Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Eugenics III

Anticipating the objection that these earlier sterilization programs were non-voluntary, state-sponsored programs, while today’s California initiative is both private and voluntary, I respectfully submit that it is itself spurious to offer a heroine addict her next fix in exchange for her ovaries.

A worthwhile point, but is it not one that we must deal with all the time? Are we really prepared to write off any possibility that an "addict" is responsible for her decisions? If she commmits theft in an attempt to satisfy her cravings, do we not still consider her a criminal? Moreover, what are we to make of the convenience store clerk who sells cigarettes to the tobacco "addict," the liquor-store worker who provides booze for an alcoholic, or the McDonald’s employee who serves Big Macs to the obese?

But if we are really going to claim that "addicts" are incapable of choice, why is there no concern about the other choices such people must make--namely the choice to risk a pregnancy that will either be aborted or, if allowed to come to term, will produce a child whose likelihood of suffering from brain damage, HIV-infection, or addiction is very high? The choice to surrender one’s ovaries has no victims; the choice either to abort a child or to bring it unwanted into the world does.

While not dispositive, or even ultimately persuasive, it may nevertheless be instructive to consider both the genesis and the final revelation of our modern eugenics movements.

Not only is it not persuasive, it is not even particularly instructive. Why arbitrarily choose eugenics as the point at which we mounted the slippery slope? Why not choose Darwin as the scientist that placed Europe’s Jews on the twisted road to Auschwitz? The fact is that Hitler sought and found justifications from all sorts of sources, including traditional Christianity. Whatever we might think of eugenics (and as a matter of involuntary state policy I oppose it), in an historical sense it makes no more sense to blame it for the Holocaust than it would be to blame the Church.

Discussions - 12 Comments

"But if we are really going to claim that "addicts" are incapable of choice, ..."

Ah, well, YES! That is what is meant by being "addicted" to something - the inability for the one addicted to make the proper choice with regards to their "addiction". It makes no difference whether the "addiction" is drugs or sex.

"The fact is that Hitler sought and found justifications from all sorts of sources, including traditional Christianity."

Please provide anything at all in "traditional Christianity" which justifies the "Final Solution". You are either a Nazi apologist, or you are totally clueless about the genocide perpetrated on Europe by the madman Hitler and SS henchmen.

That is what is meant by being "addicted" to something - the inability for the one addicted to make the proper choice with regards to their "addiction".

Then, logically, we cannot prosecute an addict who commits theft, murder, or any other crime in order to obtain a fix. A crime implies the possibility of choice, does it not?

You are either a Nazi apologist, or you are totally clueless about the genocide perpetrated on Europe by the madman Hitler and SS henchmen.Nice method of arguing--either you agree with me, or you are "a Nazi apologist" or "totally clueless." For centuries, the position of the Church had been that the Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable. Of course, the Holocaust had many antecedents, including the eugenics movement (and to dismiss Hitler as a "madman" lets him off far too easily). My point was that to single out any one of these factors as the source of the Holocaust is bad history.

"Then, logically, we cannot prosecute an addict who commits theft, murder, or any other crime in order to obtain a fix. A crime implies the possibility of choice, does it not?"

Where did you attend law school? Wherever it was, they owe you a BIG refund!

"Nice method of arguing--either you agree with me, or you are "a Nazi apologist" or "totally clueless." For centuries, the position of the Church had been that the Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable. Of course, the Holocaust had many antecedents, including the eugenics movement (and to dismiss Hitler as a "madman" lets him off far too easily). My point was that to single out any one of these factors as the source of the Holocaust is bad history."

"If the foe shits, wear it!" Please provide ANY official document of ANY Christian Church that states the "Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable." Until you do, I will view you as what you obviously are - an apologist for Hitler and the Nazi regime that murdered some 6 million Jews in Europe.

The teaching of all non-heretical Christians is that we (you and me - all humanity) are responsible for Jesus, the Christ’s sufferings and death on the Cross. It was "our sins", and not the treachery of the Jews, that were to blame for Jesus’ Passion. If your buddies, the Nazis, tried to blame that on the Jews, as you seem to, they were not following any teaching of "traditional Christianity", but merely creating heretical propaganda. To try and justify the evil of the "Holocaust" by blaming it on the Church is exactly what I would expect out of a Nazi apologist. I also see you know less about "traditional Christianity" than you do about the history of Hitler, the Nazis, and the Final Solution. On closer examination I believe concept of "clueless" fits you very well.

