Friday, September 5, 2008

Eugenics Quotes: From lofty ideals to centralized population control and mass death

Here’s a collection of eugenics quotes– from as far back as 520 B.C. (the ideas are clearly age-old) up through the golden age of Eugencis-proper (from about 1883 through WWII), and up to the present date, where futurists, transhumanists and government policy makers look to an age where race-specific weapons are possible and mass death is conceivable and desirable for some of those in control.

With respect to those who may find the eugenics promise of better, faster, stronger, more human-than-human and the end of disease and handicaps to be appealing, I put forward (as a working thesis, if you will), that the drawbacks and excesses of eugenics as we’ve already seen it unfold should caution any promotion or endorsement.

Eugenics has been promoted not as a general philosophy of man, but inherently as a system of state control– where reproduction must be guided by "wisemen" of one brand or another. This system leads, ultimately, again and again to control by elites who seek god-like powers (oftentimes in those very words)– and total social control will almost always guide its directives and oversee its moral judgments– making the betterment of the many over the elite few impossible.

This is true not only in the excesses of the Nazi Germany– an obvious extreme, but in the would-be ideals of H.G. Wells (a la his 1905 Modern Utopia), the sometimes practical, sometimes overtly controlling eugenical policies in the USA, England and elsewhere in the first third of the 20th century– and the same perils of total control threaten us in the might-be ideals of meg lo-maniacal elites of the transhumanist camp– most who envision a man transformed, and some who envision the power of a god to kill the many.

Thus, what I oppose is not the hope for a better man, but the repetition of a vicious cycle of elite control and systematic death– surely a far cry from the ideals we were asked to hope for in the promises of sciences & the state– but connected, undoubtedly, to the controls over the direction of humanity as he moves ever forward towards the future.


EUGENICS QUOTES (By no means exhaustive)

"Ram, ass, and horse, my Kyrnos, we look over
With care, and seek good stock for good to cover;
And yet the best men make no argument,
But wed, for money, runts of poor descent.
So too a woman will demean her state
And spurn the better for the richer mate.
Money’s the cry. Good stock to bad is wed
And bad to good, till all the world’s cross-bred.
No wonder if the country’s breed declines-
Mixed metal, Kyrnos, that but dimly shines."
Theognis of Megara on eugenics and dysgenics, circa 520 B.C.

"Men are generally more careful of the breed of their horses and dogs than of their children."
- William Penn. Some fruits of solitude, in reflections and maxims relating to the conduct of human life. 1693

"It does not, however, seem impossible that by an attention to breed, a certain degree of improvement, similar to that among animals, might take place among men. Whether intellect could be communicated may be a matter of doubt: but size, strength, beauty, complexion, and perhaps even longevity are in a degree transmissible… As the human race could not be improved in this way, without condemning all the bad specimens to celibacy, it is not probable, that an attention to breed should ever become general."
- Thomas R. Malthus. An Essay on Population. 1798

"Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally."
- Francis Galton, first cousin and associate of Charles Darwin, circa 1883

"What nature does blindly, slowly and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction."
- Sir Francis Galton (1905)

"Galton’s eccentric, sceptical, observing, flashing, cavalry-leader type of mind led him eventually to become the founder of the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists, namely eugenics."
- John Maynard Keynes. Eugenics Review. 1946

"Natural selection must be replaced by eugenical artificial selection. This idea constitutes the sound core of eugenics, the applied science of human betterment."
- Theodosius Dobzhansky. Heredity and the Nature of Man. 1964

"…impregnation will be regarded in an entirely different manner, more in the light of a surgical operation, so that it will be thought not ladylike to have it performed in the natural manner."
- Bertrand Russell. The Scientific Outlook. 1972

"There is no permanent status quo in nature; all is the process of adjustment and readjustment, or else eventual failure. But man is the first being yet evolved on earth which has the power to note this changefulness, and, if he will, to turn it to his own advantage, to work out genetic methods, eugenic ideas, yes, to invent new characteristics, organs, and biological systems that will work out to further the interests, the happiness, the glory of the God-like being whose meager foreshadowings we the present ailing creatures are."
- Herrman J. Muller, 1935 (an associate of Sir Julian Huxley)

"The first century or two of the new millennium will almost certainly be a golden age for Eugenics. Through application of new genetic knowledge and reproductive technologies…the major change will be to mankind itself…[T]echniques…such as…genetic manipulations are not yet efficient enough to be unquestionably suitable in therapeutic and eugenic application for humans. But with the pace of research it is surely only a matter of time, and a short time at that."
- Glayde Whitney, Reproduction Technology for a New Eugenics, paper for The Galton Institute conference Man and Society in the New Millennium, September 1999

