Brainy Quote of the Day

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Evil Tree...

Image source: Adoption History Project: Eugenics [+]

Topics: Civil Rights, Commentary, History, Human Rights, Politics, Science

A new year with the same old/new challenges to our republic. Perfection is an admirable, and Utopian ambition. It is typically striven for, but never fully achieved. Getting close to perfection is typically quite enough. In the wrong hands, the pursuit of perfection can become the tools of genocide. Some things to consider November 6, 2018 (congressional midterms) and November 9, 2020 (the next presidential elections).

"Good genes, very good genes." Paraphrase of an oft-repeated self-admonition/description by the 45th president*.

Merriam-Webster says eugenics is : "a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed." I'm not the editor, but I think Webster could have thought this definition through better. As practiced in America and quickly adopted by the Nazis in Europe, it fell from whatever grace it may have enjoyed and is largely considered a pseudoscience. Reasonable people in our nation's complicated history gave it credence, like Dr. William Shockley - of the Shockley Diode Equation if you're tech, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for co-invention of the transistor. He also has the notable distinction of having his own page at the Southern Poverty Law Center in their extremist files for his irrational eugenics views. His colleagues, Dr.'s John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain if they held these beliefs, didn't rise to Shockley's level of notice, or distinction.

"Good genes, very good genes"...

Snopes verified as true that "One aspect of President* Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget for the 2018 fiscal year has come under criticism for its potential effect on low-income seniors, particularly during winter months in colder parts of the U.S.

"The president’s* proposed budget eliminated funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which assists people who need help paying their energy bills."

Not that an ethnicity is emphasized, but low income citizens tend to comprise mostly people of color. If a few Anglos lose funding, they're probably considered negligible statistical "noise." This is the same president* that's stacked his administration with white nationalists and downplayed the actions of them, even before Charlottesville. Adding insult to injury, the corporate tax cut is paid for with the lives of people that will suddenly be with less healthcare, and Speaker Paul Ryan is gunning for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts on his way out to "retire, and spend time with his family," as his is the archetype made popular by the media.

"Good genes, very good genes"...

President* Trump doesn't yet have his "big, beautiful" border wall, but the administration is ramping up recruitment of border agents going into the new year in a bid to enhance security with more manpower – if not bricks and barbed wire.

Up until now, the White House’s fix to immigration issues has included Trump reversing many of his predecessor’s policies, increasing round-ups of illegal immigrants and restricting the number of refugees allowed into the country.

"Good genes, very good genes"...

There are probably not "good genes" at the Texas-Mexico border, in Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands as there are none [by this philosophy] in California, or any largely blue state with a growing diverse population. There are no "good genes" from the particular countries the Muslim travel ban prohibits. There's no reason to allow the Affordable Care Act (originally, a conservative idea from the Heritage Foundation) to actually work if the majority of people applying for it didn't get the fortunate/blessed/kismet luck-of-the-draw of "good genes," wealth and power's particular favoritism to a lack of Melanin.

"Good genes, very good genes"...

Positive eugenics encouraged the biblical "fruitful multiplication" of the aforementioned "good genes" and discouraged the procreation of "bad genes" (negative eugenics). In America, and sadly in the sordid history of my home state, that was achieved via a dark calculus, and forced unconstitutional means:

This of course is conspiracy theory, quackery and the highest level of intellectual buffoonery that can only result in innocents being irreparably harmed for myth.

This tree is an evil we've seen before as a species, dropping anvils on the heads of the Earth's meek and calling it rain. It's attributed to Mark Twain that “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” A forced sterilization is not likely in our futures even as erstwhile congressmen known for throwing racial flamethrowers in gasoline pits coyly hint at it. What happened in North Carolina should be instructive to those of us that aren't cis-gender WASPs (white, Anglo Saxon Protestants).  Terminating all 16 members without notice of the president's advisory council on HIV/AIDS can only have the eventual effect of increasing HIV/AIDS from recoverable and manageable back to its previous epidemic levels. For all intents and purposes, a genomics Dachau aimed at the LGBT community. “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” (Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol")

As we try to make sense of the callous legislation that has come and will come, Occam's razor applies. As we see it affect heating to low income elderly, access to the voting booth; the response to the dwindling of the Republican Party's demographics, the majority status of people of color in 2042 (an online calculator at a growth rate of 0.02 shows us at ~541 million by then); the retweet of British white nationalists and white genocide by this country's president*; in a nation founded on the genocide of Native Americans and the uncompensated kidnapping of African Americans, we can no longer be surprised at the audacity of this scion of Andrew Jackson, or subtle in our response. We can no longer be surprised what a party dwindling in numbers and power would do, is capable of doing, or will do, nor can we be subtle calling that which is evil... just that!

"Good genes, very good genes"...

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

"What the hell do you have to lose?" ... I can think of a few things.

[+] Many people believe that eugenics disappeared in America after the specter of Nazism made eugenics synonymous with racism and genocide. While public discussion of taint and degeneration certainly decreased after World War II, blood and biology remained central themes in adoption history. Anxieties about miscegenation in transracial adoptions and international adoptions, as well as strenuous efforts to make racial predictions and offer genetic counseling in cases of mixed-race infants illustrate that eugenics did not disappear so much as change into a less aggressive, more polite form.

*The usage of the asterisk (*) next to president* I borrow from and attribute to Charles P. Pierce, a writer for Esquire magazine and frequent media commentator on MSNBC. He's also author of the prescient book: "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free." And so, despite his and other authors' warnings to the contrary, our republic is at the stage-edge of this cliff...

Related links:

Eugenics in the United States


Hidden History 13 February 2017...
The Shattering...

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