As for your affinity for the wonderful science of eugenics, well, it is easy to see how you might wish act the apologist for Hitler’s attempt at a "super race". Of course this was the FIRST and PRIMARY goal of this maniac and his regime. Before the first Jew was gassed, Hitler’s quest to "improve the race" had begun with the murder of "defective" German children. Then they moved on to mentally incompetent, gypsies, Jews, and Slavs - all sorts of folks deemed "inferior" and needful of eradication. As for historically facts, it is apparent that you are lacking any if you believe that Hitler and the Nazis would have hindered their war effort by starving their "war industries" of badly needed manpower for anything less than eugenics’ "Holy Grail" of a "race of supermen". Possibly this article might enlighten you:

"Leading Nazis, and early 1900 influential German biologists, revealed in their writings that Darwin’s theory and publications had a major influence upon Nazi race policies. Hitler believed that the human gene pool could be improved by using selective breeding similar to how farmers breed superior cattle strains. In the formulation of their racial policies, Hitler’s government relied heavily upon Darwinism, especially the elaborations by Spencer and Haeckel. As a result, a central policy of Hitler’s administration was the development and implementation of policies designed to protect the ‘superior race’. This required at the very least preventing the ‘inferior races’ from mixing with those judged superior, in order to reduce contamination of the latter’s gene pool. The ‘superior race’ belief was based on the theory of group inequality within each species, a major presumption and requirement of Darwin’s original ‘survival of the fittest’ theory. This philosophy culminated in the ‘final solution’, the extermination of approximately six million Jews and four million other people who belonged to what German scientists judged as ‘inferior races’." From: Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust by: Jerry Bergman.

Of course, I may have misjudged you and you don’t, in fact, apologize for the Nazis’ deranged attempt at "creating" the perfect Aryan race through camps, gas-chambers, and ovens. Instead you prefer the innocent legality of Margaret Sanger’s alternate "Final Solution". Perhaps your commitment to improving the specie is limited to the more pleasant and efficient means advocated by her memorial organize - Planned Parenthood. These would include contraception, sterilization, and abortion - especially for the those races and classes that don’t measure-up and improve the breed. Well, I can readily understand why, seeing how abortion alone in the US, has snuffed out over 40 million "less desirable" babies, since the Supremes discovered that wonderful "right" of the mother to kill her unborn child. Hitler and his henchmen could only dream of 40 million sacrifices on the altar of eugenics. And we are still counting.

Until this person learns the proper means of engaging in civil discourse I will not dignify him with a response.

Darn it, forget my last comment--this guy has made me too angry not to respond, if only to include this partial list of decrees by the early Church singling out the Jews for persecution:

The Synod of Elvira (306)prohibited intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Christians and Jews, and prohibited them from eating together.


The Councils of Orleans (533-541)prohibited marriages between Christians and Jews and forbade the conversion to Judaism by Christians.


The Trulanic Synod (692) prohibited Christians from being treated by Jewish doctors.


The Synod of Narbonne (1050)_prohibited Christians from living in Jewish homes.


The Synod of Gerona (1078) required Jews to pay taxes to support the Church.


The Third Lateran Council (1179) prohibited certain medical care to be provided by Christians to Jews.


The Fourth Lateran Council (1215)_required Jews to wear special clothing to distinguish them from Christians.


The Council of Basel (1431-1443)_forbade Jews to attend universities, them from acting as agents in the conclusion of contracts between Christians, and required that they attend church sermons

I could go on and on, but I am simply overwhelmed at the ignorance of someone who denies that hostility to Jews was not a feature of Christianity in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. And this person has the nerve to call me "clueless."

"Until this person learns the proper means of engaging in civil discourse I will not dignify him with a response."

Hmmm! I suppose that satisfies the query as to providing "ANY official document of ANY Christian Church that states the ’Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable’." Sort of reminds one of Herr Goebbels, in an authoritative sort of way - "when you can’t fascinate with fact baffle with bluster!" Or some such!

