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Category Archives: Eugenics

Eugenics Isnt Going to Get Us Out of This Mess – New York Magazine

Posted: March 31, 2020 at 6:19 am

Pedestrians walk near the Charging Bull statue of Wall Street on March 12, 2020 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2,352.60 points, a decrease of almost 10 percent and the largest since 1987. Photo: John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock

The economy must be a hungry god. Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, believes grandparents will sacrifice themselves for it. At the Federalist, a writer wondered if social distancing had gone a bit too far, had denied the god his rightful due. It seems harsh to ask whether the nation might be better off letting a few hundred thousand people die, he admitted. Yet honestly facing reality is not callous, and refusing even to consider whether the present response constitutes an even greater evil than the one it intends to mitigate would be cowardly. Rusty Reno, the editor of First Things, a conservative Christian journal, decried the demonic side to the sentimentalism of saving lives at any cost. Society requires triage, Reno suggested, not as a last resort, but as a preemptive measure. Some people are too expensive to save.

Within the conservative Establishment, the economy has other willing priests. Economist Stephen Moore recently told the Washington Post that public-health officials, while vital, had perhaps become too rigid. You cant have a policy that says were going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillions of dollars youre talking about, he said. Were going to have to make some difficult tradeoffs, Larry Kudlow, the director of President Trumps National Economic Council, warned on Fox. Some even offered themselves up as tribute. Jesse Kelly, a professional Twitter user and occasional pundit, said he would happily die to save his beloved country from another Great Depression.

But no one is asking Jesse Kelly to die. Theyre asking it of your grandparents, and of your neighbor with cancer; they ask it of me and of you, too, if your body is flawed or simply unlucky. The views expressed by Patrick and Reno and Moore, and by the Federalists various agitprop artists, are eugenics. They separate human life into categories. In one box, there are people worth saving. In the other, there are people we ought to let die. Believing this makes them eugenicists. What they contemplate is not quite mass murder, but a sort of planned, negligent homicide. Patrick doesnt want to build gas chambers. He just wants to let nature take its course. The fit will survive the cull.

Conservatives are inordinately fond of calling people eugenicists. For years, theyve applied the label to the pro-choice movement. The reasoning tends to gallop. Abortion is murder, ergo, parents who terminate a pregnancy because of fetal defects or disability participate in a eugenicist exercise. In this way, conservatives turn people with disabilities into useful props. The conservative can point at a child, turn on the tears, and scold you for wanting to murder him in the womb. Its a cheap trick, notable mostly for shock value. I am not as sick as some, and not as handy an object lesson. Nevertheless, I have long understood that my value to the right ended when I left my mothers body. For many conservatives, a fetus is the ultimate blank slate. Its value is determined by others; it cannot contradict them, or put forward its own ideas. It cant ask to be treated a particular way or stray from Gods light. Best of all, it requires nothing from anyone but a womb. People, by contrast, are cumbersome. They make demands, have wills of their own. And alas for the priests of small government, people are expensive, especially if they need regular medical care.

What we see in the conservative movement is not tension. People like Reno or Patrick have no intellectual discrepancy to resolve; their anti-abortion instincts are not at war with their fiscal convictions. We see instead the truth revealed. These men dont serve the economy, whatever that means. They serve power. Their economic arguments are smokescreens for something much uglier, which is apparent under even the most casual scrutiny.

A countrys economy and its people are inseparable. The United States cant lose several million people in one go without feeling the loss. Even if one makes the amoral calculation that the elderly and sick are unproductive and therefore worthless to the economy, the novel coronavirus is not that selective. The elderly arent the only people with reason to fear the virus, and neither are people who were already sick. Over half of New York Citys hospitalized coronavirus patients are under 44 years old. Often the young dead lack any known preexisting conditions. If President Trump and Republican officials listen to Stephen Moore and not public-health experts, they could sacrifice their children and grandchildren alongside their own parents. Its also not true that shutdowns must consign us to misery the federal government could mitigate the economic losses of local shutdowns if it chose to.

But the arguments from the eugenicist right are useful to us anyway. The fact that they think the elderly and the sick are acceptable offerings is something we should remember long after the pandemic is over. They tell us their obsession with market forces was not about human flourishing, productivity, and abundance, but about something else. Supply-side economics gave them a way to intellectualize their own amorality. Markets care nothing for ethics. They arent governed by justice and they dont feel mercy.

What todays eugenicists are unwilling to admit is that there is one, less deadly way to rescue the economy from this pandemic. Its redistribution, not just of resources but of power. The government will have to massively expand its tiny welfare state, and grant workers rights they do not currently have. It has the financial capacity to do so, but the project would force it to reconsider its priorities, which the conservative movement cannot tolerate. As they wring their hands on Fox, and repeat into the camera that the cure cannot be worse than the disease, they arent referring to shutdowns but to social welfare and to labor rights. They find a mass die-off of the sick and the elderly more palatable than basic social democracy.

We owe Donald Trump this much. He makes explicit some tendencies that the movements veneer once obscured. The rationalizations and pretexts are all so familiar. Conservatives dont hate poor people; they just want to control government spending. They arent racist; they just think immigration threatens American jobs. They dont value the fetus more than the person who carries it; they just believe life starts at conception. It was all a lie. The truth was always obvious to some of us, but now it ought to be visible to everyone else. Matters will become even clearer in weeks to come, as states contemplate the rationing of health-care resources. Alabama guidelines, originally written in 2009, suggest that conditions like metastasized cancer, AIDS, severe mental retardation, advanced dementia, and severe burns may disqualify patients from being placed on a ventilator if hospitals are overwhelmed. The Third Reich fell decades ago, but the idea it was built upon did not die. Some life is still unworthy of life. For todays eugenicists, the coronavirus isnt a calamity. Its the means to an end.

