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Social Origins of Eugenics

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Scientific Origins of Eugenics

Elof Carlson, State University of New York at Stony Brook

The eugenics movement arose in the 20th century as two wings of a common philosophy of human worth. Francis Galton, who coined the term eugenics in 1883, perceived it as a moral philosophy to improve humanity by encouraging the ablest and healthiest people to have more children. The Galtonian ideal of eugenics is usually termed positive eugenics. Negative eugenics, on the other hand, advocated culling the least able from the breeding population to preserve humanity’s fitness. The eugenics movements in the United States, Germany, and Scandinavia favored the negative approach.

The notion of segregating people considered unfit to reproduce dates back to antiquity. For example, the Old Testament describes the Amalekites a supposedly depraved group that God condemned to death. Concerns about environmental influences that might damage heredity leading to ill health, early death, insanity, and defective offspring were formalized in the early 1700s as degeneracy theory. Degeneracy theory maintained a strong scientific following until late in the 19th century. Masturbation, then called onanism, was presented in medical schools as the first biological theory of the cause of degeneracy. Fear of degeneracy through masturbation led Harry Clay Sharp, a prison physician in Jeffersonville, Indiana, to carry out vasectomies on prisoners beginning in 1899. The advocacy of Sharp and his medical colleagues, culminated in an Indiana law mandating compulsory sterilization of “degenerates.” Enacted in 1907, this was the first eugenic sterilization law in the United States.

By the mid-19th century most scientists believed bad environments caused degenerate heredity. Benedict Morel’s work extended the causes of degeneracy to some legitimate agents including poisoning by mercury, ergot, and other toxic substances in the environment. The sociologist Richard Dugdale believed that good environments could transform degenerates into worthy citizens within three generations. This position was a backdrop to his very influential study on The Jukes (1877), a degenerate family of paupers and petty criminals in Ulster County, New York. The inheritance of acquired (environmental) characters was challenged in the 1880s by August Weismann, whose theory of the germ plasm convinced most scientists that changes in body tissue (the soma) had little or no effect on reproductive tissue (the germ plasm). At the beginning of the 20th century, Weismann’s views were absorbed by degeneracy theorists who embraced negative eugenics as their favored model.

Adherents of the new field of genetics were ambivalent about eugenics. Most basic scientists including William Bateson in Great Britain, and Thomas Hunt Morgan in the United States shunned eugenics as vulgar and an unproductive field for research. However, Bateson’s and Morgan’s contributions to basic genetics were quickly absorbed by eugenicists, who took interest in Mendelian analysis of pedigrees of humans, plants, and animals. Many eugenicists had some type of agricultural background. Charles Davenport and Harry Laughlin, who together ran the Eugenics Record Office, were introduced through their shared interest in chicken breeding. Both also were active in Eugenics Section of the American Breeder’s Association (ABA). Davenport’s book, Eugenics: The Science of Human Improvement through Better Breeding, had a distinct agricultural flavor, and his affiliation with the ABA was included under his name on the title page. Agricultural genetics also provided the favored model for negative eugenics: human populations, like agricultural breeds and varieties, had to be culled of their least productive members, with only the healthiest specimens used for breeding.

Evolutionary models of natural selection and dysgenic (bad) hereditary practices in society also contributed to eugenic theory. For example, there was fear that highly intelligent people would have smaller families (about 2 children), while the allegedly degenerate elements of society were having larger families of four to eight children. Public welfare might also play a role in allowing less fit people to survive and reproduce, further upsetting the natural selection of fitter people.

Medicine also put its stamp on eugenics. Physicians like Anton Ochsner and Harry Sharp were convinced that social failure was a medical problem. Italian criminologist and physician Cesare Lombroso popularized the image of an innate criminal type that was thought to be a reversion or atavism of a bestial ancestor of humanity. When medical means failed to help the psychotic, the retarded, the pauper, and the vagrant, eugenicists shifted to preventive medicine. The German physician-legislator Rudolph Virchow, advocated programs to deal with disease prevention on a large scale. Virchow’s public health movement was fused with eugenics to form the racial hygiene movement in Germany and came to America through physicians he trained.

Eugenicists argued that “defectives” should be prevented from breeding, through custody in asylums or compulsory sterilization. Most doctors probably felt that sterilization was a more humane way of dealing with people who could not help themselves. Vasectomy and tubal ligation were favored methods, because they did not alter the physiological and psychological contribution of the reproductive organs. Sterilization allowed the convicted criminal or mental patient to participate in society, rather than being institutionalized at public expense. Sterilization was not viewed as a punishment because these doctors believed (erroneously) that the social failure of “unfit” people was due to an irreversibly degenerate germ plasm.

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Prison abolition movement – Wikipedia

Posted: at 12:27 pm

The prison abolition movement is a movement that seeks to reduce or eliminate prisons and the prison system, and replace them with more humane and effective systems.

It is distinct from prison reform, which is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons; however, relying on prisons less could improve their conditions by reducing overcrowding.[1]:3

Some organizations such as the Anarchist Black Cross seek total abolishment of the prison system, not intending to replace it with other government-controlled systems. Many anarchist organizations believe that the best form of justice arises naturally out of social contracts. However, many supporters for prison abolition intend to replace it with other systems, reducing prisons to a smaller role in society.

Prominent social activist Angela Davis, outspoken critic of the prison-industrial complex, openly supports prison abolition.[2] “Mass incarceration is not a solution to unemployment, nor is it a solution to the vast array of social problems that are hidden away in a rapidly growing network of prisons and jails. However, the great majority of people have been tricked into believing in the efficacy of imprisonment, even though the historical record clearly demonstrates that prisons do not work.”[3] Her relevancy in this movement is attested by her close involvement with groups moving to abolish the PIC.[4]

Critical Resistance, co-founded by Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, is an American organization working towards an “international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.”[5] Other similarly motivated groups such as the Prison Activist Resource Center (PARC), a group “committed to exposing and challenging all forms of institutionalized racism, sexism, able-ism, heterosexism, and classism, specifically within the Prison Industrial Complex,” [6] and Black & Pink, an abolitionist organization that focuses around LGBTQ rights, all broadly advocate for prison abolition.[7] Furthermore, names such as the Human Rights Coalition, a 2001 group that aims to abolish prisons,[8][9] and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, a grassroots organization dedicated to dismantling the PIC,[10] can all be added to the long list of organizations that desire a different justice system for our world.[11]

Every other year after Ruth Morris organized the first one in Toronto in 1983,[12] The International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA) gathers activists, academics, journalists, and “others from across the world who are working towards the abolition of imprisonment, the penal system, carceral controls and and the prison industrial complex (PIC),”[13] to discuss three important questions surrounding the reality of prison abolition ICOPA was one of the first penal abolitionist conference movements, similar to Critical Resistance in America, but “with an explicitly international scope and agenda-setting ambition.”[14]

Anarchists wish to eliminate all forms of state control, of which imprisonment is seen as one of the more obvious examples. Anarchists also oppose prisons because the vast majority of inmates are non-violent offenders. Numbers show incarceration rates affect mainly poor people and ethnic minorities, and do not generally rehabilitate criminals, in many cases making them worse.[15] As a result, the prison abolition movement often is associated with humanistic socialism, anarchism and anti-authoritarianism.

In October 2015, members at a plenary session of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) released and adopted a resolution in favor of prison abolition.[16][17]

Proposals for prison reform and proposed alternatives to prisons differ significantly depending on the political beliefs behind them. Proposals and tactics often include:

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published a series of handbooks on criminal justice. Among them is Alternatives to Imprisonment which identifies how the overuse of imprisonment impacts fundamental human rights, especially those convicted for lesser crimes.

Social justice and advocacy organizations such as Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) at the University of California, San Diego often look to Scandinavian countries Sweden and Norway for guidance in regards to successful prison reform because both countries have an emphasis on rehabilitation rather than punishment.[18] According to Sweden’s Prison and Probation Service Director-General, Nils berg, this emphasis is made popular among the Swedish because the act of imprisonment is considered punishment enough.[19] This focus on rehabilitation includes an emphasis on promoting normalcy for inmates, a charge lead by experienced criminologists and psychologists.[20] In Norway a focus on preparation for societal re-entry has yielded “one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world at 20%, [while] the US has one of the highest: 76.6% of [Americans] prisoners are re-arrested within five years”.[21] The Scandinavian method of incarceration seems to be successful: the Swedish incarceration rate decreased by 6% between 2011 and 2012.[22]

In place of prisons, some abolitionists propose community-controlled courts, councils, or assemblies to control the problem of social crime.[23] They argue that with the destruction of capitalism, and the self-management of production by workers and communities, property crimes would largely vanish. A large part of the problem, according to some, is the way the judicial system deals with prisoners, people, and capital. They argue that there would be fewer prisoners if society treated people more fairly, regardless of gender, color, ethnic background, sexual orientation, education, etc. This is proven with the creation of private prisons in America and corporations like Correction Corporation of America (CCA). Its shareholders benefit from the expansion of prisons and tougher laws on crime. More prisoners is seen as beneficial for business.[24]

Opponents of the abolition argue that none of the arguments above address the protection of non-criminal population from the effects of crime, and from particularly violent criminals.

Prison abolitionists such as Amanda Pustlinik take issue with the fact that prisons are used as a “default asylum” for many individuals with mental illness.[40] One question that is often asked by some prison abolitionists is:

“why do governmental units choose to spend billions of dollars a year to concentrate people with serious illnesses in a system designed to punish intentional lawbreaking, when doing so matches neither the putative purposes of that system nor most effectively addresses the issues posed by that population?” [40]

This question is often one of the major pieces of evidence that prison abolitionist claim highlights the depravity of the penal system. Many of these prison abolitionists often state that mentally ill offenders, violent and non-violent, should be treated in mental hospitals not prisons.[41] There are more people with mental illness in prisons that in psychiatric hospitals.[42] By keeping the mentally ill in prisons they claim that rehabilitation cannot occur because prisons are not the correct environment to deal with deep seated psychological problems and facilitate rehabilitative practices.[41] Individuals with mental illnesses that have led them to commit any crime have a much higher chance of committing suicide while in prison because of the lack of proper medical attention.[43] The increased risk of suicide is said to be because there is much stigma around mental illness and lack of adequate treatments within hospitals.[43] The whole point of the penal system is to rehabilitate and reform individuals who have willingly transgressed on the law. According to many prison abolitionists however, when mentally ill persons, often for reasons outside of their cognitive control, commit illegal acts prisons are not the best place for them to receive the help necessary for their rehabilitation.[41] For many prison abolitionists, if for no other reason than the fact that mentally ill individuals will not be receiving the same potential for rehabilitation as the non-mentally ill prison population, prisons are considered to be unjust and therefore violate their Sixth Amendment and Fifth Amendment Rights, in the U.S., and their chance to rehabilitate and function outside of the prison.[40][40][41][44] In America, by violating an individual’s rights as a citizen, prison abolitionists see no reason for prisons to exist, and again, offer another reason people within the movement demand for the abolition of prisons.[40][41][44]

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Ron Paul Lashes Out At WaPo’s Witch Hunt: "Expect Such …

Posted: at 12:20 pm

Washington Post Peddles Tarring of Ron Paul Institute as Russian Propaganda, via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

The Washington Post has a history of misrepresenting Ron Pauls views. Last year the supposed newspaper of record ran a feature article by David A. Fahrenthold in which Fahrenthold grossly mischaracterized Paul as an advocate for calamity, oppression, and poverty the opposite of the goals Paul routinely expresses and, indeed, expressed clearly in a speech at the event upon which Fahrentholds article purported to report. Such fraudulent attacks on the prominent advocate for liberty and a noninterventionist foreign policy fall in line with the newspapers agenda. As Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob G. Hornberger put it in a February editorial, the Posts agenda is guided by the interventionist mindset that undergirds the mainstream media.

On Thursday, the Post published a new article by Craig Timberg complaining of a flood of so-called fake news supported by a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, To advance this conclusion, Timberg points to PropOrNot, an organization of anonymous individuals formed this year, as having identified more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season. Look on the PropOrNot list. There is the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperitys (RPI) website RonPaulInstitute.org listed among websites termed Russian propaganda outlets.

What you will not find on the PropOrNot website is any particularized analysis of why the RPI website, or any website for that matter, is included on the list. Instead, you will see only sweeping generalizations from an anonymous organization. The very popular website drudgereport.com even makes the list. While listed websites span the gamut of political ideas, they tend to share in common an independence from the mainstream media.

Timbergs article can be seen as yet another big media attempt to shift the blame for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clintons loss of the presidential election away from Clinton, her campaign, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that undermined Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) challenge to Clinton in the Democratic primary.

The article may also be seen as another step in the effort to deter people from looking to alternative sources of information by labeling those information sources as traitorous or near-traitorous.

At the same time, the article may be seen as playing a role in the ongoing push to increase tensions between the United States and Russia a result that benefits people, including those involved in the military-industrial complex, who profit from the growth of US national security activity in America and overseas.

This is not the first time Ron Paul and his institute has been attacked for sounding pro-Russian or anti-American. Such attacks have been advanced even by self-proclaimed libertarians.

Expect that such attacks will continue. They are an effort to tar Paul and his institute so people will close themselves off from information Paul and RPI provide each day in furtherance of the institutes mission to continue and expand Pauls lifetime of public advocacy for a peaceful foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties at home. While peace and liberty will benefit most people, powerful interests seek to prevent the realization of these objectives. Indeed, expect attacks against RPI to escalate as the institute continues to reach growing numbers of people with its educational effort

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Ron Paul Lashes Out At WaPo’s Witch Hunt: "Expect Such …

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Paul Krugman – The Conscience of a Liberal

Posted: November 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

Infrastructure Build or Privatization Scam?

Trumpists are touting the idea of a big infrastructure build, and some Democrats are making conciliatory noises about working with the new regime on that front. But remember who youre dealing with: if you invest anything with this guy, be it money or reputation, you are at great risk of being scammed. So, what do we know about the Trump infrastructure plan, such as it is?

Crucially, its not a plan to borrow $1 trillion and spend it on much-needed projects which would be the straightforward, obvious thing to do. It is, instead, supposed to involve having private investors do the work both of raising money and building the projects with the aid of a huge tax credit that gives them back 82 percent of the equity they put in. To compensate for the small sliver of additional equity and the interest on their borrowing, the private investors then have to somehow make profits on the assets they end up owning.

You should immediately ask three questions about all of this.

First, why involve private investors at all? Its not as if the federal government is having any trouble raising money in fact, a large part of the justification for infrastructure investment is precisely that the government can borrow so cheaply. Why do we need private equity at all?

One answer might be that this way you avoid incurring additional public debt. But thats just accounting confusion. Imagine that youre building a toll road. If the government builds it, it ends up paying interest but gets the future revenue from the tolls. If it turns the project over to private investors, it avoids the interest cost but also loses the future toll revenue. The governments future cash flow is no better than it would have been if it borrowed directly, and worse if it strikes a bad deal, say because the investors have political connections.

Second, how is this kind of scheme supposed to finance investment that doesnt produce a revenue stream? Toll roads are not the main thing we need right now; what about sewage systems, making up for deferred maintenance, and so on? You could bring in private investors by guaranteeing them future government money say, paying rent in perpetuity for the use of a water system built by a private consortium. But this, even more than having someone else collect tolls, would simply be government borrowing through the back door with much less transparency, and hence greater opportunities for giveaways to favored interests.

A lot of people in politics and the media are scrambling to normalize what just happened to us, saying that it will all be OK and we can work with Trump. No, it wont, and no, we cant. The next occupant of the White House will be a pathological liar with a loose grip on reality; he is already surrounding himself with racists, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists; his administration will be the most corrupt in America history.

How did this happen? There were multiple causes, but you just cant ignore the reality that key institutions and their leaders utterly failed. Every news organization that decided, for the sake of ratings, to ignore policy and barely cover Trump scandals while obsessing over Clinton emails, every reporter who, for whatever reason often sheer pettiness played up Wikileaks nonsense and talked about how various Clinton stuff raised questions and cast shadows is complicit in this disaster. And then theres the FBI: its quite reasonable to argue that James Comey, whether it was careerism, cowardice, or something worse, tipped the scales and may have doomed the world.

No, Im not giving up hope. Maybe, just maybe, the sheer awfulness of whats happening will sink in. Maybe the backlash will be big enough to constrain Trump from destroying democracy in the next few months, and/or sweep his gang from power in the next few years. But if thats going to happen, enough people will have to be true patriots, which means taking a stand.

And anyone who doesnt who plays along and plays it safe is betraying America, and mankind.

As I said in todays column, nobody who thought Trump would be a disaster should change his or her mind because he won the election. He will, in fact, be a disaster on every front. And I think he will eventually drag the Republican Party into the abyss along with his own reputation; the question is whether he drags the rest of the country, and the world, down with him.

But its important not to expect this to happen right away. Theres a temptation to predict immediate economic or foreign-policy collapse; I gave in to that temptation Tuesday night, but quickly realized that I was making the same mistake as the opponents of Brexit (which I got right). So I am retracting that call, right now. Its at least possible that bigger budget deficits will, if anything, strengthen the economy briefly. More detail in Mondays column, I suspect.

On other fronts, too, dont expect immediate vindication. America has a vast stock of reputational capital, built up over generations; even Trump will take some time to squander it.

The true awfulness of Trump will become apparent over time. Bad things will happen, and he will be clueless about how to respond; if you want a parallel, think about how Katrina revealed the hollowness of the Bush administration, and multiply by a hundred. And his promises to bring back the good old days will eventually be revealed as the lies they are.

But it probably wont happen in a year. So the effort to reclaim American decency is going to have to have staying power; we need to build the case, organize, create the framework. And, of course, never forget who is right.

Its going to be a long time in the wilderness, and its going to be awful. If I sound calm and philosophical, Im not like everyone who cares, Im frazzled, sleepless, depressed. But we need to be stalwart.

Anyone who claims to be philosophical and detached after yesterday is either lying or has something very wrong with him (or her, but I doubt many women are in that camp.) Its a disaster on multiple levels, and the damage will echo down the decades if not the generations. And like anyone on my side of this debate, I keep feeling waves of grief.

Its natural, only human, to engage in recriminations, some of which are surely deserved. But while a post-mortem is going to be necessary, lashing out doesnt seem helpful or good for the lashers-out themselves.

Eventually those of us on the center-left will have to talk about political strategy. For now, however, I want to share some thoughts on how we should deal with this personally.

First of all, its always important to remember that elections determine who has the power, not who has the truth. The stunning upset doesnt mean that the alt-right is correct to view nonwhites as inferior, that voodoo economics works, whatever. And you have to hold to the truth as best you see it, even if it suffers political defeat.

That said, does it make sense on a personal level to keep struggling after this kind of blow? Why not give up on trying to save the world, and just look out for yourself and those close to you? Quietism does have its appeal. Admission: I spent a lot of today listening to music, working out, reading a novel, basically taking a vacation in my head. You cant help feeling tired and frustrated after this kind of setback.

But eventually one has to go back to standing for what you believe in. Its going to be a much harder, longer road than I imagined, and maybe it ends in irreversible defeat, if nothing else from runaway climate change. But I couldnt live with myself if I just gave up. And I hope others will feel the same.

I tweeted this out earlier, but for blog readers here it is in this form.

Some morning-after thoughts: what hits me and other so hard isnt just the immense damage Trump will surely do, to climate above all. Theres also a vast disillusionment that as of now I think of as the end of the romantic vision of America (which I still love).

What I mean is the notion of US history as a sort of novel in which there may be great tragedy, but theres always a happy ending. That is, we tell a story in which at times of crisis we always find the leader Lincoln, FDR and the moral courage we need.

Its a particular kind of American exceptionalism; other countries dont tell that kind of story about themselves. But I, like others, believed it.

Now it doesnt look very good, does it? But giving up is not an option. The world needs a decent, democratic America, or were all lost. And theres still a lot of decency in the nation its just not as dominant as I imagined. Time to rethink, for sure. But not to surrender.

Binyamin Appelbaum has a nice piece about the stall in world trade growth, which I (and many others) have been tracking for a while. And I thought Id write a bit more about this, if only to serve as a much-needed distraction from the election.

If theres a problem with the Appelbaum piece, it is that on casual reading it might seem to suggest that slowing trade growth is (a) necessarily the result of protectionism and (b) necessarily a bad thing. Neither of these is right.

I found myself thinking about this some years ago, when teaching trade policy at the Woodrow Wilson School. I was very struck by a paper by Taylor et al on the interwar decline in trade, which argued that much of this decline reflected rising transport costs, not protectionism. But how could transport costs have gone up? Was there technological regress?

The answer, as the paper correctly pointed out, is that real transport costs will rise even if there is continuing technological progress, as long as that progress is slower than in the rest of the economy.

To clear that story up in my own mind, I wrote up a little toy model, contained in these class notes from sometime last decade (?). Pretty sure I wrote them before the global trade stagnation happened, but theyre a useful guide all the same.

As I see it, we had some big technological advances in transportation containerization, probably better communication making it easier to break up the value chain; plus the great move of developing countries away from import substitution toward export orientation. (Thats a decline in tau and t in my toy model.) But this was a one-time event. Now that its behind us, no presumption that trade will grow faster than GDP. This need not represent a problem; its just the end of one technological era.

It is kind of ironic that globalization seems to be plateauing just as the political backlash mounts. But were not going to talk about the election.

Both Ross Douthat and David Brooks have now weighed in on the state of conservative intellectuals; both deserve credit for taking a critical look at their team.

But of course theres a but Id argue that they and others on the right still have huge blind spots. In fact, these blind spots are so huge as to make the critiques all but useless as a basis for reform. For if you ignore the true, deep roots of the conservative intellectual implosion, youre never going to make a real start on reconstruction.

What are these blind spots? First, belief in a golden age that never existed. Second, a simply weird refusal to acknowledge the huge role played by money and monetary incentives promoting bad ideas.

On the first point: Were supposed to think back nostalgically to the era when serious conservative intellectuals like Irving Kristol tried to understand the world, rather than treating everything as a political exercise in which ideas were just there to help their team win.

But it was never like that. Dont take my word for it; take the word of Irving Kristol himself, in his book Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea. Kristol explained his embrace of supply-side economics in the 1970s: I was not certain of its economic merits but quickly saw its political possibilities. This justified a cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or financial problems, because political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.

In short, never mind whether its right, as long as its politically useful. When David complains that conservative opinion-meisters began to value politics over everything else, hes describing something that happened well before Reagan.

But shouldnt there have been some reality checks along the way, with politically convenient ideas falling out of favor because they didnt work in practice? No because being wrong in the right way has always been a financially secure activity. I see this very clearly in economics, where there are three kinds of economists: liberal professional economists, conservative professional economists, and professional conservative economist the fourth box is more or less empty, because billionaires dont lavishly support hacks on the left.

There was a time, not long ago, when deficit scolds were actively dangerous when their huffing and puffing came quite close to stampeding Washington into really bad policies like raising the Medicare age (which wouldnt even have saved money) and short-term fiscal austerity. At this point their influence doesnt reach nearly that far. But they continue to play a malign role in our national discourse because they divert and distract attention from much more deserving problems, depriving crucial issues of political oxygen.

You saw that in the debates: four, count them, four questions about debt from the CRFB, not one about climate change. And you see it again in todays Times, with Pete Peterson (of course) and Paul Volcker (sigh) lecturing us about the usual stuff.

Whats so bad about this kind of deficit scolding? Its deeply misleading on two levels: the problem it purports to lay out is far less clearly a major issue than the scolds claim, and the insistence that we need immediate action is just incoherent.

So, about that supposed debt crisis: right now we have a more or less stable ratio of debt to GDP, and no hint of a financing problem. So claims that we are facing something terrible rest on the presumption that the budget situation will worsen dramatically over time. How sure are we about that? Less than you may imagine.

Yes, the population is getting older, which means more spending on Medicare and Social Security. But its already 2016, which means that quite a few baby boomers are already drawing on those programs; by 2020 well be about halfway through the demographic transition, and current estimates dont suggest a big budget problem.

Why, then, do you see projections of a large debt increase? The answer lies not in a known factor an aging population but in assumed growth in health care costs and rising interest rates. And the truth is that we dont know that these are going to happen. In fact, health costs have grown much more slowly since 2010 than previously projected, and interest rates have been much lower. As the chart above shows, taking these favorable surprises into account has already drastically reduced long-run debt projections. These days the long-run outlook looks vastly less scary than people used to imagine.

Like Claudia Sahm, I was struck by polling results indicating that around half of Trump supporters completely distrust official data although maybe a bit less surprised, since Ive been living in that world for years. In particular, the failure of high inflation to materialize led quite a few people on the right side of the political spectrum including the likes of Niall Ferguson to insist that the numbers were being cooked, so this is neither a new phenomenon nor one restricted to Trump types.

As it happened, there was a very easy answer to the inflation truthers: quite aside from the absurdity of claiming a conspiracy at the BLS, we had independent estimates such as the Billion Prices Index that closely matched official data. And theres similar independent evidence for a lot of the things where people now claim that official numbers are skewed. For example, the Gallup Healthways index provides independent confirmation of the huge gains in insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But aside from validity, what explains this distrust of statistics? Is it because peoples own experience clashes with what theyre being told? I dont think so. In fact, when people are asked about personal outcomes, not about the economy, the story they tell is a lot like the official numbers. From that poll about Trumpian distrust of the data:

So people are feeling better, in line with what the data say, but claim that the economy is getting worse. Hard to believe that this isnt political, a case of going with the party line in the teeth of personal experience.

Ive posted other performances of this song by this band, but this is a good one and topical this week!

The much-hyped severe Brexit recession does not, so far, seem to be materializing which really shouldnt be that much of a surprise, because as I warned, the actual economic case for such a recession was surprisingly weak. (Ouch! I just pulled a muscle while patting myself on the back!) But we are seeing a large drop in the pound, which has steepened as it becomes likely that this will indeed be a very hard Brexit. How should we think about this?

Originally, stories about a pound plunge were tied to that recession prediction: domestic investment demand would collapse, leading to sustained very low interest rates, hence capital flight. But the demand collapse doesnt seem to be happening. So what is the story?

For now, at least, Im coming at it from the trade side especially trade in financial services. It seems to me that one way to think about this is in terms of the home market effect, an old story in trade but one that only got formalized in 1980.

Heres an informal version: imagine a good or service subject to large economies of scale in production, sufficient that if its consumed in two countries, you want to produce it in only one, and export to the other, even if there are costs of shipping it. Where will this production be located? Other things equal, you would choose the larger market, so as to minimize total shipping costs. Other things may not, of course, be equal, but this market-size effect will always be a factor, depending on how high those shipping costs are.

In one of the models I laid out in that old paper, the way this worked out was not that all production left the smaller economy, but rather that the smaller economy paid lower wages and therefore made up in competitiveness what it lacked in market access. In effect, it used a weaker currency to make up for its smaller market.

In Britains case, Id suggest that we think of financial services as the industry in question. Such services are subject to both internal and external economies of scale, which tends to concentrate them in a handful of huge financial centers around the world, one of which is, of course, the City of London. But now we face the prospect of seriously increased transaction costs between Britain and the rest of Europe, which creates an incentive to move those services away from the smaller economy (Britain) and into the larger (Europe). Britain therefore needs a weaker currency to offset this adverse impact.

So, now were supposed to feel sorry for Paul Ryan?

For years, Ryan has cultivated a reputation on both sides of the aisle as a paragon of decency, earnestness, and principle; that rare creature of D.C. who seems genuinely guided by good faith. To many in Washington including no small number of reporters Ryans support for Trump is not merely a political miscalculation, but a craven betrayal.

Ugh. Ryan is not, repeat not, a serious, honest man of principle who has tainted his brand by supporting Donald Trump. He has been an obvious fraud all along, at least to anyone who can do budget arithmetic. His budget proposals invariably contain three elements:

1. Huge tax cuts for the wealthy. 2. Savage cuts in aid to the poor. 3. Mystery meat claims that he will raise trillions by closing unspecified tax loopholes and save trillions cutting unspecified discretionary spending.

Taking (1) and (2) together that is, looking at the policies he actually specifies his proposals have always increased the deficit, while transferring income from the have-nots to the haves. Only by invoking (3), which involves nothing but unsupported and implausible assertion, does he get to claim to reduce the deficit.

Yet he poses as an icon of fiscal probity. That is, he is, in his own way, every bit as much a fraud as The Donald.

So how has he been able to get away with this? The main answer is that he has been a huge beneficiary of false balance. The media narrative requires that there be serious, principled policy wonks on both sides of the aisle; Ryan has become the designated symbol of that supposed equivalence, even though actual budget experts have torn his proposals to shreds on repeated occasions.

And my guess is that the media will quickly forgive him for the Trump episode too. They need him for their bothsidesism. After all, its not as if there are any genuine honest policy wonks left in the party that nominated Donald Trump.

Simon Wren-Lewis has an excellent new paper trying to explain the widespread resort to austerity in the face of a liquidity trap, which is exactly the moment when such policies do the most harm. His bottom line is that

austerity was the result of right-wing opportunism, exploiting instinctive popular concern about rising government debt in order to reduce the size of the state.

I think this is right; but I would emphasize more than he does the extent to which both the general public and Very Serious People always assume that reducing deficits is the responsible thing to do. We have some polling from the 1930s, showing a strong balanced-budget bias even then:

I think Simon would say that this is consistent with his view that large deficits grease the rails for deficit phobia, since FDRs administration did run up deficits and debt that were unprecedented for peacetime. But has there ever been a time when the public favored bigger deficits?

Meanwhile, as someone who was in the trenches during the US austerity fights, I was struck by how readily mainstream figures who werent especially right-wing in general got sucked into the notion that debt reduction was THE central issue. Ezra Klein documented this phenomenon with respect to Bowles-Simpson:

For reasons Ive never quite understood, the rules of reportorial neutrality dont apply when it comes to the deficit. On this one issue, reporters are permitted to openly cheer a particular set of highly controversial policy solutions. At Tuesdays Playbook breakfast, for instance, Mike Allen, as a straightforward and fair a reporter as youll find, asked Simpson and Bowles whether they believed Obama would do the right thing on entitlements with the right thing clearly meaning cut entitlements.

Meanwhile, as Brad Setser points out, the IMF whose research department has done heroic work puncturing austerity theories and supporting a broadly Keynesian view of macroeconomics is, in practice, pushing for fiscal contraction almost everywhere.

Again, this doesnt exactly contradict Simons argument, but maybe suggests that there is a bit more to it.

Ive been writing about Donald Trumps claim that Mexicos value-added tax is an unfair trade policy, which is just really bad economics. Heres Joel Slemrod explaining that a VAT has the same effects as a sales tax. Now, nobody thinks that sales taxes are an unfair trade practice. New York has fairly high sales taxes; Delaware has no such tax. Does anyone think that this gives New York an unfair advantage in interstate competition?

But it turns out that Trump wasnt saying ignorant things off the top of his head: he was saying ignorant things fed to him by his incompetent economic advisers. Heres the campaign white paper on economics. The VAT discussion is on pages 12-13 and its utterly uninformed.

And its not the worst thing: theres lots of terrible stuff in the white paper, at every level.

Should we be reassured that Trump wasnt actually winging it here, just taking really bad advice? Not at all. This says that if he somehow becomes president, and decides to take the job seriously, it wont help because his judgment in advisers, his notion of who constitutes an expert, is as bad as his judgment on the fly.

Last nights debate was an incredible blowout yet both candidates were pretty much who we already knew they were. This was the Hillary Clinton of the Benghazi hearing confronting the Donald Trump weve seen at every stage of the campaign.

But this then raises a question: how did the race get so close? Why, on the eve of the debate, did polls show at best a narrow Clinton lead? What happened to the commanding lead Clinton held after the conventions?

You might say that Clinton ran a terrible campaign but what, exactly, did she do? Trump may have learned to read from a TelePrompter, but was that such a big deal?

Well, my guess is that it was the Goring of Hillary: beginning in late August, with the AP report on the Clinton Foundation, the mainstream media went all in on abnormalizing Mrs. Clinton, a process that culminated with Matt Lauer, who fixated on emails while letting grotesque, known, Trump lies slide. Heres a graphic, using the Upshots estimate of election probabilities (which is a useful summary of what the polls say):

The thing is, it was all scurrilous. The AP, if it had been honest, had found no evidence of wrongdoing or undue influence; if meeting a Nobel Peace Prize winner who happened to be a personal friend was their prime example But dinging the Clintons was what the cool kids were supposed to do, with normal rules not applying.

And this media onslaught pushed the race quite close on the eve of the first debate. It was feeling like 2000 all over again; and I think Jamelle Bouie got this exactly right:

But it all went off script last night, partly because HRC did so well and DJT so badly but also, I think, because pressure from progressives ensured that there was a lot of real-time fact-checking.

Whether it turns out to have been enough to turn the tide remains to be seen. But anyone in the media who participated in the razzing of Hillary Clinton should think about what we saw on that stage, and ask himself what the hell he thought he was doing.

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Paul Krugman – The Conscience of a Liberal

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Free eugenics Essays and Papers – 123helpme