Seeing that you prefer unchallenged propaganda to the truth, the Herr Goebbels nexus is quite fitting:

"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda, Germany 1933-45

You don’t respond because you can’t, my friend, because your position lacks substance.

"I could go on and on, but I am simply overwhelmed at the ignorance of someone who denies that hostility to Jews was not a feature of Christianity in Medieval and Early Modern Europe."

Again I challenge you - provide one cited source where "ANY official document of ANY Christian Church that states the ’Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable’."

Your reliance on matters such as inter-faith marriage and socialization between members of different religions could lead one to somehow blame Hasidic (Pharisaic schools) and Orthodox Jews, who demand similar discipline for their adherents, for the Nazi Holocaust. Of course Pharisaic Jews might be blamed for any "bad blood" between early Christians and Jews, seeing how they stoned St. Steven to death under the direction of the militant Pharisee, Saul. Interestingly, St. Paul, before his Epiphany on his way to Damascus to kill more Christians in the name of Judaism, was a leader of the Jewish Jihad against the followers of Jesus, the Christ.

I find your source: A Comparison of Canon Law and Nazi Measures - from the Messianic Synagogue at: http://www.baruchhashem.com/resources/canonlaw.html - quite interesting, especially the stretch. Another good source for similar polemics is: Jews for Allah at: http://jews-for-allah.org/ I submit both links for any who might interested to "go on and on" and still not provide "ANY official document of ANY Christian Church that states the ’Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable’."

Perhaps you might now concede the point that you overstated your case, and have no such proof. Than again, I would not be surprised if you didn’t.

Lang’s argument in the face of evidence is this:

1. The Jews had it coming, because they stoned Christians.

2. You never showed me how Christians viewed the Jews as "Christ-killers."

3. It doesn’t matter anyway, because it comes from some website put out by Jewish fanatics.

I can’t believe I’ve wasted this much time arguing with an obvious lunatic, but allow me to suggest a few other online sources:

Legislation Affecting the Jews from 300 to 800 CE, from Fordham University’s Medieval History Sourcebook.

St. John Chrysostom’s Eight Homilies Against the Jews, found at the same place, which includes many, many instances of the claim that the Jews killed Christ.

Finally, my personal favorite, Martin Luther’s "On the Jews and their Lies", again from the same place. Here’s a quote that sums up the attitude quite well: "I say, before they would have us Gentiles whom they incessantly mock, curse, damn, defame, and revile share the Messiah with them, and be called their co-heirs and brethren, they would crucify ten more Messiahs and kill God himself if this were possible, together with all angels and all creatures, even at the risk of incurring thereby the penalty of a thousand hells instead of one." Or how about this: "And that is what they did; they crucified him as ignominiously as possible. They gave free rein to their anger, so that even the Gentile Pilate noticed this and testified that they were condemning and killing him out of hatred and envy, innocently and without cause."

Now, what is the point of all this? To show that Christianity was responsible for Hitler? Not at all. To defend eugenics? Nope. To return to my original point, Hitler cobbled together his ideology from many sources, including not only Social Darwinism but also traditional Christianity, Nietzschean philosophy, German Romanticism, ancient Teutonic myths, and no doubt a few others that aren’t coming to mind at the moment. It’s an abuse of history to point to a single idea or institution and claim that it was Hitler’s inspiration. Frankly, it’s a sign of an immature mind, and I’ve no doubt that this is what I’ve been dealing with here.

For the record, my source for the list of Councils and Synods was not the conspiracy-theory site that Lang mentions, but rather Remember.org, an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. Perhaps Lang has spent so much time on http://www.trueorigin.org/ that he has lost the ability to distinguish between education and propaganda--if indeed he ever had it.

Dr. Mosier: The Ashbrook Listserve must really be boreing if you have to get your fix by nailling this guy to a wall.

I read the article you wrote on Austrian Economics and found it was decent, since it pointed me towards someone who tackled Marx while still taking him seriously.

I agree with you completly on Hitler, and more importantly in a broader sense I think it is rare to be able to find a single cause for any particular event.

I do agree that an addicts lack a certain element of choice, but does he lack choice in the same sense as someone who has already made up his mind lacks choice? Why not simply view an addict as someone who is resolute and firm, but who has chosen the wrong end to be resolute about? Does the person who is virtuous have a choice? Or has he habituated certain actions which make him resolute in periods of decision?

It seems quite possible that neither a crime nor a virtuous action would necessarily require a moment of choice. Today I went to an ice cream shop and I felt a real moment of choice as I tried to figure out what flavor I wanted. If by choice we mean the action that follows a period of indecision/deliberation where we are trying to sort through possibilities, then to be honest a lot of our actions do not feel to like choice to us on a conscious level.

A crime can occur when it was beyond the possibility of choice for the agent to act otherwise. This does not mean that it is unjust for society to punish such criminals or "wrong choice addicts", quite the contrary having punishment for acts which disrupt society may in fact cause periods of deliberation in those who would otherwise act without them. In addition to this punishment can include attempts to reshape or reform these people, but this is very difficult. Personally I believe that all antecedent conditions being the same, it could not have been otherwise. That is why punishments exist, as attempts to change previous antecedent conditions in order to bring about a different otherwise. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. But as a result of what you got you can chose to get differently next time, if you learn what to manipulate.

P.S. this is just my continuous churning on the free-will question, but the way I read him Von Mises would also dismiss most formulations of the free will question. Correct?

I thank Mr. Lewis for his thoughtful comments. The law does indeed recognize different shades of choice--for instance, in distinguishing manslaughter from murder based on the perpetrator’s state of mind when committing the crime. However, even in the case of manslaughter we maintain the presumption that, even though the crime was committed in the absence of complete rationality, there was a choice involved--and that therefore the perpetrator should be held responsible.

The situation is very different with someone who is determined to have been legally insane when killing someone. Such a person has been deemed incapable of having made a choice. This does not mean that this person will go free--there is still a need to keep such a person away from society. But he or she will be committed to a mental hospital, not a prison.

So what are we to make of the situation of the drug addict? Many liberals would argue that the term "choice" does not apply in their case (much like the case of the smoker who allegedly cannot choose to stop smoking), so that addicts who commit criminal acts should be sentenced to treatment rather than prison. I was under the impression that most conservatives rejected this line of thinking, thus tacitly accepting that addicts are capable of choice. The ongoing debate on this issue, however, suggests that this is perhaps not the case.

As for Mises, it’s been well over ten years since I’ve delved into his writings, so I’ll have to punt on the question for now.

"Lang’s argument in the face of evidence is this:"

"1. The Jews had it coming, because they stoned Christians."

Never said that, Herr Doctor. You are putting words in my mouth. You, on the other hand said: "For centuries, the position of the Church had been that the Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable." - and when I asked you to prove it you "crayfished".

Of course, the facts show that the Pharisaic Jews throughout the Roman Empire did initiate the original Pogrom (appropriate terminology because most of the early Christians were in fact Jews) against the followers of the "Way" (understandable considering the number of Jews taking up the Cross, so to speak), as the original Christians were called. Of course, the early Christians, true to form and their teaching - "turned the other cheek!"

"2. You never showed me how Christians viewed the Jews as ’Christ-killers’."

And you still haven’t, perhaps because you can’t. May I then expect your concession? BTW, Martin Luther was a heretic, especially if his belief was that the Jews were responsible for the murder of Jesus, the Christ. His major flaw is that Jesus told us why He would die, and of course, He, Himself was a devout Jew.

"3. It doesn’t matter anyway, because it comes from some website put out by Jewish fanatics."

Your take, not mine. I did note that all three Websites used the same proof of the Christian guilt, although only the Messianic Jews and Jews for Allah make the same Nazi connections as do you. I guess it was an honest mistake on my part, seeing the drift of your propaganda match theirs.

"I can’t believe I’ve wasted this much time arguing with an obvious lunatic, but allow me to suggest a few other online sources:"

Still waiting for the "proof" of your statement that:

"For centuries, the position of the Church had been that the Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ; hence persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable."

Well, for Centuries, Herr Doctor, the Church has taught that Jesus, the Christ, died for OUR sins!" That we are ALL responsible for His Passion and death. Only idiots, anti-Christians, and heretics took the "position" you take - "that the Jews bore the responsibility for the murder of Christ". As for your assertion that the Church allowed that "persecution of the Jews was acceptable, even commendable" - please provide "proof"!

