Friday, February 17, 2012

Was Margaret Sanger misquoted?




Commentor RickK on my post about Lloyd Marcus' essay at American Thinker:

[Crus]- you did what Michael did - just take a website with an agenda and treat it as truth. Crus, while we disagree on much, I think we can agree on what constitutes truth. Regardless of what Sanger may have said or written, it still matters whether she actually wrote those specific words. If Michael is free to put words in her mouth, or to pass along as truth the fabrications of others, then I am free to put words in your mouth based on my understanding of your worldview. I don't think I have that right, and so neither does Michael. It's not a quibble - it's about the difference between truth and falsehood.

Here is the excerpt from Marcus' essay that I posted:

[Marcus] Abortion is the thread which joins each wacko anti-America patch of the secular-progressive quilt. Why? Why is the left so fanatical about killing human babies? If it is about "choice," as they claim, why are they infuriated when a woman "chooses" to have her baby? Case in point: the left's hysterical outrage over the Super Bowl ad in which Tim Tebow thanked his mom for not aborting him.
"Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated." So said Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Seventy-eight percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in black neighborhoods. Blacks make up only 12% of the population, but 35% of America's aborted babies are black. Half of black pregnancies end in abortion...
[emphasis added now by me]

On RickK's advice, I checked to see of I could find a specific reference for that quote from Sanger. It is referred to on many websites, but I could not find a clear attribution for those words to her published writings or statements.

I think it is reasonable to retract that part of my post, and I do so.

Sanger-- the founder of Planned Parenthood-- wrote and spoke enough hate to keep those of us who detest eugenics busy for a lifetime, and there is no need or place for fabricating her quotes. My gratitude to RickK for pointing out the apparent misquotation.

That said, the misquotation seems to reflect genuine sentiments that she unambigiously expressed about people who failed to meet her eugenic standards.

Eugenics was utterly and usually explicitly racist. Sanger had a "Negro Project" in which she devoted considerable attention to contraception in the black community and she courted black leaders to support the application of her contraceptive ideology. She also spoke to the Ku Klux Klan on a number of occassions about her contraceptive ideology, and although she did not recount the content of her speeches, it's safe to assume that she did not champion greater "Negro" fertility.

Sanger was a close ally of overt racists. She frequently featured essays by racists and eugenicists in her magazine, the Birth Control Review, of which she was founder and editor. Lothrop Stoddard, who was appointed by Sanger to the board of directors of the Birth Control League, which was later renamed Planned Parenthood, also contributed to Sanger's Birth Control Review. Stoddard wrote in his own book "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy" that
"We must resolutely oppose both Asiatic permeation of white race-areas and Asiatic inundation of those non-white, but equally non-Asiatic regions inhabited by the really inferior races."
Here is a well-attested quote from Sanger herself, from her December 10, 1939 letter to eugenics leader Dr. Clarence Gamble:
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Sanger was very interested in the black community. As you might surmise, Sanger's interest in a race was not necessarily a consequence of her admiration for it.

56 comments:

  1. Actually, the quote you give from Sanger is accurate, but taken out of context. One can get a copy of the letter from the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College. There is a larger excerpt here though (pdf warning):

    "It seems to me from my experience
    ... in North Carolina, Georgia,
    Tennessee and Texas, that while the
    colored Negroes [sic] have great respect
    for white doctors, they can get
    closer to their own members and more
    or less lay their cards on the table,
    which means their ignorance, superstitions
    and doubts."

    Within this context it becomes more clear that Sanger was concerned Blacks in the South would falsely think that extermination was the goal of "The Negro Project". As the Charles Lavenza says:

    "When the letter is read in its entirety, one can see that Sanger and Gamble did not want
    to "exterminate the Negro population."
    Rather, Sanger was referring to coping with
    the fear of some black people that birth control was the white man's means of reducing
    the black population."

    It seems that Linda Gordon may have been at the nexus of much of the perceived racism in the Sanger quote, at least according to Lavenza.

    Also it should read "population, and the minister". Changing the comma to a period seems to change the tone of the paragraph.

    Context is everything.

    -L

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    Replies
    1. I'm aware of the context of the letter.

      And you're aware of the larger context, which you seem to be evading.

      Eugenics was racist to the bone.While there were black eugenicists,they were few, and white eugenicists clearly saw "human weeds" to include non-white, and particularly non-Aryan, races.

