Friday, May 26, 2006

What did "race" mean in the good ol' days?

Race never was exclusive to ethnic races, but referred to the fit and unfit of any race. Most sterilizations we done on Whites: Again, from Building a Better Race:

Popenoe and Gosney defended the German law through the 1930s. In both private correspondence and publications, Popenoe emphasized that the law was “not [a] hasty improvisation of the Nazi regime” but the product of years of sterilization practice and research. Indeed, Popenoe believed that Hitler's rise to power merely ensured that these ideas would be carried out. In an article published in the Journal of Heredity. Popenoe praised the German government for developing a solid eugenic policy that appeared to “accord with the best thoughts of eugenicists in all civilized countries.” In Popenoe's estimation, Hitler's ideas about human progress and the advancement of civilization were no different from those popularly expressed in the United States. Drawing from Hitler's Mein Kampf (1923), he quoted a passage remarkably similar to Hoover's Child's Bill of Rights. “He who is not sound and worthy in body and mind should not perpetuate his handicaps in the bodies of his children, ” declared Hitler in the volume.

By 1936, California eugenicists recognized that Hitler's persecution of the Jews might undermine the credibility and support of eugenics. Some continued to believe, however, that Hitler would be remembered not for his “political high crimes” (which would soon be forgotten) “but as the first head of a modern government who enforced legislation for the elimination of the unfit for the biological improvement of the race. Los Angeles Times columnist Fred Hogue quoted a “venerable student of history of international repute” as saying that “the evolutionary development of the race is much more important than passing political and social revolutions.”

But, by the end of the decade, Gosney and Popenoe wanted to avoid any associations with Hitler, who had little popularity in the United States. They avoided the racial categories used by Hitler and suggested that sterilization in America would be used selectively rather than on large groups. In 1940, Gosney warned his staff to avoid using racial terms in HBF literature. “We have little in this country to consider in racial integrity. Germany is pushing that. We should steer clear of it lest we be misunderstood. ” Popenoe wrote to a colleague in 1945, “When it comes to eugenics, the subject of 'race' sets off such tantrums in a lot of persons that one has to be very long-suffering!” Popenoe concluded that it was best to avoid the term altogether (though he and all eugenicists continued to use the term “race betterment” when referring to the goal of eugenics.


Abnormality, rather than race, class, or ethnicity, differentiated those who, from a eugenic perspective, should not reproduce from those who should.

As a result, eugenicists used the term "selective sterilization" to explain the goal of eugenics: civilization would improve when only those considered “normal” were allowed to reproduce. Sterilization promised “sound minds in sound bodies” to fit the images promoted in Hoover's political speeches as well as the increasingly rigid and standardized images of beauty promoted by mass culture. Dismissing explicit racial categories, selective sterilization targeted abnormality—a flexible category of physical and mental traits that allowed for both hereditary and environmental causes of difference.

For example, in 1937, Frederick Osborn, president of the American Eugenics Society, stressed the importance of avoiding wholesale categorization of sterilization candidates. Desiring to distance American eugenics from German eugenics, he warned that it “would be unwise for eugenists to impute superiorities or inferiorities of a biological nature to social classes, to regional groups, or to races as a whole… Eugenics should therefore operate on the basis of individual selection.” He continued, “Fortunately, the selection desirable from the point of view of heredity appears to coincide with the selection desirable from the environmental point of view.” Thus, the term selective sterilization enabled eugenicists to target individuals based not on the cause of their supposed deficiency but on their desirability as a parent. Whether they emphasized selective or eugenic sterilization, heredity or environment, their goal remained consistent: to develop a mainstream following that believed in the concept of reproductive morality and accepted its mandate to sacrifice personal liberty in order to strengthen family and community.

[S]ciences and the resulting emphasis on environment, discoveries in genetics, and the Nazi use of sterilization—forced American eugenicists to justify sterilization on new grounds. Most important, eugenicists stressed that sterilization should be used to weed out those, usually women, who would not make capable parents. As the president of the American Association of Mental Deficiency argued in 1936, “Probably the most powerful argument for sterilization today is that which urges that no feebleminded person is fit to be a parent, whether or not his condition is hereditary and therefore likely to be genetically transmitted.”

Beginning in the 1930s, then, eugenicists who had previously established their careers on the principles of heredity seemingly contradicted themselves by inviting environmental factors to come into play, a move that previous historians have interpreted as an indication of eugenic defeat. But, ultimately, this was a smart tactic. It saved the movement from extinction, and it also widened eugenicists' sphere of influence and further popularized their goal to improve civilization by making reproduction a social and medical responsibility rather than an individual right.

