“Human Zoos”

“Human Zoos” July 12, 2018


Vegas Strip by day
Roughly the area where I’m sitting at the moment. Inside, mercifully!  (Wikimedia Commons public domain)


I’ve just finished my debate here at FreedomFest 2018 with Michael Shermer, on the topic of “Is Faith Compatible with Reason?”


I was quite satisfied with the way things went.


The debate was recorded by C-SPAN BookTV.  I don’t know when it will be broadcast.




I tend libertarian, mostly on economics, but I’ve never been able to sign on fully to the libertarian view of the world. Here’s a recent example of why that is so:  Included in the bag of materials given to all of those who have registered for the conference is a copy of Reason magazine, a strongly libertarian publication.  Skimming through it, I noticed an article including recipes for pot-saturated brownies.  Then I saw a piece, by a woman who earns her living as a “sex worker” in Seattle, on what you should know when you’re hiring somebody for sex.


I tend to think that a great many things should be legal of which, nonetheless, I strongly disapprove.  That’s part of my inclination toward libertarianism.  But I still strongly disapprove of them, and the moral relativism or amorality of Reason puts me off very much.


Last night, over dinner, one of our number asked George Will whether he considers himself “libertarian.”  I liked his response; I could accurately adopt it for myself:  “Libertarianish,” he replied.




A couple of hours later:  We’ve just watched a film — part of “Anthem: The Libertarian Film Festival” — titled Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism.  Here’s the description of the film that appears in the FreedomFest conference program:


Human Zoos tells the story of how thousands of indigenous peoples were coercively put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century. Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes, these native peoples were harassed, demeaned, and jeered at. Their public display was arranged with the enthusiastic support of the most elite members of the scientific community and government, and it was promoted uncritically by America’s leading newspapers. The documentary also explores related efforts by government to breed a better race in America through the imposition of “eugenics.”  Finally, the documentary tells how independent-minded people of faith challenged these abuses of human dignity and freedom.


In my judgment, it’s a must-see.  And it’s very, very relevant today.


Posted from Las Vegas, Nevada



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