      Sanger understood that to be effective at constraining the black population, birth control had to be percieved by blacks as not motivated by racism. She was uncommonly careful not to be quoted advocating eugenics aimed at blacks.

      She depended on people-- like you-- who would make excuses for her and for the racist bastards she collaborated with.

      In the larger context, she was a raging racist.

      Delete
    2. Michael,

      "I'm aware of the context of the letter."

      But your readers may not be. I am trying to give them all the necessary information to make a decision about what Sanger was saying.

      "And you're aware of the larger context, which you seem to be evading."

      One lie at a time. If there is another quote from Sanger you would like to discuss, please do so in a new post so that its veracity and context can be investigated by all. But for now, let's just deal with the quote at hand.

      -L

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    3. Let's talk context.

      Was eugenics racist?

      Delete
    4. "Was eugenics racist?"

      Undoubtedly there were/are racists who are eugenecists and eugenecists who are racists. It would be fallacious to conclude that all eugenecists are racists. I can't draw a Venn diagram in a combox, but I'm sure you get the picture.

      Eugenics itself is a broad term so it is hard to say that a social policy can be racist without being more specific. Genetic counseling for young couples is a form of eugenics, though a mild form. I would not say that a caucasian couple that gets tested for cystic fibrosis is racist against caucasians.

      -L

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    5. I find the wording "more rebellious members" unnerving. What about choice? It it carefully worded to promote her family planning values, her belief system, that it would be rebellious to not be accepting of her mindset. For it to be rebellious in her mind seems very anti-choice to me.

      Delete
    6. Eugenics is a process. How it is used is racist.

      Delete
  2. For more on Sanger, please see Dan Flynn's book "Intellectual Morons". It's great. I happen to respect Flynn as a researcher. He studied the woman in depth, not just citing well-worn internet quotes.

    He read twelve biographies on the woman and read the Margret Sanger papers project. All of that just to write one chapter. She's a pretty evil human being. Besides the fact that she's gung ho about killing children, she's also racist. Her second sin (racism) might upset liberals, but I know her first sin (killing children on a macro scale) won't.

    TRISH

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  3. In no small ironic twist, I see your link for the Stoddard quote itself reiterates the false quotes from Sanger, which was the whole reason for this post in the first place:

    "In [Sanger's] 1922 book "Pivot of Civilization" she unabashedly called for the extirpation of "weeds ... overrunning the human garden;""

    May I suggest that the trustworthiness of that article has been impuned and that it should be removed?

    -L

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    Replies
    1. "May I suggest" you answer my question about the "context" of racism and eugenics in which Sanger so passionately worked?

      Delete
    2. ""May I suggest" you answer my question about the "context" of racism and eugenics in which Sanger so passionately worked?"

      So the Catholic church's collaboration with Nazi's engaged in genocide was okay, but the fact that those contemporary with them held ideas we now find repugnant irredeemably stains those organizations? Nice double standard. But then again, you've got an established track record as a lying sack of shit so I suppose it is to be expected.

      Delete
    3. Why are you so quick to defend Sanger, and why woudl you drag the Church into it?

      Are you admitting that Sanger's ideas are to you what the Catholic magisterium is to me?

      Delete
    4. "So the Catholic church's collaboration with Nazi's engaged in genocide was okay..."

      You're going to have to provide some documentation for that. Where did you learn this? Why would the Catholic Church colloborate with a group of socialist atheists that kills Catholics? That's a very serious charge.

      The double standard is yours. PP is an irredeemably evil organization. It's hard to imagine you excusing their evil history if you could blame it on the Catholics or any other group that you HATE. But you love PP, and so you excuse them. The not-so-long dead founder of the organization is irrelevant, and yet we're still hearing about the Catholic Church and what it did five hundred or a thousand years ago.

      Jay

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    5. "Why would the Catholic Church colloborate with a group of socialist atheists that kills Catholics?"

      You need to go back and study your history a bit more. The Nazis were decidedly not atheists. They made no bones about the religious nature of their crusade - Hitler likened his regimes attacks against Bolsheviks to the Teutonic crusaders stamping out Russian heresy. You may not like the fact that they called themselves Christians, but the historical record says that they did.

