Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

14 January 2012

Sterilising the Left’s Eugenics History






Jan 13th, 2012


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.

The proponents of sterilization represented science and the future. Its opponents represented reaction against reason. An embrace of eugenics presumed a blind faith in science and the state.  Eugenics demanded what modern progressives willingly give on any number of issues. But no decent progressive in 2012 embraces that particular idea. Few progressives would even concede eugenics showing up within their ideological lineage. For those who acknowledge the past mistakes of those sharing a political label, the historical reality of state sterilization is humbling. The voices of laissez faire against interventionism and tradition against modernization shouldn’t be so easily shouted down.

“While no amount of money will ever make up for the fact that government officials deprived North Carolinians, mostly women, of the possibility of having children, and officials did so, in most cases, without the victims’ consent or against their will,” Governor Bev Perdue announced Tuesday, “we must do something.”

That “something” amounts to less than .005percent of its state budget. With just 72 living victims identified—almost one percent of the total—the state stands to pay out $3.6 million. Alas, that’s $3.6 million more than that awarded by California, Washington, Kansas, and every other state once caught up in one of the Left’s most monstrous endeavors. North Carolina didn’t stand alone in taking away its citizens’ rights to reproduce. It does stand alone in attempting to make amends.


The proponents of sterilization represented science and the future. Its opponents represented reaction against reason. An embrace of eugenics presumed a blind faith in science and the state.  Eugenics demanded what modern progressives willingly give on any number of issues. But no decent progressive in 2012 embraces that particular idea. Few progressives would even concede eugenics showing up within their ideological lineage. For those who acknowledge the past mistakes of those sharing a political label, the historical reality of state sterilization is humbling. The voices of laissez faire against interventionism and tradition against modernization shouldn’t be so easily shouted down.

“While no amount of money will ever make up for the fact that government officials deprived North Carolinians, mostly women, of the possibility of having children, and officials did so, in most cases, without the victims’ consent or against their will,” Governor Bev Perdue announced Tuesday, “we must do something.”

That “something” amounts to less than .005percent of its state budget. With just 72 living victims identified—almost one percent of the total—the state stands to pay out $3.6 million. Alas, that’s $3.6 million more than that awarded by California, Washington, Kansas, and every other state once caught up in one of the Left’s most monstrous endeavors. North Carolina didn’t stand alone in taking away its citizens’ rights to reproduce. It does stand alone in attempting to make amends.

Financial restitution is but one means to right a wrong. A method demanding more from individuals is to beware of the flattering conceits of righteousness that led to past wrongs.


The Z-Word


A few weeks ago, a Labour MP in Britain, Paul Flynn, expressed displeasure with his country’s ambassador to Israel. “I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories,” he said, “but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist.” What Britain needs in Israel, according to Flynn, is “someone with roots in the U.K.” who “can’t be accused of having Jewish loyalty.”

Britain’s ambassador to Israel, as you may have surmised, is a Jew, the first to serve in that capacity. He previously served in Pakistan and Iran (not Jewish states). As for Matthew Gould’s “roots in the U.K.,” they may not be as deep as Flynn’s, but they are semi-respectable: On one side, his great-grandparents were immigrants, and on the other, his grandparents. Speaking of respectability, Gould is a graduate of St. Paul’s School and Peterhouse, Cambridge. Not bad for a Semitic upstart.

In his widely publicized remarks, Flynn worried about “neocons and warmongers,” now itching to invade Iran. “Warmongers” is a word we can easily understand. But what about two other words Flynn used, “neocons” and “Zionist”? These are very slippery terms. If you want to paralyze someone who denounces neocons, say, “What’s a neocon?” If you want to paralyze someone who denounces Zionists, or even refers to them, say, “What’s a Zionist?” People use these words cavalierly and ignorantly. And none too nicely, either.

We will concentrate on the older of the words, “Zionist.” Though it may be older than “neocon,” it is much, much newer than “Zion.” We first encounter “Zion” in II Samuel, Chapter 5: “David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.” I am quoting King James’s translators. In Psalm 48, we have one of the loveliest lines in the entire Bible: “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion.” Centuries later came a hymn that begins, “Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God!” Those words were written by the author of “Amazing Grace,” John Newton.

