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Eugenics and Genetics: The Missing Link
LiveActionNews ^ | 5/28/12 | Robert Jones

Posted on 05/28/2012 10:44:16 AM PDT by wagglebee

In my previous column, I reviewed Kira Peikoff’s recently released novel, Living Proof. The heroine of the book, Dr. Arianna Drake, is a geneticist who runs a fertility clinic. Reading through the book, a word from out of the past jumped off the page at me, on page 73. That word was “eugenics.” (That Peikoff even used the word at least shows that she understands pro-lifers are familiar with the term, and use it in their arguments).

A century ago, eugenics – the “scientific” engineering of a master race, created both by the commingling of men and women possessing “superior germ-plasm,” and the forcible sterilization of “the unfit” (which included everyone from “mental defectives,” to the blind, deaf, “human weeds,” “reckless breeders,” and “moral degenerates”) – was all the rage.

While today, we as a society have the politically correct tendency to couch birth control and abortion in euphemisms such as “women’s reproductive rights,” in 1919 Margaret Sanger – the founder of Planned Parenthood – made no bones about her intentions: “More children from the fit, less from the unfit – that is the chief aim of birth control.”Sanger had no personal qualms against abortion, but largely kept these sympathies under wraps for the tactical purpose of getting birth control legalized by claiming using birth control prevented abortions.

Through eugenics, Sanger concocted Planned Parenthood’s ‘Negro Project,’ covertly designed to decrease the black population, by promoting ‘responsible’ birth control among poor blacks. Despite her fanaticism – which included speaking at Klan rallies – Sanger was not regarded as a crackpot in her own time. Far from it. Major philanthropic organizations put their money behind the eugenics push in the early twentieth century: The Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune endowed “race science” departments in such prestigious American universities as Princeton, Stanford, Harvard and Yale.

In 1904, Carnegie money was behind the founding of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, New York, an eugenics outfit in which research was conducted, and from which “researchers” were sent into the field, to systematically catalog the genetic histories of families all across America. Sanger and her allies pressured Congress and state legislatures to legalize birth control and pass acts for mandatorily sterilizing “the unfit” in thirty-three U.S. states. By 1981, when the last mandatory sterilization was performed, in Oregon, more than 65,000 American citizens had been forced to go under the knife, and forever lose hope of having their own children.

In 1920s Weimar Germany, rabble-rouser and agitator Adolf Hitler fell under eugenics’ spell. What nearly everybody the world over knows as the Nazi Holocaust under Hitler’s regime during World War II is known only to a precious few for what it was, in Hitler’s eyes: The Germans’ program of euthanasia, sterilization, and extermination was regarded as perfecting the eugenics programs first begun in the United States. Only during the past decade, with the publication of Edwin Black’s detailed history of the eugenics movement and its implementation in most of the Western world in the early twentieth century, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (New York: Basic Books, 2003, 608 pp.), are people even aware of what eugenics is.

If eugenics was a bizarre but popular movement whose excesses got out of hand, ending up in the extermination of nearly seven million people – but has happily been buried in the distant past – why impute to scientists of today its evils? The answer is: Because eugenics never really went away.

In fact, the worst public relations nightmare for the eugenics movement – the Holocaust – turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to it. When word started leaking out of Nazi Germany about the horrors going on in the death camps of Dachau, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, the eugenics movement quietly began scrubbing clean its own name out of popular usage. By the late 1940s and early 1950s, eugenics had gone down the memory hole, no longer on the tongues of average American. It was as though the word “eugenics” had never even existed. It had been quietly and subtly replaced with a sanitized term, free of Nazi SS baggage: “Genetics.” The American people – indeed, the public the world over – were completely unaware of the switcheroo that had been pulled on them.

Which brings us back to Peikoff’s novel. Its topic is embryonic stem cell research, and how Christian (mainly Catholic) theologians take over future America and impose their anti-man ideology on the whole nation by placing frozen embryos off-limits to research and regenerative medicine.

But, Peikoff’s cell biologist heroes are not “eugenists” – their particular avocation is genetics. Am I suggesting that Peikoff is a Nazi, or would advocate the atrocities of the Third Reich, and the scourge of forced sterilization (as well as forced commitment in insane asylums for many citizens judged unfit by eugenics’ standards)? Not at all. For one, Kira Peikoff comes from a Russian-Jewish family. For another, reading Living Proof, it is clear that Peikoff is opposed to the intrusion of the state into people’s lives. As tragically mistaken as Peikoff is as to who deserves to have the title of “person” bestowed upon them, it is clear that she would more than likely speak out against such patent violations of human rights and civil liberties of the rest of us deemed “actual” persons.

