Category: mental defectives

Buck vs. Bell Supreme Court Decision, Opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1927)

Oliver Wendell Holmes delivering the Supreme Court’s decision in Buck vs. Bell [Source] 274 U.S. 200 Buck v. Bell (No. 292) Argued: April 22, 1927 Decided: May 2, 1927 143 Va. 310, affirmed. Syllabus 1. The Virginia statute providing for the sexual sterilization of inmates of institutions supported by the State who shall be found …

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The Duty of the State in the Treatment of the Deformed: R. Z. Mason, Appleton WI, 1879

R.Z. Mason, mayor of Appleton, WI, “The Duty of the State in its Treatment of the Deaf and Dumb, the Blind, the Idiotic, the Crippled and Deformed, and the Insane.” [Source / Italics added, bold text added] In the progress of modern civilization, the state has come slowly to a recognition of certain duties and …

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DH Lawrence pines for the lethal chamber for the sick and maimed (1908)

DH Lawrence in a letter to Blanche Jennings, October 9, 1908.  [Reference] If I had my way, I would build a lethal chamber as big as the Crystal Palace, with a military band playing softly, and a Cinematograph working brightly; then I’d go out in the back streets and main streets and bring them in, …

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Virginia Woolf: Defective idiots and imbeciles “should certainly be killed.” (1915)

Author Virginia Woolf, in a 1915 diary entry describing some people she saw while on a walk: we met & had to pass a long line of imbeciles.  the first was a very tall young man, just queer enough to look at twice, but no more; the second shuffled, & looked aside; and then one …

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Frederick Osborn, Galton and Mid-Century Eugenics, 1956 Eugenics Review published lecture and “Voluntary Unconscious Selection”

Frederick Osborn, president of the Population Council and steadfast advocate for eugenics, in a 1956 speech recorded in the Eugenics Review.  [SOURCE] […] Galton never envisaged any system of arbitrary controls, except for the more serious mental and physical handicaps, which should be treated like a form of communicable disease.  But he did propose that …

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Helen Keller: Physicians Juries for Defective Babies, Article in the New Republic, 1915

Due to the successful sanitization of the past in regards to eugenics, it is largely unknown how pervasive eugenics attitudes were, and how expansive eugenicists believed their program to be.  Here we have Helen Keller, writing in a prominent liberal magazine, advocating explicitly for infanticide–in the name of the race.  For more information and the …

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The Eugenic Roots of Genetic Counseling

Charity requires us to believe that most contemporary genetic counselors are not at all motivated by considerations that we would term ‘eugenic.’  However, the founders of the field left no doubt about their motivations, stating them plainly and explicitly, and characterizing them as definitely constituting eugenics.  The following material raises more than reasonable doubt that …

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The Lethal Chamber Proposal, 1930 Letter to Editor by Dr. Richard Berry

A little known fact is that those with a eugenics mindset had been talking about ‘lethal chambers’ and ‘segregation camps’ for a long time before the Nazis actually used them.  Here is one example. The Lethal Chamber Proposal To the Editor, Eugenics Review   SIR,-I observe in your issue of April 1930, page 6, that you …

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Abortion As Eugenics Tool: Harrison Brown and “The Challenge of Man’s Future”

Today, abortion is nearly always described in terms of a woman’s reproductive right in relation to family planning, but it is not understood that abortion was widely seen by eugenicists as a means of reducing the human population, and especially certain sub-populations (eg, black people, handicapped people, etc).  Part of this is intentional–if it was …

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Eugenics and Evolution are Incompatible with Charity and Altruism

One of the common themes of eugenic writers is that if Darwinism and evolution were properly understood, charity and altruism could very well inflict a great harm on a population, and indeed, threatening to do just that.  This post will catalog quotes of eugenicists making that argument. ——— From Madison Grant in The Passing of …

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