Monday, July 30, 2012

How will socialism come?

Fabian Socialists believe in "the inevitability of gradualism", and "making haste, slowly". There is an active description of this. In a book titled "Hand and Brain", which is a symposium of socialist essays, George Bernard Shaw explains on page 107 in an essay titled "The Illusions of Socialism"(which starts on page 87)
At the other extremity you have the typical Fabian, who flatly declares that there will be no revolution; that there is no class war; that the wage earners are far more conventional, prejudiced, and "bourgeois" than the middle class; that there is not a single democratically constituted authority in England, including the House of Commons, that would not be much more progressive if it were not restrained by fear of the popular vote; that Karl Marx is no more infallible than Aristotle or Bacon, Ricardo or Buckle, and like them, made mistakes which are now plain to any undergraduate;

that a professed Socialist is neither better nor worse morally than a Liberal or Conservative, nor a working-man than a capitalist; that the working-man can alter the present system if he chooses, whereas the capitalist cannot because the working man will not let him; that it is perverse stupidity to declare in one breath that the working-classes are starved, degraded, and left in ignorance by a system which heaps victuals, education, and refinement on the capitalist, and to assume in the next that the capitalist is a narrow, sordid scoundrel, and the working-man a high minded, enlightened, magnanimous philanthropist; that Socialism will come by prosaic instalments of public regulation and public administration enacted by ordinary parliaments, vestries, municipalities, parish councils, school boards, and the like;

and that not one of these instalments will amount to a revolution. or will occupy a larger place in the political program of its day than a Factory Bill or a County Government Bill now does: all this meaning that the lot of the Socialist is to be one of dogged political drudgery, in conflict, not with the wicked machinations of the capitalist, but with the stupidity, the narrowness, in a word the idiocy (using the word in its precise and original meaning) of all classes, and especially of the class which suffers most by the existing system.

There are a lot of people out there who do not take the Fabians seriously, or Bernard Shaw, or any others who may be like them. Big mistake. Look at where we're at today.

James Madison said:

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

Madison was right. So too, was Ronald Reagan:

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property?

I hope my readers don't get tired of me using this portion of Reagan's "Time for Choosing", because it's just so dead on accurate.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is progressivism? Well, what is progress? Roger Baldwin explains

In his book "Civil liberties and industrial conflict"(1938), Roger Nash Baldwin, one of the founders of the ACLU has the following to say: (page 3) (Alt. Link)

For while civil liberties to speak, publish, and assemble may justly be regarded as desirable ends in themselves, they are also the means for non-violent progress.

While I have for almost twenty years been associated with a movement which defends without discrimination the liberties set forth in the Bill of Rights, I cannot escape a personal interpretation of the relation of liberty to economics. Many defenders of civil rights on principle are content to accept them without defining progress. I am not. My frame of reference requires a concept of progress. In general terms, it is the extension of the control of social institutions by progressively larger classes, until human society ultimately abolishes the violence of class conflict. The test of that progress lies in increasing freedom for the enrichment of individual life. Democracy and civil liberty are means to that end. So, too, is the organization of labor.

Wow. Anybody who's read Rules for Radicals can't help but observe the inner Alinsky that's on display here.

In order to understand what's written here, it's important to understand the code words used. When progressives talk about "democracy", they don't simply mean taking it to the voting booth, and the majority wins. It's a purely governmental thing. They do to a small degree, to be sure. But what they mean by "democracy" is socialism.

Woodrow Wilson, one of the most important figures in progressivism made this clear in an essay he wrote titled "Socialism and Democracy":

it is very clear that in fundamental theory socialism and democracy are almost if not quite one and the same. They both rest at bottom upon the absolute right of the community to determine its own destiny and that of its members. Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals.

As bad as that sounds, read the whole essay in the above link. It gets worse.

W.D.P. Bliss, who founded the Fabian Society here in America, also made it clear that democracy = socialism with his essay "Where Socialism was Tried". There's a nuance here to understand. Bliss is elaborating on where "socialism was tried", and note that he points to the very birthplace of democracy proper: Athens, Greece.

Baldwin himself made it clear what he meant by democracy:

To him this means "strong trade unions, government regulation of business, ownership by the people of industries that serve the public .... and the free organization of cooperatives of producers and consumers

He further explained his definition of "progressive" here:

And by "progressive" I mean the forces working for the democratization of industry by extending public ownership and control, which alone will abolish the power of the comparative few who own the wealth of the United States

See what I mean about the total bastardization of the word "democracy"? He(and most other progressives) doesn't mean it in the common/dictionary definition way that we understand it. The phrase "democratization of industry" is a key phrase. What does a ballot box, where you vote for your representatives, have to do with private industry? Well, nothing. Quite literally, it's a completely distinct concept, as separate as the fish in the sea. But not for progressives, who seek to put government in control of every aspect of your life.

Notice how he says it's about "extending public ownership and control", and it means "government regulation of business". Ok. So we've defined what he means by the code word "progress", and the code word "democracy".

What is progressivism then? I can sum it up in three words:

Progressivism is "Regulation, not socialism". (Richard Van Hise's words)

Here's a description from the great Ronaldus Magnus:

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property?

Now, I'm pretty sure everybody will agree with me that this paragraph can be summed up in one solitary word: regulation. They think they know how to regulate our lives better than we do.

In modern America, there are countless administrative entities which help formulate a myriad of regulations every day, completely invisible to the average voter. Congress passes laws, and the executive executes them. Why is Obamacare 2800 pages long? Because of all the regulation and all the expert boards and panels that will need to be set up in order to accomodate the law. So let's bring back the original quote and go through it:

For while civil liberties to speak, publish, and assemble may justly be regarded as desirable ends in themselves, they are also the means for non-violent progress.

Civil liberties are merely a means to an end. And what is the end? At every turn, watch the progressives. They continually push for bigger government. It never ends, bigger, and bigger, and no matter how big it's never big enough. Baldwin continues:

While I have for almost twenty years been associated with a movement which defends without discrimination the liberties set forth in the Bill of Rights, I cannot escape a personal interpretation of the relation of liberty to economics.

While it's not within the full scope of this posting, "the relation of liberty to economics" is profound, given that for so much of what the progressives say and do, "economics" is so often used as an excuse or a vehicle in order to enable the achievement of the goal. (again, recall Obamacare, and the {false}promises of money savings that were made during the push for it) Baldwin continues:

Many defenders of civil rights on principle are content to accept them without defining progress. I am not. My frame of reference requires a concept of progress. In general terms, it is the extension of the control of social institutions by progressively larger classes, until human society ultimately abolishes the violence of class conflict.