      And the Catholic church made it official: In 1933 the Vatican and the Nazi government signed their Concordat, putting the official Vatican stamp on the alliance of the German church and the Nazi state. Article 16, reproduced below, required that Catholic bishops swear to honor the Nazi government, to make their subordinates honor it, and to hunt for and prevent action that might endanger it.
      The following translation of the very important Article 16 of the Reichskonkordat was authorized by the Vatican:

      Article 16

      “Before bishops take possession of their dioceses they are to take an oath of fealty either to the Reich Representative of the State concerned, or to the President of the Reich, according to the following formula:

      “‘Before God and on the Holy Gospels I swear and promise as becomes a bishop, loyalty to the German Reich and to the [regional - EC] State of . . . I swear and promise to honor the legally constituted Government and to cause the clergy of my diocese to honor it. In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interests of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.’”

      Delete
    6. You are very, very incorrect here. While there were Nazis that called themselves Christians (Protestant and Catholic), the leadership thought Christians were morons, and Jesus was a Jewish weakling. Some were Atheists, some were part of a pagan Vril society, and some had other new age beliefs, but other than propaganda to bring in traditional Germans, you won't find many Christians in top leadership of the Nazi regime. The Catholic Church was actually about the opposite of what you say as well. In the Netherlands they spoke so forcefully against the Nazis and their anti-Semitism that their monasteries and churches were raided to look for Jews. Every year on Christmas and Easter, the Pope would make very clear in his homilies that a darkness was descending on the continent and hatred and racial prejudice was un-Christian. Many books have been written about Father Hugh O'Flaherty, who the Pope had smuggling Jews and Allied soldiers INTO VATICAN CITY to save their lives. I could go on, but you probably don't care. You actually think eugenists aren't racist and Catholics helped the Nazis. Hopefully they don't teach that in any educational setting because that is inaccurate on an insane level.

      Delete
    7. I may be counting angels dancing on the heads of pins here, but the actual "Weeds" words were Sanger's quotation of Luther Burbank's words in her August 15, 1925 Collier's Magazine article, "Is Race Suicide Probable?"

      Delete
  4. @mregnor:

    ...the misquotation seems to reflect genuine sentiments that she unambiguously expressed about people who failed to meet her eugenic standards.

    Agreed. Here are a few genuine gems from The Pivot of Civilization (New York: Brentano’s Publishers, 1922), from which the misquotation was purported to have come:

    =====

    Uncontrolled breeding and child labor go hand in hand. And to-day when we are confronted with the evils of the latter, in the form of widespread illiteracy and defect, we should seek causes more deeply rooted than the enslavement of children. The cost to society is incalculable, as the National Child Labor Committee points out. “It is not only through the lowered power, the stunting and the moral degeneration of its individual members, but in actual expense, through the necessary provision for the human junk, created by premature employment, in poor-houses, hospitals, police and courts, jails and by charitable organizations.” [Sanger quotes approvingly.] To-day we are paying for the folly of the over-production-- and its consequences in permanent injury to plastic childhood--of yester-day. To-morrow, we shall be forced to pay for our ruthless disregard of our surplus children of to-day. (pages 70-71)

    =====

    At the present moment, we are offered three distinct and more or less mutually exclusive policies by which civilization may hope to protect itself and the generations of the future from the allied dangers of imbecility, defect and delinquency.
    (1) Philanthropy and Charity...
    (2) Marxian Socialism: This may be considered typical of many widely varying schemes of more or less revolutionary social reconstruction, emphasizing the primary importance of environment, education, equal opportunity, and health, in the elimination of the conditions (i. e. capitalistic control of industry) which have resulted in biological chaos and human waste...
    (3) Eugenics...

    (pages 102-104)

    =====

    ...dangers inherent in the very idea of humanitarianism and altruism...have to-day produced their full harvest of human waste, of inequality and inefficiency... (pages 108-109)

    (In its immediate context, the phrase “human waste” is somewhat ambiguous here. I’m not certain that it refers to human beings as waste. The broader context is too lengthy to reproduce here.)

