more - just eliminate all

the programs that allow them to survive! Look at the attitudes toward those on Food stamps!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:36 PM

3. Last semester I took a 400 level Major class

American History: Prisons and Asylums and for probably 3 classes we talked about Eugenics and the place of the idea in history. Interesting subject and its surprising how many famous people advocated for this movement.

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Response to Drale (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:41 PM

5. The history of the Eugenics movement leaves me rather dubious when

experts from prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Yale have something to say about certain issues! They may be right, they may be wrong, but the name "Harvard" is no guarantee of quality in my book!

BTW - the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller Institute were pivotal in supporting the Eugenics movement. The role they took then in affecting the laws and policy in the US has been taken up by the Heritage Foundation and the like. It's still a lot of people pretending to scientific authority when they are making it up as they go along to support their prejudices!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:41 PM

4. Read this years ago, still important to consider when we discuss what true equality entails.

Something about this and other books by the same author are on this link at DU2:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x2511192

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Response to freshwest (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 04:43 PM

7. Thanks!

That link brings in something I forgot - the pre-occupation with and fear of sexuality!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 04:40 PM

6. Some say the major difference between Americans and Nazis ...

is that America won it's holocaust.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 12:23 AM

8. There is an underclass of degenerate whites who refuse to work and are parasites on the productive.

We call them health insurance company executives, hedge fund operators, pharmaceutical company executives, right wing talk show hosts, "too big to fail" bank executives, Wall Street executives, Congressional Republicans, Republican governors, and so on.

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