Perspective

The Case For Eugenics

Submitted by Howe Abbott-Hiss

All men are not created equal. Some people are better or worse than others, regardless of which qualities one is concerned with, and both the best and the worst traits tend to run in families. Given the prevailing egalitarian sentiments in society, this may be seen as the sneering of a villain from the Harry Potter series, but it is a painfully obvious fact. We all suffer by denying reality, and we would all benefit by facing it and acting accordingly.

Although there was great interest in eugenics throughout the West in the early 20th century, there is now a strange and powerful taboo against the field. It is as if any deliberate improvement to the human gene pool is capable of resurrecting National Socialist Germany. Such a worst-case scenario failed to materialize in any of the numerous other nations which had eugenic policies in place at the time, so the persistent horror towards the topic is difficult to defend. On the contrary, genes continue to be at the root of social problems today, and there is no reason to believe that we cannot act on this reality humanely.

There are exceptions to the general horror of eugenic policies among public figures, particularly regarding crime. Nicholas von Hoffman, a columnist for the New York Observer and Huffington Post, is quoted as saying “Free, cheap abortion is a policy of social defense. To save ourselves from being murdered in our beds and raped on the streets, we should do everything possible to encourage pregnant women who don’t want the baby and will not take care of it to get rid of the thing before it turns into a monster.” Conservative commentator Heather MacDonald expressed the view at a 2015 Manhattan Institute conference that, considering the horrible consequences of illegitimacy, “it is not true that everybody has the right to have a child,” although she did not advocate any policy to enforce this view.

On the subject of crime, the policies formerly known as the War on Drugs may be winding down in the near future. Judging from trends in popular opinion and state laws, marijuana will likely be legalized nationwide within our lifetimes. This one substance accounts for about half of the drug war in terms of arrests, so this will be a major shift to which the criminal justice system will need to adjust.

Although laws prohibiting several drugs had existed for decades, the more aggressive concept of a War on Drugs was introduced under President Nixon in an effort to crack down on a rising wave of crime, particularly among blacks. Although failing to significantly curb drug use, such policies have had some success in reducing non-drug crimes which incarcerated offenders might otherwise commit. A major downsizing of it, then, will limit law enforcement’s ability to deal with the rising crime rate, and should be counterbalanced with other interventions towards the same end. What is known as negative eugenics, meaning measures to prevent or discourage certain people from reproducing so as to stop the transmission of negative genetic traits, would be a useful tool here.

Criminals have proven remarkably resistant to efforts to reform them, and this has been noted for some time. In 1974 Public Interest published an article by Professor Robert Martinson entitled What Works?in which the author concurred with the 1973 Presidential Advisory Commission conclusion that “[t]he prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking level of failure.”1This attitude towards “rehabilitation” persists today, supported by very high rates of recidivism. It is not impossible to reform some criminals,2 but many interventions to this effect miss the root of the problem, which is a personality type influenced by genetics.

Criminals tend to have a personality which stands out from the norm. For violent criminals in particular, psychologist Steven Pinker notes that this includes being “impulsive, low in intelligence, hyperactive, and attention-deficient. They are described as having an “oppositional temperament”: they are vindictive, easily angered, resistant to control, deliberately annoying, and likely to blame everything on other people.”3 Psychologist Stanton Samenow notes that criminals tend to be especially “self-centered, controlling, dishonest, irresponsible, and callous,”4 and adds that they feel entitled to respect from others despite consistently terrible behavior.

These traits are not exactly conducive to educational or occupational success. On the contrary, they lead the criminal to reject opportunities to become a productive member of society,5 so although wealthy criminals do exist, offenders are often relatively poor. Given long-standing racial differences in intelligenceand temperament, they are also disproportionately black. Cracking down on them, then, will have a “disparate impact” on blacks and the poor. Commentators who are aloof from the human realities of the situation will find it easy to see a “racist” and “classist” motive in this, but it is only what follows from responsibly judging people by their actions.

Outside of platitudes about universal human equality and “racism,” it is hard to imagine any reason why we should consider all of these people fit to pass on their genes and raise children. While genes do not explain 100% of the connection, criminals certainly tend to produce children similar to themselves, and everyone should be able to agree that society would be better off with less of the personality traits and behaviors in question.

