The Party of Social Darwinism

A couple of weeks ago, Paul Ryan released his budget plan. The Democrats are going nuts denouncing the plan, culminating last week with the President calling it “Social Darwinism”.

My response to this accusation is, to an extent, “if only”. Ryan’s proposal would still spend enormous amounts of money and make very little dent in Medicare and Social Security spending. It relies on ridiculously optimistic assumptions about Congress’ spending habits and the economy and leaves large portions of the populace untaxed. The tax cuts it includes are unsustainable and it doesn’t cut enough from military and retirement spending. It doesn’t actually specify which tax loopholes it would close to make up for the rate cuts.

But … it’s still more of a plan than any Democrat has put out.

Is the accusation of Social Darwinism accurate? Well, it is true that the plan cuts taxes on the rich and cuts spending on the poor, with 62% of the budget cuts coming from Medicaid, Pell Grants, food stamps, job training and other low-income programs. But to call this Social Darwinism is a bit of an overstatement. The Ryan budget will not leave poor people dying in the streets. And some of the programs — job training, for example — have show little or no ability to actually, you know, help with poverty. In the end, Ryan is constrained by mathematics: the rich pay most of the taxes and a huge amount of spending falls on low-income people. That’s the way the system is built. Never mind that the rich will still be paying most of the taxes and much anti-poverty spending, including all state spending, will be untouched. Any combination of tax and spending cuts, according to the Democrats, will be Social Darwinism. Only tax hikes on the rich aren’t.

This is simply the apotheosis of the “Republican hate poor people” rhetoric we’ve been hearing for thirty years. It’s an attempt, as Althouse points out, to do an end-round of Godwin’s law. Almost all liberal commentary has gleefully recited the sordid history of Social Darwinism (while conveniently ignoring its following among liberal icons like Margaret Sanger). It’s the equivalent of calling someone a socialist and then talking about Hitler because his party has “socialism” in its name.

The thing is, if the GOP believe in social darwinism, they are really bad at it. Study after study has shown that conservatives give far more of their personal income to charity even though, on average, they make less than liberals. They are also more likely to donate blood and do volunteer work. This is at least partially because conservatives are more religious than liberals. But even if you only factor in secular charities, conservatives still give more.

(While researching that last point, I found that the claim that Obama only gives 1% of his money to charity is a myth. It was true a decade ago, when he was making six figures. Since his income exploded to a million or two a year, he’s been more in the 15% range, which is admirable.)

And what’s the alternative that the Democrats propose? A dependency state? A state where the poor — and everyone else — are kept in a state of constant dependency by their benevolent government? A state where the success of corporations and businesses is dependent on their influence in Washington?

Look, Obama is in campaign mode and has been for some time. The entire Democratic Party is. When they were in power, all we heard was how important it was we have a civil discourse. But since they’ve lost the House, they’ve abandoned that in favor the Same Old Shit: Republicans are heartless monsters who hate the poor, women, minorities and Gaia. There’s a War on Women. Ultrasounds are rape. Republicans are Social Darwinists. The Supreme Court are activist thugs. This is just the latest. We’ll hear more as time goes on.

It just shows how quickly they have become bereft of ideas. Four years into the New Age of Obama, they have no ideas, no plans, no solutions. They are already falling back on fear and anger and resentment. They have no plan for balancing the budget; they don’t even have a fucking budget. They have no plan for the economy, other than spending more money on special interests. They have no plan for how to deal with Russia or China. They have no real plan for immigration. They have no plan for what to do if Obamacare is struck down. All they have is resentment.

And … it just might be enough to win this year. Because as much as the GOP is branded as the party of angry white men, no one plays the resentment game as well as the Democrats.

Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    The problem for the far-left democrats is that they expected some sort of spontaneous paradise to emerge once they finally managed to control the government, and now that it’s not happening.

    They literally don’t have any other game plan other than to continue what they are doing. They can’t even conceive of one, their faith in a Keynesian-funded utopia of “social justice” is absolute.

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  2. AlexInCT

    The fact that we are being told Ryan’s piss poor plan that does nothing to really address the fiscal morass we are in is “Social Darwinism”, leaves me with no doubt that the left is hell bent on bankrupting the country. Nothing else explains the fiscal disconnect between our fiscal reality and what they want to keep doing despite that reality.