“Zion” may refer to a hill in Jerusalem, or a section of Jerusalem, or Jerusalem itself, or all Israel. Or to the kingdom of God, period. It also may refer to the Jewish people or to all mankind. People in Illinois may know Zion as a city on the Wisconsin border.

“Zionism” arose in the late 19th century, and its believers and supporters were “Zionists.” This was the movement to establish a Jewish state in ancient Israel — to “reestablish” that state, if you like. European Jews such as Theodor Herzl thought, or feared, that assimilation was a lost cause. The host countries would never allow it. The best answer was a return to Zion, to Israel. Other Jews held this return to be desirable in itself, regardless of whether assimilation in the broader world was possible.

Herzl wrote his pamphlet The Jewish State in 1896. The next year, he organized the first Zionist Congress, in Basel. Many Jews were Zionists, many were not. Those who were not, were free to stay where they were (as were those Jews who supported Zionism but did not wish to emigrate themselves). The ancient language, Hebrew, was revived. The movement gathered pace. After the Holocaust, and a war of independence, the Jews had their state. Zionism, i.e., Jewish nationalism, was fulfilled.

But the term hung on, particularly in the mouths of Israel’s enemies. Indeed, many Arabs would not, and will not, say “Israel.” They say “Zionist entity” or “Zionist presence.” To say “Israel,” apparently, would acknowledge statehood, which is unacknowledgeable, to some. The late Yasser Arafat was a frequent user of “Zionist aggressor,” “Zionist conquest,” and similar phrases.

One goal of Israel’s enemies was to stigmatize “Zionism,” and they had their greatest success in November 1975, when the United Nations passed its infamous Resolution 3379: Zionism equals racism. “Racism” was the severest term of the age, and it may well be that today, too. Vanessa Redgrave, a great supporter of Arafat and his PLO, said, “Zionism is a brutal, racist ideology.” Other peoples could have their national expression, but not the Jews. Resolution 3379 was revoked in 1991, thanks chiefly to the work of the Bush 41 administration, and in particular to the work of one State Department official: John Bolton.

Over the years, people have denounced Zionism while proclaiming their great love of Jews. They’re not anti-Jewish, you see, but merely anti-Zionist. They could just as well say “anti-Israel,” but “Zionist” is somehow the word of choice.

Accepting an Academy Award in 1978, Redgrave congratulated her colleagues on standing up to “Zionist hoodlums,” such as those picketing outside. Later in her remarks, she said, “I pledge to you that I will continue to fight against anti-Semitism and fascism.” In 1980, Jesse Jackson called Zionism “a kind of poisonous weed that is choking Judaism.” He was following the pattern of “Judaism good, Zionism bad.” In 1992, he seemed to have a change of heart, hailing Zionism as a “liberation movement.”

But old habits die hard, and Jackson is still liable to use “Zionism” or “Zionist” as a term of abuse. In October 2008, Amir Taheri, an exile journalist from Iran, recorded what Jackson said at a conference in France. An Obama administration was coming, he said, and this administration would diminish the “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades.” Whom did he mean, exactly? What do people ever mean when they say “Zionists”?

Louis Farrakhan talks about Zionists almost as much as Arafat did. An Associated Press report in 1984 said, “Farrakhan, who has been quoted as calling Judaism a ‘gutter religion,’ denied that he was against Jews. He has said that remark referred to Zionism, not Judaism.” Here is an AP report from 1998: “Farrakhan suggested a Zionist plot was behind President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.” Earlier this year, Farrakhan said that “Zionists dominate the government of the United States of America and her banking system.” He added, “Some of you think that I’m just somebody who’s got something out for the Jewish people. You’re stupid. Do you think I would waste my time if I did not think it was important for you to know Satan? My job is to pull the cover off of Satan so that he will never deceive you and the people of the world again.”

