25 September 2008

Eugenics is So One Hundred Years Ago

A Louisiana state rep is helping move his party from moderate conservatism to being outright reactionary as he proposes this creepy method of getting folks off the dole. From NOLA:

LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.

"What I'm really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare, " he said.

He said his program would be voluntary. It could involve tubal ligation, encouraging other forms of birth control or, to avoid charges of gender discrimination, vasectomies for men.

This idea of sterilization of undesirables is nothing new, and has been tried to be legitimized by a few kooks in recent years. However, eugenics was actually considered a viable policy in America before the Nazis began trumpeting it. From HNN:

In its first twenty-five years of eugenic legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as "bad girls," diagnosed as "passionate," "oversexed" or "sexually wayward." At Sonoma, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia.

In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed, 700 of which were on women. The state's two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton and Pacific Colony state hospitals.

It's true that programs like Medicaid and Welfare have the unintended consequence of allowing irresponsible people to plop out more munchkins to further our society towards the set from Idiocracy, but is this a program we want the government implementing? Some libertarians (like me) freak out about the "race question" on the census being an affront to civil liberties, so this policy is reminding me of some sort of Matrix-style breeding program. But there's a solution to our woefully dumbed down America, I say let more immigrants come here to work and live, which Reason highlights is actually a bureaucratically painful process to do legally. A policy that would benefit society without donning a Mengele outfit.