    And since when are the leftist twits that constantly accuse conservatives of being evil anti-science religious nut jobs against the scientific teachings of Darwin? Are they suddenly believers in a manipulated/engineered system like the “Intelligent Desginers” they so love to ridicule, simply because in this case it serves their big government agenda?

    And what’s the alternative that the Democrats propose? A dependency state? A state where the poor — and everyone else — are kept in a state of constant dependency by their benevolent government? A state where the success of corporations and businesses is dependent on their influence in Washington?

    Of course this is the end goal! How do you insure you maintain power and wealth against other upstarts once you have destroyed the traditional establishment and taken over? The old commies and the fascists did it by force of arms and it failed. In one case because the system simply was never going to be viable and the only thing it could guarantee was misery for all, and in the other because it resulted in conflict with everyone else, including their fellow travelers: the communists. Besides, too many Americans are still armed and able to fight back. Pseudo-marxists understand revolution well.

    Have no doubt that the plan on the left is to get itself all the power and to then use that power to keep the elite players at the top. But they can not rest until everyone is disarmed, so they can then tell people though titties, when the house of cards inevitably comes crashing down.

    We are doomed.

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  3. Kimpost

    And since when are the leftist twits that constantly accuse conservatives of being evil anti-science religious nut jobs against the scientific teachings of Darwin? Are they suddenly believers in a manipulated/engineered system like the “Intelligent Desginers” they so love to ridicule, simply because in this case it serves their big government agenda?

    There’s a (world of) difference between Darwinism and Social Darwinism. They are not even the same sport. Darwin’s work had nothing to do with social structure. Liberals don’t believe in survival of the fittest as a suitable model for a civilized society. Nobody does.

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  4. Dave D

    “Nobody does” ???? Pretty sure that (true) conservatives and libertairans buy into that ideal wholeheartedly, at least for economic outcomes.

    Also, “social darwinism” in my experience actually refers to the expected outcome on voter distribution brought on by policies of abortion and such, where progressives will simply diminish due to the fact that they don’t breed as often. Of course, this is offset by their propensity to create entire classes of humans dependent on them for their basic sustinance, so it may be a wash?

    This tendency to label other things as “social darwinism” seems to be a bHo creation, no?

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  5. Kimpost

    I don’t buy that “wholeheartedly” thing for one second. Everyone here, and probably every human being I have ever met, believes in the welfare state. It’s its reach, people are disagreeing on.

    We could of course accept less rigid interpretations of the term. I’m generally for rational discourse, and often accept issues as shades of gray rather than black and white. Having said that, the term, as it was used by Alex, became something entirely different. And the democrat use of it now, is just absurd. “Hyperbole” would be an understatement.

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  6. AlexInCT

    There’s a (world of) difference between Darwinism and Social Darwinism. They are not even the same sport. Darwin’s work had nothing to do with social structure.

    I am going to call anti-science on this nonsense. Darwin’s work had to do with the principal and most deeply ingrained instincts of any species, that of survival, and how cruel nature always favored the strong and more adaptable. Its evolution and the way of ALL life. The concept of socialism is against this most basic and hardest of natural orders, and why the stuff never, ever can work in the long term. Disassociating the law of natural selection from any social structure is the same exercise that AGW cultists have perpetrated when they disassociated the impact of the sun and of water vapor in the equation in order to blame man: it is blatantly fake science. Either you believe natural selection is exactly that, and hence will always clash against any social structure that tries to fight its basic mechanism off, or you are rationalizing things in order to avoid the obvious implications of what it means for the social engineers and their endeavors.

    Note that I am not arguing in favor of Social Darwinism. I find it to be despicable. I am pointing out that I find little distinction between it and its parent, the concept of socialism, in general. Social Darwinism was invented by the progressives of the early 20th century, and while the left has been real good at pretending otherwise, basically is more of the same kind of social engineering nonsense all collectivist cults drive on. The difference is that the Social Darwinists were vocal about their end game and today’s socialists play word and mind games to confuse the issue, while their policies create similar results. Frankly I find socialism itself as, if not more, offensive than Social Darwinism, because I see little distinction other than the lies to pretend not to be as brutal.

