Sterilizing the Left’s Eugenics History

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of numerous books, including "Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America," now available from ISI Books. Read Daniel's blog at www.flynnfiles.com.


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North Carolina offered reparations on Tuesday to victims of its nearly-half-century sterilization campaign. Starting with Indiana in 1907, more than half of the states codified eugenics programs of varying degrees of fervor during the twentieth century. But North Carolina is thus far the only state to offer to compensate the victims.

“We are attempting to achieve a level of financial compensation and other services that can provide meaningful assistance,” explained Dr. Laura Gerald, chair of the state’s Eugenics Task Force. “Compensation also serves a collective purpose for the state and sends a clear message that we in North Carolina are a people who pay for our mistakes and that we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights.”

But the state tolerated trampling on “basic human rights” under the guise of progress between 1929 and 1974. The task force’s recommendations have the endorsement of Governor Bev Perdue and await the approval of the state legislature. Support in the legislature appears both wide and bipartisan.

The Tarheel State’s press has been instrumental in exposing decades-long legislative and bureaucratic malfeasance. The role of their journalistic forebears in propagandizing for eugenics hasn’t piqued their curiosity as much. The editorial page editor of the Durham Morning Herald, for instance, was a member of the Human Betterment League as late as the 1960s. The same Charlotte Observer, Winston Salem Journal, and Raleigh News and Observer that inveigh against the state’s eugenic past also played a role in creating that past.

Joseph L. Morrison, a longtime professor in the University of North Carolina’s journalism department, defended the state’s eugenics laws as late as 1965. “If compulsory sterilization of unwed mothers could be seriously debated in two successive General Assemblies of North Carolina, reputedly the most progressive southern state, it is well to study the forces underlying such punitive proposals,” he wrote in the Social Service Review. “What could have induced the legislators to think of altering their state’s enlightened Eugenic Sterilization Law to subserve a vengeful purpose?” But the law wasn’t particularly “enlightened,” even though preferable to the alternatives introduced. Morrison criticized the racist intent of the proposed laws as he overlooked the racist effect of the existing law.

The late Tom Wicker, long a political reporter and columnist for the New York Times, launched his career in journalism as a propagandist for North Carolina’s department of public welfare. “I wrote, in effect, press releases—and hoped for the best. I didn’t make any distinction in my own mind between the eugenics program and feeding the hungry,” Wicker told the Winston Salem Journal. “I feel very badly about it in retrospect.” Wicker, who died at 85 last year, spoke to the Journal in 2002. What he terms “press releases” wound up as copy in newspapers around the state. “We [journalists] were all kind of convinced that what our government was doing was right—that it wouldn’t lie to you.”

North Carolina’s most well-known journalistic name was also the name most heavily involved in its crusade to mutilate the reproductive organs of those deemed “unfit.” Wallace Kuralt, made famous by his CBS newsman son Charles before he was posthumously made infamous by the sterilization scandal, served as director of public welfare in the county most zealously imposing North Carolina’s eugenics law. “I suppose,” he boasted of Mecklenburg County, “no comparable population in the world has ever received more eugenic sterilizations.” A doctor, an employee, and a daughter stressed his liberal credentials to the Charlotte Observer. “He was a hero with women’s reproductive rights.” “He was a forward-thinking person for that time, particularly in the welfare business.” “He was certainly concerned about the underprivileged.” They talk as though Kuralt’s progressivism mitigates, rather than explains, his paternalistic trespass of others’ bodily organs.

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  • Ken

    You never see this in the history books or other publications, and you probably never will with the bias in school textbooks and education system. Would be great to have this little known fact out in the open.

  • alanweberman

    Since when are Nazis and eugenicists Leftist. Horowitz has good words to say about Jared Taylor. I suppose Ron Paul is on the Left.

    • skyhwkdvr

      nazi is a contraction for national socialist, you were cheated on your education…..

    • kentatwater

      Since when are Nazis … Leftist.

      NAZI = National Socialist German Workers' Party

      Since when are … eugenicists Leftist.