This is really the important part. Extending control of social institutions by larger classes. What he means is the working class. Those of you who have familiarized yourselves with marxist class ideology for a long time would've spotted this one from the outset. But this is bigger than that. He's saying "the democratization of industry" without actually using those words, control of industry is "passed on" from a smaller class(the bourgeois) to a larger class(the proletariat). The "democratization of industry" really gets at a whole host of progressive causes from redistribution of wealth, to the regulation of industry, and even to the unionization of it.(to a degree. Baldwin's explanations above which I quoted should make this clear)

When it comes to "the democratization of industry", it's hard not to hear the words of Theodore Roosevelt, when he says that "Our aim is to control business, not to strangle it". How would you control business without strangling it? Administrators. Passing regulations that dictate this way and that way as the "correct" ways to run the business. Keep in mind, Hise(quoted above) was an advisor to Theodore Roosevelt.

Even moreso, the "democratization of industry" can be found amongst the list of descriptors for "Political System X", where Stuart Chase(an FDR advisor) wrote this:

17. not much "taking over" of property or industries in the old socialistic sense. The formula appears to be control without ownership. it is interesting to recall that the same formula is used by the management of great corporations in depriving stockholders of power.

Control without ownership. How would you do that? Administrators. Passing regulations that dictate this way and that way as the "correct" ways to run the business. Paging Ronald Reagan here, paging President Reagan.

If when you go to vote, and your vote counts not just as a way to choose your representative, but it also counts as a way for you to decide how your local industry should function, then industry has been democratized. This is of course a completely alien concept to the Founding Fathers of America.(1776)

I should note the distinction between general regulations that actually serve a purpose, vs social regulations which are there for the purpose of advancing the cause of progressives. John Dewey made this clear. Baldwin continues:

The test of that progress lies in increasing freedom for the enrichment of individual life. Democracy and civil liberty are means to that end. So, too, is the organization of labor.

This would be easier to understand with the code word eliminated and replaced:

The test of that progress lies in increasing freedom for the enrichment of individual life. Democracy Socialism and civil liberty are means to that end. So, too, is the organization of labor.

Makes more sense now, doesn't it? It stands out to me that he says "individual life", as opposed to individuals in a more absolute sense. They're collectivists, they don't like individuals. These are the masterminds of the collective, and masterminds of all stripes(be they progressives, socialists, or any other) believe they know best how to run our lives, how best to centrally plan it all.

That's progressivism. It's administration. It's a form of centralized planning that seeks to remain invisible. How would you do that? Not with direct confiscation or appropriation, people would see that, that wouldn't be invisible.

Social regulations is how you would do it. Being as regulations are passed by administrative boards and panels of experts instead of by congress, rarely are they in the news. And when they are, they're almost never specifically enumerated point by point or as a list so that the voter is informed. Think you could name a social regulation in the Dodd-Frank bill? Think you could name ten regulations from it? Thirty? One hundred? How about Sarbanes-Oxley? Could you name a social regulation from it? Ten? Thirty? One hundred? Think you could name social regulations from the Department of Education? Ten? Thirty? One hundred? How about the EPA? The Department of Energy? The Department of Housing and Urban Development? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Here's a big one: Do you think you could name five social regulations that Cass Sunstein has directly changed? Just five? He wrote the book on nudging people, so how has the state nudged you today?

If you're now typing into google to find the answer, you've already swerved into the answer before you even get your first result. "I don't know". You're not supposed to know, that's the point. You can find regulations, to be sure, but it's not always easy. Besides, I didn't ask the question to get any specific answers(in the form of x regulation, y regulation, etc), I asked it to initiate a thought process of the degree to which we're being ruled over. And, it's all "invisible", in the sense that it's total control without appearing to be controlling. It's social regulation, for purposes of moral prophylaxis. Prophylaxis? That word means "disease prevention. But what's the disease? Free will. Hey, did you hear that Nanny Bloomberg wants to ban sugary drinks? See, after everything I just wrote, I can apply it to the real world and test it to see if it's accurate. Here's a news story about it. Here's another story. Notice the contrast between these two stories - from the first story:

Mr. Bloomberg has made public health one of the top priorities of his lengthy tenure, and has championed a series of aggressive regulations, including bans on smoking in restaurants and parks, a prohibition against artificial trans fat in restaurant food and a requirement for health inspection grades to be posted in restaurant windows.

Regulation? What are those regulations? They don't tell us, specifically and in detail. It's glossed over. From the second story:

Mayor Bloomberg, flexing the government’s regulatory muscle, has proposed legislation banning sugary beverages over 16 ounces in New York city’s restaurants, sports venues, movie theatres, deli’s, and street carts.

See. Bloomberg's mistake was proposing the legislation. This would've remained invisible if it would've remained within the realm of regulation.

This tale repeats, when you think about Cap and Trade. The legislation failed, so they're just regulating it via the EPA. Either way, energy prices need to "necessarily skyrocket".(Obama's words)

Obamacare, Cap and Trade EPA regulations, and Nanny Bloomberg. Step by step, inch by inch, they are making progress. This is how progressives are progressingamerica: It's social regulation, nameless faceless bureaucrats and administrators.

Did Theodore Roosevelt take "New Nationalism" from Herbert Croly?

It's long been known that Theodore Roosevelt was influenced by the book "The Promise of American Life", as well as Croly's other writings as he himself makes clear in the essay "Two Noteworthy Books on Democracy". What is questioned is to what degree, how it happened, and if the slogan "New Nationalism" itself is a direct lift.

On page 169 is where Croly uses the phrase.

In the New York Independent, the following is written: (Page 957, this was originally published in 1912)

The New Democracy resembles in some points Croly's "Promise of American Life," from which Colonel Roosevelt got the New Nationalism which he preached for a season.

Herbert Croly himself is unfortunately a forgotten figure in history. But for most conservatives, you will likely recognize the name "The New Republic", a magazine that is still in production to this day. Herbert Croly founded it. Herbert Croly's influence upon progressivism is profound. National Review had a series in 2009 titled "The Four Horsemen of Progressivism" in which they highlighted some of the founding fathers of progressivism, and Croly was one of the four. You can read the article on this blog, NRO has the article locked for subscribers only. It's title is "Herbert Croly’s American Bismarcks"

William Safire tells the following tale in his book "Safire's Political Dictionary" on page 467:

"The former president was stamping about Africa in 1910, bored and regretting not having sought a third term. His friend, Judge Learned Hand, sent him a book by Herbert Croly, The Promise of America, which differed from the Jeffersonian ideal of the least government being the best government, and restated and extended much of Roosevelt's own thought. On his return, TR invited Croly to tea in Oyster Bay and promptly took over the program; the phrase new nationalism probably came from Croly as well.

This seems to have credibility, as there's a letter out there from Learned Hand where he elaborates on this:(Alt. Link)

"I hope that you will find in it as comprehensive and progressive a statement of American Political ideas and ideals as I have found. I think that Croly has succeeded in stating more adequately than anyone else, - certainly of those writers whom I know, - the bases and prospective growth of the set of political ideas which can be fairly described as Neo-Hamilton, and whos promise is due more to you, as I believe, than to anyone else"

Ultimately, what's important to walk away with is this: the slogan itself is not as important as the programme, and it would be very hard, if not impossible, for anybody who's read all of Theodore Roosevelt's life and work(not just the fluffy good-time good feeling stuff) to walk away with anything other than one conclusion: Roosevelt was a big government guy, influenced by other big government guys.