For many, the fight against abortion was not a fight against a culture of death; it was a crusade to keep women in their place. The fetus does matter more than the womans preferences or well-being because the fetus is going to be one of three things: a laborer, a fellow tyrant, or an incubator like its mother. Society thus reproduces itself from generation to generation, its hierarchy intact. And why not let the coronavirus cull the herd? The sick and the elderly are inefficient workers, which means theyre of limited use. The same values abandon incarcerated people and detained immigrants along with the sick and elderly to die. They arent productive. They might need things.

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Eugenics Isnt Going to Get Us Out of This Mess - New York Magazine

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Johnson’s herd immunity strategy and the London Conference on Intelligence whitewash: Britain’s ruling class and eugenics – World Socialist Web Site

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By Thomas Scripps 26 March 2020

Last Sunday, the London Times reported on a private event held at the end of February at which leading Conservative government advisor Dominic Cummings explained the UKs coronavirus response. Those present summarised his position as herd immunity, protect the economy, and if that means some pensioners die, too bad. A senior Conservative source described his view as let old people die.

The Prime Ministers Office denies Cummings made such comments, which align closely with the fascistic conceptions taking root in the Conservative Party and its periphery.

Last month, Cummings was responsible for eugenicist Andrew Sabisky being hired as a special government advisor. Both Sabisky and Cummings share the view that intelligence is overwhelmingly genetically determined, and that much educational effort is therefore wasted.

One of their leading defenders in the press and an advocate of progressive eugenics, Toby Young, was the governments first choice to lead the Office for Students, a national regulatory body. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made social Darwinist statements himself, and last year a Tory parliamentary candidate said that a group of people living on social security need putting down.

Innumerable posts on social media have drawn the connection between this reactionary ideology and the governments criminally delayed and negligent response to the pandemic in Britain. The phrase #boristhebutcher was the top trending hashtag on Twitter in the UK a week ago. Many of those criticising the governments disastrous original policy of herd immunityallowing the virus to spread through the majority of the population relatively quicklyhave described it as a eugenic experiment.

The dominant concern motivating the policy was to minimise any interruption to the profit-making of the major corporations. And when this proved impracticalwith growing public anger as scientists predicted hundreds of thousands of deaths if the herd immunity plans continuedthe government, including Cummings, shifted policy towards a massive 350 billion corporate credit handout. Nevertheless, while not all those initially advocating a herd immunity strategy advocate eugenics, the strategy and eugenics find fertile soil in the increasingly sociopathic demands of contemporary capitalism.

This was clearly demonstrated by events at University College London (UCL) at the end of February. Just as the Covid-19 virus was developing into a global threat, the university released its Investigation into the London Conference on Intelligence and Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL. Both reports whitewash a eugenics conference hosted by one of the universitys own professors, and the historical inquiry falsifies the history and contemporary influence of the ideology.

In December 2017, the London Student revealed that honorary UCL lecturer James Thompson had been hosting a secretive annual London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) on the universitys campus for four years. The LCI was attended by a collection of pseudo-scientist fascists, white supremacists and eugenicistssome in academic positionspresenting topics such as Admixture in the Americas, The Welfare Trait: How state benefits affect personality, and Evolutionary indicators for explaining cross-country differences in cognitive ability.

Following protests by students and academics, UCL agreed to conduct an investigation, but one designed to prevent any reckoning with what had occurred. The university refused to answer questions from journalists, and Thompson was allowed to move quietly into retirement. The findings of the investigation were initially withheld, which UCL justified by launching another inquiry into the institutions involvement in the development of eugenic ideology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Now that both reports have been released, the UCLs position is clear. The investigation into the LCI explains that Thompson, when booking university facilities for the conference, did not tick the box indicating that the meeting might be considered controversial and that The remainder of the section of the room booking form asking for event details, including its title, attendees and entry requirements, etc. was not filled in.

In two astounding paragraphs, the report states:

What remains controversial is not the nature of these meetings, which were private events which a member of UCLs honorary faculty is entitled to organise, this being one of the perks of such an honorary position which is usually part of a quid pro quo where honorary status brings advantages to the University in terms of contributions to its educational or research activities [emphasis added].

[Thompsons failure to flag the meeting as controversial] deprived UCL of the opportunity of taking appropriate action to mitigate the risk of reputational damage. A correct answer would be to acknowledge the controversial nature of the topic and speakers, and to note that the organiser hoped the private nature of the meeting would mitigate any potential negative impact [emphasis added].

No mention is made of the fascist white supremacists Emil Kirkegaard, Richard Lynn or Edward Dutton, to name a few, who attended the LCI, despite their work being referenced in the appendices.

The separate Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL makes only fleeting references to the LCI. Its findings and recommendations were considered so inadequate that the majoritynine of the 16 membersof the inquirys own committee refused to sign the chairs main report.

One of the members of this group, professor of the history of biology Joe Cain, explained, I tried really hard to get the London Conference on Intelligence on to the agenda of that committee, but I met with a brick wall. We absolutely should have talked about itbut we just didnt. He said the committee had made no attempt to assess whether eugenicist ideas had influenced teaching at the university. Stating that the fact is we didnt look, he added, Im sure students would let us know if the sort of crazy eugenics you see in the LCI meetings were being taught, but eugenics can also be much more subtle than that.

The inquiry was also criticised for what a dissenting member of the committee, in an anonymous comment to the Guardian, called a tendentious focus on race. The main report admits that commission members disagreed on the meaning and role of race in eugenics. The anonymous member continued, I have no issue with addressing racism, but the fact is that the early eugenicists at UCL were far more focused on targeting people based on things like poverty or disability.

These are incisive comments. The report includes references to disabled and low-income groups, but is focussed on race, as per [its] terms of reference. It leans on the reactionary assumption that eugenic ideology is fundamentally bound up with whiteness and that it originates from racism married to science. The threat of eugenics is to be solved, in part, through efforts to decolonise the curricula in all departments and the opening of a number of paid posts in relevant UCL Centres such as the Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation.

