If you read Michelle Malkin, you already know about Zombie’s post exposing the unrepentant eugenicist past of John Holdren, Obama’s science czar. Writing in the early 1970s, when the trendy concern was the population explosion (promising every a brutish Malthusian future), Holdren eagerly espoused a world order with forced abortions; mandatory sterliziation of those deemed unfit; birth-control chemicals running freely through our water and food; and a transnational global economy policed by a new world order. Michelle Malkin has already commented on the fact that Holdren’s writing perfectly harmonizes with the eugencist thinking common among early 20th century Progressives, especially Margaret Sanger (and, of course, some late 20th century Progressives, such as Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg).
When confronted with these facts which sound so ugly when stated openly, the average liberal’s impulse is to deny their brutality and focus on the humanity behind them. They’ll point to the fact that, beginning in the industrial era, rich women have controlled their fertility, and that there is a correlation between a nation’s affluence and its control over its birth rate. (Although that last is actually a very 70s argument. Looking at nations such as Japan or Italy, which have negative population growth and sagging economies because they no longer have a productive sector, one can see that controlled population growth can quickly reach a point of diminishing returns.) They’ll tell you that they only desire a world in which “every child is a wanted one.”
It’s hard to argue with those facts. As is typical for the utopian agenda, the end goal is always a lovely one. After all, a lovely end goal is, by definition, the nature of a utopia: it is a perfect place. A utopia is also, as Thomas More recognized when he coined the name, a place that cannot exist. (Utopia is Greek for “not place” — that is, an impossible place suitable only for allegory.)
People of goodwill have always envisioned a place in which everyone lives in harmony and material comfort. War is gone. Hunger is gone. Each community is a perfect amalgam of density and space, allowing for high functionality and rural aesthetics that flow effortlessly into each other. Heaven on earth.
The only problem with this whole Heaven on earth thing, of course, is those pesky humans. Humans are erratic. Some have the temerity to be born smart and some dumb; some are placid, some feisty; some strong, some weak; some submissive, some aggressive. Whole cultures are poisoned by these variables. The people who keep giving into their base human nature are making perfection impossible.
For many, the solution to these impossible humans has been a strong hand: Hitler promised perfection, as did Mussolini, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin. Humans — damn their imperfect hearts — could be corralled into virtue, and if corralling didn’t work, killing would suffice.
Given the effort it takes to force humans to be perfect, all of these Statists, without exception, realized that some humans simply weren’t worth the effort it would take to perfect them. They were in the way. How much better, then, simply to rid the world of them before they even became nascent. The was Margaret Sanger’s plan. Hitler liked that idea too. Through a combination of genocide (Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc.) and sterilization (the generic “unfit,” although quite a few, my uncle included, came in for genocide too), he was acting with the best will in the world. How else, after all, could he make the world a better place for his good Germans? And undoubtedly, if asked, he would have said, “What’s good for the Germans is good for the planet.”
What’s so fascinating about these Statists — these people who believe that human-kind can be perfected through a governmental program of purging and heavy-handed guidance — is that, while they loath humans, they really like animals. To get back to Hitler, you may recall that he was famed for his vegetarianism and love of dogs. How can a man who loves dogs be all bad?
Sadly, while Sanger has been bathed in a misty glow, not as a crude eugenicist, but as the savior of poor women dying from too many pregnancies, and Hitler (thank goodness) has been discredited, these eugenic ideas live on, and at a very high level too. Peter Singer, for example, holds an endowed chair at Princeton. His books include Should the Baby Live?: The Problem of Handicapped Infants (Studies in Bioethics), Animal Liberation and In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. Should the Baby Live pretty much sums up the man’s philosophy: he advocates euthanizing handicapped infants. (Sarah Palin apparently forgot to read this book.) He is, of course, reviled by the handicapped community (and rightly so).
The moral abyss Singer creates with his euthanasia musings is highlighted by the fact that his animal liberation writings make him a founding father of the animal rights movement — a movement that’s come to full flower in PETA insanity (which analogizes the death of chickens to the death of Jews in Hitler’s gas chambers). Singer explicitly believes that a healthy animal has greater rights than a sick person. (As a side point, Singer has also made clear that he has no moral problem with bestiality, provided that the animal consents. Amusingly, this last viewpoint has put Singer at odds with the same animal rights movement he was so instrumental in creating.)
Getting back to Holdren, it’s fascinating to discover that he too places animals over humans. Thus, as Zombie notes, while Holdren enthusiastically supports mass sterilization through food and water additives, he adds a caveat — you can do it in the water supply as long as you don’t harm the horses (or dogs, cats, guinea pigs and hamsters):
Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock.
The desperate need to eradicate an ever escalating number of humans, coupled with the mirror obsession for animal well-being establishes that, all Progressive protestations aside, utopianism has nothing to do with perfecting mankind. Instead, it’s about mankind’s slow eradication, with an ultimate return to a time before homonids walked the earth. You see, fundamentally, the Progressive isn’t Progressive at all. By slowly removing people from the earth, one category a time, the so-called Progressive can regress to that true Utopia, before the snake, the woman and apple drove man from Paradise.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
UPDATE: Would you be surprised that other bloggers are concerned too? At NoisyRoom, Terresa has more links to examples of eugenics ideas on the Left. The Confederate Yankee adds his own spin about Holdren’s “dark mind.”
UPDATE II: Mark Steyn’s latest column, about climate change/apocalyptic thinking, ties in nicely with this post.