Margaret Sanger has been in the news recently. And on Citizen Tom’s blog (which has a Virginia conservative focus) I commented to another Virginian who suggested that “her ideas on eugenics are ignored and disregarded because they are pure, racially motivated looniness.” I don’t think that’s true; the ideas are currently out of favor, and thus are not taught; few are even aware of the US eugenics movement. It seems to me that President Obama and others are quite happy to promote other “racially motivated looniness” if they see a political advantage to it. But that wasn’t the focus of my reply, which follows:

Sanger is indeed lionized, including quite recently by Hillary Clinton. Her championing of eugenics was, as you pointed out, not unique to Sanger; these were the common views of the progressive elite.

For example, at the time of the famous 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee over the teaching of evolution versus creationism, the officially sanctioned textbooks (originating in California). This book represented the “five human races” as ranging from the most advanced and superior (Caucasian) to the most primitive and inferior (Negroid), complete with sketches of of a gentleman in Victorian dress and an African tribesman in loincloth to drive the point home. This is what the communist progressives wanted taught exclusively in schools, so they ramped up the ACLU to create and then prosecute the Scopes trial. (ACLU had existed for a five years prior to the Scopes trial, but had done little other than take care of Communist Party members.)

Sanger’s one-time lover HG Wells was interesting here. This major player in Fabian socialism was also a big proponent of eugenics, but did not consider all blacks to be inferior as Sanger did. But he sought the end of the United States by having it consumed in the world government (he literally wrote the book The New World Order). And he was pro-Stalin: “I have never met a man more fair, candid, and honest.” He did consider Jews inferior, and expected them to be assimilated into civilized society or die out. (He was quite the anti-Zionist.) Thus, he was progressive through and through.

Eugenics laws originated during progressive Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, and operated in various parts in the United States for decades. By the time of the Scopes trial, sterilization of the “unfit” was a popular idea and was the law in many states, with progressive California leading the way. Those laws were still operating in our lifetimes, yours and mine, and some doctors who performed eugenics sterilizations (as HG Wells promoted in books and lectures) are still alive.

Sanger, Wells and many others privately believed that genocide and euthanasia would be prudent, but only the most progressive (like George Bernard Shaw) would say so publicly. Some state laws copied language from Sanger and Wells, making it a requirement to sterilize “defective persons” whose “heredity plays an important part in the transmission of insanity, idiocy, imbecility, epilepsy and crime.” This quote is from your own Virginia state law.

You may be familiar with the case of Carrie Buck of Virginia, the early test case for the Constitutionality of such sterilization laws. She was white, but (according to testimony) she was one of the “shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of anti-social whites of the South.” The US Supreme Court decided (in Buck v Bell, 1927) that “[i]t is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. … Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

A reasonable analysis would place the Buck case up there with Dred Scott, Korematsu, Plessy and other infamous decisions of SCOTUS; the list demonstrates that the allegation that Obergefell is correct merely because it was decided by SCOTUS has some weaknesses. But I’ve never seen Buck in such a list.

The Nazis were, of course, quite impressed by the US’s eugenics movement, and decided to pick it up. So Sanger and her ilk inspired much more than just Hillary Clinton. They didn’t jut get the idea, they borrowed the language of the “Model Law” for sterilization and implemented it to sterilize more than a third of a million “unfit” persons.

The Nazis picked up Woodrow Wilson’s propaganda process as well, guided by Wilson’s propaganda minister’s book, but that’s another story. US progressives have had a very large impact upon world history, little of it positive.

(Added later-KDH)

There is a connection to interracial marriage here. Interracial marriage was legal in the United States until the progressives decided that such offspring would be unfit:


So, progressives began in the 1920s to enact laws against intermarriage; by a decade later they were common. It took decades to get shut of that business.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle