Dr. Garrett N. Benefield, PhD. (Left) and
Robert Anderson (Right) with Integrated Genetics
BURLINGTON, N.C. – The White House announced today that LabCorp of Burlington, North Carolina will take the led in conducting government studies of Eugenics after renewed interest surfaced in Washington under the Obama administration in 2010. LabCorp the parent company of Integrated Genetics of Philadelphia will conduct, monitor and document all research and testing conducted over the next two years.
Implemented during the first decades of the 20th century the American Eugenics Movement was well received in the US leading to over 30 states adopting compulsory sterilization laws. The concept of Eugenics under the American program sought to provide American’s in every community or city in each state a more secure and safer environment to live in. Eugenics followed much the same logic that a farmer uses to create a better crop. Eliminate the bad stock and proliferate the good.
American Eugenics laws targeted violent criminals, the criminally insane and the less fortunate ilk living on the fringes of our great Republic. Those sterilized included the mentally ill, the disabled, mentally retarded, the blind, poor, shiftless, epileptic and in some states the homeless, unemployed and alcoholics. By not permitting defective people to reproduce, their defective genes could not be passed to another generation thereby the stronger bloodline survives and the weaker bloodline ends.
The advantage to the taxpayer is clear these are non-productive people whose tax burden is enormous. They also contribute to draining public resources especially emergency services like police, fire and medical. Those selected to be sterilized were generally institutionalized in prisons or mental heath facilities. Before the procedure could be carried out each candidate for sterilization had to appear before a local sterilization board where their case was individually reviewed and the candidate was given an opportunity to speak.
American Eugenics was a well monitored and very successful program. The scientific community, scholars, philanthropist and some of America’s biggest businessmen like, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Edward Henry Harriman, John Davison Rockefeller, Henry Ford, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., Clarence J. Gamble all helped finance American Eugenics.
California was considered the epicenter of the American Eugenics movement decades before Hitler came to power. Ultimately, Eugenics practitioners medically sterilized some 60,000 Americans, before World War II, nearly half of these compulsory sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.
With Hitler’s rise to power he became enamored by California’s successful Eugenics program and adopted a similar plan in Germany. But Hitler’s Eugenics program targeted anyone who failed to fit his definition of “fit.” It was the beginning of Hitler’s ultimate goal for a white, blonde haired and blue eyed Aryan race. Under Hitler’s Germany over 400,000 people deemed unfit were sterilized and Eugenics became Hitler’s stepping stone to the holocaust. As a result Eugenics got a bad rap and ultimately would one day become Germany’s shame. Germany’s shame however spread throughout Europe and the US giving Eugenics a bad name. Eventually this misconception of Hitler’s idea to form a master race led to the same accusations here at home causing the American Eugenics Program to recede.
The US Supreme Court upheld Eugenics as Constitutional in the 1927 landmark case of Buck vs. Bell. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in the majority decision wrote… “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”
In comparison the US by selecting only criminals and other feebleminded types sterilized about 8% of its total population. In Hitler’s Germany it becomes clear that eugenics was used to commit genocide. The German Nazi government adopted its eugenics laws in 1933 which provided the legal basis for Germany to sterilize over 400,000 people. By 1934 Germany was doing about 5,000 compulsory sterilization each month of any person who didn’t meet Aryan perfection.
Though Eugenics proved highly successful in the US in reducing the burden on taxpayers and government services it was also credited with reducing crime, and improving US test scores of high school and college aged students. None the less Hitler’s actions condemned Eugenics in most first world nations causing such research and progress to be largely abandoned.
Though eugenics was largely vacated in the US the program quietly continued in many states until 1972 and adopted more acceptable titles such as, “Genetic Engineering,” and “In vitro fertilization.”
Since the 1980s interest in Eugenics has quickly gained ground in the US. Large-scale projects like the Human Genome Project are a result of Eugenic research. As our knowledge from this early research is now combined with modern advanced reproductive technologies we as a society are once again confronted with the ethical question of genetically engineering a “superior race.”
I believe God didn’t intend man to still be living in caves today; or to have to club our women over the head and drag them off to our cave for a life of servitude. God’s will is that man move forward, learn and create. It is a fundamental belief in American culture to improve our environment while raising our standard of living above that which we have already achieved.
Therefore the American Eugenics program should be fully reinstated since we had such great success with it during the 20th century. But taking a lesson from Hitler’s Germany we know that reasonable laws and restrictions must accompany any such renewed interest in this technology so that it can never be abused or used in such a ghastly manner as it was by Hitler.
† Brother Johnathan Bane †