Skip to comments.Eugenics Revisited
Posted on 06/25/2014 3:37:38 AM PDT by markomalley
Let us stipulate that Jessie Lee Herald is not a paragon of self-restraint. Herald, age 27, lately on trial for child endangerment and other charges in northern Virginia, has seven children by six women probably. Heralds uncle admits that his nephew likely does not know the full extent of his progeny. Still, irresponsible and virile as he may be, the plea deal he just reached with Shenandoah County prosecutors should raise an eyebrow: In exchange for a reduced prison term, Herald has agreed to get a vasectomy.
The United States, as the Associated Press notes, has a dark history of forced sterilization, in which Virginia took a leading role. In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Virginia statute permitting compulsory sterilization of inmates of institutions supported by the State who shall be found to be afflicted with an hereditary form of insanity or imbecility. Carrie Buck, 18 years old at the time of trial, the daughter of a feeble-minded white woman in the same institution, and the mother of an illegitimate feeble-minded child, in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmess summary description, was duly sterilized. Although compulsory sterilization had become largely taboo by the end of the 1970s, Buck v. Bell has never been overturned.
Heralds case, of course, is different. His vasectomy, far from being the state-imposed sentence of a mental deficient with hereditary idiocy, is a bargaining chip accepted with full freedom and in full knowledge. Herald has the option, and he does not mind swapping his fertility for prison time. No harm, no foul, surely.
The problem, predictably enough, is the government. If Herald wants to undergo the procedure for his own purposes, best wishes. Half a million men make that decision every year. What is perverse is the local prosecutors incentivizing sterilization by tying it to a reduced prison sentence. And thats before looking closely at the rationale.
In his decision for the 81 majority in Buck v. Bell, Holmes wrote:
We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.
While Holmes conveniently neglected to consider the disturbing philosophical premises on which his argument is based, perhaps we can extend him at least this grace: Like much bad law, his opinion is in large part the result of bad science. If you believe that every imperfection admits of being snipped and sliced away, the impulse to snip off a bloodline is at least understandable, if not ultimately defensible. But the simplistic biology of the 20th-century eugenics movement has been superseded. The apple may not fall far from the tree, but only imbeciles still promote the notion of hereditary imbecility.
Well, imbeciles and eugenicists. A more sinister reading of Holmes and his ilk suggests that, for them, the powers the thing, whatever the science. There exist in a society the manifestly unfit; eliminate them, and the whole stock of society goes up.
Shenandoah County prosecutors have both channeled and updated this latter Holmes. Theirs is not a case of concern for the public good predicated on scientific premises; it is blatant social engineering, a local prosecutors preference for more of this person and less of that one and, in 21st-century fashion, all purportedly done for the children: [Herald] needs to be able to support the children he already has when he gets out, assistant prosecutor Ilona White told the Associated Press. Agreed but removing his ability to procreate has nothing whatsoever to do with that goal. Is a bad father of nine worse than a bad father of seven? Only in the eyes of the state, for whom additional children of Jessie Lee Herald and those like him are apparently nothing more than a potential drain on the treasury. Heralds sterilization is not in the interest of Herald or his in potentia offspring; it is in the interest of the states bank account.
What is more, by offering sterilization as an alternative to prison time, the prosecutors have dangerously expanded their own power. They have moved from seeking a lawful punishment that fits the crime to designating a heretofore unknown crime: fatherhood.
Yet exactly that move lies at the bottom of all eugenics. Procreation is the problem, and sterilization is the solution, offered by those who know infallibly who should be allowed to reproduce and who should not. But procreation is not a crime. It may be, as it certainly is for Jessie Lee Herald, irresponsible, uncaring, or unwise, but it is not criminal. What power will be left to us, though, if we allow the government to punish it as such?
Ian Tuttle is a William F. Buckley Jr. journalism fellow at the National Review Institute.
And that, my FRiends, is not too far from the eugenics exercises done by Progressives (leftists) in the first half of the 20th Century, culminating in ((redacted to prevent invocation of Godwin's Law))
He wasn’t downloading these kids by himself. This is one area libturds don’t want to venture into “root causes”. It is immorality and irresponsibility. Two words like Holy Water and sunshine is to vampires for libturds.
sex is for marriage
Dammit, you made me look up Godwin’s Law. Pretty funny, (for others) - the longer an Internet discussion goes, the more likely it is to degenerate into someone being called a Nazi.