    Here is the difference between the modern left and the right in, a nutshell: the right wants people off the dole and working, but is willing to provide some kind of temporary safety net, because bad things do happen. The left, whether you are talking about a true believer that simply can not grasp how the real world works, believing that their policies are doing good and no harm, or of the scumbags that operate under the pretense that they are helping the oppressed and the disadvantaged to gain power, always with other people’s money, is about creating a dependant class so they can secure votes and power. Unfortunately those of us that prefer freedom over the false security and ever expanding state offered by collectivism, are outnumbered by the ones that believe they have a right to other people paying for them to live.

    That’s the argument we need to be having. Instead Obama conjures up this stupid notion that the right wants to kill grandma when what will definitely do that is Obamacare. Socialism and Social Darwinsim only differ in how well on group pretends not to value the same things as the other.

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  7. AlexInCT

    I don’t buy that “wholeheartedly” thing for one second. Everyone here, and probably every human being I have ever met, believes in the welfare state. It’s its reach, people are disagreeing on.

    The welfare state by its very name implies that the state is the guarantor of wellness. I do not want anything to do with any of that. Not sure what I would call what I would be willing to live with though. You are also correct however that the argument is a matter of degrees, Kimpost, but it is also about WHO gets to make the decisions and why, and HOW it gets paid for. When you have people denigrating success and wealth so they can justify stealing from them or when government tells you the same petty bureaucrats you are forced to deal with at the DMV or the airport working for it will do a better job looking after your health than you or an insurance company, my hackles go up. I am not that stupid. This shit has never worked out well for anyone, including the master class.

    I am for some kind of basic and temporary social net, intended to help those with bad luck, and might even accede, grudgingly, that the state supervise or run some of that. Catastrophic health coverage, for example, where those despite their best precautions, are so unfortunate to find themselves facing bankruptcy, is something I wouldn’t mind. I however do not want the state, directly or indirectly, controlling healthcare because some people can’t afford it, or whatever other excuse gets bandied around. Fuck that. Similarly I am all for unemployment benefits to help those that are hit by that. Where I draw the line are things like the progressive baby mills that pay single women to make babies that then also end up on the dole, before too often graduating to prison inmates that cost me even more. Or a system that uses the power of government to transfer wealth, as a means to buy votes, and wields the power to pick winners & losers as a cudgel to enrich themselves and their friends, while barring those they do not like from participating, which seems to be the most important things the leftists are shooting for.

    As long as any social welfare system comes with an all power government I will be against it. Even if it would hurt me to do so. The price in the end is just too high.

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  8. Kimpost

    Anti-science? That was just confusing. But I know why. You are wrongfully connecting the word “social”, in Social Darwinism, to “Socialism”. There is no such connection.

    Social Darwinism is a well defined term. There’s some wiggle room in most definitions, but it’s really hard to find a connection to Socialism. In fact, one could even argue that Socialism as an idea, has as its purpose to fight the effects of Social Darwinism.

    […] is the same exercise that AGW cultists have perpetrated when they disassociated the impact of the sun and of water vapor in the equation in order to blame man: it is blatantly fake science.

    Another AGW thread? Anyway, I just want to point out that what you just said is absurd. The bolded part simply never happened. Sunspots and water vapor are (of course) accounted for in climate science.

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  9. CM

    AGW threads are the WORST! lol

    they disassociated the impact of the sun and of water vapor in the equation in order to blame man

    LOL. When someone says something as patently and laughably ignorant and stupid as

    they disassociated the impact of the sun and of water vapor in the equation in order to blame man

    the thread throttles it’s own neck in embarrassment.

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  10. Dave D

    CM:

    You’re the major reason that RTFLC AGW threads are so long and painful. I wouldn’t be throwing stones if I were you.

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  11. ryansparx

    Taking the supposed analogy to its full realization means that everything is “Social” Darwinism. If the analogous property of surviving and spreading as much genetic material as you can in nature is just finding away to sustain yourself and have enough left over for shenanigans in society, then everyone will attempt to find a way regardless.

    More government, less government, it makes no difference. You are are just changing the selection pressure, not suddenly adding or relieving it. Now, what kind of selection pressure do you want to have?

    Based on policy you could have a variety of selection pressures. Everything from creating a system that rewards those that are clever yet hard working… to selection pressures that rewards only those best at asking for handouts and playing the victim. And many degrees between.

    Basically the whole analogy is retarded, or not pursued rigorously enough. People just enjoy buzzwords enough. Most people don’t even know how common descent with modification via natural selection even works, let alone being able to use it as metaphor for anything else.

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  12. CM

    You’re the major reason that RTFLC AGW threads are so long and painful. I wouldn’t be throwing stones if I were you.