So, why even bring up eugenics? Isn’t it unfair to impute to the majority of geneticists – beginning with Watson and Crick – the horrors and atrocities of Sanger and Mengele?

Countless advances in medicine have been achieved under the auspices of genetic research. It would be counterproductive to contend that, as eugenics has morphed into the more respectable field of genetics, that it has not become more civil and compassionate, and less barbaric and callous. After all, surgery was once the province of barbers, and their favored procedure was bloodletting. Certainly, we do not thinking of today’s surgeons as butchers with no little training, if any.

The point is that using the word “eugenics” clarifies exactly what we are talking about. As Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying, “words mean things.” And, just as important as a word’s meaning is its origins. The word “surgery,” which has become more refined over the millennia, has never been in need of replacement. However, the word “genetics” began its relatively recent life as a euphemism – a convenient rug, under which the ethical difficulties of its predecessor could be swept.

With the harvesting of human embryos for their stem cells, we are re-entering the cruel and inhumane world of eugenics once again, but without the taint of having the negative connotations that word implied. The field of genetics, after all, is above board, and is overlooked by scientists with degrees from our finest institutions. Nothing to see here, move along people.

The same arguments could have been – and were – used to defend the eugenics movement before World War II. There were ethical concerns with eugenics then, as there were with much done in the name of genetics today. American satirist and newspaperman H.L. Mencken, a “devout atheist” who defended the teaching of evolution in the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925, regarded eugenics’ science as mainly bunk, and its intended aim as the product of anti individualist atavism. In a similar vein, British essayist G.K. Chesterton saw the eugenics movement as one of elites, imposing their will on the great unwashed:

“The whole point of the Eugenic pseudo-scientific theories is that they are to be applied wholesale, by some more sweeping and generalizing money power than the individual husband or wife or household. Eugenics asserts that all men must be so stupid that they cannot manage their own affairs; and also so clever that they can manage each other’s.”

By ignoring, or dismissing, the history of the eugenics movement, and the ethical problems generated by it (that have not completely gone away by changing its name), Kira Peikoff is guilty of letting history repeat itself, because “geneticists” generations ago have willfully and consciously forgotten it. But, there are two other words that are crucial to understanding where Peikoff is coming from: “Potential” and “parasite.” We will revisit these in the next column.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ariannadrake; eugenics; euthanasia; kirapeikoff; livingproof; moralabsolutes; pages; prolife
In fact, the worst public relations nightmare for the eugenics movement – the Holocaust – turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to it. When word started leaking out of Nazi Germany about the horrors going on in the death camps of Dachau, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, the eugenics movement quietly began scrubbing clean its own name out of popular usage. By the late 1940s and early 1950s, eugenics had gone down the memory hole, no longer on the tongues of average American. It was as though the word “eugenics” had never even existed. It had been quietly and subtly replaced with a sanitized term, free of Nazi SS baggage: “Genetics.” The American people – indeed, the public the world over – were completely unaware of the switcheroo that had been pulled on them.

Exactly!

Eugenics is alive and well, it has simply been "rebranded" to make it more acceptable to the public.

1 posted on 05/28/2012 10:44:28 AM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser
Pro-Life Ping
2 posted on 05/28/2012 10:45:31 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; APatientMan; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

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3 posted on 05/28/2012 10:46:59 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

” Eugenics is alive and well, it has simply been “rebranded” to make it more acceptable to the public. “

Yep


4 posted on 05/28/2012 10:54:01 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: wagglebee

The Germans were great at engineering ‘perfect human bodies’.

However, the ‘mind’ is another thing.


5 posted on 05/28/2012 11:00:51 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: wagglebee
Required reading:


6 posted on 05/28/2012 11:07:17 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“I don’t want to punish anybody, but there are an extraordinary number of people who I might want to kill…I think it would be a good thing to make everybody come before a properly appointed board just as he might come before the income tax commissioner and say every 5 years or every 7 years…just put them there and say , ‘Sir or madam will you be kind enough to justify your existence…if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little bit more then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive. Because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.’”