Friday, July 27, 2012

John Adams: "equal rights" is not a blank check to redistribute wealth

Our founders wrote more on the issues of modern times than people perhaps realize. The words used are simply different, sometimes being more complex or sometimes outdated. In a letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote some things about John Jacques Rousseau and the distortions of reality that took place in the French Revolution: (in section III) (Alt. link)
That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has. This is as indubitable as a moral government in the universe. But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practised by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, by priests of the immortal Lama, or by the self-styled philosophers of the French revolution. For honor’s sake, Mr. Taylor, for truth and virtue’s sake, let American philosophers and politicians despise it.

Equal property and advantages through life; this is the exact opposite of what modern American progressives preach, where everything is equal in everybody's house. This is quite a stark difference between the Founding ideals of America and the corruption of progressive ideology. He goes quite far in detail, ripping into the false notions of the narrative of absolute equality:

I believe that none but Helvetius will affirm, that all children are born with equal genius.

None will pretend, that all are born of dispositions exactly alike,—of equal weight; equal strength; equal length; equal delicacy of nerves; equal elasticity of muscles; equal complexions; equal figure, grace, or beauty.

I have seen, in the Hospital of Foundlings, the “Enfans TrouvĂ©s,” at Paris, fifty babes in one room;—all under four days old; all in cradles alike; all nursed and attended alike; all dressed alike; all equally neat. I went from one end to the other of the whole row, and attentively observed all their countenances. And I never saw a greater variety, or more striking inequalities, in the streets of Paris or London. Some had every sign of grief, sorrow, and despair; others had joy and gayety in their faces. Some were sinking in the arms of death; others looked as if they might live to fourscore. Some were as ugly and others as beautiful, as children or adults ever are; these were stupid; those sensible. These were all born to equal rights, but to very different fortunes; to very different success and influence in life.

The world would not contain the books, if one should produce all the examples that reading and experience would furnish. One or two permit me to hint.

Will any man say, would Helvetius say, that all men are born equal in strength? Was Hercules no stronger than his neighbors? How many nations, for how many ages, have been governed by his strength, and by the reputation and renown of it by his posterity? If you have lately read Hume, Robertson or the Scottish Chiefs, let me ask you, if Sir William Wallace was no more than equal in strength to the average of Scotchmen? and whether Wallace could have done what he did without that extraordinary strength?

Will Helvetius or Rousseau say that all men and women are born equal in beauty? Will any philosopher say, that beauty has no influence in human society? If he does, let him read the histories of Eve, Judith, Helen, the fair Gabrielle, Diana of Poitiers, Pompadour, Du Barry, Susanna, Abigail, Lady Hamilton, Mrs. Clark, and a million others. Are not despots, monarchs, aristocrats, and democrats, equally liable to be seduced by beauty to confer favors and influence suffrages?

Certain parts of this writing threw me off, because he appears to be referring to himself in third person, but that is indeed how John Adams wrote it. Other parts he seems to be quoting himself as quoted by Mr. Taylor.

What President Adams wrote is pretty clear. These self styled "philosophers" who preach tyranny under a new disguise were perfectly transparent to him. The redistribution of wealth seeks to make everything equal in everybody's house, but there's a whole lot about humanity in which we are not born equal into, which cannot be redistributed. Only our rights are equal, everything else is up to us to make what we can of it.

In section VI, Adams writes this:

Will Mr. Taylor profess himself a downright leveller? Will he vote for a community of property? or an equal division of property? and a community of wives and women? He must introduce and establish both, before he can reduce all men to an equality of influence. It is, indeed, questionable, whether such laws would not produce greater inequalities than ever were seen in the world. These are not new projects, Mr. Taylor. They are not original inventions, or discoveries of philosophers of the eighteenth century. They were as familiar to Plato as they were to Helvetius or Condorcet. If I were a young man, I should like to write a romance, and send a hero upon his travels through such a levelling community of wives and wealth. It would be very edifying to record his observations on the opinions, principles, customs, institutions, and manners of this democratical republic and such a virtuous and happy age. But a gentleman whose mind is so active, studious, and contemplative as Mr. Taylor’s, must easily foresee, that some men must take care of the property of others, or it must perish with its owners; and that some men would have as many wives as Solomon, and others none at all.

At first, this may seem unclear. But Adams writing that the doctrines of levelling(an outdated term for wealth redistribution) would create an even greater inequality, is prescient. In the age we live today, we see just how damaging to society that wealth(levelling) redistribution is, and how empowering it is to tyrants and potential tyrants. Tyrannies are always unequal, even those that profess to be the most equal. We see this in all of the communist politboros of the third and first worlds. All the people are equal, but the leaders are even more equal and thus live lavish lifestyles.

Large portions of the Adams letter are devoted to the structure of government. It's a great read, if you have the time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama stimulus in 1931 - Herbert Hoover

Not too much to say about this, really. Just listen:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Hopefully this time, we've learned our lesson that stimulus doesn't work. We can't let the progressives erase history again, otherwise we will do stimulus again in the future.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yes, Herbert Hoover was a "government must do something" progressive

All the chatter that Herbert Hoover was a "hands off", "do nothing" kind of guy is simply false. Something that I've heard author Amity Shlaes repeately say about Hoover is that he liked to be the smartest guy in the room, and because he was an engineer, he might very well have been. This video explains some of this, but it goes into the depression itself which is not within the scope of what I'm focused in on.

Hoover, as an engineer, was a believer in 'scientific management', which has it's roots in the efficiency movement and Frederick Winslow Taylor. If you want to find the words of this kind of progressive, you have to look in engineering journals. Due to the timing of when Hoover came onto the scene in a major way, large portions of his words are behind a firewall of copyright, but not all.

In a publication called "Industrial Management", Hoover wrote the following:

Second: There was no advance planning to provide against this contingency, which it was obvious from the day of the armistice would be upon us in short order. We found it necessary to mobilize the whole energies of the Nation to meet the direct problems of the war, and it follows that we should have mobilized the energies of the Nation to meet this aftermath deliberately created by our war activities.

This is in reference to Wilson's efforts to centrally plan while WW1 was raging on. Keep in mind, this was written in 1920, right after the war and before the raging 20's. Instead of rejecting centralized planning, Hoover believes that the planning should continue, and housing should be the target. He continued:

I believe the Government has a part that it must play in this. While I have no belief in Government execution of such things I do believe we need some Federal authority empowered to undertake this movement of co-operation. Already many isolated Chambers of Commerce, building associations, and labor organizations have gotten together and are doing constructive work in remedying this situation. Their experience affords a sound basis upon which general steps can be taken. While I am no believer in extending the bureaucratic functions of the Government I am a strong believer in the Government intervening to induce active co operation in the community itself. Furthermore, I believe we must at least examine the question of governmental assistance in credits to home builders on some plan similar to the Farm Loan Board.