    Yeah I have long discussions with just myself. LOL.
    Dude, people can always choose not to post ridiculous stuff like that example, but for some reason they choose to put their ignorance proudly on show. No idea why, what do they get out of it? And I’m never the one providing paragraphs of conspiratorial nonsense and seemingly quoting from Ideology for Dummies. I stick to rebutting the nonsense and trying to get people to provide support for what they claim. But then you know that, as do others. You/they just don’t like it.

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  13. Dave D

    Too funny! You post ENDLESS links that “prove” your point. I’d rather read actual words and opinions formulated by a writer instead of endless links that you copy from your mantra of AGW-validating sources. It’s called discussion, not regurgitation, which is what you do.

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  14. CM

    They don’t “prove my point”, they provide evidence that what is being claimed is not true.
    When it comes to matters of science and fact, I’d rather consider the actual evidence, not endless conspiratorial meanderings and lazy ideological insinuations and allegations.
    Sorry, but I only ‘regurgitate’ in response to regurgitated nonsense. Repeating nonsense isn’t discussion. It’s the blind leading the blind. Why would you want to defend that?

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  15. Seattle Outcast

    Liberals don’t believe in survival of the fittest as a suitable model for a civilized society. Nobody does.

    That’s odd, because human behavior says otherwise.

    Power goes to those that succeed the best socially – and with it comes the best pussy, the most influence, and the ability to shape the world to give you further benefits.

    Don’t believe me? Just think of how often a rich but hideous man has a series of hot, much younger women hanging of his arm. Hell, it’s a stereotype. Now that women are able to compete in this arena, what do we have? “Cougars” – older women that want the male equivalent of what their male peers are fucking.

    Who runs the world, and always has? The people with money. Nobody even denies it.

    Historically, men with means have been afforded the best of everything, either by just taking it or having others offer it to them. Laws don’t apply to them, exceptions are made, and backroom deals are the norm.

    The thing to remember is that Social Darwinism is neither good nor bad, it just is. You can’t fight it any more than you can stop a tsunami by thinking real hard at it.

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  16. Kimpost

    That’s odd, because human behavior says otherwise.

    I think we are confusing believing in the existence of Social Darwinistic principles at all, with believing in letting Social Darwinism dictate our societies. I thought it was clear that I was speaking of the latter. We use government (fed, state and local) as well as charities, to cushion the less desirable effects of Social Darwinism.

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  17. sahrab

    Social Darwinism, as it is being discussed in this thread, is a misnomer. What KimPost is advocating is really Social Eugenics

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  18. Kimpost

    Social Darwinism, as it is being discussed in this thread, is a misnomer. What KimPost is advocating is really Social Eugenics

    Yes, because population control, socially or otherwise has always been on the top of my to do-list…

    I’ve advocated for nothing in this thread. If I ever have advocated for a particular social structure, then it’s been for the kind of mixed system we already have.

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  19. sahrab

    I’ve advocated for nothing in this thread.

    Except when you did

    We use government (fed, state and local) as well as charities, to cushion the less desirable effects of Social Darwinism.

    That has nothing to do with Darwinism and everything to do with Eugenics. Get your head out of Wikipedia, Eugenics is much more than population control, its an adaptation of farming techniques to leverage outside forces to enact some kind of desired outcome even if it is to the detriment of the original source. Charles Davenport and Harry Laughlin were chicken breeders that utilzed the practices long before they became outspoken supporters of the Eugnics movement in the US and abroad. Might want to read up on The American Breeders’ Association: Genetics and Eugenics in an Agricultural Context, 1903-13 (has nothing to do with people breeding)

    The term Social Darwinism is used because of the stigmata attributed to Eugenics, putting lipstick on a pig, but changing the name doesnt remove the underlying principles.

    The development of Chiuahua’s, Bannanas (as sold by Dole), Seedless Watermelons and Corn have all benefitted thanks to the same practices used in Eugenics.

    Social Darwinism if it meant what it said, would espouse that those that are the stronger/best/most suitable/adaptable skills, would thrive/breed/become successfull, those that dont AND/OR dont adapt will not
    Social Eugenics (what your advocating) says those that are weaker/not as good/with less suitable skills/unwilling to adapt, will be taken care of even without a benefit to society.

    Notice this has nothing to do with whether one is better than the other, this is merely corrrecting your misuse of the term Darwinism.

