The history of eugenics

The History News Network posts an earlier article by Edwin Black on the American eugenics movement and what it accomplished.  Twenty-seven states adopted eugenics laws, with the biggest program to sterilize the “unfit” being established in California.   Major funding for the eugenics movement came from the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation.   Black shows how the American eugenics movement spread to Germany and was championed–and later implemented on a massive scale–by Adolf Hitler.

Read the whole article, but here is a chilling sample:

Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population.” Point eight was euthanasia.

The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in America was a “lethal chamber” or public locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, Applied Eugenics, which argued, “From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution… Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated.” Applied Eugenics also devoted a chapter to “Lethal Selection,” which operated “through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.”

Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to forty percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect. . . .

Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German official and scientists.

Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti-Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. While Hitler’s race hatred sprung from his own mind, the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.

During the ’20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany’s fascist eugenicists. In Mein Kampf, published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. “There is today one state,” wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”

Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. “I have studied with great interest,” he told a fellow Nazi, “the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant calling his race-based eugenics book, The Passing of the Great Race his “bible.”

via History News Network.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    The ‘big-govt. do-gooders’ will never quit.

    They are in love with power. Power over you…and me…and anyone they can get their hits on.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    The ‘big-govt. do-gooders’ will never quit.

    They are in love with power. Power over you…and me…and anyone they can get their hits on.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmmm. Why doesn’t “tagged as” include “America” or “America’s unwanted”?

  • Tom Hering

    Hmmm. Why doesn’t “tagged as” include “America” or “America’s unwanted”?

  • reg

    Steve,
    Of course this kind of enhanced social darwinism was the fault of the liberals. In fact I am sure Obama had something to do with it. Its the do-gooders. You really ought to stick to playing the banjo and an occasional comedy routine.

  • reg

    Steve,
    Of course this kind of enhanced social darwinism was the fault of the liberals. In fact I am sure Obama had something to do with it. Its the do-gooders. You really ought to stick to playing the banjo and an occasional comedy routine.

  • reg

    Sadly even as noted a jurist as Oliver Wendell Holmes approved such eugenic laws, as in his famous quote “three generations of imbeciles are enough” in Buck v. Bell about forced involuntary sterilizations..

  • reg

    Sadly even as noted a jurist as Oliver Wendell Holmes approved such eugenic laws, as in his famous quote “three generations of imbeciles are enough” in Buck v. Bell about forced involuntary sterilizations..

  • Bob Hunter

    Some day in the not-too-distant future this society will consider Hitler a pioneer instead of the monster he was.

  • Bob Hunter

    Some day in the not-too-distant future this society will consider Hitler a pioneer instead of the monster he was.

  • Michael B.

    One can practice eugenics without using extreme measures such as forced sterilization. One example is a couple who has a rare disease that goes in for genetic counseling. The couple may make the decision to adopt. And we have more extreme methods of eugenics that we think. Consider genetic testing during pregnancy. A 2002 literature review of elective abortion rates found that 91–93% of pregnancies in the United Kingdom and Europe with a diagnosis of Down syndrome were terminated.

    Also, eugenics shouldn’t be discredited just because Hitler believed in it. Hitler also had a mustache, but those aren’t evil. That doesn’t mean we have to accept it, but “Hitler did it, therefore it’s wrong” doesn’t work.

    Finally, it’s almost impossible for the government to stay out of the business of who is encouraged to have kids: Who gets tax breaks? What diseases will Medicaid pay for? What about abstinence and teen pregnancy programs?

  • Michael B.

    One can practice eugenics without using extreme measures such as forced sterilization. One example is a couple who has a rare disease that goes in for genetic counseling. The couple may make the decision to adopt. And we have more extreme methods of eugenics that we think. Consider genetic testing during pregnancy. A 2002 literature review of elective abortion rates found that 91–93% of pregnancies in the United Kingdom and Europe with a diagnosis of Down syndrome were terminated.

    Also, eugenics shouldn’t be discredited just because Hitler believed in it. Hitler also had a mustache, but those aren’t evil. That doesn’t mean we have to accept it, but “Hitler did it, therefore it’s wrong” doesn’t work.