      I'd say, ask Woodrow Wilson, but he's no more, so ask Jonah Goldberg, instead, or read his book Liberal Fascism.

      I suppose Ron Paul is on the Left

      With his complimentary words to the occupy loiters, I'd say that's an open issue. His foreign policy certainly has a "blame the US for all the world's ills" feel to it, which is par for leftists.

    • Gary from Jersey

      Nazis WERE eugenists. They were also socialists. Hitler said in an 1943 speech that naziism was Marxist based.

      • trickyblain

        "Hitler said in an 1943 speech that naziism was Marxist based."

        Quote please? I'm not saying he didn't, because by 43 most of his marbles rolled away, but he hated Communists second only to Jews.

        • ebonystone

          Ah, but the communists were international socialists, not national ones. Also, in practice the center of world communism was Russia, i.e. the communists were not Germans, but the representatives of an inferior race.

        • Maxie

          "… he hated Communists second only to Jews." To a large extent they were one and the same. Since the time of Moses Hess and Karl Marx Communism has been largely a Jewish enterprise. In about 1840 in Russia Jews largely split into two factions – Zionists or communist (bolshevist). The former held to Judaism while the latter went atheist. The rationalism of Spinoza and others may have played a part early on. A lot of interesting history. To answer your question for a quote just google Hitler, National Socialism, communism and you should get a source or two.

    • PAthena

      The Nazis were indeed socialists. The name "Nazi" is a shortened form of "National Socialismus," ("National Socialism"). Benito Mussolini was a leader of the Italian Socialist party before World War I, editor of the Socialist newspaper Avanti, and fought against Italy's participation in the war because, according to Marxist (socialist) dogma, wars are wars between capitalists. Mussolini changed his mind and founded the Italian Fascist party as a nationalist socialist party. Fascism is nationalist socialism, and the German party, National Socialism, (Nazi), was a fascist party.

    • Old Coyote

      American eugenicists also called themselves Progressives. They are behind the amoral sex education from K-on with emphasis on LGBT as a normal lifestyle menu one can choose from. Since progressives have taken over they've created doubt in young people about normal feelings that time sorts out. The amoral militant LGBT has thrown their support through websites to vulnerable kids and their parents get sucked in. Now kids make heartbreaking videos and kill themselves. I think there is an obvious timeline here and parents need to break it by making a big loud stink about it for as long as needed. Ruth Bader Ginsberg sees abortion as a form of birth control. State Senator Obama voted against anaesthesia for babies in partial birth abortion. That would be admitting that these kids feel pain and therefore are viable human beings with a right to life. The people who fiercely defend infanticide are very concerned about human rights elsewhere. How I do run on. Soapbox complex.

      • mlcblog

        Run on, dear Coyote. Are you Wiley? or I should say wiley?

    • Old Coyote

      Also Ron Paul is from another universe.

  • StephenD

    You make it sound like all is well on the Progressive Front. I would beg to differ. Attempts at deciding for "our own good" by them in virtually every aspect of human life is one of the reasons they find a fitting collaboration with Islam (for the time being). One or the other, if they prevail, would surely "eat" the other. But there can be no mistake, their goals are the same; the introduction of a Totalitarian System that, if followed precisely, would lead to Utopia.
    It would be comical if not so absurd. The only thing necessary is to look at history. Why is it that everyone that wanted to impose on the citizens for their own good always ends up with slavery or death? Don't take my word for it, look at the history of Socialism/Communism/Islam.

  • tagalog

    Not only does the Left deny that eugenicists, particularly Margaret Sanger and Alexis Carrell, advocated genocide through birth control, they deny that such a thing was even thought outside of the Third Reich despite quite a lot of evidence regarding American "progressives" favoring the eugenic goal of eliminating "mongrel races" and the "inferior," including the black race.

    Even the Great Dissenter, the celebrated progressive and liberal Oliver Wendell Holmes, endorsed state laws mandating sterilization of the feeble-minded, when he famously said, "three generations of imbeciles are enough" in the Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell, and claimed that since we draft our best people to risk their lives in our wars, it's not too much to expect our "defectives" to submit to mandatory sterilization, since it asks so much less of them. Holmes: a true humanitarian.