-George Bernard Shaw


7 posted on 05/28/2012 11:21:18 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“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


8 posted on 05/28/2012 11:22:35 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee
Am I suggesting that Peikoff is a Nazi, or would advocate the atrocities of the Third Reich, and the scourge of forced sterilization (as well as forced commitment in insane asylums for many citizens judged unfit by eugenics’ standards)?

a petty thief isn't a mass murderer, either, but both are related by the practice of malice.

9 posted on 05/28/2012 11:23:16 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (they have no god but caesar)
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To: wagglebee

“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.


10 posted on 05/28/2012 11:23:33 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“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…”
- Bertrand Russell, THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE ON SOCIETY 1953


11 posted on 05/28/2012 11:24:33 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“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


12 posted on 05/28/2012 11:26:13 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“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.


13 posted on 05/28/2012 11:26:57 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“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.


14 posted on 05/28/2012 11:27:48 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: Jeff Chandler
The Shaw quote is one of the most horrifying ever.
15 posted on 05/28/2012 11:29:13 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

“The time has already come when each country needs a considered national policy about what size of population, whether larger or smaller than at present or the same, is most expedient. And having settled this policy, we must take steps to carry it into operation. The time may arrive a little later when the community as a whole must pay attention to the innate quality as well as to the mere numbers of its future members.”
John Maynard Keynes


16 posted on 05/28/2012 11:30:03 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“Every single case of inherited defect, every malformed child, every congenitally tainted human being brought into this world is of infinite importance to that poor individual; but it is of scarcely less importance to the rest of us and to all of our children who must pay in one way or another for these biological and racial mistakes.”
Margaret Sanger
The Pivot of Civilization


17 posted on 05/28/2012 11:30:53 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“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....Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Buck v. Bell (1927)
U.S. Supreme Court
May 2, 1927


18 posted on 05/28/2012 11:31:52 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee

“A prevention of the faculty and opportunity to procreate on the part of the physically degenerate and mentally sick, over the period of only six hundred years, would not only free humanity from an immeasurable misfortune, but would lead to a recovery which today seems scarcely conceivable.”
Adolf Hitler
Mein Kampf (English translation)


19 posted on 05/28/2012 11:32:43 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: wagglebee
The Shaw quote is one of the most horrifying ever.

This kind of thinking was standard Progressive fare in the first half of the 20th century. It was considered to be enlightened and scientific as opposed to reactionary and superstitious (religious). The Nazis and the Progressives admired one another and traded ideas back and forth. Just as the Progressives re-branded themselves, (ironic that they re-brand back to "Progressive" now that nobody remembers what it means), they re-branded their horrific eugenics philosophy.

20 posted on 05/28/2012 11:39:19 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: Jeff Chandler
Approximately 20 million Blacks have been murdered in abortuaries since 1973. In their most satanic dreams, monsters like Sanger and Hitler never imagined that Blacks would willingly bring their children to be killed in such numbers.
21 posted on 05/28/2012 11:42:30 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: the invisib1e hand

For “Russian Jewish”, read neo-Bolshevik, ready to kill her own kind.


22 posted on 05/28/2012 12:16:59 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: wagglebee

This is so punctuated with errors it is hard to know where to begin. To start with, the very definition of eugenics is in error.

It is based on the rudimentary understanding of genetics that began with Gregor Mendel in the 19th Century, combined with the farmer’s knowledge of how to improve plants and animals with selective breeding.

This meant two things: some horrific diseases were actually *inherited* from parents, and if people could figure out how and why, they might avoid having their children so cursed; and, as with farm animals, might it be possible to breed a better person? Smarter, stronger, faster, healthier, etc?

So, for example, in the 1920s, Germans were intensely interested in separated at birth identical twins, to try and find out deductively traits they had in common and traits their learned in their upbringing. Thus started the debate of “nature vs. nurture”, which continues today.

However, on top of this was the dark side of eugenics, that was even more widely embraced: that if you want to breed good people, you have to prevent bad people from breeding.

Almost every western nation embraced some form of this or another. It was just too easy to imagine eliminating from society people who were physically or mentally flawed, generally just sterilizing them so they couldn’t breed.