This is a fundamental distortion of the history of eugenics and its pernicious role in contemporary politics.

The ideology developed out of a social Darwinist response to the threat of socialism. It gained a significant following in ruling circles in response to intensifying class and inter-imperialist antagonisms, expressed in fears of national deterioration. Eugenics was used to justify inequality and poverty, carry out sterilisations of the disabled and mentally ill, prove national and racial superiority, and, especially in the United States, promote anti-immigration laws. The ideology found its fullest and most devastating expression in the policies of Nazi Germany.

Despite the fact that UCLs report includes a quote from Karl Pearson, a eugenicist professor at the university in the early 20th century, lauding Reichskanzler Hitler, none of this history is explored or raised in warning. To do so would invite questions the ruling class and its institutions are not prepared to answer about links between the persistence of social inequality and national tensions, the revival of fascism and the growing influence of a network of race scientists, eugenicists and social Darwinists amongst the ruling elite.

The universitys actions are proof that this reactionary ideology can be seriously confronted and opposed only from a socialist perspective. The life-threatening actions of the Tory government of Johnson and Cummings in regard to the Covid-19 crisis are proof of the urgent necessity to build that opposition.

The author also recommends:

Sabisky eugenics scandal exposes fascist core of UK Tories [22 February 2020]

UK sociologist Noah Carl and the cultivation of the far right in academia [20 June 2019]

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Johnson's herd immunity strategy and the London Conference on Intelligence whitewash: Britain's ruling class and eugenics - World Socialist Web Site

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The Resurgence Of Eugenics Into Mainstream Politics – The Organization for World Peace

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In February 2020, 10 Downing Street became embroiled in scandal as shocking comments made by ministerial aid, Andrew Sabinsky, resurfaced. Sabinsky had previously espoused very real racial differences in intelligence, and promoted enforced sterilisation to get around the problems of unplanned pregnancies creating a permanent underclass. While Andrew Sabinsky resigned amid the controversy, his appointment to the position calls into question wider concerns about the influence of neo-eugenic views in mainstream thought. Andrew Sabinsky was evidently not mainstream; indeed, he was categorically a misfit and weirdo under Cummings controversial recruitment policy. Sabinskys statements, quite rightly, provoked public outrage and stimulated fears that the government could be platforming those with eugenic views. However, the reaction to Sabinsky highlights a disjuncture between fact and reality in the narrative of eugenics, which requires closer scrutiny. Its often taught that eugenics, as part of popular culture, died along with extreme forms of fascism in the aftermath of WWII, and when it bubbles back to the surface through cases such as Sabinskys, we are rightly shocked at how such ideas have come to play in todays society. Yet both moderate and extreme eugenic ideas were prevalent throughout the 20th century, and continue to hold court in academia and politics. Part of the difficulty in recognising neo-eugenic thought comes from the fact that after the 1940s, academics and politicians fiercely sought to disassociate themselves with the term eugenics. However, if we reframe it as the notion of engineering individuals, groups or societies through inheritance, its possible to unpick the role which eugenic ideas unwittingly play today, which may help shed light onto how a man with such disturbing views was welcomed into Downing Street.

Eugenics itself was invented and popularised by the Victorian polymath Francis Galton, who coined the term, defined as the science of improving stock, in 1883. Galton was obsessed with statistics, and believed it possible to apply mathematical analysis to almost everything. In 1908, he created a Beauty Map of Britain by visiting the nations towns with a homemade clicker in his pocket and recording every time he saw a beautiful or unattractive woman. By his scientific reasoning, Aberdeen was the ugliest town, while London was the most attractive. Galton was also the first to argue that inheritance was governed by statistics, and was particularly focused on the heritability of talent or intelligence. By studying the ancestry of men of genius, Galton observed that the majority came from a select group of noteworthy families, and thus concluded that intelligence was inherited. Its worth noting that Galtons definition of genius revolved around distinguished men (such as musicians, novelists, scientists, and artists) who Galton deemed worthy of such a title the desirability of their traits was a reflection of Galtons own upper-middle class, intellectual background. Galtons proto-eugenic thought centered around methods for encouraging those from noteworthy families to breed, proposing to raise the present miserably low standard of the human race by breeding the best with the best. As Darwinian ideas about natural selection began to grip the Victorian imagination, Galton also began to fear that human interference prevented survival of the fittest from applying to human societies, and promote the idea that inheritance could be controlled by human action instead.

While Galtons eugenic thought was somewhat moderate in comparison with later mutations of his theories, his legacy was far-reaching and multifaceted. He advocated the idea that human traits were measurable; and through quantifying heritability and making it the subject of scientific study, he endorsed the idea that societies could control their destinies through manipulating inheritance. His ideas were attractive due to their ability to promote and protect existing social hierarchies among class and race lines, effectively giving people power over nature it was thought that eugenics could cure all societys ills, from criminality to alcoholism to feeble mindedness, and to birth a better, wealthier, more intelligent population.

Galton was not overtly political himself indeed, his main aim was for eugenics to gain academic credibility, and he founded the Eugenics Education Society with this in mind. However, by the turn of the 20th century, the EES had gained momentum and transformed into a political lobbying group. By the 1920s, eugenic policies had been adopted by groups across the political spectrum a fact conveniently forgotten by British history. The Fabian Society and the socialist Left advocated eugenic policies: George Bernard Shaw, for example, said that the only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man, and William Beveridge, renowned architect of the Welfare State, argued that those with general defects should be denied civil freedom and fatherhood.