    • kentatwater

      … they deny that such a thing was even thought outside of the Third Reich…

      Quite the contrary. According to Jonah Goldberg, in Liberal Fascism, Hitler found inspiration in the American "progressives'" pogrom on lesser races, and lesser minds.

      • tagalog

        Are you saying that my statement, that American liberals deny that Americans thought eugenics would aid in a genocidal elimination of "defectives," is not correct, that in fact they admit it?

        Is that what you're saying?

        • kentatwater

          No. What I was saying is the Hitler cribbed off of the American left for ideas, when it came to the elimination of undesirables.

          Of course leftists today are in denial about that which they once proclaimed proudly.

          • alanweberman

            Hitler was a social darwinist, not a Marxist. You are telling me the Pioneer Fund is on the Left?

          • kentatwater

            As another poster already indicated, Hitler stated that Nazism had a Marxist basis. As to his being a social Darwinist…well, that would make him fast friends with the likes of American progressives (such as Margaret Sanger). The two are not mutually exclusive, btw.

            Pioneer Fund

            Nice try to muddy the waters, but we're talking about people who had very specific ideas on what to do with people whose "inferiority" was already their foregone conclusion. Such is a far cry from the study of what racial differences, if any, exist in a given milieu. It is that sort of false equivalency which elicited a strong negative (!) reaction from the racial grievance industry, when the FDA approved a heart medication which is only effective on black patients.

          • alanweberman

            The Pioneer fund was inspired by the Nazis and visa versa

          • kentatwater

            …and visa versa

            Ah. So much for causality.

          • trickyblain

            "As another poster already indicated, Hitler stated that Nazism had a Marxist basis."

            The other poster did not provide a source to that assertion. Dubious.

          • tagalog

            That's what I said, or something very like that, i.e., that the American Left denies that any Americans supported eugenics as a tool of genocide. In fact, many Americans were in favor of using eugenics to get rid of the black race as well as the mentally defective.

        • alanweberman

          You are telling me the Pioneer Fund is on the Left? In the 1930's the eugenicists in Manhattan were on Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue and came from WASP Mayflower families. They had connections with the Nazis. Charles Murray who wrote The Bell Curve is from the Manhattan Institute; you telling me he was on the Left?

          • Stephen_Brady

            And Margaret Sanger was a right-winger, I suppose? The organization she founded is still killing people of color at taxpayer expense …

          • Guest

            Yes as we'll they should. How many kids do some of them poop out with the men moving on without paying a dime. We should bring back forced sterization especially in these minority neighborhoods.

          • kentatwater

            Well "Guest," if you were my guest, you wouldn't be, anymore.

          • Guest

            Margaret Sanger was a great visionary. She knew the type world that would be created if we continue to allow degenerate races and a few low lives to continue to propagate. She understood society can't continue to support people when we are all turned into a society such as Haiti.

            Answer this please. If we continue to degrade society and become like Haiti, who will come rescue us the way the majority white America comes to the aid of Haiti? We can only support so much degradation of civilization.

            Maybe we are in fact afraid to discuss hard issues even race just as our prophet Eric Holder said.

          • kentatwater

            Society will continue to degrade, as long as we reward and subsidize addiction to government, and selectively enforce the law (illegal immigration, for example).

          • Guest

            Further, quit hiding behind the anti-racist banner as if you are all in favor of the minority and have their best interests at heart when you make statements such as planned parenthood is devastating the poor blacks and welfare is keeping them in the plantation.

            Logic detects one of two things, since minorities vote for liberal democratic plans.
            1. Minorities are stupid with lower IQ or
            2. They enjoy what they are getting

          • kentatwater

            American blacks used to vote, as a bloc, for Republicans.

            Addiction to welfare, and a sense of entitlement, knows no skin color. See the UK for examples of that.