Well, I don’t agree with it. I agree more with Rush’s definition line: “How do you know when you’ve won an argument with a liberal? - When he calls you a Nazi.”
Any woman who would have sex with this deadbeat is still going to get pregnant, just with another deadbeat.
My point exactly. When will we decide our compassion has been abused enough. We MUST stop letting libturds abuse us. We must end this abuse of charity.
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Eugenics never went away. They just started calling it ‘family planning’.
This guy prolly has numerous std’s since condom use is something he didn’t practice. Frankly, I don’t think this plea deal is right since he’s not raping women they volunteer to become pregnant while likely knowing all about his history.
Man, through misguided compassion, has rebuked Nature's (God's) wisdom to the long term detriment of the species.
If it were up to me, I would pay female welfare recipients, and pay them well, to get Norplants. Cash money!
“Theirs is not a case of concern for the public good predicated on scientific premises; it is blatant social engineering”
Umm, no it’s not. What Washington has foisted on us for decades-taking money from those who would work (while refraining from having as many children) and giving it to those who would rather have children they can’t afford- THAT’S social engineering. Generational welfare dependence of an ever-growing and demanding underclass feeding off of an ever-dwindling working class will be the death of this nation.
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It shows how wealthy this country actually is because we sponsor a large pct. of the population who cost us anywhere from half a trillion or more yearly in welfare and/or the criminal system to take care of them. And you’re correct...their numbers are growing.
If it were up to me, I would pay female welfare recipients, and pay them well, to get Norplants. Cash money!
Just stop paying them to have children - take away the EBT cards and other freebies - and watch the problems go away.
A simpler solution would be to require every female from 14 to 44 in a household getting TANF, SNAP, Section 8 or SSDI to get a Norplant, IUD or regular Depo Provera injections (every 3 months). When you are off all welfare, you can stop or take out the contraception.
This prevents multi-generation welfare use via teen pregnancy.
It is a low cost solution to those women on welfare who have another baby when the youngest is about to start school so they don’t have to work.
It reduces Medicaid costs for children.
It encourages marriage to a man who can support his children.
It encourages those on welfare to get a job and otherwise get off welfare if they want a family.
Hey, that sounds RACIST!
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I agree 100%. Once the government decides who is worthy of procreating, it's a very small step to deciding who is worthy to get born, and who is worthy to live. As reprehensible as this "father" is, a vasectomy is not the solution, it is merely another step in government tyranny which leads to extermination of "undesirables". There are other solutions, here are a few ideas:
NO WELFARE. None, not a penny. Any and all charity should be as local as possible, and voluntary. If a town or county VOTES to have a "poor farm", let them. Other than that, it should be church or other private organizations. Such very local and/or private charity can be run with rules - no drinking, no drugs, work exchange, etc.
I guarantee with no welfare, women would stop breeding like sluts. And many prison sentences should be replaced by public caning. Of course a man can't support his children while in prison, but after a short recuperation from the caning, he can work.
Other thoughts welcome. If people think I'm harsh, and that women should be paid to pop out illegitimate children, such a viewpoint is based on sentimentality and a big part of the problem.
Aha, double ping. S’okay.
More forced sterilization. The obvious solution is to stop the TANF, SNAP, Section 8 or SSDI. Why do you want other peoples’ tax money to support people who refuse to work?
Why don't I make it a triple?
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It isn’t forced sterilization - when Norplant comes out, you can have more kids.
Lot’s worthless filthy daughters brought us the House of David and begetted all the way to the birth of Jesus. God works in mysterious ways...
Sometimes, sometimes now. Once you start mucking about with the human body, results are unpredictable. But that's okay, becasue Medicaid will pay for your infertility treatment. All that taxpayer money saved!
The federal government has no business messing with anyone’s fertility one way or another. Just another unconstitutional fake “cure” for a problem which is not in their listed duties or responsilibities.
The only reasonable thing for the government to do about out-of-wedlock births is reduce the financial incentive. Efforts in England have shown that even the least educated and least moral-minded have sufficient rationality to calculate, “I’m going to lose money on this.”
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Vasectomy? Why not just take a page from Cheech and Chong—have the bailiff whack his...?