While extreme eugenic policy promptly left the British political mainstream in the aftermath of WWII, the same cannot be said of other countries worldwide. The Canadian province of Alberta, for instance, practiced legal eugenic sterilisation up until 1972, relying on a four-person Eugenics Board to approve the sterilisation of those living in state institutions. North Carolina, Oregon and Georgia over the border also practiced enforced sterilisation until well into the 20th century. In the U.S. and Canada, sterilisation policies were historically directed at the mentally defected, a flimsy and unscientific category which left sterilisation down to the whims of doctors or members of the Eugenics Board, in the case of Alberta. Elsewhere, eugenic policy fell down racial lines. In Australia, Aboriginal peoples were the target of child-removal practices in order to control the ethnicity of future generations under the White Australia policy. Back in the U.S., a 2013 report revealed that between 2006 and 2010 up to 150 Latina and African-American women in state prisons had been sterilised without consent. Across time and space, eugenic policies have been used by those in power as a weapon and tool to reinforce the existing social hierarchy.

In Britain, too, eugenic ideas continued to preside throughout the previous century, although more in the scientific than political sphere. Advances in IVF technology, allowing parents and doctors to screen for diseases, select sex and check characteristics, must be regarded as an extension of eugenic thought: indeed, certain sperm-banks already allow parents to select based on physical traits. The U.K. government recently helped fund the Francis Crick Institute, which was recently given the go-ahead to run with the new, controversial gene-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9. While the ethics of gene-editing have been hotly debated by the scientific community (in 2016, 150 scientists and academics released a letter to Washington calling for the end of gene-editing), the fact remains that influential researchers still support neo-eugenic ideas through their work. Professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, recently said that when it comes to screening out personality flaws such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children. Just as we see that Galtons definitions of beauty and genius are, in hindsight, deeply skewed, we must recognise that the definition of personality flaws is subjective and cannot be a foundation for social or scientific policy.

Intelligence testing must also be viewed as a eugenic legacy which continues to hold scientific and political prominence today. IQ testing was developed alongside the eugenics movement in the early 1900s by Binet. Ironically, Binet thought that IQ tests were inadequate measures for intelligence, and astutely pointed to the tests inability to properly measure creativity or emotional intelligence. Nevertheless, the test was adopted as a scientific and objective measure of intelligence by eugenicists, which could be used to justify policies such as segregation and sterilisation. Crucially, those who fell below the mark were often of lower socio-economic status, or from ethnic minorities. This correlation itself has continually been used to advocate a link between race and intelligence. In 1994, Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein published their controversial book The Bell Curve, which argued that certain races are more intelligent than others, and in 2002 Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen released IQ and the Wealth of Nations, which pinned the global socio-economic hierarchy on ethnic differences in cognitive abilities.

It seems that these ideas are only a few steps back from mainstream politics. Dominic Cummings recently made comments about genes impacting IQ. Even more worryingly, his comments were backed by Timothy Bates, Professor at Edinburgh University, who said that this reflects mainstream science. Moreover, the U.K. governments initial herd immunity response to the coronavirus pandemic, advocated by the Chief Scientific Officer and again endorsed by Cummings, was widely criticised on ethical grounds: many argued it echoed eugenic survival of the fittest notions and would lead to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of societys most vulnerable. In the U.S., inheritance has long been used as racial political rhetoric, which has formally transcended into the White House through the Trump administration. Trump is well-known to be obsessed with having the right genes and with the criminality of immigrants. His key adviser, Michael Anton, wrote in 2016 that diversity is not our strength; its a source of weakness, tension, and disunion.

Eugenic undercurrents have clearly continued to ripple through Western thought throughout the 20th and 21st centuries; and while it is shocking to see them surface in mainstream politics, we should not be surprised. Instead, we must remain alert and recognise neo-eugenic thought whether disguised as scientific progress, immigration policy, or intelligence streaming in schools for what it is. Political policy is driven by science, and too often we take science as fact without questioning internal biases or methodologies. Moreover, we rely on our scientific community not only to inform politics, but to be informed about the history of their discipline. As the history of eugenics shows, politics and science are interdependent.


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Remember the Party of Terri Schiavo? – New York Magazine

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Protesters demanding political intervention to keep Terri Schiavo on life support. Photo: Matt May/Getty Images

You dont have to know much political history to become deeply unsettled by the recent public muttering by selected conservative voices that the benefits of reopening the economy might justify the otherwise avoidable deaths of a lot of unproductive old and sick folk who could succumb to the coronavirus pandemic. As my colleague Sarah Jones argued compellingly:

The views expressed by [Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan] Patrick and [First Things editor Rusty] Reno and [Trump adviser Stephen] Moore separate human life into categories. In one box, there are people worth saving. In the other, there are people we ought to let die What they contemplate is not quite mass murder, but a sort of planned negligent homicide. Patrick doesnt want to build gas chambers. He just wants to let nature take its course. The fit will survive the cull.

And here history is instructive. Eugenics, as a form of human culling, was a pseudoscientific movement that gained lethal strength in the early 20th century and became official state doctrine in various regimes where murdering or starving useless eaters was regarded as essential to the public welfare or even to the health and welfare of the human species. Horror of human culling was deeply bred into the generations of Americans and Europeans who sought to identify civilization itself with the rejection of mass homicide. That this horror might be fading is disturbing enough. But that the idea is posting a comeback among American conservatives is particularly shocking, since not that very long ago that political tribe habitually accused liberals of an openness to euthanasia as a byproduct of legalized abortion.

Remember Terri Schiavo, whose cause embroiled the country during the spring of 2005? She was the severely brain-damaged Florida woman whose agonized husband became embroiled in a legal battle with her parents as he sought to terminate life support, which he felt certain she would have wished. That legal battle became intensely political as Terri Schiavo was adopted as a sort of mascot by the anti-abortion movement as evidence of its claim that the indifference to life exhibited by legalized abortion would eventually lead to euthanasia. Florida governor Jeb Bush spearheaded a state government intervention in her case in 2003 to force reinsertion of a feeding tube, and later Jebs brother signed emergency legislation, enacted during a remarkable March 2005 special session of the Republican-controlled Congress, to assert federal jurisdiction over Schiavos fate. She was finally allowed a dignified death when federal courts refused to overrule a local judges decision to let the poor woman go.