As a result, sterilization gained supporters in the 1930s. Incorporating an environmental justification for sterilization paved the way for its increased use. Dr. Gladys Schwesinger, addressing the New Jersey Health and Sanitary Association in 1937, emphasized the “right of every child to have competent parents.” Playing on Roosevelt's New Deal policies, she argued that sterilization played a key role in “procuring a better deal for the child.” Children should not be entrusted to just anyone; the same supervisory control should be administered over parenthood as over teaching, nursing, and other services. Given that a child's personality could be “made or marred” at home, it was all the more important to protect children from “the wrong kind of parents.” Sterilization would spare “many unborn children the affliction of being born to unqualified parents.” Echoing the eugenic emphasis on reproductive morality as an essential component of modern society, Schwesinger pleaded for Americans to heed the call of social responsibility. “It is society's obligation, ” she argued, “to encourage the burden and responsibility of parenthood in the best and withhold it from the worst individuals of each generation.”

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The "girl" problem, the eugenics solution

More from Building a Better Race:

They received such an opportunity in 1916, when the state embarked on a statewide survey of “mental deviation.” The committee noted that “a nation-wide awakening to the menace of the feeble-minded is one of the most noteworthy movements of public thought, ” and the extent of the problem in the state needed to be determined. Surveyors noted that often the worst offenders had IQs placing them somewhere in the moron, borderline, or even normal ranges. Not satisfied with their results (as it would be difficult to incarcerate large numbers of people who fell into a “normal ” category), these authors devised an alternative scale of intelligence that they called “social intelligence.” In this category, intelligence was redefined in the “social sense”—“the extent to which the subject is mentally capable of 'managing himself and his affairs with ordinary prudence.'” Offenders, or “persons incapable of doing so, … who can not compete in the world… on reasonably equal terms, ” automatically fell into the feeble-minded group. 37

With this new definition of intelligence, IQ became largely irrelevant to the diagnosis and treatment of social offenders. At the head of this team of surveyors was the man who devoted his career to the development and widespread, standardized use of the IQtest, Terman. Yet he was comfortable with the scientifically questionable approach of a committee frustrated to discover that not every prostitute or unwed mother was a moron. Their solution? “We may ordinarily expect to classify persons as feeble-minded, ” Terman and his coauthors announced, “whether or not the test results show them to fall within the usual I.Q. limits of that group.” 38

Faced with evidence that did not support their assumption that mental and moral depravity were linked, California mental surveyors struggled to redefine the nature of their search. “It can not be too strongly emphasized that the feeble-minded do not constitute a separate and distinct class, ” Terman declared. “No sharp line of demarcation can be drawn which would separate the feeble-minded from the more intelligent.” Yet the surveyors' very objective was to draw such a distinction in order to determine who needed to be institutionalized at Sonoma. Their results suggested the inherent weakness in the use of mental testing to grade morality. Such a study should have undermined the eugenic strategy of segregating moral transgressors through mental testing. Instead, it raised the stakes. If there was no clear boundary between the feebleminded and the normal, then many deviants might be lurking about, unnoticed and difficult to detect. 39

Investigating a state home for unwed mothers, for example, surveyors found that the mothers demonstrated a “marked inferiority to average adults.” In Terman's estimation, these women had become pregnant out of wedlock because they could “pass for normal in almost any community, ” and consequently “many untrained persons might overlook [their] mental deficiency” and unsuspectingly be tricked into sexual intercourse. Yet one unwed mother had an IQ of 91, placing her in the “dull-normal” range. Terman concluded that while “she will pass for absolutely average-normal in any community… she doubtless has weaknesses which intelligence tests do not indicate.” Was she to be institutionalized? The surveyors were not sure where or how to draw the line in cases of moral transgressions not backed by mental deficiency. “We are faced with an important problem presented by the small group ofintellectwlly normal individuals among these social variants, ” they admitted.