Yours faithfully,

Herbert Hoover

He's threading a very thin line here, but ultimately we know what ended up happening under his presidency. There was stimulus. There were public works projects. He did raise taxes and grow government. In a speech in 1924, he said the following:

I believe we now for the first time have the method at hand for voluntarily organized determination of standards and their adoption. I would go further; I believe we are in the presence of a new era in the organization of industry and commerce in which, if properly directed, lie forces pregnant with infinite possibilities of moral progress. I believe that we are, almost unnoticed, in the midst of a great revolution--or perhaps a better word, a transformation in the whole super-organization of our economic life. We are passing from a period of extremely individualistic action into a period of associational activities.

Organization? Revolution? Transformation? I've heard similar things to this in recent times. Calvin Coolidge, who was a conservative said of Hoover in 1928:

That man has offered me unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad!

No doubt why Coolidge considered the advice bad.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Progressivism and the Lethal Chamber

You cannot expect to raise beautiful roses in a field choked with weeds.
- Charles Vickery Drysdale, as quoted in "Eugenics marriage and birth control (Practical Eugenics)".

Edwin Black, Author of the book "War Against the Weak - Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race" has a great article titled Government Death Panels and Mass Murder Were Always an Option in 20th Century in which he goes into detail about that very thing.

There are also a handful of things in here that I've found on my own, on the same subject.

I don't need to restate Black's words, what I want to do is originally source the quotes, though some things(even public domain/not in copyright material) are not available online and thus, I cannot source them. So this posting will have better structure if you've read along with Black's article. In some instances, I grab much more from the source and expand on it larger than Black does, because it goes right into progressive ideology. It should be stated that a lot of this lethal chamber nonsense came from Britain. It should also be stated that while the majority of eugenic ideals were fervently sought by progressives, there were a handful of people who weren't progressive who got caught up in it, and there were plenty of progressives who felt that the lethal chamber wasn't ideal for dealing with defectives.

Heredity and human progress, By W. Duncan McKim, Pages 192-193:

The roll, then, of those whom our plan would eliminate consists of the following classes of individuals coming under the absolute control of the State : idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, habitual drunkards, and insane criminals; the larger number of murderers; nocturnal house-breakers ; such criminals, whatever their offence, as might through their constitutional organization appear very dangerous; and, finally, criminals who might be adjudged incorrigible. Each individual of these classes would undergo thorough examination, and only by due process of law would his life be taken from him.

The painless extinction of these lives would present no practical difficulty : in carbonic acid gas we have an agent which would instantaneously fulfil the need.

He doesn't use the phrase 'lethal chamber', but talking about acid gasses makes it clear that's what he's referring to. But what I bolded is the ideological component. Big, nasty, progressive government who literally takes full control over people, including those who have committed no crime. Just by having "the wrong genetics" are these people put under the thumb of tyranny.

Keep in mind, this is the remedy chapter. Also in the remedy chapter, a few pages up, Page 188:

It is thus by an artificial selection that it is proposed to elevate the human race. While not interfering with the general productiveness of our kind, I would limit the multiplication of the organically weak and the organically vicious, restricting the plan, however, to the very weak and the very vicious who fall into the hands of the State for maintenance, reformation, or punishment. The surest, the simplest, the kindest, and most humane means for preventing reproduction among those whom we deem unworthy of this high privilege, is a gentle painless death; and this should be administered not as a punishment, but as an expression of enlightened pity for the victims — too defective by nature to find true happiness in life — and as a duty toward the community and toward our own offspring.

Progressives usually do think they're the most enlightened among us, the elites.

In E. B. Sherlock’s book, The Feebleminded: a guide to study and practice he makes it clear that this idea of lethal chambers is fairly widely discussed: (Page 267)

Glib suggestions of the erection of lethal chambers are common enough, being, indeed, the ordinary sequel to the first introduction of the unthinking to cases of profound idiocy. Apart from the difficulty that the provision of lethal chambers is impracticable in the existing state of the law, the scope of the procedure is so restricted that it promises no more, as a set-off to outraged feelings of humanity than the saving of the relatively small sum which the housing and feeding of a few short-lived idiots costs society.

Note the wording of this. He's complaining that people would be sympathetic to the defective because of lethal chambers, so that's why we shouldn't do it.(as well as the financials)

In the notorious "Kallikak Family" study, Henry H. Goddard doesn't reject the lethal chamber outright on it's merits: (page 101)

What can we do ? For the low-grade idiot, the loathsome unfortunate that may be seen in our institutions, some have proposed the lethal chamber. But humanity is steadily tending away from the possibility of that method, and there is no probability that it will ever be practiced.

It's because society would reject it. That's why we can't use it. So his suggestion is instead: (page 105)

Before considering any other method, the writer would insist that segregation and colonization is not by any means as hopeless a plan as it may seem to those who look only at the immediate increase in the tax rate. If such colonies were provided in sufficient number to take care of all the distinctly feeble-minded cases in the community, they would very largely take the place of our present almshouses and prisons, and they would greatly decrease the number in our insane hospitals.

Again, this involves bigger and bigger government.

The non-profit Carnegie Institute funded a great deal of eugenics related items. "The Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeders Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population"(say that three times fast) Report item number 8 can be found on page 55 in one of the eugenical bulletins coming out of Cold Spring Harbor, New York:

(8) Euthanasia. The ancient Spartans were a race of fighters. The business of the Spartan mothers was to grow soldiers for the State, and Spartan social life and customs appear to have been vell directed toward this end. However much we deprecate Spartan ideals and her means of advancing them, we must admire her courage in so rigorously applying so practical a system of selection.

Again it's hard to miss the progressive love of the state intertwined into the issue.

William Robinson was very clear about what to do with defective children in his book "Practical Eugenics", page 78:

From the point of view of abstract justice, and of the greatest good not only to the greatest but to the whole number, the best thing would be to gently chloroform these children or to give them a dose of potassium cyanide, but in our humane and civilized age such measures are not looked upon with favor.

Note how many of these eugenists worry about having society stop them and the things they want to do. It's not that the idea is bad, it's your fault for being a potential threat to the scheme.

While on the topic of chloroforming people to death, I posted something similar to this a while ago as a proposal for the "unemployable".

I have posted repeatedly about Theodore Roosevelt's view that Americans should be bred like cattle, and from the "Official proceedings of the National Conference on Race Betterment", we have the following: (page 502)

Furthermore, this being true, it must be conceded by all thinking persons at all conversant with biological principles that selection plays the same role in directing the course of heredity, that is, the surviving line of germ-plasm that it always has. Note that I say selection here rather than natural selection, for the latter term is associated in many minds with the crude methods of Nature uninfluenced by sentient forces. Will anyone deny that the animal or plant breeder utilizes the same principles of selection in breeding his cattle or his corn that have in Nature brought about the evolution of one form from another? The difference is that instead of being natural selection it is now conscious selection on the part of the breeder, and he directs the processes of change, in so far as his art enables him, along the lines which his needs or his fancy direct.