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  20. AlexInCT

    Anti-science? That was just confusing. But I know why. You are wrongfully connecting the word “social”, in Social Darwinism, to “Socialism”. There is no such connection.

    Go read the origins of Social Darwinism and which group pushed it. Here is a hint: it startes with Progressives….

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  21. Kimpost

    I’ve never heard of eugenics outside of the concept of improving genetics, in one way or another. But I take your word for it. By the definition you outlined I might well be a proponent of social eugenics. But so would most people, wouldn’t they?

    Notice this has nothing to do with whether one is better than the other, this is merely corrrecting your misuse of the term Darwinism.

    I might be stupid, but where did I go wrong? Did I call something Darwinism that wasn’t? You seem to suggest that there’s something wrong with…

    We use government (fed, state and local) as well as charities, to cushion the less desirable effects of Social Darwinism.

    … but there’s no definition in there.

    Anyway, thank you for the definition of Eugenics.

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  22. Seattle Outcast

    I’ll have to agree with Kimpost on this one, the modern use of Eugenics is exclusively meant to mean breeding a better human, either through targeted breeding or gene splicing. It has a nice Nazi past of racism tied in with it, so it gets a really bad rap.

    On the other hand, most people would be quite willing to pay money if they could have a lab tinker with their baby’s DNA to make it stronger, healthier, smarter, faster, better immune system, live longer, taller, etc. Toss in eye color, no baldness, straight teeth, and big tits/dick and anything else you might think would be cool or a social advantage, and you’ve got a real marketable product on your hands.

    Of course, those that don’t have the bank for such procedures will be producing the future ditch diggers of the world….

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  23. hist_ed

    the modern use of Eugenics is exclusively meant to mean breeding a better human, either through targeted breeding or gene splicing

    Gotta emphasize negative though-Its most vocal supporters were in favor of restricting breeding to approved people. Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (which became Planned Parenthood) to reduce the number of children among populations that she didn’t like (basically anyone who wasn’t Northern or Western European). She did this before the Nazis came to power.

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  24. hist_ed

    Everyone here, and probably every human being I have ever met, believes in the welfare state.

    I don’t. That doesn;t mean I am a social Darwinist, I just think that private charity functioned far better than the welfare state.

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  25. CM

    Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (which became Planned Parenthood) to reduce the number of children among populations that she didn’t like

    I’ve read up about her a fair bit and I’m yet to see anything which suggests that she didn’t like black people. Seems to me it’s far more likely to be the opposite. There also seems to be a hell of a lot of anti-Sanger misrepresentation floating about. I had no idea about any of that before I started reading up about it.

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  26. AlexInCT

    I’ve read up about her a fair bit and I’m yet to see anything which suggests that she didn’t like black people. Seems to me it’s far more likely to be the opposite.

    Well, now you have validated my suspicion that your reading comprehension is impaired. Of course, given the places you tend to source for your misbegotten opinions in general, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did your reading there, and they led you astray, as usual, either.

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  27. Kimpost

    Could this be one of those cases where a person doing good also happened (with 21st century hindsight) to like something really bad, as Eugenics? The idea was embraced by large portions of academia back then, and was not far from mainstream among regular people either.

    Kind of like some of the founding fathers owning slaves. We generally don’t puke all over them because of it.

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  28. JimK

    It took me LITERALLY 3 minutes of Googling to start reading Margaret Sanger’s own words. Not anyone’s take on them, or some dumb motherfucker telling me what she meant, or tried to say, or denying or embellishing anything she might or might not have written. I was reading her works, as she wrote them, from 1917 to 1940.

    Just to avoid any suggestion of tainted links, etc., I’ll let everyone find them on their own. She wrote a lot, so it won’t be hard.

    Much of it is simple feminism. Shit, I’d go so far as to call it basic common sense and decency. Simply put she wished for all women to be seen as people first and foremost, different, but equal to men, with rights and wants and the inherent ability to decide the course of their lives for themselves.

    Other parts? It’s god-damned horrifying, some of it.

    Easy to find. Go. Look her up. Find her bibliography then do your best to track down anything that strikes your fancy. You will find something horrifying in each and every thing the woman ever wrote.