The latest most blatant example of this was in France, where the health authorities knew that the blood component needed by hemophiliacs was contaminated with HIV, but kept that information secret until almost every hemophiliac in the country was infected and died. Thus in a decade, they eliminated hemophilia from France.

They probably rationalized it as like the elimination of smallpox. “France is better without hemophilia.”

Yet the bottom line is the same for eugenics. That people might someday choose a mate based on their genetics, with the idea that their children will not be afflicted with inherited diseases, and that they might lead better lives.


23 posted on 05/28/2012 12:17:48 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: UCANSEE2

That was the whole point. Biology, impulse, instinct, and will were always more important to the Nazis than the mind.


24 posted on 05/28/2012 12:23:21 PM PDT by Olympiad Fisherman
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

The transition to confusing ‘eugenic’ farming of crops and domestic animals with ‘farming’ people largely goes back to Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), the father of German Social Darwinism. His books were widely read on both sides of the Atlantic that helped to fuel the rise of human eugenics. Haeckel was also the very man who coined the term ‘ecology’ in 1866 so that his evolutionary German Social Darwinism also got mixed up with the environmental movement as well. At the heart of the eugenic movement is a confusion of man and nature. Its emphasis upon racism and health comes out of this nature based ethos and paradigm.


25 posted on 05/28/2012 12:39:11 PM PDT by Olympiad Fisherman
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To: wagglebee

The Shaw quote is almost certainly satire, mocking the extremes of the Eugenics movement at the time. Shaw believed that people should be called before boards to justify their existence just as much as Swift believed the poor in Ireland should eat their children (that is to say, not at all). Whay Shaw failes to realize, however, was the fact that the “extremes” in fact dominated the eugenics movement


26 posted on 05/28/2012 12:40:56 PM PDT by Conscience of a Conservative
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To: wagglebee

Yep they now call it “Women’s reproductive rights” and make them believe it is for their own good and is good for them.Funny how the rates for breast cancer can be seen rising right after wide spread birth control pill usage began and again a few years after abortion became legal in 1973...bt don’t forget it is “healthy” and good for you!


27 posted on 05/28/2012 1:48:26 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: wagglebee

Yep they now call it “Women’s reproductive rights” and make them believe it is for their own good and is good for them.Funny how the rates for breast cancer can be seen rising right after wide spread birth control pill usage began and again a few years after abortion became legal in 1973...but don’t forget it is “healthy” and good for you!


28 posted on 05/28/2012 1:48:34 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Jeff Chandler

“I don’t want to punish anybody, but there are an extraordinary number of people who I might want to kill…I think it would be a good thing to make everybody come before a properly appointed board just as he might come before the income tax commissioner and say every 5 years or every 7 years…just put them there and say , ‘Sir or madam will you be kind enough to justify your existence…if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little bit more then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive. Because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.’”

-George Bernard Shaw

Those most enamored of communism/socialism are the least productive members of society who want those goodies that accrue to the most productive. Their agenda is detrimental to a productive society resulting in their attempt to hide that agenda by calling themselves progressives or liberals.

I Want to See the communist/socialist agenda Crushed. I want to see their political philosophy dead and discredited. I want to see those enamored of it eradicated from the media, from politics, from academic positions, from any position of power. I want to see the adherents of that dead and discredited idea in charge of nothing beyond a gandy stick and acknowledged for what they are.

As mentally challenged residents of small communities.

As perhaps some of you have discerned, I am attempting to be PC. My most base desire would be to hang everyone of the commies and if he wasn’t already dead I would start with George Bernard Shaw. Then continue with Peter Singer, that sick pile of crap at Princeton who advocates killing babies up to one year old. About a 200,000 long list.


29 posted on 05/28/2012 3:20:01 PM PDT by W. W. SMITH (Maybe the horse will learn to sing)
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To: W. W. SMITH

Did that put me in their ranks?


30 posted on 05/28/2012 3:32:37 PM PDT by W. W. SMITH (Maybe the horse will learn to sing)
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To: W. W. SMITH

You made me look up the definition of “gandy stick”.


31 posted on 05/28/2012 3:32:42 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Inner city violence has gotten out of hand. Our only hope is to pray to Saint Skittles.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

You made me look up the definition of “gandy stick”.

I never have.......Shovel.... right?


32 posted on 05/28/2012 7:27:31 PM PDT by W. W. SMITH (Maybe the horse will learn to sing)
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