    Finally, it’s almost impossible for the government to stay out of the business of who is encouraged to have kids: Who gets tax breaks? What diseases will Medicaid pay for? What about abstinence and teen pregnancy programs?

  • Tom Hering

    reg @ 3, we progressives have to own up to the fact that it was mostly progressives who supported the eugenics movement – which was seen as a form of social progress. Not that dividing Americans into higher and lower forms of human beings was unique to progressives. The Founders did it to justify slavery (the basis of a lot of wealth at the time), and we all did it to justify westward expansion, colonial adventures, restricting the vote, etc.

  • Tom Hering

    reg @ 3, we progressives have to own up to the fact that it was mostly progressives who supported the eugenics movement – which was seen as a form of social progress. Not that dividing Americans into higher and lower forms of human beings was unique to progressives. The Founders did it to justify slavery (the basis of a lot of wealth at the time), and we all did it to justify westward expansion, colonial adventures, restricting the vote, etc.

  • Joe

    Michael — there is a huge difference between a couple with a genetic issue deciding to adopt instead of having baby versus the state involuntarily sterilizing undesirable people so they don’t breed.

  • Joe

    Michael — there is a huge difference between a couple with a genetic issue deciding to adopt instead of having baby versus the state involuntarily sterilizing undesirable people so they don’t breed.

  • Stone the Crows

    And 40 plus years later the U.S. was sending Frances Biddle and Justice Jackson to Nuremberg to try Nazi war criminals. Indignant Germans complained ‘who are you to judge us?’ It seems that there was some merit to that complaint. Which is not to say those brought to the bar were not culpable, but that there are no new sins under the sun, only different names for them. Man has been solviing his problems with murder since Cain slew Able, and genocide has been around before Queen Esther defended her people. It is hubris to presume that this can never happen again.

  • Stone the Crows

    And 40 plus years later the U.S. was sending Frances Biddle and Justice Jackson to Nuremberg to try Nazi war criminals. Indignant Germans complained ‘who are you to judge us?’ It seems that there was some merit to that complaint. Which is not to say those brought to the bar were not culpable, but that there are no new sins under the sun, only different names for them. Man has been solviing his problems with murder since Cain slew Able, and genocide has been around before Queen Esther defended her people. It is hubris to presume that this can never happen again.

  • Rose

    Michael, You’re right. The incentives are all in the wrong place.
    The only solution is to legislate that the father takes custody of any out-of-wedlock child, or the child is placed in an orphanage.
    (Just thought I’d say something controversial today).

  • Rose

    Michael, You’re right. The incentives are all in the wrong place.
    The only solution is to legislate that the father takes custody of any out-of-wedlock child, or the child is placed in an orphanage.
    (Just thought I’d say something controversial today).

  • formerly just steve

    “It is hubris to presume that this can never happen again.”

    It bears repeating lest we think we cannot slip backward. Less than 50 years after we fought our bloodiest and most costly war largely over the rights of individuals to be free from forced servitude, our “intellectuals” were debating how best to limit the reproduction rates of those same people. And less than a century later, our current “intellectuals” are using money from the same tax-exempt foundations that supported the work of early eugenicists to produce documentaries decrying Nazi atrocities on one hand and glorifying eugenicists like Margaret Sanger on the other.

  • formerly just steve

    “It is hubris to presume that this can never happen again.”

    It bears repeating lest we think we cannot slip backward. Less than 50 years after we fought our bloodiest and most costly war largely over the rights of individuals to be free from forced servitude, our “intellectuals” were debating how best to limit the reproduction rates of those same people. And less than a century later, our current “intellectuals” are using money from the same tax-exempt foundations that supported the work of early eugenicists to produce documentaries decrying Nazi atrocities on one hand and glorifying eugenicists like Margaret Sanger on the other.

  • CRB

    Well, if Obama gets re-elected and Santorum’s remark in this clip proves true, watch out!

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/power-players-abc-news/rick-santorum-says-nominating-pro-choice-vp-candidate-112520804.html

  • CRB

    Well, if Obama gets re-elected and Santorum’s remark in this clip proves true, watch out!