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Title Length Color Rating Early 20th Century Eugenics as part of Modernism – As the sun was setting on the 19th century, a new theory, called eugenics was just beginning to rise. Eugenics is the idea that human mental, moral, temperamental and physiological traits are passed down through generations, and that society should attempt to foster the reproduction of those with favorable traits and discourage or eliminate those with less than favorable traits. In the early parts of the 20th century, eugenics was put into practice across the rich world. This increase, not only in popularity but in application is best viewed when part of the greater context of modernity…. [tags: Eugenics] :: 5 Works Cited 1047 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The History of Eugenics in America – Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally. After the major turn of the century, eugenics developed into a world- wide movement. (Vermont University, 2003) It was led by scientist and scholars in several diverse fields, and funded by wealthy philanthropists, also supported by statesmen. Eugenics played a very vital and central role in the political, social, and intellectual history of numerous diverse peoples and nations…. [tags: The Eugenics Movement] :: 5 Works Cited 2148 words (6.1 pages) Research Papers [preview] Eugenics: A Controversial Science – Eugenics has been a very controversial science that has existed in the world for centuries. Eugenics is defined as the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)(Dictionary.com, 2005). Its base came from the idea that the human race could be perfected by getting rid of its undesirable traits and the desirable ones could be multiplied…. [tags: Eugenics Essays] 1168 words (3.3 pages) Better Essays [preview] The Eugenics Movement – In the 1920s, a company in New York started a movement known as The Eugenics Movement. The idea of eugenics was eventually picked up by Germany, China, Peru, India and Bangladesh. The movement is still in effect till this day; however, it is not as prevalent as it once was. The beginning of the Eugenics Movement all started at Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The United States coined the term Eugenics from Great Britain in the early 1900s. In the year 1910, a man by the name of Charles B. Davenport founded the Eugenics Records Office (ERO)…. [tags: Eugenics, ERO, sterilization] :: 3 Works Cited 1539 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenics -Not the Way of the Future – Eugenics in the world today has become an issue because of its many positive uses furthermore its possible consequences. It is believed by many that eugenics does more harm than good, on the other hand there are exceptions; it is not the way of the future. There is no doubt that it could be extremely useful for preventing diseases such as cancer and others before we are even born. But, with this also comes the ability to give children genes before their born that will give them talent to run faster, jump higher, use more of their brain which will strictly discriminate them from the rest of society in a way where they will always stand out, the reason being is their extraordinary talents due… [tags: Eugenics, Genetic Engineering] 722 words (2.1 pages) Good Essays [preview] The Ethics and Morality of Eugenics in Society – My research revolves around the ethics and morality of eugenics (Science of heredity and good breeding), and whether society should be in favor of influencing genetics in order to create a more favorable genetic pool. This topic interests me because I find great interest in political and cultural issues, and I have always been fascinated by whether eugenics would actually work and if governments should be in support of it. The sources I found were all scientific journals from credible books. I did this to because I needed to gain information on studies that have taken place in the name of eugenics as well as establish that eugenics is high priority within the scientific community.Taking this… [tags: disabled, eugenics, influencing genetics] :: 7 Works Cited 1598 words (4.6 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] A Look at Eugenics – Introduction Eugenics is the conviction and practice of enhancing the hereditary nature of the human population. It is a social theory upholding the change of human hereditary qualities through the advancement of higher proliferation of individuals with coveted characteristics and decreased multiplication of individuals with less-wanted or undesired attributes. It alludes to the investigation of or faith in the likelihood of enhancing the characteristics of the human species or a human populace, especially by embracing varied hereditary qualities or pessimistic selective breeding…. [tags: Heredity Nature, Human Heredity Qualities] :: 4 Works Cited 1221 words (3.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The ethics of eugenics – The theory of eugenics has changed throughout time from its conception by Sir Francis Galton to its modern technological interpretation in the 21st century. The term has been embraced by Social Darwinists, Progressives, human genetic engineers, and Nazis, to just name a few. The theorys popularity has undergone cycles of approval and upheaval as it is a fairly conceptually fluid idea. Today its definition is still hazy, with both sides of its controversial spectrum debating what it really means…. [tags: Social Darwinists, Sir Francis Galton] :: 28 Works Cited 1675 words (4.8 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Misapplication of Eugenics – The concept of eugenics has to do with the belief or practice of improving the genetic quality of the human race (Eugenics 2010). The concept was first introduced by Francis Galton, a researcher who wished to apply Darwins theory of evolution to the human race. Much like many endeavors that start off with good intentions, the results of applying this concept in real life were gross crimes against humanity. The eugenics movement in the early 20th century perverted the original concept by employing morally objectionable techniques including forced sterilization, marriage restrictions, segregation, internment camps, and genocide (Black 2012)…. [tags: Humans, Genetic Quality, Francis Galton] :: 4 Works Cited 1023 words (2.9 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Three Stooges: Charles Darwin, Adolf Hitler and Margaret Sanger – Only the most imaginative mind could fathom the thought of human beings being selected or disregarded and even killed based on biological protocol. This scientific theory is responsible for the reproduction of superior genes through heredity by controversial means. This idea is based on the evolution of the human species or basically survival of the fittest. Charles Darwin who is the greatest known scientist to ever live popularized this theory and is responsible for the brutality and death of well over 100 million human beings…. [tags: Eugenics] :: 41 Works Cited 1299 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Downfall of Eugenics – In the twentieth-century politics has played a vital role in the way disease is perceived by the average person. Every aspect of disease became a political concern with eugenics publically taking on a major role in public policy. Giving credit to eugenics, many Americans began to worry more about their personal genetic traits as well as the traits that they may pass on to their children. Later society became interested with eugenics on a more community-oriented basis. The downfall of Eugenics came when reformers began to use it as a program of social control, promoting government intervention and coercion in human reproduction. Masturbation was once seen as degenerative disease that led… [tags: Medical Ethics] :: 4 Works Cited 1192 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Edwin Black’s War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race – Edwin Black’s War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race To the average American it seems unfathomable that US based research into the “scientific” practice of eugenics could have been the foundation and impetus for Hitler’s Nazi genocide and atrocities. In addition, notions of racial superiority and the scientific quest for the development of a pure Aryan nation, both by the United States and foreign countries, particularly Germany, were funded and fueled by monies from such prominent families as the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Harriman’s…. [tags: Edwin Black Eugenics Master Race Essays] 1983 words (5.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] What is Eugenics? – Introduction Eugenics is defined as a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed (1). The principles of eugenics have been used in many different countries for various reasons. In the United States, eugenics reached its peak in the pre-World War II period. It was believed that the most efficient way to deal with social problems, such as mental illness, poverty and crime, was to inhibit reproduction among people with such characteristics…. [tags: Science, Improving Hereditary Traits. Human] :: 20 Works Cited 1713 words (4.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Practice of Positive Eugenics – Since its inception in 1883, eugenics has long since been the subject of controversy and a forum for discussion on ethics and morality. Positive eugenics, defined as, “encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits,” is considered a benevolent form of eugenics, but can be used for sinister purposes. Negative eugenics, officially defined as, “discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits,” is perhaps the more well-known variety of eugenics, with notable examples such as the Holocaust and forced sterilization…. [tags: ethics and morality, reproduction] :: 13 Works Cited 1178 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Eugenics: Improving The Human Race? – The idea that one can improve the human race by careful selection of those who mate and produce offspring is called eugenics. It is better understood as the process of selective breeding can improve human society. The term eugenics is from the greek, meaning well-born. The idea of eugenics is to have a society be abundant with many wanted traits, during a movement called the melting pot where people tried to solve their problems with the use of technology. Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development, is the book in which Sir Francis Galton first mentioned the term eugenics…. [tags: Scientific Research ] :: 5 Works Cited 1135 words (3.2 pages) Better Essays [preview] Eugenics – Eugenics, the word that got its bad reputation years ago through an event that changed history: the Holocaust. First dubbed by Francis Galton in the 1880s, the word Eugenics stemmed from the words good and generation. (Eugenics-Meanings) Eugenics means the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population. This improvement is done through discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics); or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)…. [tags: Genetic Engineering] :: 6 Works Cited 1552 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenics – Taken from the Greek word eugenes meaning good in stock the term eugenics was coined in 1883 By Francis Galton (1822-1911). Today it is defined by the OED as Pertaining or adapted to the production of fine offspring, esp. in the human race. We will attempt to explain what eugenics was within in the context of its time and how it was to be applied to humans. We will also attempt to identify who its supporters were and the many different reasons why the eugenic doctrine appealed to them. The problem of what to do about the urban poor had been a continuing worry for the middle classes since the mid nineteenth century…. [tags: Sociology] 2214 words (6.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenics: Solving Social Problems? – The melting pot was a movement to solve social problems of the population with the use of technology. Eugenics is the use of science to solve social problems. It is defined as the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits…. [tags: Scientific Research ] :: 9 Works Cited 1201 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] IVF and the New Eugenics – The addition of a child into a familys home is a happy occasion. Unfortunately, some families are unable to have a child due to unforeseen problems, and they must pursue other means than natural pregnancy. Some couples adopt and other couples follow a different path; they utilize in vitro fertilization or surrogate motherhood. The process is complicated, unreliable, but ultimately can give the parents the gift of a child they otherwise could not have had. At the same time, as the process becomes more and more advanced and scientists are able to predict the outcome of the technique, the choice of what child is born is placed in the hands of the parents…. [tags: Infertility] :: 8 Works Cited 1509 words (4.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenics and Planned Parenthood – When one contemplates the concept of eugenics, few think of modern contraception and abortion when in reality they are one in the same. The American Eugenics Society, founded in 1923, proudly proclaimed that men with incurable conditions should be sterilized. However these conditions were often none that could be helped, such as, ones intelligence, race, and social class (Schweikart and Allen 529-532). The purpose of the society was to create the perfect class of men; elite in all ways…. [tags: Birth Control Movement] :: 12 Works Cited 1395 words (4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Was Eugenics Ever Moral? – Eugenics is the study or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species. Sounds good, right. But the question here is, is it moral to sacrifice someones life or the ability for someone to create life in the name of science. Surely Francis Galton and Gregor Mendel thought so. In the nineteenth century, biology was at its peak. Charles Darwin, who just happens to be Galtons cousin, had just introduced his idea of survival of the fittest. Galton then took that thesis and dissected it…. [tags: human species, charles darwin] :: 7 Works Cited 1043 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] International Eugenics – Throughout the history of international relations, the study of human diversity has held a key role in establishing the political principles and recognized shared culture that defines nationhood. Nations have traditionally been associated with a specific geographic location and political ideology, but they also have ethnical identifiers associated with this shared culture. These ethnical identifiers were thrust onto the world stage during the end of the nineteenth century with the introduction of the study of eugenics…. [tags: Sociology ] :: 13 Works Cited 1825 words (5.2 pages) Term Papers [preview] How the US introduced Eugenics to the World – Eugenics is defined as human improvement by genetic means to improve the hereditary qualities of a race or breed and it was coined by Francis Galton in 1869. Throughout history, the World has borne witness to such atrocities as genocide, where the roots of these movements have been to eliminate the undesirables to allow the strongest and purest an opportunity to thrive and exist. Many would believe that the eugenics movement first started in Europe when the Nazis tried to eradicate Jews, Gays, Gypsys or anyone else they deemed not a part of the master race dreamed up by Hitler…. [tags: sterilization, genetics, Germany, race] :: 10 Works Cited 1022 words (2.9 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Eugenics: America’s Dark Past and Future – The idea of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed race is often credited to Adolf Hitler. The not as well-known part is that this idea was around before Hitler and actually was spread to Germany by eugenics scientists in the United States. In this paper we will look into the full history of eugenics and how the idea was spread across the world. Along the journey we will encounter many major donors that may be of surprise to some of us. Eugenics has been a dark presence in the history of America and will continue to be until real strides are made to end racism…. [tags: blonde-haired, blue-eyed race, hitler] :: 9 Works Cited 1460 words (4.2 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Rise and Fall of the Eugnics Movement – Introduction According to Merriam-Webster.com, eugenics is defined as the theory dealing with the production or treatment of a fine, healthy race. Despite this seemingly innocent representation, eugenics is an extremely controversial science. Some even debate whether or not it is worthy of the label of science, or if its just a form of intellectual racism. Nevertheless, eugenics was greatly embraced and was behind a scientific and social revolution during the late 19th century through the Second World War…. [tags: A Historical Analysis of Eugenics] :: 10 Works Cited 3924 words (11.2 pages) Term Papers [preview] Genetic Engineering: Cloning: Dolly and Eugenics – Cloning is vital in American society because it will help us further our knowledge in genetics. Also cloning will make us realize how much scientists can actually accomplish knowing how to clone. Scientists were able to clone an animal in 1997. That accomplishment made all the scientists theories about cloning possible. It gave the scientists hope that one day they will maybe be able to clone a human because they were able to clone a mammal. Eugenics is also vital to American society. Eugenics is the practice of improving humans genetic quality of the human population as a whole…. [tags: dna, science, god] :: 13 Works Cited 1691 words (4.8 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenics in America – Eugenics in America Eugenics profoundly impacted the culture of the twentieth century. Coined in 1893 by Sir Francis Galton, it studied the heredity and selection of favorable traits. Born out of the social tumults of the late nineteenth century, it represented the Western elites attempt to protect itself from so called inferior cultures of the colonies and new wave immigration. The late eighteenth century was a turbulent time throughout America. An influx of immigrants packed into massive cities such as New York and Chicago…. [tags: Sociology Essays Research Papers] 710 words (2 pages) Better Essays [preview] Reprogenetics and Eugenics – Reprogenetics and Eugenics Advantages: Reprogenetics will enable parents to give their children genes that they themselves do not carry, thereby increasing their offspring’s chances for health, longevity, happiness, and success — this is an appalling prospect for many bio ethicists. Eugenics embodies the desire and attempts of a society’s leaders to control the breeding practices of its citizens, including the forcible sterilization or murder of those deemed as carrying undesirable genes…. [tags: Papers] 862 words (2.5 pages) Better Essays [preview] Eugenic Decision-Making – Eugenics is defined, in some way or the other, as the process of reshaping the human race by determining the kinds of people who will be born. As such, there is much debate in the field of eugenics, with authors, like Philip Kitcher, who support laissez-faire or a minimalist approach of eugenics in which eugenic decision-making should be limited only to avoid neurological illnesses and in which parental free choice is valued. Gregory Stocks essay, The Enhanced and Un-Enhanced, presents otherwise by supporting the position of maximalist eugenics, allowing individuals the full extent in the selection of genes…. [tags: Gattaca, Laissez-Faire, Maximalist Eugenics] 1482 words (4.