Tuesday, August 12, 2003


Further to my recent posts on eugenics, I should note that Steven Levitt's work suggests that the old Leftist eugenics program of reducing the birth rate (via abortion) among the "lower classes" was not totally misconceived. Levitt's findings seem to show that making voluntary abortion available to poorer mothers reduces the crime rate years later. He is at pains of course to indicate that his empirical findings are not an endorsement of either eugenics or abortion. Slate featured a 3 day correspondence between him and Steve Sailer dealing with the issue.

Given the traditional conservative regard for individual liberty, it seems to me that the only eugenics programs that conservatives could justify would be voluntary ones -- such as the large material incentives to reproduce that the Singapore government offers to highly educated Singaporean women. Christian conservatives, however, tend to regard all reproduction as God-given so would oppose even voluntary eugenic programs that limited reproduction -- such as the Woodhil Foundation programs that pay crack-addicted mothers to undertake contraception.

Leftists, however, oppose the Woodhill programs because they are voluntary and privately-funded. They like such matters to be in the hands of the State (i.e. under their control).

And the problem of a self-perpetuating and substantially criminal underclass does not need to be addressed by eugenics. It can be addressed by addressing its major causes -- such as the over-generous welfare system that the Leftists have created in their hunger for praise.

I have mentioned previously that the famous peacenik and anti-nuclear campaigner Bertrand Russell was a keen advocate of State-enforced eugenics. A reader has written in with more rather surprising information about the 3rd Earl Russell. I have posted it here (or here) under the heading: "Peacenik Bertie -- The authoritarian eugenicist". One rather wonders what Earl Russell would have done if he had been in control of Germany in the 1930s. Perhaps history would not have changed much.


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