So far, you have shown that Jews and Christians didn’t socialize based on the findings of some Christian Synods and Councils regarding the Sacrament of of Marriage, etc. Of course, the Jews themselves were rather "clannish":

"* Jews observed strict dietary laws. Thus they could not, according to their law, share a meal in their neighbors’ homes.
* Jews also could not, according to their law, work on the seventh day. Christians observed Sunday as their Sabbath, and Moslems observed Friday as their Sabbath. As a result, Jews were often "out of step."
* Also according to their law, Jews were not supposed to marry outside their faith, and most did not. Intergroup marriages often served as a bond in ancient times to promote intergroup harmony. This refusal also retarded any assimilation which would have narrowed the differences between the Jews and their host communities.
* Jews maintained their traditional dress and continued to wear beards and earlocks even when styles changed among their hosts. The result was that Jews became more easily identified as a stereotyped culture which had ramifications beyond religious differences."

Hard to schedule that "golf game" with that Jewish friend when he must "rest" on Saturday, while the Christian does so on Sunday.

Well obviously your "proof" is lacking, Doctor, so perhaps you may do the honest thing and concede the point. (I am truly the optimist, you see!)

"Now, what is the point of all this? To show that Christianity was responsible for Hitler? Not at all. To defend eugenics? Nope."

Actually, YEP to both! I believe you stated it quite well originally:

"Whatever we might think of eugenics (and as a matter of involuntary state policy I oppose it), in an historical sense it makes no more sense to blame it for the Holocaust than it would be to blame the Church."

This statement, from your original hypothesis, is the crux of the discussion, oh learned Doctor. As I read it you do "defend eugenics", at least to the extent it is not ’involuntary state policy’, and you do blame Chrisitianity for, if not Hitler, at least the Holocaust.

Nazism and its Final Soltion is no more a product of Christian Teachings than it is of Euclidian Geometry. Only a "lunatic" would offer such nonsense. Perhaps you have an agenda, Herr Doctor? Obviously you seem to think the human race could benefit from some "voluntary" eugenical tinkering by us "god-like" humans. How elitist of you, Herr Doctor. Herr Hitler would certainly agree with you!

The common element that you fail to appreciate (too bad for you, Doctor) is that the same "racist ideas" that promote the very concept of eugenics (whether those of Herr Hitler or Ms. Margaret Sanger) also were the root of the Holocaust. While this may offend you sensibilities, it is a fact. I can readily understand how you might be frightened with such a peek "into the looking glass", Herr Doctor, especially when you see old Adolf looking back at you. But sooner or later you must face the reality of the situation - "Darwinism and eugenics", and not Christianity, was the force behind the "Final Solution". This is true, Herr Doctor, no matter how you attempt to "de-construct" history and wish to blame it on the Homilies of some 5th Century Bishop in a city in Asia Minor.

As for "education and propaganda", Herr Doctor, first you haven’t a clue as to my positions on the "Origin" of the Universe or anything else (actually I am a "Big Bangist", just like, Georges Lemaitre, the Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest who first put forth the theory. No less a scientific luminary than Albert Einstein stated: "This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened." - when he first heard Father Lemaitre’s theory in California in 1933). However, seeing your expressed "faith" in "voluntary" eugenics, you apparently accept, unquestionally, the propaganda of Cult of Darwin. My only question then: Are you of the "macro" or the "micro" evolutionist Sect? Perhaps you might aslo be kind enough to point-out those necessary "transitional" fossils that would make your chosen "faith" a true science. Else, you might be honest enough to admit it is merely your religion!

Interestingly, like the dinosaurs, Darwinism is dying out for lack of proof. The only thing keepong it alive is the lack of a satisfactory non-theistic substitute to take its place.

Your problem, Herr Doctor, is that you can’t see the Holocaust for what it truly was, at least in the mind of your fellow Darwinistic eugenist, Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately Herr Hitler didn’t have your compunctions against involuntary means. Of course, you don’t have the "power" your fellow Darwinian had, either. So perhaps, to paraphrase Lord Acton: "You haven’t been corrupted, because you lack the power!".

"Until this person learns the proper means of engaging in civil discourse I will not dignify him with a response."

While I appreciate your gracious indulgence, Herr Doctor, considering your obvious angst at my temerity to question you, your tantrums lead one to wonder if they should take you literally. Have a Nice Day, Doc!

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