Skip to comments.Carrie Buck and the old eugenics, Alfie Evans and the new eugenics
Posted on 05/03/2018 11:36:29 AM PDT by Morgana
About once a week my search for Today in History turns up a reminder, positive or negative, of something that pro-lifers should carefully ponder.
Ninety one years ago today, in Buck v. Bell, the United States Supreme Court upheld a Virginia law that allowed the forced sterilization of people to promote the health of the patient and the welfare of society.
Specifically, the 8-1 decision, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes permitted an innocent woman by the name of Carrie Buck to be involuntarily sterilized.
Carrie Bucks crime?
She was supposedly feeble-minded. As Social Darwinist Justice Holmes pronounced, in one of the ugliest declarations ever from our nations highest court, Three generations of imbeciles are enough, referring to Carrie, her mother, and her infant daughter.
Two years ago the Washington Posts Charles Lane reviewed Adam Cohen then new book, Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck.
As Cohen shows, everything had to go wrong in the legal system to produce this horror, and everything did, starting with a crooked local process that declared Buck intellectually inferior based on her out-of-wedlock pregnancy an indicator, state doctors averred, of promiscuity, which connoted feeblemindedness.
In fact, she had been raped by her foster parents nephew; the couple then sought to cure this embarrassment by having Buck sent away to the state colony for her kind.
There is a particular poignancy that the anniversary of the Buck v. Bell, decision should come just a few days after the death of 23-month-old Alfie Evans. The elite in Great Britainthe trial judge, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and, of course, the heralded Alder Hey Childrens Hospitalall concluded Alfie Evans was better off dead.
(His parents wishes counted for absolutely nothing. They could not even persuade the hospital to allow Alfie to die at home.)
Of course, they were too adroit to put it that baldly. Rather maintaining Alfie on his ventilator [removal which virtual guaranteed he would die] was not in his best interest.
Mr. Justice Hayden, the trial judge, went further. He announced that if they did not take Alfie off his ventilator, it could compromise his future dignity.
The connection to Carrie Buck and American Eugenics? Lane wrote
At its peak, in the years before, during and just after World War I, the pseudo-science of eugenics was a national fad, almost a mania.
Advocates were not only or even especially right wing; state sterilization laws emerged first in the North and West, and many progressives embraced racial hygiene along with pure food and drug laws or urban sanitation.
Actually The right wing was not the driving force behind eugenics at all, as Wesley J. Smith explained. Progressives were, and those in the ruling class:
Indeed, the progressive elite and ruling class of the era almost unanimously and enthusiastically embraced the pernicious notion with authoritarian zeal that human beings could be invidiously divided between the so-called fit and unfit.
Eugenics was also that eras scientific consensus. Those who opposed it were branded as anti-progress, perhaps even, anti-science.
We see similar agendas at work today; in the sex selection and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis practiced in the assisted reproductive industry; transhumanisms push for developing post human genetic enhancement technologies, eugenic abortion of fetuses testing positive for Down syndrome and dwarfism, the push for infanticide of babies born with disabilities, among other supposedly progressive causes.
Wesley said it all in his conclusion:
These new eugenics ideas will end up as tyrannical as the original version was. Heres why: All eugenicsnew and oldspring from the same toxic welldenial of human exceptionalism and the intrinsic and equal dignity of each and every one of us.
Once that dark vision is embraced, the weak come into mortal danger.
Sadly, there are some FReepers who are totally ok with this.
“Sadly, there are some FReepers who are totally okay with this.”
As witnessed by the scarcity of comments about right to life issues.
Until they come for you.
The Hangman, by Maurice Ogden
Color slide show with jazz music.