    =====

    Statistics now available also inform us that more than a million dollars are spent annually to support the public and private institutions in the state of New York for the segregation of the feeble-minded and the epileptic. A million and a half is spent for the up-keep of state prisons, those homes of the "defective delinquent." Insanity, which, we should remember, is to a great extent hereditary, annually drains from the state treasury no less than $11,985,695.55, and from private sources and endowments another twenty millions. When we learn further that the total number of inmates in public and private institutions in the State of New York in alms-houses, reformatories, schools for the blind, deaf and mute, in insane asylums, in homes for the feeble-minded and epileptic amounts practically to less than sixty-five thousand, an insignificant number compared to the total population, our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste. (pages 111-112)

    =====

    For the record, many of the social ills against which Sanger railed were (and remain) real, in my opinion. But her analyses of the various ills, and her proposed remedies, were themselves often (morally) evil. Her language is reprehensible: "human junk"; "human waste"; "surplus children"; etc.

    Also, again for the record, in my brief search of the text of The Pivot of Civilization, I did not find any obvious cases where Sanger singled out blacks with any overtly racial remarks.

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  5. If Sanger was such a racist, why did Martin Luther King praise her and PP when he accepted the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966?

    It's so obvious that Egnor simply wants to smear Sanger to make PP look bad and birth control by association.

    Egnor regularly comes very close to holocaust denial, so it's not surprising he would stoop this low, but still, to see a vicious and shameless liar like Egnor in action like this... it's chilling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @troy:

      [If Sanger was such a racist, why did Martin Luther King praise her and PP when he accepted the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966?]

      He didn't understand her. You do.

      [It's so obvious that Egnor simply wants to smear Sanger to make PP look bad and birth control by association.]

      It is not necessary to "smear" Sanger or PP.The historical record says it all.

      [Egnor regularly comes very close to holocaust denial...]

      I'm a really tolerant guy. If you even insinuate that I deny the Holocaust again, I will ban you from this blog.

      If you actually accuse me of Holocaust denial, I will retain legal counsel. Do not forget that I am a professional and that the threshold for libel is much lower for a professional. I don't have to prove damages.

      That is one accusation I will not tolerate.

      Delete
    2. He didn't understand her. You do.

      He didn't understand her. You're just making that up. Another lie on the huge pile of your lies.


      It is not necessary to "smear" Sanger or PP.The historical record says it all.

      Your fabricated revisionist historical record you mean.


      If you actually accuse me of Holocaust denial, I will retain legal counsel. Do not forget that I am a professional and that the threshold for libel is much lower for a professional. I don't have to prove damages.

      Bwahaha. Yeah, right. You are a professional liar working for the Dishonesty Institute. Libel is your job description. Will Casey Luskin be your counselor? That should be fun.

      Delete
    3. Please show me a post in which Dr. Egnor has come very close to Holocaust denial. I'd certainly stop reading his blog if he did.

      I also don't mean to be nitpicky here, but what does it mean to "come very close" to Holocaust denial? Either one denies it or not. Well, I'm sure a person use rhetorical tricks to hint at something without coming out and say it. I know some people who are quite skilled in that regard. Just tell me where Dr. Egnor said such a thing. I'm curious.

      Jay

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    4. Perhaps MLK was one of those black churchmen with social service backgrounds whom Sanger wanted to use to cover up her final solution for the black question.

      I guess I'll have to take your word that MLK spoke highly of Sanger. That doesn't reflect positively on Sanger, it reflects negatively on King. Unless he just didn't know that the woman dedicated her life to breeding out the less "desireable" elements of society, of which she considered blacks to be the most compelling.

      Jay

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    5. Jay,

      For example, in this post, Egnor calls a lawsuit against a prayer mural an anti-Christian Kristallnacht. Thus, Egnor equates a lawsuit against a school board with mass murder of Jews by Nazis. That is downplaying the mass murder of Jews to such an extent that I see it as close (but not equal of course) to Holocaust denial.

      Delete
    6. I guess I'll have to take your word that MLK spoke highly of Sanger.

      How disingenuous. I bet you've already Googled it and discovered that I am telling the truth.

      Delete
    7. I see the post. Terrible hyperbole on Dr. Egnor's part. I don't like the comparison.

      But it's terrible hyperbole on your part to insinuate that Dr. Egnor is a borderline Holocaust denier. To deny the Holocaust is to say that it never happened. He said no such thing in the post you provided. In fact, I believe he made the comparison to Kristallnacht to be shocking. What's shocking about something that didn't happen?

      I must also stress that Kristallnacht and the Holocaust are two separate things. Egnor didn't say that one or both never happened.

      Jay

      Delete
    8. Nope, didn't google it. It doesn't mean much to me.