Wheres that Republican Party as some of its opinion leaders express equanimity about tolerating, if not encouraging, mass death in the cause of giving the economy a nice lift prior to the 2020 elections? Whos the Party of Death (a common epithet for Democrats among anti-abortion activists) now?

Its particularly striking that there are elements of the very anti-abortion movement that fought to keep Schiavo alive that are expressing pleasure over the net effect of the coronavirus, since it has allowed some GOP lawmakers to halt abortions as a byproduct of elective surgery bans:

Texas Republican congressional candidate Kathaleen Wall thanked Governor Greg Abbott for signing an executive order last week that deemed abortions medically unnecessary, with Wall claiming the coronavirus may now save more lives than it will take.

Wall, who advanced from the 22nd Congressional District Republican primary earlier this month, has posted several articles discussing pregnancy and coronavirus and touting President Donald Trumps ability to put partisan politics aside as he fights the COVID-19 pandemic. But Walls March 24 Facebook post claiming coronavirus will save more lives this week than it takes created exactly that type of partisan fighting between pro-choice and anti-abortion residents.

Im not calling Republicans generally eugenicists or fans of euthanasia. But it is a sign of the cult of personality into which this party and its ideological allies have succumbed that the desire to lift Trump to reelection on the wings of economic recovery is so powerful, pro-life values be damned. And conservatives who do know their history need to shout down the Evangelists of GDP ber alles with special determination.

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Will economic eugenics – sacrificing our seniors to coronavirus for the sake of the economy – be next? –

Posted: at 6:19 am

As COVID-19 terrifyingly escalates in the United States, another deadly contagion -- economic eugenics -- is spreading rampantly. Unlike the novel coronavirus, this brain-wasting scourge is self-inflicted by the political right.

The malignancy of economic eugenics has manifested itself globally for centuries. One of its most virulent strains occurred in Nazi Germany during World War II. The latest infestation values the economy over human life and advocates sacrificing senior citizens for economic ends.

Ironically, some of its advocates, like Fox News Glenn Beck, falsely accused Obamacare of devaluing life" by promoting elderly "death panels. Are these eugenicists volunteering at or donating to hospitals, food banks, police, or fire departments?

Today, seniors are expendable, tomorrow its the physically handicapped, the developmentally disabled, and others deemed to be drains on the economy.

Connie Kline,

Willoughby Hills

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Trump and His Press are Pushing Eugenics and Euthanasia-by-Virus on a Mass Scale. Pray for Life. – Patheos

Posted: at 6:19 am

MOLOCH. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

We are entering a new, dark phase in American history. The President of the United States lied and prevaricated and did nothing to get this nation ready for a pandemic that his own advisers had told him was coming. He has now made it clear that he intends to deliberately and with full knowledge of what he is doing sacrifice the lives of a minimum of around 5% of the population in order to get the economy going.

It is important to remember that this president is a billionaire businessman and that his businesses are shut down in this crisis. Hes losing money himself. Given that he consistently acts in his own interests rather than the interests of the American people and of America, that is an important fact to know.

The presidents media has swung into action, promoting this plan to sacrifice the lives of large numbers of Americans on the altar of the economic Baals.

The president refused to get this country ready for the virus Ive read that America was the slowest Western nation to ramp up testing. It is plainly obvious that we are deficient in our response about medical equipment and plans for dealing with this crisis. President Trumps lies have cost American lives. As the leader of the free world, he has cost lives everywhere.

That same president who betrayed us with his lies and prevarications is now saying that he will open the economy back up, even though he knows full well that many people will die who would not if he did otherwise. He has not considered or even tried to find ways of dealing with this crisis that do not involve killing lots of Americans. His only response so far has been a 1929 response of market stimulus. This has only worked in a marginal fashion because we are dealing with a 2020 problem.

I dont think he has the brains or the personal emotional commitment to the people of this country to dig in and search for new ways of dealing with a crisis of this kind. He has never, in all his time in office, come up with a way of dealing with anything that was not jingoistic and trending toward making himself a dictator.

Ive been saying this for a while. Ill say it again. He is a monster. I believe that he is probably a psychopath.

He has made it as clear as he possibly can that he does not care if the people he governs live or die. That means you, my friend.

Thats hard to grasp for a lot of people. Me, not so much. Ive seen dont-care-if-the-people-I-govern-live-or-die up close and personal. Ive also seen voters turn around and vote for the same people who bankrupted their state, shut down the homes for the disabled, fired the teachers, closed many of the schools, and refused to build storm shelters in the schools after children were killed in a killer tornado.

Whats new about Trump is the scale of the harm he is wreaking. I read an article about an Episcopal priest who had begun speaking out against Trump. He was surprised that, rather than answer what he was saying, Trump supporters just attacked him personally. Thats what people do when they cant answer with facts and they wont stop believing lies. Its a symptom of the sickness. This priest went on to speculate that maybe Trump is Gods punishment on America.

All I can say is that if he is Gods punishment on America, hes doing his job right well.

As I said, Trumps toady press is working overtime to sell Trumps followers on accepting their own deaths at the hands of their president. I dont know if his followers are buying it or not. Are people really so besotted with this monstrous man that they will consent to die on the altar of the stock market?

I guess were going to find out.

In the meantime, I want to make clear that what these people have been advocating is a form of eugenics and euthanasia. They have said right out in public that older Americans should be willing to die to save the economy. Theyve couched this in terms of the old folks love for their grandchildren and defending this nation in a time of war.

Those are lies.