    Kimpost: in the end I suspect you may be right about the whole “person doing good also happened (with 21st century hindsight) to like something really bad.” But being a part-time cynic, I think it’s less “rosy” than you do: I think she was a flat-out racist who used feminism to further her darker impulses, those impulses to reduce the “lower classes” and remove the “unwanted” from society. You seem to flip that and see her being a feminist that was caught up in the fashionable social theory of the day. Correct me if I’m wrong, of course.

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  29. CM

    Given the nature of the internet, her ‘worst statements’ are not difficult to find. I see two camps – one seems to be determined to paint her as a racist and take statements entitely out of context and interpret them to fit their narrative, the other seems to consider those same statements in a wide context and takes into account the times. But I’ll go away and have another look for the “horrifying” comments and try to work out how/why the second camp has gotten the context all wrong.

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  30. Kimpost

    Kimpost: in the end I suspect you may be right about the whole “person doing good also happened (with 21st century hindsight) to like something really bad.” But being a part-time cynic, I think it’s less “rosy” than you do: I think she was a flat-out racist who used feminism to further her darker impulses, those impulses to reduce the “lower classes” and remove the “unwanted” from society. You seem to flip that and see her being a feminist that was caught up in the fashionable social theory of the day. Correct me if I’m wrong, of course.

    I think that she was a racist. And a proponent of Eugenics. Both troubling enough for me not to turn her into any kind of heroine, ever. It seems like she never advocated using actual force (except for on “profoundly retarded” *). And she was against bigotry. Perhaps she could be called a “nice racist”? I’d hate her guts if she existed today, and I hate her ideology, even in an historical perspective.

    The disgusting aside, she did have an enormous impact on the struggle for getting all women access to birth control. And she tried her best to end back alley abortions, and helped opening women clinics everywhere. I embrace the result of those efforts.

    It’s clearly the good work that has turned her into an icon in women’s rights circles. In those circles people don’t want to talk about the darker side of Sanger, because the bad stains the good. “What, one of the pioneers for women’s rights in the US was a racist? Never! Not our Margaret.”

    *) Something that, sadly and shamefully enough, happened all over the world.

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  31. CM

    Who wasn’t racist back then, and all the years before then, in today’s terms?
    Do all other historical American figures have asterisks next to their names whenever they’re spoken about or quoted?
    Are those people involved in teaching about contraception in Africa racists, because they’re apparently trying to stop black people from being born? Why not?

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  32. HARLEY

    Who wasn’t racist back then, and all the years before then, in today’s terms

    No…………… in fact even earlier there were many people that by today’s standards working very hard to end racism…
    besides the 20-40’s was not that long ago…
    not like say the 12th century.

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  33. CM

    I would imagine a substantial number of people in her time were out-and-out racists. Not paternalist racists like her, where the racism doesn’t involve malice or hate. What I mean is that those types think they have to help because the people they’re helping can’t help themselves (or to the extent necessary anyway). Racism does occur on a spectrum I think. The paternalist racists are possibly the least worst. I came up against one a few years ago on a job. We ended up in Court, he cross-examining me. The case was about the establishment of a Maori whare (house/hall) on a Council reserve which was going to be used for educational purposes. He was actually a pretty decent guy, but he was 87 years old and have very old-fashioned ideas about race. It was an interesting experience. He actually blacked out/collapsed during the Court session. He was ok after a break. At the end of the day I drove him to the ferry to save him the walk, and then called to make sure he made it home safely. He sent me a nice letter thanking me. Anyway, he’s the guy I think of whenever this comes up. I think much of it is a generational thing. Sanger isn’t far behind that generation, so it makes sense to me that she would be similar.

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  34. hist_ed

    But I’ll go away and have another look for the “horrifying” comments and try to work out how/why the second camp has gotten the context all wrong.

    There was a time, CM, when I thought that you simply had different beliefs than most of us here. I resisted agreeing with the accusation (flung by many ’round these parts) that you were simply a narrow minded, rigid idealogue unable to admit any fault on behalf of your political side of the bench. I must now admit an error. I was wrong not to agree with Alex, et al about you. In the sentence I have quoted above, you don’t even pretend to have any objectivity or any desire to learn or seek the truth, you simply assume that because Sanger is a god in the liberal pantheon, any criticism of her must be wrong.

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  35. hist_ed

    I think that she was a racist. And a proponent of Eugenics. Both troubling enough for me not to turn her into any kind of heroine, ever. It seems like she never advocated using actual force (except for on “profoundly retarded” *). And she was against bigotry. Perhaps she could be called a “nice racist”? I’d hate her guts if she existed today, and I hate her ideology, even in an historical perspective.