Not all offenders are identical, of course; some are more prolific, violent and dysfunctional than others. Judging from professional analysis of their personalities and criminal records, authorities could identify those least fit to become parents. Intervention based on these judgments could see massive reductions in crime, savings in criminal justice costs, and a healthier social fabric for future generations.

Whatever your position on abortion, most would presumably be pleased with a policy which reduces the number of abortions along with the number of unwanted children. Sterilization, or even long-term birth control which could if needed be reversed, would accomplish this. If this seems politically impossible, it is worth mentioning that two notable examples of such intervention are already in effect within the United States.

Project Prevention, a non-governmental organization operating in the state of California, has had significant success in cutting down reproduction by those manifestly unfit to have children. Over the past 20 years they have provided long-term birth control methods such as tubal ligation, intrauterine devices and vasectomies to over 6,800 drug addicts and alcoholics. Patients are offered small cash incentives to agree to these procedures, meaning a savings over the costs to society of children who would likely be placed in foster care and have a variety of behavioral problems throughout their lives.

A similar program aimed at teenagers and poor women has had success in Colorado, reducing both births and abortions dramatically by providing free birth control implants and intrauterine devices. Within the space of four years, the state’s teenage demographic saw a 40% reduction in births and a 42% reduction in abortions, along with a similar drop in births for single young women who have not finished high school. Like Project Prevention, it is not conceived of as a eugenics project, but given the higher crime rates among the poor and the children of single mothers, it has likely had such an effect.

The above examples have been implemented on a voluntary basis and not as part of the criminal justice system, but it is possible to imagine applying these measures to criminals. Judge Sam Benningfield of White County, Tennessee has recently offered offenders a 30-day reduction in their sentence if they will agree to vasectomies for men or the temporary birth-control implant Nexplanon for women.

There is already broad support for eugenics on the alt-right. British activist Andrew Joyce of Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute has endorsed integrating sterilization into the criminal justice system, as does Swedish alt-right figurehead Daniel Friberg of Arktos Media.6 Jared Taylor has recently released a pair of videos endorsing the general concept of deliberately improving the gene pool, while expressing wariness about coercive government programs to this end.

Negative eugenics is even attractive to at least one libertarian; the YouTube commentator going by the name Libertarian Realist suggests that rapists be sterilized, or at least offered parole on the condition that they be sterilized. “If we don’t sterilize our worst criminals,” as he puts it, “there is a risk that they will keep breeding, and as we know, crime is largely genetic, so [sterilization] would have a eugenic…effect.” But the wider society continues to see “eugenics” as a bad word.

Crucially, a serious eugenics program would also serve a spiritual need of our people. The liberal narrative of progress throughout history may seem absurd in its current-year incarnation, but it has a deep appeal more widespread than the mindset of professional victims. Alt-right commentator Millennial Woes asks his viewers to “imagine improvement.” He is not speaking of technological progress, but of social and cultural advancement, of “celebrities more refined than their predecessors, children better educated than their ancestors, a government one can trust, social systems that work and do not corrupt, economic systems that can last – a present that is better than the past.”

One does not need to be left-wing to find this vision appealing. Indeed, there is something in the soul of Western white men which has long striven for progress, to a degree which has distinguished us from others. Minimizing some of the worst elements in our gene pool can form a key component of this struggle.

 

Notes

  1. Moskos, Peter. In Defense of Flogging. New York: Basic Books, 2011. p. 15.
  2. Samenow, Stanton E., PhD. Inside the Criminal Mind. Revised and updated ed., New York: Broadway Books, 2014. pp. 291-330 Samenow discusses a program initiated by psychologist Samuel Yochelson in Washington, D.C. at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in 1961. Yochelson rejected the dominant paradigm in criminal justice, using regular individual and group sessions which focused the offender on correcting his own dysfunctional thinking and behavior rather than sociological explanations which would allow him to deflect blame onto others. For some participants this resulted in totally abandoning crime and leading responsible lives.
  3. Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. London: Penguin Books, 2003. p. 315.
  4. Samenow, pp. 5-6.
  5. Both made these statements in their respective AMA (Ask Me Anything) threads on the now banned section of reddit.com known as /r/altright.
  6. Same now goes into detail on how criminals tend to reject education, employment and social contact with more respectable people. He argues that such people, rather than being unfairly marginalized by authorities or peers, knowingly reject the mainstream society for which they have contempt from an early age.
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