And he does mean applying this to humans defectives: (Page 503)

Death is the normal process of elimination in the social organism, and we might carry the figure a step further and say that in prolonging the lives of defectives we are tampering with the functioning of the social kidneys!

As I've noted in the past (paragraph 3), and with progressive eugenists it's no different: everything with these people is social. Now we have social organisms and social kidneys.

In "Applied Eugenics", Paul Popenoe puts out mixed signals: (page 184)

From an historical point of view the first method which presents itself is execution. This has been used since the beginning of the race, very probably, although rarely with a distinct understanding of its eugenic effect; and its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated. It is a method the use of which prevents the rectification of mistakes. There are arguments against it on other grounds, which need not be discussed here, since it suffices to say that to put to death defectives or delinquents is wholly out of accord with the spirit of the times, and is not seriously considered by the eugenics movement. The next possible method is castration. This has practically nothing to recommend it, except that it is effective - an argument that can also be made for the "lethal chamber." The objections against it are overwhelming. It has hardly been advocated, even by extremists, save for those whose sexual instincts are extremely disordered; but such advocacy is based on ignorance of the results.

In Madison Grant's book "The Passing of the Great Race"(A book which Theodore Roosevelt was a huge fan of), the following is written: (page 49)

Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilization of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community. The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.

Note the high regard for "the community" and very low regard for individuals.

The entire account(what appears to be) of the Bollinger Baby can be found in the The American ecclesiastical review for 1916, starting on page 68. What's interesting to me about the Bollinger Case is that it happened in Chicago. Progressives killing babies in Chicago is not as new of a storyline as you think it is.

Black mentions the following things as being listed in an article in Institution Quarterly, Illinois’s own journal and sure enough, it's in there. But for whatever reason this book isn't readable, so the contents can be seen elsewhere: (page 111)

If they live to become confirmed criminals it would be an act of kindness to them and a protection to the state if they could be killed. The state should not deal with criminals in the spirit of vengeance, but in the spirit of mercy, and protection for if they are dealt with otherwise the actor also becomes criminal.

A few paragraphs down:

It is my opinion that children of all parentage should at puberty pass physical examination in order that the state may know at the beginning of life whether they are fit persons to bring children into the world. If such a law were passed - and I believe the day will come when it will be - it would prevent much crime and physical misery. With as much care in the propagation of humanity as the farmer exercises in the selection of his cattle and hogs much misery would be prevented, and criminals and all others of the defective class would become scarce.

Ah yes, just imagine how huge of a government would be necessary to make all of this happen.

As is noted(rather surprisingly), Margaret Sanger was not in favor of lethal chambers. At least for children. Note how she makes the clear distinction: On page 100-101 she wrote the following:

The advocate of Birth Control realizes as well as all intelligent thinkers the dangers of interfering with personal liberty. Our whole philosophy is, in fact, based upon the fundamental assumption that man is a self-conscious, self-governing creature, that he should not be treated as a domestic animal; that he must be left free, at least within certain wide limits, to follow his own wishes in the matter of mating and in the procreation of children. Nor do we believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding.

But modern society, which has respected the personal liberty of the individual only in regard to the unrestricted and irresponsible bringing into the world of filth and poverty an overcrowding procession of infants foredoomed to death or hereditable disease, is now confronted with the problem of protecting itself and its future generations against the inevitable consequences of this long-practised policy of LAISSER-FAIRE.

The emergency problem of segregation and sterilization must be faced immediately. Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period.

With so many attacks on the individual throughout this,(and reverence for the collective) an attack on free markets isn't surprising.

While she opposed the lethal chamber for children,(it could make sense that she opposed it across the board, but with eugenics nothing truely makes sense) nonetheless she didn't hesitate to talk about the elimination of the unfit.

"Elimination of the unfit was a very common phrase amongst progressives and eugenists, searching the phrase came back with a scary amount of results. A lot of these are medical journals, academic journals, and so forth which go on to ask familiar questions or run along familiar themes. Link 1 Link 2 Link 3 Link 4 (I almost skipped over this one, but note how they talk about tuberculosis. I have no interest in this aspect of eugenic thought, but Black is right when he mentions this footnote) Link 5 (This one is from Britain)

A few stood out:

Progress: a monthly magazine of advanced thought, Volume 7 By progressives, for progressives.

This medical journal states the following:

There are degenerate strains of humanity and degenerate strains of business. Biology insists upon some plan for the elimination of the unfit among humans. So long as these plans are moderate and humane the race will be benefited by their adoption.

So long as you aren't deemed to be "unfit" by the scientists and/or the rulers, then these plans will probably seem even more moderate, eh? All people are equal, but some people are more equal than others? How this is just stated as a matter of fact, I can't put into words how much it bothers me. But it does remind me of what Hayek points out in "Road to Serfdom"(page 202) how scientists are not always comfortable with the notion of freedom.

Now, some may say that this is a bit of a sidetrack from lethal chambers. I'm not sure it is. How many times can you hear people around you, "respectable" people talk about the "elimination of the unfit", before it hits home and you start talking logical extremes such as sterilizations, lethal chambers, segregations, or other forms of eugenic solutions, euthanasia and whatnot?

The sad thing, is that the first time a gas chamber was used was right here in America. Nevada, to be exact, in the case of Gee Jon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Conservation does not stop with the natural resources - Theodore Roosevelt

There is every reason to believe that human beings are as amenable to cultivation as other animals and plants.


Well I guess that must be true. That comes from a government document. In the accompanying papers for the Report of the National Conservation Commission, on page 677.

This is probably something I don't need to cite a source for: Everybody knows who "Mr. Conservation" is, among the list of 43 presidents. Theodore Roosevelt. He described the RNCC report this way in the primary report document: (Page 1)

With the statements and conclusions of this report I heartily concur, and I commend it to the thoughtful consideration both of Congress and of our people generally. It is one of the most fundamentally important documents ever laid before the American people. It contains the first inventory of its natural resources ever made any nation. In condensed form it presents a statement of our available capital in material resources, which are the means of progress, and calls attention to the essential conditions upon which the perpetuity, safety, and welfare of this nation now rest and must continue to rest It deserves and should have the widest distribution among the people.

One thing that's consistent about progressives: they lie when they speak publicly. They lie in our time, they lied a century ago. It's true that progressives were much more honest about their beliefs a century ago, but you still often have to look in their books and journals and so forth, where they don't think people are looking.

So it is with Theodore Roosevelt, America's first hardcore progressive president. In a book titled "Progressive Principles"(which is a collection of Roosevelt's speeches), he said the following: (Page 48)

Let us remember, also, that conservation does not stop with the natural resources but that the principle of making the best use of all we have requires with equal or greater insistence that we shall stop the waste of human life in industry and prevent the waste of human welfare which flows from the unfair use of concentrated power and wealth in the hands of men whose eagerness for profit blinds them to the cost of what they do.