      "Thus, Egnor equates a lawsuit against a school board with mass murder of Jews by Nazis."

      Not exactly. The Holocaust was mass murder of Jews and others. Kristallnacht was a night when SA guys (and others) terrorized Jewish store owners, burned them out, looted their wares. They may have killed some Jews but the "mass murder" that you speak of applies to the Holocaust. I suspect that you're slapping the two together in a mishmash, as if they are the same thing.

      Dr. Egnor compared the banner thing to SA members terrorizing Jews and dstroying their stores. Not the Holocaust. And he's not a denier of it.

      Jay

      Delete
    9. Jay,

      Holocaust denial isn't just to say it never happened. It's hard to deny that no Jews were gassed in concentration camps, even for Holocaust deniers. Holocaust denial is also to downplay the scale of the murder, to say that the number of murdered Jews was an order of magnitude smaller than the actual number.

      By comparing a lawsuit with mass murder of Jews, Egnor was downplaying the scale of the atrocities of the Kristallnacht, just like Holocaust deniers are downplaying the scale of the Holocaust.

      I think the comparison is apt. You may disagree. That's fine.

      Delete
    10. Kristallnacht was a night when SA guys (and others) terrorized Jewish store owners, burned them out, looted their wares. They may have killed some Jews but the "mass murder" that you speak of applies to the Holocaust.

      They may have killed some Jews? Hundreds if not thousands were killed. That is not mass murder?

      Holocaust deniers routinely claim at least an order of magnitude less Jews were murdered than actually were. During the Kristallnacht hundreds or thousands of jews were murdered. During the lawsuit against the school board nobody was murdered, orders of magnitude fewer than were killed during the Kristallnacht if you like. Yet Egnor felt the comparison was apt.

      Delete
    11. @troy:

      "Krystallnacht" is a metaphor, akin to "War on...". When Cris Mooney writes a book entitled "The Republican War on Science" it does not mean that Mooney denies the existence of the Second World War or of any war. It's a figure of speech, used to emphasize an aspect of the activity that is figuratively reminiscent of a real historical event.In Mooney's case, he means to say that there is a deliberate organized effort to damage science by Republicans. In my case, I mean that there is a systematic destruction of symbols of a religion that is motivated by religious hatred.

      To accuse someone of Holocaust denial is not a metaphor, but an accusation of a specific act. The act is odious, and, applied to me, is a lie.

      A published lie that damages a reputation is libel. It is no metaphor, unlike "krystallnacht" or "War on...".

      I don't care about metaphors, and the aptness of a metaphor can be debated, which I'm happy to do.

      I won't tolerate libel.

      Delete
    12. Dr Egnor regularly vilifies the Nazis and their policies. His use of the term 'brownshirt' etc is hyperbole.
      There is no holocaust denial in his works. Further he is a tenured Professor at Stoneybrook in Long Island. He is a FELLOW at the Discovery Institute, to his credit.

      Delete
    13. "Krystallnacht" is a metaphor, akin to "War on...".

      That is such bullshit. Show some examples, besides your own, where this "metaphor" was used in an appropriate way.

      You know very well that comparing the Kristallnacht to a mere lawsuit is highly offensive to people that lost relatives in the Holocaust. You should apologize if you have any self-respect.

      Delete
    14. [You know very well that comparing the Kristallnacht to a mere lawsuit is highly offensive to people that lost relatives in the Holocaust. You should apologize if you have any self-respect.]

      Right. Just like Mooney's "Republican War on Science" is offensive to people who lost relatives in war.

      You're an asshole. That's a metaphor.

      Delete
    15. Right. Just like Mooney's "Republican War on Science" is offensive to people who lost relatives in war.

      How deep are you going to sink? Do you have no decency at all? Can't you even find it in your heart to say sorry to those you have offended by comparing mass murder of Jews to a frivolous lawsuit?

      Delete
    16. [How deep are you going to sink? Do you have no decency at all? Can't you even find it in your heart to say sorry to those you have offended by comparing mass murder of Jews to a frivolous lawsuit?]

      I love fake sanctimony.

      Margaret Sanger's venomous eugenics makes you yawn. Planned Parenthood's slaughter of children in the womb bores you. Population control fanatics' endorsement of China's One Child Policy-- a genuine crime against humanity-- barely quickens your pulse.