          • Guest

            The UK subsides are going heavily to the new minority immigrant population percentage wise. I like honest discussion, but you have to get your facts straight. Not all blacks are lower iq welfare recipients, but the fact is they are the over whelming majority of recipients by percentage.

            So what if they used to vote republican? The republicans freed them. The democrats reenslaved them. What is the point? Like is said, as a group they are either ignorant or they are voting for exactly what they want more handouts.

            Republicans and so-called conservatives need to get their heads out of the sand and realize the inconvenient truths.

          • Questions

            When was that — during Reconstruction? Even then, the only reason was that most white Southerners, still smarting from the Confederacy's defeat, were all Democrat (though hardly liberal). Get your history right, mate.

          • alanweberman

            people choose to have abortions – we are talking about forced sterilization and genocide. I suppose Hitler was a Communist?

          • kentatwater

            Hitler was an national socialist, who dreamt of hegemony by spreading borders, instead of erasing them, like international socialist seek.

            As to choosing abortion…I doubt that's what the unborn child would choose.

          • Stephen_Brady

            Do they, indeed, choose to have abortions? What options are given to a 15-year old who walks into a Planned Parenthood abortion mill? Do they encourage the child to bring her baby to term, to look for adoption alternatives, and so on? Somehow, I don't think so. And it is a fact that most abortions take place in minority areas.

            In point of fact, the only difference between the Nazis and the Communists was the issue of nationalism. Communists believed in a global order. The National Socialists believed in nationalism, and emphasized their own power over other nations. Other than nationalism, communism and national socialism draw their inspiration from Marx …

          • WilliamJamesWard

            The Arian race was the big deal for Hitlerites but when looking at
            his crew we see very few fair haired boys and girls. Breeding the
            master race was one of their goals but they were quite busy killing
            off as best they could everyone else……………………..William

          • Stephen_Brady

            It's interesting how few of the top leadership of the German government actually met the standard of the "Aryan master race". Hitler might well have been part Jewish, Himmler … the architect of the "Final Solution" … was a chicken farmer who looked the part, and so on. They were quite busy killing, however, as you rightly stated.

          • Questions

            "Killng people of color" — funny how conservatives mimic the Left without even knowing it!

          • Stephen_Brady

            Except for the fact that we're telling the truth …

  • AgentRose

    You need to do a follow up story on this of more depth. There are two issues that need to be highlighted: 1) much of this was aimed at the Black population, especially Sanger's pogrom; 2) Hitler not only found inspiration —but used the US programs for implementing his. Much of this is documented including in the New England Journal of Medicine. There is enough to write many books.
    Again, too bad the majority of blacks don't understand this history. It is all tied directly to Planned Parenthood–which our tax dollars support. Go to the archives in the Library of Congress and read her papers. Outrageous. Oops! I bet they won't be available now. But these web sites offer glances: http://exposeplannedparenthood.net/ http://blackgenocide.org/sanger.html

    • Questions

      Fact: Margaret Sanger was anti-abortion. She believed in birth control (good for her), but abortion was not on her agenda. Another fact: She and her husband moved to Arizona in the mid 1930s. Eventually, they befriended Barry Goldwater and his wife. Sanger, by then up in her years, campaigned for him as part of his 1964 run for president. That's right: Mr. Conservative and Mrs. Sanger were pretty tight.

      • Larry

        Fact, Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood with the intention to push abortion on the black population to breed (or rather abort) them out of existence.

  • UCSPanther

    A lot of elites around the late 1800s-WWII held the viewpoint that "Eugenics was the key to mankind's future", and with it, racism and antisemitism were in vogue, reaching a fever-pitch in the 1920s.

    Pseudo-science, now discredited, was utilized to support these repugnant views.

    Only when people could finally see the devastating aftermath of WWII and Hitler's "Master race project", did Eugenics finally die the death it so richly deserved.

    • Guest

      Eugenics has not died. It is in full practice today with elites endeavoring to destroy the white race by the mass importation of turd world immigrants with much lower IQs. This will enable them to maintain their power and control ultimately allowing them to rule over the masses.