The people selling this anathema are all very wealthy people who are protecting their personal fortunes. They know what Trump is, and they dont care. They are protecting their cushy jobs which have made them rich and powerful by doing what they do, which is to lie and propagandize for this evil man.

Trump is a billionaire whose personal fortune is suffering. What part does that play in his decision making?

None of these people are offering their own lives.

They want other people to die for their money so that they can continue to enjoy their vast fortune, power and privilege.

Pro life is and always has been something they use. They use it to get well-meaning and good people to act against their own best interest by blindly electing and putting in power whoever will bear the pro life label. They dont respect human life themselves. They do not care about the sanctity of human life. The evidence is right there in front of all of us in their eager propagandizing for the deaths of so many Americans.

They are selling eugenics and euthanasia-by-virus to the people who will die. What they are doing is unimaginably monstrous.

I prayed about what I should say this morning. The words prayer for life came into my mind. I googled Prayer for Life and this prayer, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops came up.

Lets pray for life my friends.

Father and maker of all,you adorn all creationwith splendor and beauty,and fashion human livesin your image and likeness.Awaken in every heartreverence for the work of your hands,and renew among your peoplea readiness to nurture and sustainyour precious gift of life.

Grant this through our LordJesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you inthe unity of the Holy Spirit,God forever and ever.Amen

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Opinion | Why is no one talking about the spread of Covid-19 in Mecklenburg’s Black communities? – Qcity metro

Posted: at 6:19 am

Anyone who would work in public medicine should first understand an enduring truth: There exists in some sectors of the Black community a lingering suspicion of the healthcare industry.

Thissuspicion is born not of baseless paranoia.

Look back to the 1930s and the federal governments decision to allow nearly 400 Black men with latent syphilis Alabama sharecroppers, mainly to go untreated for decades so that government-funded researchers could study how the venereal disease attacks the human body. The men were told they simply had bad blood. This cruel and inhumane study didnt end until 1972, well into my lifetime.

We could talk as well about eugenics in Black communities, forced sterilizations, even current data showing that Black Americans typically receive medical care inferior to their white counterparts, income and class notwithstanding.

All of which makes Mecklenburg Countys handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak somewhat disappointing.

For days, Public Health Director Gibbie Harris has been saying the spread of Covid-19 in Mecklenburg County was reflective of the countys demographics. But with each release of new data we see that her assertion appears to lack credibility.

As the coronavirus has spread, Covid-19 appears to be affecting the countys Black population disproportionately. The countys own numbers appear to bear this out.

On March 22, when the county had 80 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 35% of those infected people were Black. One day later, the infection count had climbed to 108 cases, and Black residents accounted for 37% of those infected.

Nowwe see the most recent numbers: 230 confirmed cases as of March 26, with Blackresidents making up 41.3% of the total. (The county had 315 confirmed cases asof Sunday but no demographic breakdown.)

From 35% to 37% to 41.3% in a county where Black residents made up 32.9% of the population in the 2010 census. Why is no one in county leadership talking about this?

Asof March 26, no other racial or ethnic group in Mecklenburg County accountedfor a larger percentage of Covid-19 cases. [The countys predominate whitepopulation accounted for 40% of confirmed cases, a shrinking percentage as theoverall numbers rose.]

WhenI first asked Harris about Covid-19 in the countys Black population, she repeatedthe essence of an earlier statement: Actually, the data that we are seeingreally reflects the demographics in our county at this point. Well continue towatch that, but right now, we do not see disproportionate impact in thatcommunity, she said.

Thatwas when the available public data showed Black residents making up 35% of the confirmedCovid-19 cases.

OnSunday, with the data showing a rise to 41.3% for Black residents, I decided toask again. And again, Harris said the Covid-19 spread was reflective ofMecklenburgs demographics. She even seemed to question my figures, assertingthat the county had not released Covid-19 data broken down by race andethnicity.

Harris later came back to the conference call with reporters to acknowledge that her department had, indeed, released data on race and ethnicity, and she promised to address the issue on Monday.

This all raises key questions not the least of which is, how can Mecklenburg Countys public health director be unaware of what appears to be a rising infection rate among Black residents under her jurisdiction? Followed closely by, how can the countys elected Black officials, put in office to serve their communities, sit idly quiet for a full week, also apparently oblivious to the county data that was right at their fingertips?

By no means do I suggest ill intent. What I suggest, instead, are missed opportunities.

If county officials were generally unaware that the rate of infection was rising among Black residents, what opportunities have been missed to halt the spread of this potentially deadly contagion? Could the high rate of infection among Black residents be traced to a particular event, a particular church congregation? Or maybe some sectors of the Black community, unable to social distance and self-quarantine, are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19 because of the nature of the jobs they hold. Are other counties around the nation seeing similar patterns?

Whendealing with an outbreak in some of the most economically vulnerablepopulations, these are questions worth answering.

It should not be lost that Mecklenburg County has done a number of things right. While many of the nations jurisdictions have refused to release demographic and zip code data related to the spread of Covid-19, Mecklenburg has been more forthcoming than most. And with that transparency has come certain risks.

Onerisk is that communities least affected by the outbreak may come to seethemselves as immune a potentially fatal mistake. So, by putting too muchemphasis on any one community, county health officials could, without intent, causeother communities to lower their guard. Its a delicate dance, to be sure.

Still, given our nations racist past and the current disparities we still see in health care, we deserve straight talk about Covid-19 and why it appears to be spreading disproportionately among Black residents of Mecklenburg County. Heres hoping those answers come quickly. welcomes your voice on issues affecting the Charlotte community. Have an opinion about an issue?Email the editor. It might get published.

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Opinion | Why is no one talking about the spread of Covid-19 in Mecklenburg's Black communities? - Qcity metro

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Survival of the fittest and other cruel logic – Newsroom

Posted: at 6:19 am

MARCH 28, 2020 Updated March 28, 2020


Donald Trump and Boris Johnson's response to coronavirus has revealed some disturbing attitudes towards segments of the population

As New Zealand enters a period of indeterminate lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we (and I mean us as a global population) have learned a lot about the importance of experts and scientists, and of frontline public services.