"There is NO DENYING the natural world would be a better place without people - ALL people! Not a selective bunch. Get it straight."
- Rebecca Calisi, student of Eric Pianka

"In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it is just as bad not to say it."
- Jacques Cousteau, 1991 UNESCO courier

"Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind…. Any group of farmers who permitted their best stock not to breed, and let all the increase come from the worst stock, would be treated as fit inmates for an asylum…. Some day we will realize that the prime duty, the inescapable duty of the good citizens of the right type is to leave his or her blood behind him in the world; and that we have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type. The great problem of civilization is to secure a relative increase of the valuable as compared with the less valuable or noxious elements in the population… The problem cannot be met unless we give full consideration to the immense influence of heredity…"
- Theodore Roosevelt to Charles B. Davenport, January 3, 1913, Charles B. Davenport Papers, Department of Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

"I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding; and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done. Criminals should be sterilized and feebleminded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them… The emphasis should be laid on getting desirable people to breed…"
-Roosevelt, “Twisted Eugenics,” in The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, op. cit., National Edition, XII, p. 201.

"Political unification in some sort of world government will be required… Even though… any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable."
- Sir Julian Huxley, UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy.

“I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing… War… has hitherto been disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological war may prove more effective. If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full… The state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of that? Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other people’s… There are three ways of securing a society that shall be stable as regards population. The first is that of birth control, the second that of infanticide or really destructive wars, and the third that of general misery except for a powerful minority…”

"Problem-makers reproduce in greater percentage than problem-solvers, and in so doing cause the decline of civilization… In short, if capable, intelligent people had most babies, society would see its problems and solve them."
- Elmer Pendell, from Sex Versus Civilization, 1967

"Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is electing to transcend…One-fourth is ready to so choose, given the example of one other…One-fourth is resistant to election. They are unattracted by life ever-evolving. One-fourth is destructive. They are born angry with God…They are defective seeds…There have always been defective seeds. In the past they were permitted to die a ‘natural death’…We, the elders, have been patiently waiting until the very last moment before the quantum transformation, to take action to cut out this corrupted and corrupting element in the body of humanity. It is like watching a cancer grow…Now, as we approach the quantum shift from creature-human to co-creative human—the human who is an inheritor of god-like powers—the destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body. We have no choice, dearly beloveds. Fortunately you, dearly beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death. We come to bring death to those who are unable to know God…The riders of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful period in the history of humanity…"
- Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard (who wanted to create a Dept. of Peace)

"There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toeffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races; and others are designing some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy specific crops. Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts, and that’s why this is so important."
- Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, April 28, 1997, Testimony before Congressional Committee

“And advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”
- The Project for a New American Century, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, p. 60

"IN THE 1920s and 1930s, scientists from both the political left and right would not have found the idea of designer babies particularly dangerous - though of course they would not have used that phrase. Today, I suspect that the idea is too dangerous for comfortable discussion, and my conjecture is that Adolf Hitler is responsible for the change.

Nobody wants to be caught agreeing with that monster, even in a single particular. The spectre of Hitler has led some scientists to stray from "ought" to "is" and deny that breeding for human qualities is even possible. But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability? Objections such as "these are not one-dimensional abilities" apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice.

I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler’s death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn’t the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?"
- Richard Dawkins

MARGARET SANGER QUOTES, Founder of the Birth Control League (which later became Planned Parenthood)

"No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child… without a permit for parenthood."
- Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) in her proposed The American Baby Code, intended to become law.

"The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."
- Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.

"Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
- Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

"Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need … We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock."
- Margaret Sanger, April 1933 Birth Control Review.

"Eugenics is … the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems."
- Margaret Sanger. "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda." Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5.

"Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives."
[no source available at this time...]

"As an advocate of birth control I wish … to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit,’ admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation…. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."
- Margaret Sanger. "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda." Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5.

"The campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics."
- Margaret Sanger. "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda." Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5.

"Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all."
- Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Chapter on "The Cruelty of Charity," pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition.

"The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind."
- Margaret Sanger, quoted in Charles Valenza. "Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?" Family Planning Perspectives, January-February 1985, page 44.

"Give dysgenic groups [people with 'bad genes'] in our population their choice of segregation or [compulsory] sterilization."
- Margaret Sanger, April 1932 Birth Control Review.

"As we celebrate the 100th birthday of Margaret Sanger, our outrageous and our courageous leader, we will probably find a number of areas in which we may find more about Margaret Sanger than we thought we wanted to know…"
- Faye Wattleton, Past-president of Planned Parenthood

Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood, proposed the Population Congress with the aim, "…to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization."



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