      • Ghostwriter

        What are you,Guest? A Klan member?

      • UCSPanther

        I smell a white supremicist.

        Admit it. It was from white supremicism from whence eugenics sprang.

    • kentatwater

      I'll not be giving "Guest" the time of day any long, UCSPanther. It is one of the following:

      1) A leftwing Moby, seeking to make the conservatives who visit here look like racists, by association, or

      2) a vile dyed-in-the-wool geniune racist, who I no longer care to be bothered with.

    • tagalog

      H.G. Wells was an ardent eugenicist. So were several very influential Fabians.

      • mlcblog

        That is correct. All people have to do is read a bit of history.

        • Questions

          We all engage in eugenics at some point in our young adult life. It's called the mating process. There is nothing wrong with voluntary eugenics. In a free society, hopefully young adults make the right choices.

          • mlcblog

            Yes, I see what you mean. Of course, but I was talking about eugenics by its actual definition, that is, a science, which I enclose here. I fear we may jest and minimize things that matter. I do not want to make light of this blind spot that many have in the liberal cause. It is a deep flaw in my opinion.

            By this definition and in my own education, it appears that eugenics can also include the practice of making other people's decisions for them. This is what is shown in history should people be willing to look.

            Eugenics: a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed

  • Ordinary Joe

    Good article. The more they deny it, the more we should keep writing about it.

  • mlcblog

    "…the flattering conceits of righteousness that led to past wrongs." I love it.

    I remember being sooo confused as a child and young adult as to how to fit all this into my family's leftist mentality and from what I was learning in school. It didn't work.

    I am happy to be free now and understand that eugenics was a racist state of mind, even thought they were and still are in absolute denial about that. Yay! I escaped!!

    In 1960, I was at DVC community college in Calif and my anthropology class taught all about the different races and how they are defined scientificaly. That part may be OK because it is objective documentation of the differences and categorizing. Where I was having trouble is the area best exemplified by the now-odd displays of their superior racial attitude still on display among liberals today, specifically a photo exhibit of the once popular type of expedition where the white man would go among the natives for adventure (and even "collect" them and bring them here and even put them on display!! Unbelievable by today's standards. I am talking here about the attitude of the eugenicists.

    We have to help those darkies is the mentality. We are better and we know better what they should do. While we may have some excellent suggestions for health measures and other things, I now understand that this condescension is disgusting.

    I first understood this as a white suburban liberal housewife going to "help" the black community in the Bay Area through one liberal means or another and being quite taken aback upon learning that they really did not admire or respect many of our ways and were especially insulted or laughing hilariously at these vain attempts. Quite an education, real life.

    Without a spiritual awakening, I doubt I'd have been able to see all this and change. Now I view liberals as every bit as lost as I once was!!

    • Amused

      What a croc ! You were neither liberal nor leftist …… you were a racist . And mosyt likely still are . That "epiphany " YOU claim to have expereinced , was something called GUILT. But I don't sense any repentance here in your little anecdotal story . I do see blame , not on yourself but others …lol…may as well pick an appropriate target de jour .
      BTW , you're still lost .

      • mlcblog

        You are more confused than amusing. Very insulting. Won't take someone's word for what they say. Sad, really. It is obvious your trust has been broken, probably with good reason.

        That is why I am so excited to be getting things turned around, because I, too, was once bitter and lashing out like you.

        As far as the repentance you are demanding, I am glad I don't answer to you but to the One high above.

  • kala nag

    Only 72 living victims? Why is this a qualification? By definition, they have no direct heirs – should the offense that damaged them also preclude their indirect heirs from benefiting?
    It’s interesting that the State has decided to do this. Unfortunately, the State has no money – every penny of that compensation will come from residents who had nothing whatever to do with the decision or implementation of that program, and received no benefit from it.
    Why not deduct it from the salaries of the State officials who are proudly announcing what good things they do with money that does not belong to them?

  • NotaBene

    It would only.be relevant if the Right opposed eugenics. But they did not, and on this very website there is no lack of articles lamenting the fall of the white race.