It has also revealed that our emergency workers exceed the police, medics and firefighters, and include warehouse workers, refuse collectors, shelf-stackers and checkout operators who continue to put themselves in harms way. Weve also learned their relatively low wages dont match their social importance. In fact, weve learned of the importance of the labour force as a whole and its contribution to our economy, despite being constantly told it is only the corporate bosses and financiers who are the real wealth creators.

Weve also learned there is no such thing as the economy, just economics, and that our economy can and must operate differently in a crisis. As a consequence it has renewed hope that we really do have the capacity to respond to the approaching threat of climate change should we find the political will.

However, weve also learned that valuing life is not a straightforward and universally accepted moral position, and that in some instances people are prepared to take a more instrumental and transactional view about value and worth. While the vast majority of people have accepted the need for social distancing, and, from what I have seen, practise it with diligence and care, Donald Trump is making declarations that this is a very temporary situation and he wants everyone in the US back to work by Easter.

As people attempt to explain to him that this will inevitably cost many lives, he replies that the cost in terms of collapsing markets is the greater concern. People try to veil the ugliness of this attitude by referring to the number of US citizens killed by cars every year, for example. People die, the argument goes, so why should we stop everything just to stop what happens anyway.

Beneath this, though, is a very disturbing attitude towards a significant segment of the population, summed up in this now-deleted tweet by a US attorney replying to Trumps call to go back to work. "The fundamental problem", he wrote, "is whether we are going to tank the entire economy to save 2.5 percent of the population which is (1) generally expensive to maintain, and (2) not productive".

This sets out a very cruel logic, and one made even more cruel by the fact that if left to run its course in such a class-ridden and unequal society as the US, it would disproportionately affect the poor and the already vulnerable, whose risk is made even worse by having neither access to healthcare nor the privilege of being able to sit out the pandemic in relative comfort and safety. This is, of course, exactly who the author of the tweet is willing to sacrifice. In fact, the suggestion is its not really a sacrifice at all, but an efficiency gain.

Letting the disease run its course was the initial British response when PM Boris Johnson announced the aim for tackling the coronavirus was to achieve herd immunity. Most of us would have been unfamiliar with this concept even though it is fairly routine in epidemiology. The issue, though, is that herd immunity is normally achieved through the use of a vaccine. When at least 90 percent of the population (in the case of measles) is inoculated, the disease is restricted because those who are vaccinated shield those who arent. Not everyone is immune, but weve achieved herd immunity.

Without the vaccine, its a case of exposing everyone (or at least 60 percent was the British estimate for coronavirus) and seeing who dies. Continuing the herd metaphor, its effectively a cull. We could say this is simply another gaffe from a gaffe-prone politician, but I dont believe it was.

Johnson is a vociferous advocate of philosophical aristocracy, by which I mean not simply a believer in necessary social hierarchy, but that those who are at the top are there because they are inherently, even genetically superior. He is also known as an enthusiastic social Darwinist who believes society should be organised to flush out the weak. The importance of competition in a capitalist system for him is precisely because only the fittest succeed.

In his 2013 Margaret Thatcher Memorial Lecture, he argued that the "violent economic centrifuge"or capitalism accentuates inequalities amongst people "who are already very far from equal in raw ability"before going on to propose that people are also inherently unequal in "spiritual worth". This aristocratic ethos also encourages an interest in eugenics, shared by a number of his advisers. From this perspective, the idea he should propose a cull as a means of disease prevention becomes rather chilling.

Over the course of the last five years, the rise of the alt-rightwith whom Johnson has a connection via Steve Bannonhas been alarming. One of their aims has been to shift the Overton Window, or the frame of acceptable speech. In particular, they want eugenics put back on the agenda because it helps re-establish the pseudo race science they are so fond of. Hence, one other thing we should learn from this pandemic is just how effective this project has become.

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OPINION: Quarantine within a quarantine: The intersectionality of African Americans, historical trauma and coronavirus – Milwaukee Neighborhood News…

Posted: at 6:19 am

Editors note: Have something on your mind? Community Voices is the place to let Milwaukee hear what you have to say. To be considered, we need your name, email address and phone number for verification. Please email your submissions

Before we go arresting marginalized black and brown folks, lets look at someof the root causes of anti-social, high-risk behaviors and whos responsible.

African Americans, in general, have a historic mistrust of the public health system. To name a few: the Tuskegee experiment, the secret harvesting of cells from Henrietta Lacks, forced eugenics and sterilization targeting African American women and segregated, unequal medical treatment during the Jim Crow era. What science tells us is that trauma is coded in our DNA and is subconsciously passed down through generations.

This can lead us to avoid seeking care, practicing prevention or even not adhering to orders like Safer at Home, even though we need it to avoid spreading the virus or becoming seriously ill. This ultimately worsens the impact of the epidemic on our community.

We need to fully understand that local, state and federal government systems have created the current health crisis disparity impacting black and brown people. We know that COVID-19 doesnt discriminate, but racialized U.S. public policy has for centuries,in ways that now leave black and brown people more vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. That is why, as of the time Im writing, in Milwaukee County the majority of the confirmed COVID-19 cases and all fatalities are black.

Medical College of Wisconsin research also shows that blacks suffer from higher rates of conditions like asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cancer and kidney disease problems that experts say could make COVID-19 more severe and life-threatening.

Social distancing and quarantining are not a new concept for black folks or the government. The government effectively isolated black people in areas that would suffer lower levels of investment than our white counterparts. Through redlining, the U.S. created ghettos that have black and brown folks living on top of one another. It set up food deserts, deindustrialized and exported jobs and now want us to remain six feet apart. A study published by Medical Care Research and Review in 2014 found that an increase in the concentration of black people in a neighborhood is associated with a corresponding decrease in availability of surgical equipment.