In Israel itself, the word “Zionist” is in bad odor, certainly on the left. Few academics, artists, and cool teens would want to be known as Zionists. This started “just after the 1967 war,” says Zev Chafets, the veteran American-Israeli writer. “Zionist” came to mean superpatriot, flag-waver, jingo. The worldwide Left associates Zionism with colonialism, imperialism, and, of course, racism, and the Israeli Left does the same.

More than a few Israelis refer to themselves as “post-Zionists,” which may mean any number of things. For instance, it may mean that they reject the old Zionist vision and instead welcome a “binational state,” including the West Bank and Gaza and everyone in them. Jewish particularism is anathema to them. When they think “Zionist,” they are apt to think “settler,” and a settler, in their minds, is no good. Of course, not so long ago, just about every Israeli was a settler, and a Zionist, to boot.

There are still people who embrace the Z-word, no matter the opprobrium that comes with it. Paul Flynn, the British MP, said that Ambassador Gould “has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist.” That is true. Gould has also said, “I thought long and hard about applying for the position” of ambassador to Israel. “I thought it might just be all too difficult. But then I thought to myself, ‘Why should Jews rule themselves out of important positions?’” Gould has emphasized he is “the British ambassador to Israel, not the Jewish one.”

Ten years ago, Gil Troy, a history professor at McGill University, wrote a book with a totally unabashed title: “Why I Am a Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today.” There are also many millions of Americans who support Israel and are known as “Christian Zionists.” Their critics utter this term with disdain or fear or both. I suspect that these Christians themselves have no problem with it.

To me, a Zionist has always been a person who supports the idea of a Jewish homeland, or state, in the Middle East. In ancient Israel. Therefore, being a Zionist is essentially the same as supporting the right of Israel to exist. When Farrakhan says that the U.S. government, the banks, and the media are “dominated by Zionists,” I’m apt to say, “Sure: Most Americans support Israel, both as idea and as reality.” But I am being too clever, no doubt — because when people say “Zionist,” they really mean . . .

Well, what do they mean? One clue comes from John J. Mearsheimer, the University of Chicago professor who, with Stephen M. Walt, wrote The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a notorious book published in 2007. Mearsheimer has just written a blurb for a book by Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Israeli who hates Israel and hates himself, for that matter. He has described himself as a “proud self-hating Jew.” In his blurb, Mearsheimer writes, “Panicked Jewish leaders, [Atzmon] argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim.”

So, there we have a definition of Zionism, from a professor of political science at one of our most distinguished universities: “blind loyalty to Israel.” There is an old joke, told by Jews, that goes, “What’s the definition of an anti-Semite? One who hates Jews more than is absolutely necessary.” Is that what a Zionist is — someone who supports Israel more than is absolutely necessary? Someone who is too enthusiastic or unyielding in his support?

In my observation, people say “Zionist” when they don’t want to say “Jew” or “Israeli.” As Gil Troy wrote last year, “intellectuals have camouflaged modern anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism.” There are certainly people who are anti-Zionist or anti-Israel — is there a difference? — without being anti-Jewish. Some of them are Jews. But, as Paul Johnson, the historian, once said to me in an interview, “Scratch the fellow who is anti-Israel, and you won’t have to dig very far before you find the anti-Semite within.” Another historian, Bernard Lewis, says that talk of Zionism “sometimes provides a useful cover”: a cover to those who harbor the old, enduring hatred.

As you go about life, you may encounter someone who says “Zionism” or “Zionist,” with an edge in his voice. Ask him what he means. The answer, or non-answer, you get is likely to be revealing.

— Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review. This article originally appeared in the December 31, 2011, issue of National Review.

US Communist Leader: OWS ‘a Wake Up Call to All Who Remain Committed to a Revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Direction’


By Trevor Loudon


You may think the Occupy Wall Street movement is fading away. You may think that colder weather and tougher local authorities will see “Occupy” crumble into nothingness. You may think it was all much ado about nothing.

Well you may possibly be right, but the communist forces who have increasingly infiltrated the movement have a very different view.

To them “Occupy” signifies  is the beginning of the end of capitalism. “Occupy” is a sign  to Leninists the world over that we are entering revolutionary times, and nothing will ever be the same again.