      My observation that the organized legally-facilitated suppression of civic expression of Christian symbols as an expression of anti-Christian hatred bears a metaphorical analogy to a historical organized legally-facilitated suppression of civic expression of Jewish symbols (synagogues) as an expression of anti-Semitic hatred sends you into a state of swoon.

      Pretty funny.

      Delete
    17. @troy:

      [Note--I wrote the following comments before any of Michael's defense of his Kristallnacht metaphor was posted.]

      I can't agree with you on this issue, Troy. I think you're engaging in sophistry, pure and simple.

      Sure, Michael was employing hyperbolic analogy when he likened the banning of the prayer mural to Kristallnacht. Hyperbole is an attention grabber, and (used effectively) underscores an important point a writer is trying to make. (What point was Michael trying to make in that post –- did you catch it, Troy?)

      All analogy is imperfect; parallels rarely run all the way down. When we encounter analogy, it is the parallels to which we should primarily attend, not the differences.

      During Kristallnacht, if Wikipedia is to be trusted, about 91 Jews were murdered. Some 1000 synagogues were destroyed, and about 7000 businesses. So (with all due respect to the victims) for approximately every 80 buildings vandalized, one person was murdered. This was genocide on a small scale -- certainly on a very small scale, considering what the Nazi future would bring. But (again, without minimizing at all the evil of the murders), Kristallnacht primarily targeted Jewish places of worship and places of business: things that symbolized Jewry and the Jewish faith; it was characterized secondarily by outright bodily assault on Jewish persons.

      I think of Kristallnacht as a "coming out" party by the Nazis -- an indication that the gloves were coming off, so to speak, against all things Jewish. I see an escalation from implied threat to explicit violence. When I read Michael’s analogy, I knew exactly what he was getting at. I thought his analogy was apt, as far as it could reasonably be taken. To extend his analogy to the lengths you took it, Troy, is unreasonable, unwarranted, and uncharitable.

      Years ago, as an airman at Offutt Air Force Base here in Omaha, I checked out from the base library a copy of The Twelve Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany, by Richard Grunberger. I don't remember much of what I read in that book, but I remember quite clearly one point that Grunberger made: The Holocaust was not carried out by the top echelons of the Nazi party; rather, it was administered by an army of mid-level bureaucrats and toadies. Absent this tier of willing (or at least compliant) workers, the Holocaust would never have been realized. Where did these mid-level bureaucrats come from? From the German populace at large, of course.

      Now I don't regard myself as paranoid, nor do I see prospective mid-level bureaucrats, intent on doing me harm, lurking behind every tree. But sometimes, perhaps as I'm queued up at a fast food restaurant for a hamburger, or as I'm driving about town, or waiting at the doctor's office, I'm reminded of Grunberger's observation. And I wonder, is this restaurant manager, or that truck driver, or this nurse, or that doctor, destined to be part of some great machinery of evil in our not-too-distant future? A sufficient portion of our US population has drifted from its historical and moral underpinnings that large-scale persecution and violence against select people of faith is a distinct and growing possibility. It’s a sobering thought.

      So perhaps Michael can be forgiven a little hyperbole. From a distance of 10 or 20 years in the future, we might look back and realize that his hyperbole wasn’t that hyperbolic after all.

      If you think all this seems a bit much to think about in association with the banning of a prayer mural in a New England high school in the year 2012, you ought to ponder the lessons of history a little more deeply.

      Delete
    18. Dr. Egnor, If you’re worried about libel and your professional reputation, maybe you shouldn’t write a hatful blog full of lies.

      -KW

      Delete
    19. Troy's problem is that he doesn't understand the difference between Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. Both were terrible, but they aren't the same thing. Oh yes, and Dr. Egnor didn't deny that either of them happened. Which means that the Dr. Egnor=Holocaust denier meme is a big failure.

      It's hyperbolic to compare the prayer banner ordeal to Kristallnacht. It's basically slander to say that Dr. Egnor is a Holocaust denier.

      Jay

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    20. "I love fake sanctimony."

      That's obvious - because you engage in so very much of it. It is hard to take your arguments concerning Sanger's racism seriously when the leaders spearheading the civil rights movement all seem to have no qualms about accepting and praising her. Your crocodile tears about how she was such a terrible racist are simply unconvincing when the people who were actually on the front lines of the civil rights movement completely disagree with you.