    You’ll have to define your version of “bigotry” here. Wishing that there were a lot fewer dark people beause they are not the right kind of people seems a little bigoted to me.

    Oh and I understand that both Bull Conner and George Wallace were really nice guys, if you were white.

    The disgusting aside, she did have an enormous impact on the struggle for getting all women access to birth control. And she tried her best to end back alley abortions, and helped opening women clinics everywhere. I embrace the result of those efforts.

    Yeah and Hitler did wonders for Germany’s infrastructure. He instituted banking and credit reforms to protect ordinary workers against those predatory capitalists. And there was a resurgence of German folk festivals, celebrating German agriculture. A lot of people benefitted from his efforts, if we ignore that whole racism thing.

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  36. hist_ed

    So in my first round of graduate school I went a third rate state university that offered my a very nice assistantship. I accepted in the Spring intending to study ancient history. When I arrived in the Fall, their Roman historian had retired so I looked aournd at other things to study. My second quarter I was essentially forced into a graduate seminar on the Progressive Era in the US, taught by a Woman’s history specialist who embodied everything negative stereotype that “Womyn’s History” can bring to mind. She was fat, ugly, narrow minded and hated me.* She done her dissertation on Jane Addams and Hull House and really wanted us all to write our papers on her. I took a bit of different look at things by researching the Klan in the Progressive Era. My paper (“The Amway of Hate: The KKK in the Progressive Era”) made serious connections between the Klan and the Progressive movement in general, linking them (politically and philosophically) to Woodrow Wilson and Sanger, among others. It didn’t exactly go over well with her. It was all connected. The Klan wanted to improve society by discouraging the wrong people and so did Sanger. They has slightly different methods, I suppose, but the goal was the same.

    * I honestly didn’t connect the dislike to my lack of a vagina for quite a while. I was the only male in a small seminar class (maybe 7 others?). She ran it like a joke. The first class (3 hours) of a graduate seminar was spent going over basic paper writing tips-grammar, punctuation, etc. It took several weeks before two different women in the class told me it was obvious to them that she hated me because I was a man and had the best grasp of history and writing.

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  37. CM

    you simply assume that because Sanger is a god in the liberal pantheon, any criticism of her must be wrong.

    Not at all. If that’s what you conclude from the entireity of what I’ve written here, you should read it again. I think it’s a complex issue (my last post suggests as much doesn’t it?). My fundamental argument is against those that try and paint it as black and white (because that’s all they seem to do).
    But if you want to descend to the level of others, go right ahead.

    Wishing that there were a lot fewer dark people beause they are not the right kind of people seems a little bigoted to me.

    I didn’t get this impression from what I’ve read. It seems to me that she was trying to better the life of black people by bringing attention to the concept of having fewer children. She claimed (and said the evidence backed her up) that after a certain number of children the chance of another one surviving was tiny, and also that after a certain number the quality of life of all the children (and the parents no doubt) decreased. It appears that nobody had really thought about this kind of thing. At least out in the open.
    However, if there are statements or similar which, when viewed in context, suggest something else, I’d be keen to see it.

    Oh and I understand that both Bull Conner and George Wallace were really nice guys, if you were white.

    How are they similar?

    Yeah and Hitler did wonders for Germany’s infrastructure. He instituted banking and credit reforms to protect ordinary workers against those predatory capitalists. And there was a resurgence of German folk festivals, celebrating German agriculture. A lot of people benefitted from his efforts, if we ignore that whole racism thing.

    As I say, that sort of comparison seems far too simplistic to me. Racism is a spectrum. Comparing her to Hitler is effectively saying that the issue isn’t complex at all, and racism is racism, and all actions with respect to race from racists are equal.
    I guess someone could mount an argument that Hitler actually helped the Jews by ensuring they got homeland of their own and would later benefit substantially from American power. But does that stand up to even basic scrutiny? Would anyone at all take that even remotely seriously? No, and I doubt it. Whereas the argument that Sanger was a paternalistic racist and held no malice or hate appears to be much more reasonable.

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  38. CM

    The Klan wanted to improve society by discouraging the wrong people and so did Sanger. They has slightly different methods, I suppose, but the goal was the same.