Larry Holmes


The following excerpts are from opening remarks by Larry Holmes, First Secretary of the pro Cuba/North Korea Workers World Party, to the WWP national leadership meeting Dec. 17 in New York City.

We are in the opening stages of a wholly new epoch.

This epoch in all likelihood will be protracted and long. It will be uneven, it will be explosive, it will be fraught with dangers — all of it necessary to that which we have been waiting so long for: the awakening of our global proletariat, and especially the awakening of that section of the proletariat whose development we are responsible for — the working class of the U.S.

The epoch I am referring to is the beginning of the end of capitalism. The epoch will end with the destruction of capitalism and the expropriation of the capitalist class…

To Holmes, capitalism has come to end of the road. It is the responsibility of Marxist-Leninists to hasten an inevitable process through organization and international solidarity.

The important point is that anti-capitalist consciousness is growing on a global basis. It is actually surging. Some of it is incipient, not well articulated; some of it is better articulated; some of it is articulated by those who are not real revolutionaries and who have another agenda with whom we have differences. All of that will be part of the terrain that we are developing and fighting.

The Party and the revolutionary movement and all who are moving in a revolutionary direction should not underestimate the depth of the radicalization of sections of the working class, especially the youth but not only the youth. Because radicalization, especially when it abets the struggle, becomes contagious.

And so, if the Party is ultimately going to play its role in helping our class to move toward what is sometimes called the maximum program — socialist revolution — it will be necessary for us to be very conscious, very meticulous and serious in how we go about it.

There are sections of the world capitalist class that are more aware than even the most militant sections of the working-class movement of the reality that this capitalist crisis is no “garden variety” crisis; but rather something infinitely more profound than all previous crises and more importantly, a crisis from which there is no way out.

This is no small matter because our class and its organizations cannot fight that which it does not fully understand. It goes without saying that we communists must assist the working class and the oppressed in defending all the gains, be they significant or meager gains, that are under relentless attack. However, let there be no illusions — the epochal class struggle that is in the making on a global level will not be resolved on the basis of concessions or reforms, or a return to some semblance of “capitalist stability.” Those days are over.

It is important, henceforth, for us to see the possibility of socialist revolution — no not tomorrow — but neither as merely some idea that has no relevance to the class struggle today. To truly understand how unprecedented and irreversible the present world capitalist crisis is, is to understand that the question of the need for world socialist revolution is not something that can be postponed.

Whatever other work the Party undertakes in the day-to-day class struggle, we will not be of help to our class and only cause more confusion, if we fail to illuminate the road to the socialist revolution.

Holmes sees Occupy Wall Street as an a re-energization of the revolutionary movement – young people not jaded by the sordid past failures of socialism, leading the way into a new, and final revolutionary upsurge. Holmes admits that revolutionaries of his generation need to catch the new red tide, or be left behind.

OWS has sharpened the crisis for the revolutionary movement. It is a crisis for us and our friends and allies. Why? Because even though we are ideologically ahead and can teach the best elements in the Occupy movement things they need to learn about imperialism, about the national question, about the woman question and on and on — in some ways they are ahead of us….

The Occupy Wall Street movement should serve as a wake up call to all who remain committed to a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist direction. The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the developments that led up to it, are easier to understand today as we can more fully appreciate the devastating toll of more than 30 years of worldwide counterrevolution.
Part of that devastating toll has been the degeneration and weakening of the revolutionary socialist orientation.

Degeneration does not happen all at once, overnight, but rather incrementally, almost unconsciously, over an extended period of time and under the pressure of disappointments and frustrations, the causes for which in large part can be traced to stagnation in the working-class movement, demoralization, contraction and fragmentation in the revolutionary movement, and the seemingly endless prevalence of bourgeois triumphalism — a prevalence that has clearly now come to an end.

In some ways, the young, inexperienced and ideologically eclectic makers of the Occupy movement, precisely because they are not burdened by the baggage of past defeats, understand the gravity of the global capitalist crisis and the revolutionary potential that it has opened better than many of us seasoned veteran revolutionary Marxists.