This was from February, 1912. Almost exactly 3 years to the day after the RNCC report.

See, this is the "Barack Obama standard". You notice that he's saying different things in different places, so you start to wonder what it is he really thinks. You start to really pick things apart to find the true nature of progressivism, because of discrepancies just like this. Is conservation about natural resources, people, or corporations? He says it's a statement of "available capital". I am not "available capital", I am a thinking, living, and breathing individual. This is how central planners look at people the masses. Here's that opening quote again, from the RNCC report's accompanying papers:

There is every reason to believe that human beings are as amenable to cultivation as other animals and plants.

This is almost word for word the exact same thing that Roosevelt said to one of his eugenic friends, Charles B. Davenport: (Text and audio)

I agree with you if you mean, as I suppose you do, that society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind. It is really extraordinary that our people refuse to apply to human beings such elementary knowledge as every successful farmer is obliged to apply to his own stock breeding.

So when he says that conservation can apply to more than just the natural resources, but he tries to couch it in evil corporations, should I really buy that? Well, I don't. The Wisconsin Historical Society's conservation page notes the following:

......including geologist and University president (1903-1918) Charles Van Hise. Van Hise chaired the State Conservation Commission, provided conservation advice to Teddy Roosevelt, and wrote the first textbook on conservation in 1910.

I'll get to that textbook in a minute. One of the very first blog postings I did was in regard to Hise's writings, who clearly laid out progressivism in three words:

"Regulation, not socialism".

Hise was an advisor to Roosevelt on conservation, and Roosevelt was a big fan of Hise having recommented the very book I just quoted from above, which is titled "Concentration and Control".

An important volume entitled "Concentration and Control" has just been issued by President Charles R. Van Hise, of the University of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin has been more influential than any other agency in making Wisconsin what it has become, a laboratory for wise social and industrial experiment in the betterment of conditions.

Yes, you read that right. For those of you who know the history of progressivism know that Wisconsin is the birthplace for progressivism. Roosevelt loved it. But that's a side note for another day. Roosevelt recommended Hise's book repeatedly: (an article titled "Two Noteworthy Books on Democracy")

Of course our policy as regards the trusts should be frankly to accept in its essentials the doctrine laid down by President Van Hise in his book entitled " Combination and Control."

I point all this out because it's important in establishing who progressives are and what they believe, as well as their associations and etc. Now about that textbook that Hise wrote on conservation. The Wisconsin Historical Society states that it's title is "The Future of Man in America", starting on page 1718.(This link goes to a magazine called "World's Work", but 'Future' isn't a book, it's merely an article), and it's very interesting how this "book"(article) ends:

It is in order that humanity itself may be given an opportunity to develop through millions of years to come, under the most advantageous conditions, that we should conserve our natural resources and thus make possible to billions of future human beings a godlike destiny.

A godlike destiny? Who is it that's all consumed with breeding better people, breeding them like cattle? The eugenics crowd. Hise did write a full book in 1910(the same year as 'Future' was written, titled The conservation of natural resources in the United States. It has small section devoted to eugenics, in which it states:

A further proposal in reference to the conservation of man is furnished by Eugenics. Breeding has been long practiced with reference to producing high grade stock. Until recently man has given very little attention to the matter as far as his own race is concerned. It is still true, ever, in civilized countries, that defectives of various classes are allowed to propagate the race. It is certain that as a first very moderate step toward the development of the stamina of the human race, defectives should be precluded from continuing the race by some proper method. In Indiana by somewhat exceptional methods this is already accomplished so far as certain classes of defectives are concerned. By other methods, the segregation of all defectives of each sex in asylums, hospitals, and institutes, the same result may be reached. In some states this is partially done, but nowhere completely. Whatever the method chosen, it should be thoroughgoing.

That's Roosevelt's advisor, Charles Hise. In reference to the conservation of man, is eugenics.

I guess conservation does not stop with the natural resources after all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Regarding the friendly relationship and influences between progressives and fabians

I made a comment in my last posting regarding this, and one of the primary figures I wrote about was Margaret Sanger. H.G. Wells, a Fabian Socialist(who appears in the fabian window) wrote the introduction to her book Pivot of Civilization. In addition to that, Sanger references Fabian writings twice in the book. It's fairly well known that Sanger had an affair with Wells, but putting 2 + 2 together beyond this never seems to happen: (the following from the above link)
To avoid prosecution, Margaret fled the country to England under the assumed name, Bertha Watson. Once the ship entered international waters, Margaret ordered 100,000 copies of Family Limitation to be distributed. In that 16-page pamphlet, Sanger wrote about sex education, abortion and birth control, which included different types of contraceptive methods and instructions for their use.

While in England, Sanger met several British radicals and feminists who helped her to justify the use of birth control. It was then that she met Havelock Ellis, a psychologist whose theories of female sexuality helped Sanger expand her arguments for birth control; arguing, for example, that a woman should be able to enjoy sexual relations without the worry of becoming pregnant.

The way this is written(and any other time I've ever seen this written) it comes off as just a coincidence. She just so happened to end up meeting all these un named radicals, by an off chance! By unnamed, I mean that very rarely is it ever mentioned that they're of the Fabian Society. It seems to make sense that Wells might have suggested she leave for England, and even more likely that he would've told her were to find them knowing the kind of things they could teach her.

Havelock Ellis(one of the Fabian Society's founders) would go on to be a regular contributor to Sanger's "Birth Control Review".

You don't have to look too far to find Fabian influence in/around the Whitehouse. In my last writing I cited Stuart Chase as an example of this, but there's so much more. Stuart Chase is who came up with the phrase "New Deal", and was a member of FDR's brains trust. Walter Lippmann, the father of modern journalism, was a member of the Fabian Society through the ISS/LID. Lippmann also had access to the White House, like Chase, having helped draft one of Wilson's most well known speeches:

At my request Cobb and Lippmann have compiled the following respecting your fourteen points.

John Dewey, the father of modern education was a fabian. From the NY Times:

He was active in organizations such as the New York Teachers Guild, the League for Industrial Democracy, the ...

The League for Industrial Democracy(LID) was the forerunner to SDS. "Industrial Democracy" is the title of one of the books written by one of the most well known Fabians, Sidney Webb. So perhaps you could say that LID is the League for Sydney Webb's ideals and/or writings. The LID was described this way in the Harvard Crimson by a member of LID:

He likened the relationship between the LID and the Fabian Society to that between the ADA and the Harvard Liberal Union.

For someone like myself who is infinitely curious, I looked up this relationship. He's basically(slyly) admitting it. The ADA and the HLU (at least back then) were very friendly organizations who often times did things in conjunction. Not long after this, the two groups joined. But surrogate groups don't have to be so explicit to be active surrogates.