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/power-players-abc-news/rick-santorum-says-nominating-pro-choice-vp-candidate-112520804.html

  • formerly just steve

    Michael, “Also, eugenics shouldn’t be discredited just because Hitler believed in it. Hitler also had a mustache, but those aren’t evil. That doesn’t mean we have to accept it, but “Hitler did it, therefore it’s wrong” doesn’t work.”

    Sidestepping, for a moment, the ridiculous comparison of mass murder and forced sterilization with facial hair, I think we have many, many more reasons to fault the theory of eugenics than just that “Hitler did it…”

  • formerly just steve

    Michael, “Also, eugenics shouldn’t be discredited just because Hitler believed in it. Hitler also had a mustache, but those aren’t evil. That doesn’t mean we have to accept it, but “Hitler did it, therefore it’s wrong” doesn’t work.”

    Sidestepping, for a moment, the ridiculous comparison of mass murder and forced sterilization with facial hair, I think we have many, many more reasons to fault the theory of eugenics than just that “Hitler did it…”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I am with Michael B. on this one. Eugenic just means good birth. We all want healthy kids. Jews have used education and socially sensitive methods to try to wipe out Tay Sachs. Bravo. They teach people how they can be tested, learn if they are a carrier, register with a matchmaker who will not match them with another carrier. No one is stigmatized because only the confidential matchmaker and the individual knows their status. It is not immoral. It is just using technology to help people.

    Giving government the power to kill or sterilize people is the transgression here, regardless of the criteria. Educating people about risks of genetic disease they personally may have is not. Most people don’t want kids to suffer and if you can prevent it through education and moral decisions it is a win win.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I am with Michael B. on this one. Eugenic just means good birth. We all want healthy kids. Jews have used education and socially sensitive methods to try to wipe out Tay Sachs. Bravo. They teach people how they can be tested, learn if they are a carrier, register with a matchmaker who will not match them with another carrier. No one is stigmatized because only the confidential matchmaker and the individual knows their status. It is not immoral. It is just using technology to help people.

    Giving government the power to kill or sterilize people is the transgression here, regardless of the criteria. Educating people about risks of genetic disease they personally may have is not. Most people don’t want kids to suffer and if you can prevent it through education and moral decisions it is a win win.

  • formerly just steve

    sg, in practice how much more death than life has resulted from eugenics? As Michael points out, even voluntarily. Our “race” has determined a “good birth” is a “healthy, normal” birth and death is preferable to almost anything less. So we’re doing just fine at “thinning the herd” even without government interference.

  • formerly just steve

    sg, in practice how much more death than life has resulted from eugenics? As Michael points out, even voluntarily. Our “race” has determined a “good birth” is a “healthy, normal” birth and death is preferable to almost anything less. So we’re doing just fine at “thinning the herd” even without government interference.

  • rlewer

    When our daughter would not take a test for possible genetic defects during her pregnancy because she would not have an abortion anyway, the doctor made her sign a paper that he was not responsible. This was 25 years ago. I doubt if things have gotten better.

  • rlewer

    When our daughter would not take a test for possible genetic defects during her pregnancy because she would not have an abortion anyway, the doctor made her sign a paper that he was not responsible. This was 25 years ago. I doubt if things have gotten better.

  • reg

    We still practice eugenics every time someone aborts a baby with a downs marker or other genetic defect. Such is the perversity of our system.

  • reg

    We still practice eugenics every time someone aborts a baby with a downs marker or other genetic defect. Such is the perversity of our system.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    reg,

    It’s a given that liberals want MORE govt., not less, which means more power to tax and control people.

    Conservatives advocate smaller govt. which means they are after LESS power and control.

    Maybe you ought take up the banjo?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    reg,

    It’s a given that liberals want MORE govt., not less, which means more power to tax and control people.

    Conservatives advocate smaller govt. which means they are after LESS power and control.

    Maybe you ought take up the banjo?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Side note here, some Christians (and others) I know decline the tests for genetic and congenital defects. They decide in advance that they are not willing to abort anyway and don’t bother with testing.

    So, keep that in mind when you see x % of those tested are aborted and remember that not all are even tested.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Side note here, some Christians (and others) I know decline the tests for genetic and congenital defects. They decide in advance that they are not willing to abort anyway and don’t bother with testing.