We will not be able to help the OWS movement advance until and unless we catch up to it.



New York WWP conference, November 2011

In my opinion, the spring and summer of 2012 will see a big upsurge in revolutionary movements all over the Europe and North America.

Occupy Wall Street will be a big part of that movement. The Workers World Party and the several other Marxist organizations involved will not allow it to die. They see the world on the verge of huge revolutionary change. The anarchists, and malcontents who started the movement will remain, but leadership will increasing fall into the hands of labor unions and highly organized and disciplined Marxist-Leninist elements.



Fiscal Reality Bites


Like many, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman remains oblivious to the debt disaster that looms for the American economy.  For the rest of us, when Mark Steyn tells America to lower spending, we take heed. When two ratings agencies tell Washington to shrink the deficit, we get worried. And when Mark Zandi -- who claims the stimulus "did what it was intended to do" -- says we have a "grave need"  to deal with our long-term deficit and debt issues, we're ready to hit the panic button.

Yet even as the total federal debt-to-GDP ratio passes 100%, Krugman is sticking to his guns. In his first column of 2012, Krugman claims those who believe the debt is the biggest issue facing the country are dishonest, and in fact says more spending is key to a strong economic recovery.  As a 2010 paper in American Economic Review showed, however, debt above 90% of GDP can impact economic growth as much as 1.7 percentage points per year.  James Agresti of Just Facts highlighted this in the chart below, showing that had this been the case in America from 1970 through 2010, Gross Domestic Product would have been slightly over half of 2010's nominal GDP.  In short, Americans would have been nearly 50% poorer had our debt been at 90% of GDP or greater for the last 40 years.




Unfortunately, the long-term debt of the United States grew over $4 trillion from 2010 to 2011, and it is on track to get worse as the Baby Boomers continue to retire.  This debt will fall largely on the shoulders of young Americans, AKA the Debt-Paying Generation, as entitlements take up an increasingly large share of tax revenues and those tax revenues are inadequate to cover annual deficits. Consider the following growths to the long-term debt of the American government:

1. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, federal health care spending (adjusted for inflation, 2010 dollars) in America has grown as follows:

* from $198.7 billion, or $1,068 per person, in 1960

* to $1,667.3 billion, or $5,955 per person, in 1999

* to $2,526.1 billion, or $8,228 per person, in 2009

2. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates from March 2011, Medicare spending alone will go from $562.8 billion in 2011 to $970 billion in 2021. Extrapolating from the January 2011 CBO budget expectations, this means Medicare will constitute over one-sixth of federal spending in 2021. It also means that while our irresponsible federal budget will grow by 59%, Medicare spending will grow by 72% -- and this is before the retirement of the Baby Boomers has its full impact.

3. Even if the average interest rate on the national debt stays at its current, historically low, level of 2.99%, CBO's spending estimate implies interest payments will be $777.4 billion in 2021, or about 75% larger than this year's interest payments. Now imagine what interest payments will look like if rates return to their July 2005 (mid-housing-boom) level of 4.653%! They would be $1.21 trillion per year, based upon the level of debt the President's original 2012 proposed budget estimated, equivalent to about 2.42 billion iPads. This will be 26% of expected spending in 2021, compared to approximately 13% this year.

The entire federal budget continues to grow at an astronomical rate, even with the sequestration supposedly on the horizon.  And health care spending is growing fastest of all programs. Without major changes to entitlements, bureaucracies, and prospects of economic growth, spending priorities for Republicans and Democrats will be academic questions. And for the Debt-Paying Generation, the consequences could be devastating as the burden for paying back this massive debt falls on their shoulders. Lower economic growth, fewer jobs, higher costs of education and later or non-existent retirements are the probable results of the policies Krugman is espousing.

Perhaps the Occupy Wall Streeters are at the wrong location in New York.

Bill Beach is the Director of the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. Dustin Siggins is a former contributor to several political and policy blogs. They are the co-authors of a forthcoming book on the Debt-Paying Generation