    I’m be interested to know more about what you mean by “discouraging the wrong people”.
    To me, from what I’ve read, it seems more plausible that Sanger was looking to improve the lives of blacks in America, particularly black women. Introuducing the idea that they didn’t just have to keep having babies must have seemed crazy at the time. It doesn’t now. As I say, the WHO and other agencies (non-govt etc) spend considerable resources in Africa educating people about choices and contraception. Would you say they have the same goal as the Klan?

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  39. Kimpost

    Yeah and Hitler did wonders for Germany’s infrastructure. He instituted banking and credit reforms to protect ordinary workers against those predatory capitalists. And there was a resurgence of German folk festivals, celebrating German agriculture. A lot of people benefitted from his efforts, if we ignore that whole racism thing.

    I obviously don’t think that she was anything similar to Hitler.

    She appears, to me, to have been genuinely concerned for women’s health. She never advocated violence against individuals, nor towards race. She could have cared, and have been a racist, and a proponent of eugenics. Now, if some of her motivation came from eugenics, then so be it. It’s bad, but it’s not “Hitler building infrastructure”.

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  40. AlexInCT

    I obviously don’t think that she was anything similar to Hitler.

    Very few people come close to Hitler. Stalin and Mao are the only monster I think got worse than him, and they did that by killing their own people mostly. We then have the aspirers like Lenin, Pol Pot, The Kim family, and good old Saddam. The list of follow ups which includes such notable mentions as Castro, Assad, Ahmadinejad and his buddy Chavez, and such prizes like Idi Amin, is long and distinguished. These people have blood on their hands. Lots of it, and there is a pattern there.

    These monsters would not have done their evil things without a good dose of the teachings of monsters like Marx, Engels, Hitler or even his side kick Mussolini. Sanger is IMO one of those teachers. She is worse, because her ideas inspired others to put into practice the disposable beliefs she held. Progressivism comes form a foul and evil pit, where people like Sanger, Stalin, and Hitler, all did their thing, even if today’s progressives want to pretend otherwise. The populous that allows these evil being and their ideas to gain ground do so not because they like the healthy dose evil they are being spoon fed, but because it is blended in with other admirable things. Like you two keep arguing about Sanger doing.

    She appears, to me, to have been genuinely concerned for women’s health. She never advocated violence against individuals, nor towards race.

    The quote “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” exists to illustrate people like Sanger, and frankly is the most pertinent and adequate description for me of what the progressive/liberal agenda always works out to be. The problem I have is that when the damage these things cause are blatantly obvious, we still are hammered for pointing that out and the left doubles down on the stupid. After too much of that you stop being cynical and realize that the reluctance revisit and do away with dumb things because it would harm their ideology no longer can be excused away. Then you start seeing things like I do.

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  41. hist_ed

    ’m be interested to know more about what you mean by “discouraging the wrong people”.

    Their existence.

    Interestingly the Klan during the Progressive era was not as concerned about Blacks as their Reconstruction era ancestors (or their later descendants). They still hated them, but were more concerned with Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans and Catholics. This is essentially because the Democratic party had institutionalized Jim Crow so completely that, by the Klan’s lights, Blacks were in their place and not making trouble.

    And I was not in any way suggesting that Sanger was as evil as Hitler. She did have a similar mindset in one way: “I don’t like these people so I will do something significant to make sure there are less of them.”

    I am about to commit a classic logical fallacy (appeal to authority-mine), but here goes: I spent a couple of quarters researching the progressive era in mind numbing detail. I started without knowing much beyond what I learned from the ex-hippies who taught in my high school. I came away understanding that the Progressives were at heart American fascists. They truly believed that a few “experts” led by the right people or person could fine tune all of society. All they had to do was think real hard and they could come up with the best policy for everyone on ANY question or issue. Just get the inconvenient people out of the way and a great new age would bloom.

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  42. CM

    I fail to see how pioneering sexual health/education and the concept of choice (things that are fairly obvious today) is any way related or comparable on any level to Hitler or the KKK. Seems to be an extremely warped assessment. Unless you start from that point and work backwards to make it all fit…

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  43. salinger

    They truly believed that a few “experts” led by the right people or person could fine tune all of society. All they had to do was think real hard and they could come up with the best policy for everyone on ANY question or issue.

    And how does this make them different than ANY group of people looking to be “in charge?” I mean, libertarianism, or even anarchism is still instituting an overriding philosophy. There is no power structure free of ulterior motives.

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