The forerunner to LID is the Intercollegiate Socialist Society(ISS) which was co-founded by Harry W Laidler, a fabian. Note that Laidler was the LID's executive director. Lippmann and Chase mentioned above, were both involved with the ISS/LID. According to a study of the LID in 1980:

The League for Industrial Democracy is the closest equivalent to the British Fabian Society in the history of American socialism.

Now, this guy tries to claim that the LID were dismal failures, which is easily disprovable, considering just three names: John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, and Stuart Chase. So members of the LID(forerunner ISS) would go on to completely remake American education, American journalism, and influence two presidencies by coming up with(the phrase) and facilitating the implementation of the New Deal.(as well as what was done in Woodrow Wilson's day) Not bad for a failed group. Yes, I look at the LID and ISS as the same group. So they changed their name. So what.

The ISS(and later LID) was founded by fabians, for fabians. In that article from 1980, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William English Walling, Upton Sinclair, and Jack London are all listed as founding members.(Don't forget about Laidler)

Gilman and Walling were both members of the "American Fabian League"(see Fabian Freeway page 178).

Gilman was a contributing editor to the publication of "American Fabian", under her married name, Charlotte Perkins Stetson.

Another interesting name on the list of editors to the "American Fabian" is Edward Bellamy, who long before the founding of the Fabian Society of America, enthralled Americans with his concept of "Nationalism". When Bellamy passed away, this is how he was eulogized:

In Bellamy, social science and imagination were combined at their best. He has given us a substantial revelation whose scientific deductions from economic phenomena are unassailable. In the work of speeding the light he has made the valued distinction between Nationalism and Socialism. Nations advance toward their destiny upon lines marked out by the temper of their peoples, the character of their institutions, the conditions of soil, climate, and surroundings. Consequently the forward movement must be by national rather than international pathways. Bellamy saw this clearly, and formulating his Socialism to a purely American applicability, named it Nationalism. What has been the result? We hear no more the philistine cry that Socialism is an alien product. The far-reaching influence of "Looking Backward" has given us a native development of this definite form of Socialism, and has made possible the realization of his dreams in the near future.

Sounds just like what Norman Thomas is rumored to have said. Thomas, who ran for president 6 times was a fabian socialist. He was co-director(1922) for the League for Industrial Democracy, and a frequent writer for them.

Another notable name would be one Felix Frankfurter, nominated to the Supreme Court by Franklin Roosevelt.

While we're at it, regarding members of the Supreme Court, Justice Hugo Black is well known to have been influenced by Paul Blanshard. Blanshard was yet another luminary of the LID.

Beyond specific names of higher-profile individuals(And I'm sure there's some I missed, others I just haven't come across yet), there's the influence of Fabian ideology upon various people. Friedrich Engels noted the effect that Fabian ideology had upon liberal minded people(this would apply to Sanger, at the beginning), as well as whole groups of young individuals exposed to it at the Rand School of Social Science, The Rand School was an attempt by the Fabians here in America to duplicate what they did with the London School of Economics in England.(Fabian Freeway, Bottom of page 196 to 198)

The Fabians even set up a whole colonies here in the US. This to me is one of the most fascinating aspects of all of this. Fabians have two icons, or logos if you will. The wolf in sheeps clothing(as seen on the fabian window) and the turtle. The turtle is often associated with them with the phrase "festina lente", which means "make haste, slowly"(this gets at the fabian ideology of the inevitability of gradualism), but the turtle slogan is "when I strike, I strike hard". Now, all leftists love their iconicism. You can see this with the Occupiers, and the abundance of communist imagery within their movement.

Fabians are identical in this respect, they love the turtle. So in New York(Manhattan), they chose Turtle Bay as the location for their little community. Wikipedia's page is of course sanitized, stating:

the neighborhood went into decay with crumbling tenement buildings. Much of it was restored in the 1920s, and a large communal garden was established.

Restored? That sounds interesting. They gloss over this as if it's nothing, a mere footnote. Hardly, there's a whole backstory to this "restoration" and the people who did it. The book Fabian Freeway opens itself up with chapter 1, exploring all that is Turtle Bay. I need not account more of Turtle Bay, as the book lays it all out just fine. But I do want to make a few notes about it's refounders.

Turtle Bay was re-founded by Prestonia Mann Martin and her husband. Her name seemed familiar to me, and unsurprisingly she's a descendent of Horace Mann, the earlier reformer of education who looked at children as "hostages to our cause".(Her obituary, below, points this family lineage out) That the Mann family went on to find itself among the ranks of Fabians here in the states is not surprising to me.

Prestonia Mann was editor of The American Fabian. In this April 6th, 1945 obit in the Winter Park Topics, the following is pointed out:

Under the name of Prestonia Mann Martin she gained international fame from her sociologal thesis, "Prohibiting Poverty," which proposed a remedy for periodical depressions by a division of labor and a distribution of the necessities of life under government regulation. Her proposal brought comment and a large measure of approval from leaders of thought all over the world. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt gave the book favorable comment in her public statements.

There's yet more of that Fabian influence. Right there into the Whitehouse. At some point the Martins' went to upstate New York to a small town called Keene, and founded a utopian experiment in communal living similar to Emerson's Brook Farm, also mentioned in the obit:

She attended the Concord School of Philosophy at Concord, Mass., and remembered well Ralph Waldo Emerson, imbibing much of the philosophy which went into the Brooke Farm experiment and later putting it into use at Summerbrook, Keene, N.Y., where she met and married John Martin in 1900.

The website for Adirondack Realty(who better to ask about local history, than the locals?) has a section labeled "History of the Town of Keene, New York", which opens this way:

Prestonia and John Martin had been drawn to Keene by Glenmore and their "Summerbrook" was adjacent to it. Her most famous guest was the Russian author Maxim Gorky, who, while staying at another Martin cottage, "Arisponet," nearby during the summer of 1906, wrote his novel "Mother." Gorky had arrived persona non grata in New York City and Prestonia, an intellectual extrovert, rescued his party with an invitation to her Adirondack home. Gorky's adopted son, Zeno Pechkoff, returned to this country and Glenmore on two occasions. "Summerbrook" is somewhat of a shrine to modern Russians and the subject of a major article in Soviet Life Magazine, April 1979. 1 (1.. Visiting The Gorky sites in USA, Gennadi Gerasinmov, Soviet Commentator)

And how did Mrs. Martin herself describe what they do at Summerbrook? She published a 10 page pamphlet for the place in 1896, stipulating various things:

The rules of Summer Brook are three: 1. Each person shall give two hours' daily manual labor to the service of the community (to be received in payment for room). 2. Each must be prepared to share with the community whatever intellectual wealth he may possess, to the extent of teaching one hour per day if desired. . 3 The living expenses are to be shared equally by all the members of the community.

Tha'ts on page 8. And here's their list of reading material: (page 9)

There will be a few moments' reading before each meal. "Plato's Republic," "The Fabian Essays," Ruskin's "Unto This Last," and Howell's "A Traveller From Altruria" are the books chosen for this year.

Now isn't that neat?

High and low, they needed ways to spread their ideological leanings, and they certainly appear to have been successful at getting the job done.