It is not difficult to understand why a feebleminded girl, such as those described in this study, should become [a victim] of circumstances, and thus be found among the unwed mothers…. But that young women whose intelligence is equal or superior to that of ordinary persons of the same age should be found with them and with apparently similar histories, demands that our search for causes shall extend to other fields…. weakened will power and excitability seem to have played important parts. 40

This report, begun in 1916 and published in 1918, reflected the continued unraveling of Victorian notions of feminine virtue during the 1910s. As eugenicists busily targeted the working-class “women adrift” as mentally and morally delinquent in the early twentieth century, they discovered, much to their dismay, that the “problem” of female sexuality —in other words, sexual behavior outside the boundaries of marriage —had spread into the middle classes. By 1918, even “intellectually normal” women, women who “should know better, ” were becoming unwed mothers, exhibiting a “weakened will power” and “excitability.” 41 These surveyors, like many defenders of female social purity in the early twentieth century, did not know what to make of this new evidence of female sexual agency and independence. They were witnessing a transformation in middle-class sexual values that many were reluctant to accept; this transformation made the first two decades of the century a “time of conflict, as defenders of the past and proponents of change contended for hegemony in sexual matters.” In New York City during the 1910s and 1920s, for example, the “girl problem” was spreading into the middle class and even the most “respectable” parents found themselves incapable of hindering their teenagers' participation in this sexualized culture or their patronage of heterosocial amusements. 42 Nineteenth-century notions of morality were quickly becoming obsolete.

And now? Sexual Fascism in Progressive America

Building a Better Race

So it turns out F.W. Hatch practiced eugenics. How long before the tide turns again to "sexually suspect" women? There is a new "moral panic" brewing and we read more and more about women sexual predators.

From: Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby BoomBook by Wendy Kline; University of California Press, 2001

Dr. F. W Hatch, the general superintendent of California state hospitals, strongly agreed with the findings of Lucas and Terman and used their conclusions to promote the eugenic strategy of segregating sexually suspect women. Sonoma's adoption of Goddard's term, moron, to designate the highest grade of mental defect also reflected the belief that moral deficiency and mental deficiency were closely related. In Hatch's discussion of high-grade morons at Sonoma, he noted their “lack of the moral sense” and their inability to “resist the impulse to do wrong.” He echoed Goddard 's argument that morality was a learned concept and therefore unavailable to the mentally deficient. “The foundation of their troubles, ” Hatch said of the moron class, “is to be found usually in a true lack of development of brain or mind engrafted upon them by their ancestors, which greatly limits their capacities to benefit by study or to properly exercise their will power.” By claiming immoral behavior had ancestral origins, Hatch was applying a eugenic argument to justify the segregation of the mentally (or morally) deficient. 32

Hatch was therefore very much in support of Lucas's conclusion. Based on his survey, the doctor recommended that Sonoma establish a “high grade moron colony for girls, ” consisting of eight or ten cottages, “each holding 15 or 20 girls, with a housemother and teacher residing with each group.” Lucas stressed that the colony should be “erected at some distance from the present group of buildings” to protect other inmates from corruption. Using the medical metaphor of contagion, Lucas contributed to a construction of the female moron as a life-threatening, race-threatening contaminant. Hatch, Dawson, the Board of Charities and Corrections, and the Commission in Lunacy all responded enthusiastically, pressing the state of California to allocate funds for such a colony. 33

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Paragraph 175

Sundance Film Festival, 2000 - Documentary Jury Prize for Directing Berlin Film Festival, 2000 - FIPRESCI Award (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) for Best Film (Panorama Section); Teddy Award for Best Documentary

By the 1920’s, Berlin had become known as a homosexual eden, where gay men and lesbians lived relatively open lives amidst an exciting subculture of artists and intellectuals. With the coming to power of the Nazis, all this changed. Between 1933 and 1945 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code dating back to 1871. Some were imprisoned, others were sent to concentration camps. Of the latter, only about 4,000 survived. Today, fewer than ten of these men are known to be living. Five of them have now come forward to tell their stories for the first time in this powerful new film. more

Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection

Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection

- Edwin Black
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, November 9, 2003

Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a so-called Master Race.

But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing.

Eugenics was the pseudoscience aimed at "improving" the human race. In its extreme, racist form, this meant wiping away all human beings deemed "unfit," preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in 27 states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in "colonies," and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the 20th century's first decades, California's eugenicists included potent but little-known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles Goethe, as well as members of the California state Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America's most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics' racist aims.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Wider Use of DNA Lists Is Urged in Fighting Crime

NY Times
Published: May 12, 2006

A team of Harvard scientists is proposing that DNA databases contain enough information to identify many criminals whose DNA has not been catalogued through their kinship to people already listed. They say this could be done by a method developed to identify victims of the World Trade Center attacks and other disasters.


"Genetic surveillance would thus shift from the individual to the family," the scientists, Frederick R. Bieber and David Lazer, say in an article in today's issue of Science.

Kinship-based DNA searching is already used in Britain but has not become routine in the United States.