    • Ann

      it would be called morals and ya you are right most don't have any, but I bet you watch TV!!!

  • Ann

    This is planned parenthood aka M. Sanger at their best —in the 2011 alone they murdered 329,445 unborn and got $487.4 million dollars—the big business to kill American unborn—I always say I am pro choice —I CHOOSE LIFE!!! they have murdered millions of our children in the name of the god of Eugenics Left—but scream their heads off if you want to put a rapist,murdering pig to death—go figure!!!

  • http://dossiernoir.blogspot.com/ Michael Shaw

    Some years ago a columnist for the very liberal Toronto Star wrote that the Roman Catholic Church supported eugenics back in the 1920's so I suppose eighty years from now someone will call the RC Church pro-choice.

  • Amused

    Give that man a pretzel !!
    Most people on this blog don't give a rats asss about these victims of eugenics , in fact most dont care about eugenics ….this is just another sorry pathetic strawmwan , as is about 95% of articles written here . simply to put out some more redmeat .
    Eugenics ! A sure product of the "elite " who are surely the liberals and leftists .Hence the built in animosity towards science and scientists . This is all just part of the repo/con narrative . It even reaches the "height of the ridiculous " in such trash article put up on this blog like "Leftists Are Meaner " If I didn't know better , I'd think I was looking into a classroom of brainwashed Fifth Graders

  • mlcblog

    Do we now have voluntary Eugenics? birth control, abortions. Sanger's evil plan to reduce the black race seems to be working.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      In the "50's the Black Americans were 12.5% of the population and it was known
      that within a few decades they would be 25% of the population. Here it is 2012
      and the Black population is 12.5%, does anyone have to look very far and wide
      to find out why. It is the leftist world of fraud Democrats like the Clintons that
      have been the biggest racists of all in that they use race to take advantage
      of those they keep poor and marginalized under government programs.
      They are raised and culled to keep up a specific voting block and those that
      escape this are Uncle Toms. Eugenics has evolved into abortion on demand
      and so it continues, the forces of life against the forces of death.

      Any comments from our brainwashed 4th grader?……………….William

  • Jim

    the Greeks left the less than perfect babies out on the rocks to die.

    today the best and brightest are engaging in self imposed eugenics by practicing birth control for fear that children might hinder some ones climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Seems like Meg Whitman had the spunk to do it all.

    Al Sharpton turned the color of MLK's white marble statue when he heard that most abortions were practiced by black women.. ( if I got it right.)

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Eugenics in Germany in Hitlers time did not steralize, it executed those who were
    deemed unfit. If you had large ears your were dead, any deformity or perceived
    imperfection was a death sentence. The killers murdered 250,000 people
    early on in Hitlers rule, mostly children, Hitler and Sanger are both killers of
    the innocent, differing in method while conjoined in evil………………William

  • saynsumthn

    Want more of those involved with Eugenics – then you must watch the documentary film o Eugenics – Maafa21 http://www.maafa21.com shows elites from the left and the right promoted Eugenics.

  • barringer

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/end-modern-eugen

    Dr. Laura Gerald says “ we in North Carolina are a people who pay for our mistakes and …we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights.”

    Really? Try using non-drug treatments for a child or loved one! (as the movie Cut, Poison, Burn elaborates)

    Why not end the mistakes going on right now? There are better ways to help those experiencing emotional or behavioral trauma, cancer or other illness other than coercive forced-drugging and incarceration policies now being carried out by the same social service system that policed the older Eugenics Program.

    ISEPP, The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, Open Dialogue, Soteria House, The Brain Bio Centre, The Orthomolecular Society, Dr. Peter Breggin, and Robert B. Whitaker are among a few who know that our coercive drug-based system does not work, makes things worse, and lacks compassion and respect for human rights.

    Evidence also shows that the drugs forced on people cause diabetes, brain damage, and infertility as well as death.

    The current system is just a more SUBTLE form of the old. One is just as bad as the other and it often targets minorities.