    So, keep that in mind when you see x % of those tested are aborted and remember that not all are even tested.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It’s a given that liberals want MORE govt., not less, which means more power to tax and control people.

    Which shows they aren’t liberal despite the label. They wish to force people to do stuff.

    Conservatives advocate smaller govt. which means they are after LESS power and control.

    Which shows they are liberal albeit of the traditional or classic variety. They wish to prohibit government from doing stuff to people, and only want to prohibit the most antisocial behaviors.

    Liberals ≠ Democrats

    and

    Conservative ≠ Republicans

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It’s a given that liberals want MORE govt., not less, which means more power to tax and control people.

    Which shows they aren’t liberal despite the label. They wish to force people to do stuff.

    Conservatives advocate smaller govt. which means they are after LESS power and control.

    Which shows they are liberal albeit of the traditional or classic variety. They wish to prohibit government from doing stuff to people, and only want to prohibit the most antisocial behaviors.

    Liberals ≠ Democrats

    and

    Conservative ≠ Republicans

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    sg, in practice how much more death than life has resulted from eugenics?

    And how much more death than life has resulted from government? guns? alcohol? etc.

    People can and do misuse all kind of things, so what?

    This whole discussion of eugenics has more to do with oppressive government than with people learning about hereditary or congenital illness.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    sg, in practice how much more death than life has resulted from eugenics?

    And how much more death than life has resulted from government? guns? alcohol? etc.

    People can and do misuse all kind of things, so what?

    This whole discussion of eugenics has more to do with oppressive government than with people learning about hereditary or congenital illness.

  • DonS

    This is certainly a sorry chapter in early 20th Century American history, especially in that it provided fodder for Hitler’s massive evil against those he arbitrarily determined to be inferior. It is unbelievable, as well, that these early eugenics proponents are celebrated today by the abortion industry, and that the other vile ideas of this movement are being revived by some, including euthanasia and killing newborns after birth.

    Our Bill of Rights applies to everyone in this country. When we forget this, we are all diminished, and the consequences are dire.

  • DonS

    This is certainly a sorry chapter in early 20th Century American history, especially in that it provided fodder for Hitler’s massive evil against those he arbitrarily determined to be inferior. It is unbelievable, as well, that these early eugenics proponents are celebrated today by the abortion industry, and that the other vile ideas of this movement are being revived by some, including euthanasia and killing newborns after birth.

    Our Bill of Rights applies to everyone in this country. When we forget this, we are all diminished, and the consequences are dire.

  • Joanne

    Let’s all hope that someday our children’s children read articles like this of a long gone crazy idea called abortion. God willing.

  • Joanne

    Let’s all hope that someday our children’s children read articles like this of a long gone crazy idea called abortion. God willing.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Excellent remarks sg. You are the only cool head in this one…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Excellent remarks sg. You are the only cool head in this one…

  • Dust

    Michael Crichton compares the mistaken “enthusiasm” and acceptance of eugenics at the turn of the 20th century to the similar fuzzy science backing up the global warming hysteria, in the introduction to his masterpiece “State of Fear” back in 2004-ish.

    Great and courageous indictment of mistaken good intentions and clearly bad applications of sloppy science, although at the time, eugenics was taken to be the truth and nothing but the truth and the majority of the educated and elites supported it big time!

    So much for the infallibility of the scientific method….can you say flim flam :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Michael Crichton compares the mistaken “enthusiasm” and acceptance of eugenics at the turn of the 20th century to the similar fuzzy science backing up the global warming hysteria, in the introduction to his masterpiece “State of Fear” back in 2004-ish.

    Great and courageous indictment of mistaken good intentions and clearly bad applications of sloppy science, although at the time, eugenics was taken to be the truth and nothing but the truth and the majority of the educated and elites supported it big time!

    So much for the infallibility of the scientific method….can you say flim flam :)

    cheers!

  • Cincinnatus

    sg,

    Here’s the thing: you’re defining eugenics in a way that is distinct from its usage in ordinary language. Most people wouldn’t consider prudent family planning to qualify as “eugenics,” even if, etymologically speaking, it is. Moreover, the state isn’t the only problematic variable here. The state isn’t requiring parents to abort 90% of fetuses that test positive for Down’s syndrome.