I believe some black folks on the North Side of Milwaukee are not staying at home because we have lived in a place of hopelessness and despair, and we do not trust the government. As the most studied group of people in this country, for some, this feels like another government experiment where we are the subjects, even though we may not be.

Police can ticket or arrest us for not self-quarantining, but in reality, Milwaukee is the worse place for blacks to live in this country. Blacks here have already been quarantined and locked out of mainstream society. Perhaps communities ravaged by mass incarceration have citizens who arent trying to be on lockdown. Black folks have been living in the hole and may suffer psychologically as a result. Maybe Safer at Home is a trigger for PTSD for one group of individuals versus another.

Gov. Tony Evers called what is happening with some African Americans on Milwaukees North Side a crisis within a crisis. He is asking us to self-quarantine while being politically quarantined. He wants all hands on deck, while Joe Biden said, we are all in this together.

You and I know that has never been or will be the case in Wisconsin, Milwaukee or America. Until the governor, county executive, mayor and every elected official commit to addressing the structural inequalities in this state, county and city, in a real and meaningful way, recovery will be long and inequitable.

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OPINION: Quarantine within a quarantine: The intersectionality of African Americans, historical trauma and coronavirus - Milwaukee Neighborhood News...

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The eugenics debate isn’t over but we should be wary of people who claim it can fix social problems – The Conversation UK

Posted: February 29, 2020 at 11:15 pm

Andrew Sabisky, a UK government adviser, recently resigned over comments supporting eugenics. Around the same time, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins best known for his book The Selfish Gene provoked controversy when tweeting that, while eugenics is morally deplorable, it would work.

Eugenics can be described as the science and practice of improving the human race through the selection of good hereditary traits. Eugenics inevitably brings to mind the atrocities committed by the Nazis, who used eugenic ideology as the rationale for large-scale forced sterilisation, involuntary euthanasia and the Holocaust. Given this sinister history, its bound to be alarming when government officials endorse eugenic ideas.

The eugenics movement of the past has been thoroughly discredited on both moral and scientific grounds. But questions about the ethics of genetically improving humans remain relevant.

The emergence of new genetic technologies often prompts renewed debate. Can eugenic ideas about improving the human race be divorced from the evils of the past and pursued through benign means? Or is there something inherently morally problematic about the idea of genetically improving humans?

A new, morally responsible eugenics may well be defensible, and new genetic technologies must be assessed on their own terms. But we also need to consider the broader political context. If the betterment of individual traits were to be presented as a key strategy to improve human welfare, this would look very much like the individualisation of social problems that was such a central feature of the old eugenics.

The father of the eugenics movement was the English explorer and scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911). Influenced by his cousin Charles Darwins work The Origin of Species, Galton was interested in ideas about the heritability of different traits. He was particularly interested in the heritability of intelligence and how to increase societys diminished stock of talent and character. He also believed that social problems such as poverty, vagrancy and crime were ultimately caused by the inheritance of degenerate traits from parent to child.

Galton embarked on an ambitious research programme with the explicit goal to improve human stock through selective human breeding. In 1883 he named this research programme eugenics, meaning good in birth.

Galtons ideas quickly became influential and were widely embraced, first in Britain but subsequently in many other countries, including the US, Germany, Brazil and Scandinavia. At a time coloured by widespread concerns about the state of the nation, lack of social progress and the degeneration of the population, Galtons ideas inspired a popular movement for social reform through selective human reproduction.

The first half of the 20th century saw the enactment of a variety of eugenic policies. Positive eugenics focused on encouraging those of good stock to reproduce, such as through the fitter family contests put on across the US. Negative eugenics involved discouraging or preventing reproduction among those deemed unfit, such as the poor, criminals or the feeble-minded, predominantly by coercive means.

Eugenics is often equated with Nazi atrocities, but many other brutal acts were committed in its name, usually targeting disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, such as the poor, disabled and ill. As part of the negative eugenic effort, forced sterilisation was conducted on a large scale, not only in Nazi Germany but also in the Scandinavian countries (in Sweden, this practice continued until the 1970s) and in the US (where it was revealed that involuntary sterilisation of female prisoners occurred as late as 2010). The US combined eugenic ideology with ideas about racial hierarchy and applied eugenic thinking to immigration. This led to the passing of the 1924 Immigration Restriction Act in order to curb the entry of inferior ethnic groups.

After the second world war and the exposure of the Nazi regimes atrocities, eugenics fell out of favour. But worries about eugenics often resurface with the introduction of new genetic technologies that allow us to improve humans in some way, most notably gene editing, such as CRISPR-Cas9, and reproductive technologies, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Reproductive technologies mainly help prospective parents to have children free from genetically based disabilities and disorders, but as our knowledge of the human genome advances, the range of traits we may be able to select away or select for will probably increase, prompting fears of designer babies.

Such technologies are sometimes labelled eugenic by sceptics as a means to discredit them. Arguments then ensue about whether these technologies represent a form of old eugenics and are therefore unethical, or whether they represent a new, benign form of eugenics. Questions about the ethics of genetic technologies and the new eugenics are far from settled.

But even if our ethical analysis should deem such new genetic technologies permissible, it would be disingenuous to present these technological advances as solutions to complex problems such as poverty, unemployment, or poor physical or mental health. We should be wary of biological determinist narratives that blame various forms of disadvantage on individual traits, without acknowledging the importance of social and political factors. This kind of thinking is very much in line with the old eugenics.

We are right to be worried when government officials endorse eugenic ideas. It is reassuring that Sabiskys comments provoked such outrage and that he was forced to resign. But in some respects, in the current age of austerity policies, the individualisation of social problems is an all too familiar theme.

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