Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Snippery slope

A US charity called Project Prevention is offering drug addicts £200 if they agree to have a vasectomy so they can’t pass on their degenerate lifestyles to the next generation. Apparently alcoholics (however defined) will get £100. Whether or not this will actually produce the desired results is doubtful, and you can’t help wondering where all this is going to end. What about people who weigh 20 stone? What about long-term benefit claimants? It’s not hard to find people prepared to express Sun-reader type opinions that “they shouldn’t be allowed to breed”. What about smokers? What about heavy drinkers, or indeed anyone who drinks more than the officially sanctioned annual thimbleful? Or those who don’t eat their “five a day”?

The discredited eugenics movement of the early 20th century is generally thought of now as being about racial purity, but in reality it was just as much, if not more, about improving the quality of the population by preventing the feckless underclass from breeding. The well-known novelist H. G. Wells, generally regarded as a man of the political Left, advocated ridding the world of the “unfit” through forced sterilisation, and he was far from alone. It seems that this mentality of making value judgments as to who is fit to reproduce and who isn’t, based on “lifestyle” criteria, is starting to creep back in again by the back door. It’s certainly widely spoken of already in relation to healthcare entitlement.


  1. In the pursuit of an ideal society
    populated by superior healthy
    technocrats, there will be no place for the inferior classes such
    as the unfit,the unskilled,the unwanted. Once the state helped
    a parent to terminate the life of
    an unwanted foetus,even if healthy,
    Pandoras box was opened,a bit late
    now for fear.Individual choice and
    freedom if contrary to the wishes
    of the Central Committee,these are past dreams.We often read on these sites how some condone the restrictions on the lifestyles and habits of others,soon cometh the
    time for sharing the agony.

    Sad Cafe

  2. The lady in question that is funding this dubious but legal offer appears motivated more by the welfare of children born to drug addicts than social engineering through eugenics.

    Having said that, why do piss heads only get half of what druggies get?

  3. I think these people are insignificant American nutters, but it bears watching. In the immortal words of Julian Cope (in one of his more level-headed moments), "It starts at the edge, and it edges in."

  4. Ah, Julian Cope, one of our cherished proper British eccentrics. Would he make the cut? (pardon the pun)

    You can't trust eugenicists - their eyes are too far apart...

  5. I believe the going rate for beer bloggers has been set at a fiver!

  6. On the other hand, there is a certain amount of sense in a much milder form of this sort of thing: limit child benefit to two children per mother (or however many get born in a multiple birth).

  7. Or as that other mad Englishman, Jaz Coleman, has it in lyrics to The Great Cull from their new CD, Absolute Dissent (buy it now!):

    Thomas Malthus Eugenics are alive and kicking
    Nutriens and vitamins extract from edible goods
    Legislate, sick populations - a higher rate of mortality
    Food code (as it's known) Codex Alimentarius

    Thin the herd, thin the herd, the great cull is coming down...

    Develop virus market cure - exploit the panic
    Contaminate by guile and stealth - a quick strum of the harp
    Depopulate initiate - pharmaceutical companies
    All fall down, all fall down, Codex Alimentarius

    Thin the herd...

    Most of us must die...

    Instigate wars in population density centres
    Maintain population below 500 milion

    Immunise, irradiate, deregulate all toxins
    Monsanto feed, Monsanto seed - all the bees are dying
    Depopulation in every nation, follow the food code
    All fall down, all fall down, Codex Alimentarius

    Thin the herd...

  8. A lot of influential supporters of the Labour party back in the 1920s and 30s were very keen on eugenics.

    Now of course they keep quiet about it unless provoked by a 'bigot' in Rochdale.

  9. There's a very illuminating chapter on the Left and eugenics in Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, which I would say is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand where today's "Righteous" mentality springs from.

  10. I wouldn't take Goldberg too seriously, or at all seriously - his thesis is terminally confused and incapable of accounting for some obvious facts, e.g. that the Left has always tended to oppose Fascists and the Right to support them. There are reviews here and here. Quote: One major problem with the book is that Goldberg has no ability whatsoever to stick to a coherent line of argument. You might call this book "disparate essays about fascism and American liberalism designed to annoy liberals."

  11. I know "Liberal Fascism" is a rather forced thesis, but he is entirely right to point out that many of the champions of eugenics in the first four decades of the twentieth century were on the political Left. And the basic motivation for the contemporary "Righteous" mindset comes from the Left too.

    Stalin decreed that his opponents were "Fascists", hence of course the Left has always opposed Fascism.

  12. Until the mid-seventies it was Swedish government policy to steralise the mentally afflicted to prevent passing on genetic traits.

    It's was only when a hospital doctor brought it into the public domain that the ensuing scandel stopped the practice.

    Whose to say what a government may decide is for the good of the people?

  13. Stalin, Schmalin. The Left simply does have a much, much better record of opposing and being opposed by Fascism than the non-Fascist Right.

    There were plenty of Left eugenicists, I'll grant you that.

  14. So? And the Right have a far better record in opposing Communism than the non-Communist Left.

  15. Phil is correct. Stalin and the labelling of “fascists” is a dead end. It was simply a convenient tool of his for denouncing his rivals or perceived rivals. Including those who were actually on the Left whom Stalin distrusted most of all. As his paranoia grew, so did the number of people labelled “fascists”.

    Stalin’s support for (a very specific school of) eugenics is interesting though and possibly accounts for some of the support for it in the West. At the time, most of the leading Leftists were still enthralled by Soviet propaganda and all too eager to parrot their policies.

    The crackpot fancies of Trofim Lysenko and the rejection of orthodox genetics as “fascist science” soon became official policy under Stalin. However, it seems that it was merely another convenient political tool and there is no evidence to suggest that Stalin actually believed in it.


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