Such searches might be valuable in generating leads, Dr. Bieber said, because 46 percent of prisoners said they had close relatives who either were or had been incarcerated, a Department of Justice survey found in 1996.


Dr. Bieber said he expected possible objections to a method that places whole families under suspicion. But, he said, "we have a duty to victims to use any reasonable methods as long as there is a basis in law, and this would give investigators new leads in some cases."


Monday, May 08, 2006

The Most Critical Option: Sex Offenses and Castration in San Diego, 1938-1975

The Most Critical Option: Sex Offenses and Castration in San Diego, 1938-1975 by Mark Linsky

Judge Lawrence Neil Turrentine was the sort of man who made a lasting impression on both those who knew him socially and those who appeared before him in the courtroom. By 1938 Judge Turrentine had already logged some eight years on the San Diego County Superior Court bench, where, to his admirers, the Judge displayed a "direct, no-nonsense approach to trials. At the very start, after studying the pleadings, he would ask counsel how long they expected the trial to take. He usually reduced the estimated time by 50% and was often right on target."1

But another assessment of the Judge offered a slightly different slant on his methods, depicting him as "one less concerned with the law than with his own concept of justice in the instant case; one of widely fluctuating judicial temperament."2

Regardless of which view of the man called "The Boss" because of his dominance of the Superior Court was correct, the facts indicate that in 1938 Judge Turrentine instituted a program that would lead to national notoriety for San Diego and engender a controversy which continues more than thirty years since his retirement and four years after his death. For in 1938 L. N. Turrentine began offering the option of voluntary castration coupled with long terms of probation to men convicted of sex offenses.3 The vast majority of those men who took advantage of the program were convicted under Section 288 of the California Penal Code* and the alternative to castration for them was clearly a long prison sentence.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

YOUgenics (eugenics :)

Are you or have your ever been...

(1)Feeble-minded; (2) insane (including the nervous and psychopathic); (3) criminalistic (including the delinquent and wayward); (4) epileptic; (5) inebriate (including drug habitues); (6) diseased (including turberculous, the syphilitic, the leporous, and others with chronic infectious segregated diseases); (7) blind (including those with greatly impaired vision); (8) deaf (including those with greatly impaired hearing); (9) deformed (including the crippled); and (10) dependent (including children and old folks in "homes," ne'er-do-wells, tramps, and paupers.

The above is a list Harry Laughlin proposed before congress for an immigration law in April of 1920 - as quoted in American Eugenics by Nancy Ordover. The same list applied to native Americans when they could get a away with it, except those who fit (or unfit) the above were banned from the country, while native Americans were to be sterilized. All in the name of the master race. Bet you know someone who could be on this list.

Monday, October 03, 2005

1909 California Eugenics Bill (click image to enlarge)

Lombardo said California's asexualization statute passed unanimously in the state Assembly, drew only one dissenting vote in the state Senate and was signed into law by Gov. James M. Gillett in 1909.

F.W. Price introduced the bill in the Senate. He chaired the Committee on Hospitals and Asylums and offered many bills that year, most relating to the hospitals and asylums.
(click to enlarge)

Interestingly enough, another Republican, Assemblyman Whitney, also introduced an axexualization bill, but withdrew it. Why? Evidently, there was something in the air that urged a near unanimous agreement on a bill so drastic. What could be so compelling? Both Price and Whitney lived in the Sonoma area. Did something happen in Northern California in 1909?

Friday, September 30, 2005

Is Asexualization Ever Justifiable?

Is Asexualization Ever Justifiable In The Case Of Imbecile Children



In no direction possibly has greater advance been made during the past century on medico-sociologic lines than in our knowledge of the defective classses of the population; this knowledge, however, has served only to afford a more adequate comprehension of the extreme complexity of the problem of how we can best deal with these unfortunates. Careful study of the social evolution of the race has, on the one hand, taught us the hopeless condition of the habitual criminal, the mentally defective and pauper classes. In large measure discouragement has thus far been the result of our endeavor to re­form the one or train to useful citizenship the other. The higher ethical considerations cause us to stand aghast at the suggestion that they be left, as indeed they were before the advent of the Christian era, to the unobstructed operation of the law of selection. This law, harsh, and utterly void of sym­pathy as at first sight it seems, was nevertheless the natural method of progress for the race; but under modern social conditions with its altruistic ideals, based upon the recognition of a universal brotherhood, the weak and unfortunate are protected against the operation of the law which ordained their destruction. In the eye of the law of selection they were reprobate. We have sought for their physical redemption but have been taught the futility of our well-meant endeavors. We have fed and clothed the pauper, and sought to imbue him with the spirit of thrift and self-help, but like “the sow that was washed he has returned to wallow in the mire.” Instead of hanging the thief, as was done in former times, he has been placed in a reformatory, taught useful trades and his mind stored with moral precepts; “but can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” The criminal too often remains the criminal still. He, too, is reprobate. We have reared asylums and training schools for the feebleminded, and have sought to protect and to train them into useful lives only to discover that they too are the victims of a physical and moral reprobation.