    Eugenics–again, in ordinary language–signifies a systematic, collective, scientific attempt to improve the genetic qualities of an entire group, race, or population. Could an ad campaign that encourages people to self-select in their sexual choices for certain characteristics “eugenicist”? Sure, I guess. But, historically, eugenics efforts are typically more, uh, “coercive” and centralized than that–and technological! Genetic manipulation, sterilization programs, elective abortions, etc. Note that only one of these disturbing examples is not a current reality.

    Maybe I’m nit-picking here, but I’m hesitant to endorse any argument that sanctions eugenics of any kind.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg,

    Here’s the thing: you’re defining eugenics in a way that is distinct from its usage in ordinary language. Most people wouldn’t consider prudent family planning to qualify as “eugenics,” even if, etymologically speaking, it is. Moreover, the state isn’t the only problematic variable here. The state isn’t requiring parents to abort 90% of fetuses that test positive for Down’s syndrome.

    Eugenics–again, in ordinary language–signifies a systematic, collective, scientific attempt to improve the genetic qualities of an entire group, race, or population. Could an ad campaign that encourages people to self-select in their sexual choices for certain characteristics “eugenicist”? Sure, I guess. But, historically, eugenics efforts are typically more, uh, “coercive” and centralized than that–and technological! Genetic manipulation, sterilization programs, elective abortions, etc. Note that only one of these disturbing examples is not a current reality.

    Maybe I’m nit-picking here, but I’m hesitant to endorse any argument that sanctions eugenics of any kind.

  • formerly just steve

    Cincinnatus, #26: “Genetic manipulation, sterilization programs, elective abortions, etc. Note that only one of these disturbing examples is not a current reality.”

    I think you should have put the emphasis on current.

  • formerly just steve

    Cincinnatus, #26: “Genetic manipulation, sterilization programs, elective abortions, etc. Note that only one of these disturbing examples is not a current reality.”

    I think you should have put the emphasis on current.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Further to Cincinnatus’ point (@26), the distinction that some seem to be making here is between, if you will, voluntary and involuntary eugenics.

    Two people deciding not to have biological children is voluntary. A man seeking out a partner on the basis of her genetic profile is voluntary.

    A woman killing her child because he has some disease or birth defect is not voluntary — at least, not for the party being murdered. Similarly, people with certain characteristics being rounded up and sterilized or gassed is also not voluntary.

    Shouldn’t have to spell all that out, but there you go. Proceed.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Further to Cincinnatus’ point (@26), the distinction that some seem to be making here is between, if you will, voluntary and involuntary eugenics.

    Two people deciding not to have biological children is voluntary. A man seeking out a partner on the basis of her genetic profile is voluntary.

    A woman killing her child because he has some disease or birth defect is not voluntary — at least, not for the party being murdered. Similarly, people with certain characteristics being rounded up and sterilized or gassed is also not voluntary.

    Shouldn’t have to spell all that out, but there you go. Proceed.

  • Stephen

    I think we seek partners on genetic terms if not overtly, than probably on some subconscious level. As they say “women are sex objects and men are success objects.” To what degree we transcend this is up for debate I suppose. Otherwise, it seems to me, anyone would do. So it may not be the right way to say it, but perhaps part of that natural human person is to have a built-in sense of “good genes” that they seek to propagate.

    It just occurred to me as I wrote that that perhaps abortion is some bizarre attempt to “do the law” in the same way one uses contraception to plan for a family (or not). I’m not defending it by any means. What I am saying is that we want to avoid pain and suffering and think we can do this by what we do. That’s not quite it. Trouble comes. It is how we manage or confront it in terms of how it effects others that makes for moral and immoral decisions.

    It takes faith, even if only in oneself and their abilities, to believe that things will turn out okay when presented with a difficult situation like an unplanned pregnancy or a child that is likely to be born disabled. To terminate an unwanted pregnancy is a loss of faith. Does that make sense?

    I’m riffing. Help me out.

  • Stephen

    I think we seek partners on genetic terms if not overtly, than probably on some subconscious level. As they say “women are sex objects and men are success objects.” To what degree we transcend this is up for debate I suppose. Otherwise, it seems to me, anyone would do. So it may not be the right way to say it, but perhaps part of that natural human person is to have a built-in sense of “good genes” that they seek to propagate.

