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War on the Weak. Eugenics in America

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Mr7134, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Mr7134

    Mr7134 Member

    A pretty interesting video.

  2. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    But I thought everyone got ice cream!
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting, but a few things rubbed me wrong, particularly the statement that eugenic ideas and forced sterilization laws led to Nazi ideas, and they just ran with our policy and "made it more efficient. What the Nazi's did should be solely attributed to the Nazis.

    First, eugenics had a much longer history than that. The ideas date back to the 1800s, at least, with Douglas Galton, who was not American, but British, and was knighted for his work, some of which reads horrifyingly today. Secondly, America had a sad history in the early 1900s with some of that state legislation that was passed, but by the time Adolph Hitler came to power, maybe a few thousand people in America had gone through forced sterilization (not genocide, forced sterilization). That in itself is horrible, but taking that fact and saying it led to a mass genocide of between 5 and 10 million people, really deflects responsibility for the Holocaust. We didn't practice genocide in the U.S., and the numbers affected by U.S. policy relative to the Holocaust are minuscule. Lastly, even though a bunch of U.S. states passed forced sterilization laws (many of which are still on the books, but have never been used), the U.S. was not alone. Australia had laws that forcefully broke up aboriginal families, by removing the children. A few Canadian provinces enacted sterilization laws, at the same time the U.S. did, and used IQ tests to determine who got sterilized. The Japanese had laws, and informally practiced forced sterilization on those they deemed inferior. Sweden had forced sterilization laws somewhere in there.

    That video makes it seem as if the U.S. was working on its own and was a leader in that movement, when those ideas were being promulgated worldwide, with many of the "scientists" pushing those ideas, were outside the U.S. And the U.S. was not the only place to turn it into policy. And even if you look at all of the forced-sterilization that occurred in the world in the first half of the 20th Century, I don't see how you can make a statement like, "Nazi Germany embraced the eugenics movement from the United States and just upped its efficiency." That is a moral equivalency where you are taking something repugnant (ideas about Eugenics, which led to a few thousand sterilizations over a few decades) and saying it created the Holocaust -- millions slaughtered. It also ignores the fact that the U.S. wasn't the only place ideas about Eugenics grew or became active policy in places. What the Nazi's did was a whole different kind of evil, whose responsibility rests on the shoulders of the people who perpetrated it.

    That rubbed me a bit wrong.
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