      Delete
    21. I don't know about any 'hatful' blogs, but I will take my hat off to Kent D response.
      Very well stated! You have hit the nail on the head, as far as I am concerned.
      Kudos.

      Delete
  6. @mregnor:

    ...the misquotation seems to reflect genuine sentiments that she unambiguously expressed about people who failed to meet her eugenic standards.

    Agreed. Here are a few authentic gems from The Pivot of Civilization (New York: Brentano’s Publishers, 1922), from which the misquotation was purported to have come:

    =====

    The cost to society [of "uncontrolled breeding and child labor"] is incalculable, as the National Child Labor Committee points out. “It is not only through the lowered power, the stunting and the moral degeneration of its individual members, but in actual expense, through the necessary provision for the human junk, created by premature employment, in poor-houses, hospitals, police and courts, jails and by charitable organizations." To-day we are paying for the folly of the over-production-- and its consequences in permanent injury to plastic childhood--of yesterday. To-morrow, we shall be forced to pay for our ruthless disregard of our surplus children of to-day. (pages 70-71)

    =====

    [Marxian Socialism] ...may be considered typical of many widely varying schemes of more or less revolutionary social reconstruction, emphasizing the primary importance of environment, education, equal opportunity, and health, in the elimination of the conditions (i. e. capitalistic control of industry) which have resulted in biological chaos and human waste. I shall attempt to show that the Marxian doctrine is both too limited, too superficial and too fragmentary in its basic analysis of human nature and in its program of revolutionary reconstruction. [Implying that Sanger’s own agenda was more comprehensive and radical than even Marxism!] (page 103)

    =====

    ...dangers inherent in the very idea of humanitarianism and altruism...have to-day produced their full harvest of human waste, of inequality and inefficiency... (page 109)

    =====

    When we learn...that the total number of inmates in public and private institutions in the State of New York in alms-houses, reformatories, schools for the blind, deaf and mute, in insane asylums, in homes for the feeble-minded and epileptic amounts practically to less than sixty-five thousand, an insignificant number compared to the total population, our eyes should be opened to the terrific [finanicial and social] cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste. (pages 111-112)

    =====

    ...philanthropy...is kind only to be cruel, and unwittingly promotes precisely the results most deprecated. It encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant. (pages 116-117)

    =====

    (Bolded emphasis added.)

    For the record, I believe that many of the social ills against which Sanger railed were genuine problems. (And many remain genuine problems today, especially in third world countries.) But her analyses of those ills, and her proposed solutions, were often morally evil. Her language is reprehensible: “human junk”, “human waste”, “dead weight”, and (especially vile) “surplus children”.

    Also for the record, in my brief search of The Pivot of Civilization, I did not find any overt racism aimed explicitly at blacks. But your assessment of Sanger seems fair and accurate to me. There can be no question that Margaret Sanger was a genetic elitist, even though she didn’t always publicly manifest her elitism in overtly racial ways.

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    Replies
    1. OUCH!
      Seems the real quotes are even NASTIER than the dubious ones.
      I think I would prefer to be called a 'weed' than 'waste' or 'dead weight' o.0
      Excellent rebuttal.

      Delete
  7. Well done, Mike....and RickK
    It speaks volumes about your style that you would admit error and retract.
    RickK, as he states, may have some very different ideas on the subject - but I think he is one of the most intellectually honest atheists that comments on here (and that is not simply because he has a civil style).
    He tells it like he sees it, even if he is (OFTEN!!!) wrong.
    He seems to be correct this time.
    I applaud both of you for your honesty.

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  8. The modern Republican Party is so chockablock full of racists they have to invent conspiracy theories to both assuage themselves and deflect attention.

    The Sanger racism smear is totally irrelevant unless you’re suggesting that there is an ongoing eugenics conspiracy being perpetrated by some shadowy operatives at the highest levels of PP, which is of course exactly what the right wants you to believe. The entire “You think conservatives are racist, well the liberals are secretly trying to exterminate black people” bullshit conspiracy theory relies on dubious quotes by one woman some 70 or 80 years ago. That’s it, That’s all they’ve got.

    -KW

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  9. There's a deeper irony in this silliness about Nazi metaphors.

    American eugenics, of which Sanger was a leading advocate, was the model for Nazi eugenics, as Nazis themselves proclaimed. They learned eugenics from American eugenicists, which means that they learned eugenics in part from Sanger.