Eugenics in 1909 California (click image to enlarge)

The first California sterilization (asexualization) law in 1909. The note on the right of the image is "Asexualization of inmates of state institutions."

The note in the second image is "State prisoners." (Click to enlarge.)

How did this come about? We know many eugenicists wanted to pass such laws, but how did they get the public to agree? I will try to trace the evolution and see how it originated and see where it goes. Who introduced the bill? Who backed him? Who financed it? Was there a public outcry due to a particularly shocking case?


Media Matters exposes Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down"

Addressing a caller's suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

An Act for the prevention of idiocy

I return herewith, without my approval Senate Bill No. 35, entitled "An Act for the prevention of idiocy."

This bill has what may be called with propriety an attractive title. If idiocy could be prevented by an act of assembly, we may be quite sure that such an act would have long been passed and approved in this state, and that such laws would have been enacted in all civilized countries. The subject of the act is not the prevention of idiocy, but it is to provide that in every institution in the state, entrusted with the care of idiots and imbecile children, a neurologist, a surgeon, and physician shall be authorized to perform an operation upon the inmates "for the prevention of procreation.." What is the nature of the operation is not described but it is such an operation as they shall decide to be "safest and most effective." It is plain that the safest and most effective preventing procreation would be to cut the heads off the inmates, and such authority is given by the bill to this staff of scientific experts. It is not probable that they would resort to this means for the prevention of procreation, but it is probable that they would endeavor to destroy some part of the human organism. Scientists, like all other men whose experiences have been limited to one pursuit, and whose minds have been developed in a particular direction, sometimes need to be restrained. Men of high scientific attainments are prone, in their love for technique, to lose sight of broad principles outside of their domain of thought.

A surgeon may possible be so eager to advance in skill as to be forgetful of the danger to his patient. Anatomists may be willing to gather information by the infliction of pain and suffering upon helpless creatures, although a higher standard of conduct would teach them that it is far better for humanity to bear its own ills than to escape them by knowledge only secured through cruelty to other creatures. This bill, whatever good might possibly result from it if its provisions should become a law, violates the principles of ethics. These feeble-minded and imbecile children have been entrusted to the institutions by their parents or guardians for the purpose of training and instruction. It is proposed to experiment upon them, not for their instruction, but in order to help society in the future. It is to be done without their consent, which they cannot give, and without the consent of their parents or guardians, who are responsible for their welfare. It would be in contravention of the laws which have been enacted for the establishment of these institutions. These laws have in contemplation the training and the instruction of the children. This bill assumes that they cannot be so instructed and trained. Moreover, the course it is proposed to pursue would have a tendency to prevent such training and instruction. Everyone knows, whether he be a scientist or an ordinary observer, that to destroy virility is to lessen the capacity, the energy and the spirit which lead to effort. The bill is, furthermore, illogical in its thought. Idiocy will not be prevented by the prevention of procreation among these inmates. This mental condition is due to causes many of which are entirely beyond our knowledge. It existed long before there were ever such inmates of such institutions. If this plan is to be adopted, to make it effective it should be carried into operation in the world at large, and not in institutions where the inmates are watched by nurses, kept separate, and have all the care which is likely to rendered procreation there very rare, if not altogether impossible. In one of these institutions, I am reliably informed, there have only been three births in ten years. A great objection is that the bill would encourage experimentation upon living animals, and would be the beginning of experimentation upon living human beings, leading logically to results which can be readily forecasted. The chief physician, in charge at Elwyn, has candidly told us, in an article recently published upon "Heredity," that "Studies in heredity tend to emphasize the wisdom of those ancient peoples who taught that the healthful development of the individual and the elimination of the weakling was the truest patriotism -- springing from an abiding sense of the fulfillment of a duty to the state."

To permit such an operation would be to inflict cruelty upon a helpless class in the community which the state has undertaken to protect. However skillfully performed, it would at times lead to peritonitis, blood poisoning, lockjaw and death.
For these reasons the bill is not approved.

Governor of Pennsylvania