Sunday, May 15, 2005

Better Than Abstinence 

Via Jon Aravosis of AmericaBlog: "Government eugenics program" is the sort of phrase one naturally associates with the Third Reich, but America was in the species-improvement racket well before Hitler's rise to power -- and, you may be distressed to learn, for deacades after his death. In fact, the little Hitlers in the U.S. government were quietly endeavoring to sweeten up the gene pool as late as 1974:
From the early 1900s to the 1970s, some 65,000 men and women were sterilized in this country, many without their knowledge, as part of a government eugenics program to keep so-called undesirables from reproducing.

"The procedures that were done here were done to poor folks," said Steven Selden, a professor at the University of Maryland. "They were thought to be poor because they had bad genes or bad inheritance, if you will. And so they would be the focus of the sterilization."

[Elaine] Riddick was raped and became pregnant at the age of 13. Social workers labeled her promiscuous and too feeble-minded to ever be a responsible parent. So, after giving birth in 1968, Riddick was sterilized without being told.

She learned the truth years later, when she married and tried to have more children.

"They took so much away from me," Riddick said. "They took away my spirit and my soul" . . . .

Elaine Riddick went on to earn a college degree and raise the son she had at 14. He now is an engineering consultant.
We think the idea is ripe for a comeback: sterilizing the poor is a natural for politicians looking to slash funding for education, AFDC, Head Start and the like. Of course, it would greatly reduce the pool of potential recruits for upcoming military adventures, but on the plus side, you'd see a similar reduction in the pool of potential Democrats. And while right-wing Christians might argue that sterilization, like other forms of birth control, leads to a rise in promiscuity, let's face it -- poor people fuck like bunnies now. Why? Because even a goddam movie, with popcorn and sodas, costs a minimum of thirty bucks for two. Fucking is free.

While we're at it, maybe we could sterilize all the queers as well. Okay, okay, we know it sounds redundant -- but think of all those married Republicans in Jeff "Bulldog" Gannon's address book.

Is it too late to squeeze a proposal onto Mr. Schwarzenegger's special ballot in November?

UPDATE: In comments below our venerated colleagues MandT of The Adgita Diaries recommend "The Politics of Domininonism," a confessional article by reformed fundamentalist Carolyn Baker at CounterPunch:
When sufficiently pressed, Christian fundamentalists intractably argue that people are poor because they have not been born again. Like the Puritans of seventeenth-century America, wealth is a sign that one is following the will of God, and poverty indicates that one is not. People are poor because they are doing something to cause themselves to be poor, and whatever that may be, the underlying cause is that they do not have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." Increasingly, one sees many faces of color in fundamentalist congregations, but those individuals are almost without exception, born-again Christians who tow the dominionist line with other people of color.

Dominionism deplores the mental health system. Like those who are poor, the mentally ill would not be so if they were born again Christians. After all, mental illness is a label given by the Dr. Phil's of the world to people whose minds have been devoured by Satan. What they really need is Christian conversion and of course, a great deal of medication from the pharmaceutical lobby. The only valid therapist is Jesus; down with Oprah, God bless Joyce Meyer. Obviously, according to Dominionism, government should not be financing mental health programs.
And our formerly anonymous, newly pseudonymous colleague Racrecir of What Alice Found, who is sometimes offended when you link to him (although we are willing to run that risk), found the following in a Michelle Cottle essay at The New Republic:
Similarly, issues like poverty and racial reconciliation don't lend themselves as neatly to the same good-versus-evil, us-versus-them political paradigm as gay rights or judicial activism, the right's latest bugaboo. Sociologist Tony Campolo... likes to quote from philosopher Eric Hoffer's 1951 book, True Believer: "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without belief in a devil." Hitler had the Jews, and the communists had the capitalists, says Campolo. "I contend that it's easy to rally people around opposition to gay people. In the minds of many, they have become the devil that must be destroyed if America is to be saved" . . . .

American evangelicalism's emphasis on free-will individualism, personal responsibility, and the paramount importance of one's personal walk with God predisposes many adherents to distrust government intervention in social problems like poverty. In researching their book Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith found that evangelicals are more inclined than nonevangelicals to blame an individual's failure to thrive on personal shortcomings--say, a lack of ambition or character--rather than on any systemic disadvantages.
But what about Mrs. Smith?

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