    Here's a except from Jonah Goldberg:

    "As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene."

    It's bizarre that folks like troy have a fainting spell at a metaphor like "kristallnacht" that I used to condemn anti-religious bigotry, but troy et al are supportive- SUPPORTIVE- of an ideologue who actually had a close well-documented association with real Nazi ideology and atrocities.

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  10. Here's the Goldberg link

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/224136/dark-past/jonah-goldberg

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    Replies
    1. I recall studying certain characters in our own Eugenics craze here in Canada, and there were multiple connections with German Proponents in the Pre-War period. The same type of folks who praise Chinese oppression and there 'one child' policy today were spouting praise about the Nazis in the 30's.
      Of course, once the war started all such connections were buried and/or denied.
      It comes as no surprise at all to me that the major US counterpart would have the same intimate connections with the Nazis.
      Thanks for the link, Doctor.

      Delete
  11. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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    Replies
    1. I think the thread was messed up (expanded somehow?), Oleg. You may need to repost?

      Delete
  12. "Planned Parenthood, Stop Lying about My Uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!"...

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/africanamerican/blog/index.php/planned-parenthood-stop-lying-about-my-uncle-dr-martin-luther-king-jr

    ReplyDelete
  13. There is a not published draft written by Sanger where we can read:

    "since these classes would be decreasing in number instead of breeding like weeds " (sanger/library of congress loc 131:122)

    the classes are 'dependent' and 'delinquent'.

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    Replies
    1. Domics,

      Thank you for tracking down this quote. I wish a copy of the letter was available online, but all I have found are snippets. It would be most interesting to read in its entirety. If Sanger did ever write that certain humans were weeds, it looks like this would be the place.

      I commend you on your commitment to factual accuracy on finding this quote.

      -L

      Delete
    2. I found the quote in the book: "The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective: The Birth Control Classic" edited by Michael W. Perry.

      Delete
  14. “Luther Burbank, to whom American civilization is deeply indebted. In a recent interview he is quoted as asserting:
    "America . . . is like a garden in which the gardener pays no attention to the weeds. OUR CRIMINALS ARE OUR WEEDS, and weeds breed fast and are intensely hardy. THEY MUST BE ELIMINATED. Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce. All over the country to-day we have enormous insane asylums and similar institutions where we nourish THE UNFIT AND CRIMINAL instead of exterminating them. NATURE ELIMINATES THE WEEDS, but we turn them into parasites and allow them to reproduce."
    Could any business maintain itself with the burden of such an "overhead"? Could any breeder of live stock conduct his enterprise on such a basis? I do not think so.”
    (Margaret Sanger, "Is Race Suicide Probable?" Source: Colliers, August 15, 1925, 25)


    “Birth Control does not mean contraception indiscriminately practised. It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society, and THE GRADUAL SUPPRESSION, ELIMINATION AND EVENTUAL EXTINCTION, OF DEFECTIVE STOCKS--THOSE HUMAN WEEDS WHICH THREATEN THE BLOOMING OF THE FINEST FLOWERS OF AMERICAN CIVILIZATION.”
    (Margaret Sanger, "High Lights in the History of Birth Control," Published Article. Source: The Thinker October 1923, pp. 59-61.)

    “These unlimited hordes of refugees arrive in such numbers that the reception committee is thrown into a panic--a panic of activity. The reception committee arouses itself heroically, establishes emergency measures: milk stations, maternity centers, settlement houses, playgrounds, orphanages, welfare leagues and every conceivable kind of charitable effort. BUT STILL TRAINLOADS OF CHILDREN KEEP ON COMING--HUMAN WEEDS crop up that spread so fast in this sinister struggle for existence, that the overworked committee becomes exhausted, inefficient and can think of no way out.”
    (Margaret Sanger, "The Children's Era," 30 March 1925. Published speech. Source: Margaret Sanger, ed. Proceedings of the Sixth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference, Volume IV New York, 1925, 53-58).

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  15. I find this blog insightful. Margaret Sanger was a wackjob that referred to people as "human junk". Yet there are people that actually try to defend her. Even more humorous are the strongly worded statements by "anonymous" and people with one-word names. You are cowards and idiots; at least the poster makes his identity know. My name is Scott McGregor and I don't talk like "Braveheart" and then hide behind an alias. Good for you, Doctor.

    ReplyDelete