But before I finalize this I do need to point out that this is a two way street. I wrote this last year, noting how Henry George was important in the makings of the Fabian Society. Henry George was an American. So as Georgist ideals spread throughout America and helped to bring American "reformers"(the forerunner to progressivism) closer to becoming the progressives they became at the end of the 19th/beginning of 20th century, it makes sense that American reformers/progressives would be open to the ideas of Fabians given their common lineage.

There's so much information here, it was at times hard to always keep the same pieces of information together and thus easier to deal with, but I wanted to make a strong case for the claim I'm making here. And also, it should be noted that I didn't directly call Sanger a Fabian. I point this out because at most other times I do directly apply the label. Some of these people may not have in the end been "card carrying Fabians" in the strictest sense, but if you are founding groups like the LID or very high within that group's ranks, if you're an editor for the "American Fabian", or some other such clearly distinguished role then what we're dealing with is a distinction without a difference. A communist is a communist for the things they believe and the actions that they take first and foremost, secondary in who they associate with. After that, that they never officially "held the card" becomes a forgettable side note. The same applies for a Fabian.

Monday, July 16, 2012

When did Planned Parenthood cease being a eugenic organization?

The history of Margaret Sanger's eugenic views are in a general sense well known, so I don't want to spend any more time detailing that here than I have to. But with regards to this a few things are important and need to be outlined:

First, what Planned Parenthood(PP) themselves call "The Sanger Years". She founded it, and ran the show. They're clearly proud of this.

Second, PP's roots in the group called The "American Birth Control League".(ABCL) What was the ABCL all about? On page 277 of Margaret Sanger's book Pivot of Civilization, she spells it out quite clearly. Note that under the "aims" section, the following department is listed:

STERILIZATION of the insane and feebleminded and the encouragement of this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible diseases, with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive the individual of his or her sex expression, but merely renders him incapable of producing children.

While the word "eugenics" is not used in this specific section of the book(it is in others), the concepts of "building a better race" and sterilization are classic eugenic proposals. (and yes, she does mean compulsory sterilization)

To put this plainly, the The American Birth Control League was a eugenic organization.

And third, a decade after publishing "Pivot", Sanger published an article titled "America Needs a Code for Babies in which she detailed what her "American Baby Code" would look like. This one specifically:

Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable disease, and others found biologically unfit by authorities qualified judge should be sterilized or, in cases of doubt, should be so isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.

Certain words jump out at you when you read that, and in in part 3 her interview with Mike Wallace, she says very familiar things: (2 minutes 35 seconds)

Wallace: Do you believe there is such a thing as sin?
Sanger: I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world (PAUSE) that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they are born. That to me is the greatest sin that people can commit.

Now, if you watched the video, you'll see why I highlighted the awkward pause. (And watch the look on her face. She knows she messed up in that pause. Also, notice how she constantly looks down her nose at her interviewer.) The more you've read of Sanger's own words, the more you know that what she said before the pause is the most honest answer. But as to the whole highly qualified comment, she never gave up on eugenics until the day she died. She just changed her language a bit.

Moving on from Sanger, her replacement within PP who was also a believer in eugenics, Alan Guttmacher. What's even more interesting is that around the time that Sanger left PP another would be successor was floating around, William Vogt. Another strong believer in eugenics. I'm sure some people will scratch their heads and ask "why does birth control attract eugenicists like bees to honey"?

The best answer to that may be going back to one of the founders of the American Eugenics Society(The group Guttmacher was vice president of), Frederick Osborn, who stated in the 70's that "Birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances of our time" . This should again only further serve to leave most people scratching their heads. I say "should", because how many people (besides myself of course) sit around reading old issues of Birth Control Review?(BCR) Very, very few I'm sure. But if you want to understand progressivism, you have to read progressives. That's just how this works.

Note that searching in that link to BCR the following words are used so many times: "Malthus", 23 times. "Population", 98 times. And "Malthusian", 78 times.(this does not appear to replicate "Malthus") So long ago, a decade at least before the creation of PP, birth control advocates had long joined the doctrines of overpopulation, eugenics, and all the rest of it into one common cause. For those who don't know, Thomas R Malthus is the one who popularized all the fearmongering about population.

You can also see it if you look at who they've given their awards to, and for what reasons.

William H Draper, was a big time funder of eugenic organizations in the 30's, Draper and Hugh Moore(another eugenicist with PP) popularized the phrase "population bomb" (Alt. link, search for 'draper'), and was Chairman of a group called the "Population Crisis Committee"(PCC), which (if you've been a reader of mine for a while) you'll note that PCC laundered itself. It gave itself a new name, Population Action International. This is what progressives always do. They don't give up on what they believe in, they just change the label. He got the award for "his singular contribution during the past decade to the mobilization of public awareness and government action to resolve the world population crisis". Notice the evolution of the argument as a whole. Eugenics is never officially abandoned, instead new titles are simply used.

Here is what appears to be an entire list of award recipients. "Population" is there 35 times.(some replicated within the same names/recipients)

Going back to Osborn's comment, Wikipedia states that this comment was made following the decision of Roe v Wade. I've often been distrusting of Wikipedia, but it is double footnoted. It seems that the Eugenics society was already in the process of a name change by the time Wade was decided, but it's still rather coincidental that the actual decision specifically lists "population" as a part of the court's reasoning.

In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the problem.

But where are we today? Has Planned Parenthood ever specifically rebuked eugenics itself? Have they ever commented on the evolution of eugenics into overpopulation and birth control? They fervently defend Margaret Sanger, they openly reference BCR. I doubt they want people going and reading it though, one article titled "Large Families and Human Waste" quite plainly states that eugenics makes birth control imperative.

While I don't know of any rebuking of eugenics from PP, there is the Jaffe Memo, which puts a notch down as late as the early 1970's.(as well as the award to William Draper Jr.) I had initially thought that the Jaffe Memo was fake, until I ran across this blog posting which tracks down some of the sources behind it. Searching both PP's website as well as the website for Population Council, you see that these two organizations are very friendly with each other. And why not? Both take issue with so called overpopulation that's long been in the eugenic DNA. As late as 2006 they were giving Sanger Awards for the issue of population. With birth control having been so infused with eugenics and intertwined with overpopluation over the last century, it's likely that to this day PP remains a eugenic organization. They were clearly founded that way, and for a long time their leadership was derived from a eugenic heritage.

I realize how politicized the issue of birth control has gotten over the years, so I'm going to end this posting as sharp as I can for those who are supporters of causes such as this:

I didn't type this to get at the issue of birth control. I'm looking at these dishonest and shady groups/individuals. Birth control existed long before eugenics did, but that the issue was hijacked cannot be ignored. If your immediate response to this is to take an indignant response based on a comfort zone of your views of birth control, while at the same time you aren't prepared to move outside your comfort zone and give a discourse about eugenics or the discredited notion of the population bomb, I would like to know if you even read a word that I just typed?