    It just occurred to me as I wrote that that perhaps abortion is some bizarre attempt to “do the law” in the same way one uses contraception to plan for a family (or not). I’m not defending it by any means. What I am saying is that we want to avoid pain and suffering and think we can do this by what we do. That’s not quite it. Trouble comes. It is how we manage or confront it in terms of how it effects others that makes for moral and immoral decisions.

    It takes faith, even if only in oneself and their abilities, to believe that things will turn out okay when presented with a difficult situation like an unplanned pregnancy or a child that is likely to be born disabled. To terminate an unwanted pregnancy is a loss of faith. Does that make sense?

    I’m riffing. Help me out.

  • John C

    Bad science is eventually rejected Dust. Climate change science has not been rejected yet.
    I would add, dodgy religious doctrine sticks around a lot longer than bad science.

  • John C

    Bad science is eventually rejected Dust. Climate change science has not been rejected yet.
    I would add, dodgy religious doctrine sticks around a lot longer than bad science.

  • Michael B.

    It seems we want to make a distinction based upon the amount of coercion used in a eugenics program. Eugenics programs can be coercive without ever having to resort to such heavy-handed tactics such as forced sterilization. Look at China and it’s 1-child policy. If you already have a kid in China and your wife becomes pregnant, don’t suppose that an abortion-doctor is going to appear on your doorstep, where subsequently you’ll both be hauled of the jail and then later sterilized. Rather the law is enforced by using fines and even rewards for only having 1 child. For example, in some provinces it is legal under some circumstances to have 2 kids, but if a couple only has one, there may be preferential treatment for government jobs or schooling, or a tax reduction.

    Eugenics can also be enforced via health care, private or public. For example, a couple who has a fetus that tests for a rare disease may be told by the insurance company, “You can have this baby, but you’re going to incur heavy financial costs”. Again, nobody puts a gun to the couple’s head, but there is an amount of coercion involved. We shouldn’t be shocked if that fetus is aborted, or if the couple decides to use birth control in the future.

  • Michael B.

    It seems we want to make a distinction based upon the amount of coercion used in a eugenics program. Eugenics programs can be coercive without ever having to resort to such heavy-handed tactics such as forced sterilization. Look at China and it’s 1-child policy. If you already have a kid in China and your wife becomes pregnant, don’t suppose that an abortion-doctor is going to appear on your doorstep, where subsequently you’ll both be hauled of the jail and then later sterilized. Rather the law is enforced by using fines and even rewards for only having 1 child. For example, in some provinces it is legal under some circumstances to have 2 kids, but if a couple only has one, there may be preferential treatment for government jobs or schooling, or a tax reduction.

    Eugenics can also be enforced via health care, private or public. For example, a couple who has a fetus that tests for a rare disease may be told by the insurance company, “You can have this baby, but you’re going to incur heavy financial costs”. Again, nobody puts a gun to the couple’s head, but there is an amount of coercion involved. We shouldn’t be shocked if that fetus is aborted, or if the couple decides to use birth control in the future.

  • formerly just steve
  • formerly just steve
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @31 FYI the total fertility rate in China is the same as the white tfr in the USA.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @31 FYI the total fertility rate in China is the same as the white tfr in the USA.

  • Adrienne

    You don’t have to research very deeply to discover that the eugenics movement is still alive and well today.

  • Adrienne

    You don’t have to research very deeply to discover that the eugenics movement is still alive and well today.

  • Ekhwan

    I was wondering if you can provide references for the quotes used in the article, for example the quotes my Hitler? I would really appreciate it!…

    I also wanted to ask if someone could explain to me what internal and factors might have led to the wide spread of Eugenics in America and Germany during that time period?? Any help would be very much appreciated!

  • Ekhwan

    I was wondering if you can provide references for the quotes used in the article, for example the quotes my Hitler? I would really appreciate it!…

    I also wanted to ask if someone could explain to me what internal and factors might have led to the wide spread of Eugenics in America and Germany during that time period?? Any help would be very much appreciated!

  • John Frahm
  • John Frahm
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