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Understanding of Eugenics, and the Move Forward from Past Failures. – The Understanding of Eugenics, and the Move Forward from Past Failures. Eugenics, from the Greek word Eu-genes, which means well-born or of good stock, In 1869 was the name given to the work produced by scientist Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911). Sir Francis Galtons work was based primarily on the theories of biological evolution, first developed by Charles Darwin, and was published in his book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1859. Charles Darwin theorized that all species of life descended from common ancestors, and that natural selection had a profound effect by using selective breeding to enhance its worth…. [tags: Sir Francis Galton, Bilogical Evolution, Biology] :: 4 Works Cited 938 words (2.7 pages) Better Essays [preview] Atrocities Associated with the Eugenics Movement – Atrocities Associated with the Eugenics Movement Among the fears of many environmentalists is that of overpopulation. Acutely aware of the finite resources that the planet possesses and the limitations of renewable resources, there are concerns that the planet may soon reach its maximum caring capacity. Since the First Great Transition ten thousand years ago, the planet has experienced an astounding increase in population. Generations later, the planet is beginning to feel the effects of continual population expansion…. [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers] :: 4 Works Cited 1243 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Eugenics – The roots of eugenics can be traced back to Britain in the early 1880s when Sir Francis Galton generated the term from the Greek word for well-born. He defined eugenics as the science of improving stock, whether human or animal. According to the American Eugenics Movement, todays study of eugenics has many similarities to studies done in the early 20th century. Back then, Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings by encouraging the reproduction of people with “good” genes and discouraging those with “bad” genes. (www.eugenicsarchive.org) According to Merriam-Webster, the modern day definition of eugenics is, a science that deals with t… [tags: essays research papers] 1049 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Neo-Eugenics The Social and Biological Ethics of Designer Babies – … Also it is now understood that ooplasm, the cytoplasm within an egg, can be transferred to another egg in order to swap mitochondrial DNA. Scientists have also figured out that ooplasm is not the only part of the cell that can be transferred, but that whole nuclei can be replaced as well. This is a major breakthrough because whole sets of DNA can be placed into another cell. In a culture where parents seek advantages for their children in schooling, diet, exercise, extracurricular activities, and the like, it is hard to imagine that cultural pressures would not be great to pursue the same for their children with respect to enhanced traits. This quote from an academic journal from Berke… [tags: Healthier Reace, Future Generations] :: 2 Works Cited 1586 words (4.5 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenics – Eugenics President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The Civil War was fought to save the republic and free the enslaved. World War II was fought to save the world and stop a group which thought they were a superior race. What do these two wars have in common. They were fought, in part, for equality…. [tags: Papers] 1119 words (3.2 pages) Good Essays [preview] Eugenics Should be Abolished – Eugenics Should be Abolished Since the end of the 19th century, eugenics has had a significant role in the development of Western society. There have been laws established by its presence and a war fought to cease its progress. To analyze the philosophy of and the actions due to eugenics, one must look at the past and see what contributions eugenics has made to events in history. One must also look at the present applications of eugenics and how they affect the lives of people. With these two directions, one can see that because it is racist, encourages immoral actions and is biologically unsound, eugenics is iniquitous and should be abolished from modern medical and political thought…. [tags: Papers] 3259 words (9.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Ethics of Genocide and Eugenics – Gene Therapy: Genocide and Eugenics or Striving for a More Perfect Population Controversy and Ethics Just as there are different types of people who look at one glass of water and describe it as half full or half empty, the public has many different views on the future of our society. Gene therapy is also a glass that can be viewed in different angles different perspectives. Some say it has great potential to shape the ideals of our future, while others believe it signifies intolerance for disabilities, imperfections that supposedly deplete from a persons interests, opportunities and welfare (quoted by Peter Singer, xviii)…. [tags: Biology Medical Biomedical Genetics] :: 2 Works Cited 1413 words (4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Euthanasia Essay: Eugenics To Euthanasia – Eugenics To Euthanasia This essay presents the appeal which euthanasia has to modern society. What is this appeal based on. Is it a valid appeal. These and other questions are addressed in this paper. See if this story sounds familiar: A happily married couple – she is a pianist; he a rising scientist – have their love suddenly tested by a decline in the wife’s health. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she falls victim to a steady loss of muscle control and paralysis. The desperate husband uses all his professional skills to save her…. [tags: Free Euthanasia Essay] :: 1 Works Cited 1001 words (2.9 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Genetic Engineering and Eugenics – Genetic Engineering and Eugenics The idea of genetic engineering has been a very heated topic of discussion lately. The possibilities of this topic range from cloning to gene therapy and eugenics. The most recent type, eugenics through gene therapy has created a lot of controversy. Eugenics is the study of how to improve human genetic heritage. This basically is the engineering of babies. The thought of these new designer babies raises many new questions. What are the consequences of these advances…. [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers] 1108 words (3.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The American Eugenics Movement – The idea of eugenics was first introduced by Sir Francis Galton, who believed that the breeding of two wealthy and successful members of society would produce a child superior to that of two members of the lower class. This assumption was based on the idea that genes for success or particular excellence were present in our DNA, which is passed from parent to child. Despite the blatant lack of research, two men, Georges Vacher de Lapouge and Jon Alfred Mjoen, played to the white supremacists desires and claimed that white genes were inherently superior to other races, and with this base formed the first eugenics society…. [tags: essays research papers fc] :: 3 Works Cited 1421 words (4.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] In Opposition of Eugenics and Human Embryo Research – In Opposition of Eugenics and Human Embryo Research There are a variety of views of eugenics and all that it entails. The definition of eugenics is “the science of improving the physical and mental qualities of human beings through control of the factors influencing heredity,” ( Funk and Wagnall’s, 1984). Others think eugenics is the social control of human genetic evolution, an ideology of racism and genocide, thought to improve society and halt disease while others think only of the Nazi Regime (Saetz, 1985 and McGee, 1997)…. [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Essays] 667 words (1.9 pages) Better Essays [preview] Ethical Complications of Genetic Engineering and Eugenics – Genetic engineering is currently the fastest growing and perhaps most controversial field of science. Genetic engineering is decoding and manipulating DNA to use for scientific and medical purposes. “The discovery that human cells can be grown in a petri dish has opened up breathtaking possibilities for curing disease – and a morass of ethical complications” (Allen 9). Genetic engineering has already started to be most helpful in the field of medicine. The map of the human genome offers many cures and potentially successful medical procedures…. [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers] :: 6 Works Cited 3149 words (9 pages) Strong Essays [preview] To What Extent are American Scientist and Institutions Responsible for Nazi Eugenics? – During Adolf Hitlers reign many American companies and scientist contributed towards advances in eugenic studies, are they to blame for the atrocities that occurred in the Second World War. It started in the late 1800s by Francis Galton who believed that to raise the present miserably low standard of the human race breeding the best with the best had to happen. Although the United States had a large amount of involvement, many European scientists and governments aided the research. In the late 1800s many rich businessmen and prior slave owners were most likely upset as slavery had been abolished, so through science they wanted to make Africans and Asians an inferior race…. [tags: adolf hitler, second world war, racism] :: 7 Works Cited 1043 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Josef Mengele and The Inhumane Experiments in Auschwitz – He cut into me, without anesthetic, . . .The pain was indescribable. I felt every slice of the knife. Then I saw my kidney pulsating in his hand. I cried like a madman, I cried out the prayer; Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one . . . And I prayed to die, that I might not suffer this agony any more (Hall). 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Ayn Rand Predicted an American Slide toward Fascism …

Posted: November 25, 2016 at 10:19 am

In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous themecollectivism. Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: The Fascist New Frontier (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).

The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state.

Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism). Indeed, in The Ayn Rand Letter (Nov. 8, 1971) she characterized fascism as socialism for big business. Both are variants of statism, in contrast to a free country based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism. As Rand put it in Conservativism: An Obituary (CUI, Chapter 19):

The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state, the same conflict that has been fought throughout mankinds history. The names change, but the essenceand the resultsremain the same, whether it is the individual against feudalism, or against absolute monarchy, or against communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or the welfare state.

The placement of socialism and fascism at opposite ends of a political spectrum serves a nefarious purpose, according to Rand. It serves to buttress the case that we must avoid extremism and choose the sensible middle course of a mixed economy. Quoting from Extremism, Or The Art of Smearing (CUI, Chapter 17):

If it were true that dictatorship is inevitable and that fascism and communism are the two extremes at the opposite ends of our course, then what is the safest place to choose? Why, the middle of the road. The safely undefined, indeterminate, mixed-economy, moderate middlewith a moderate amount of government favors and special privileges to the rich and a moderate amount of government handouts to the poorwith a moderate respect for rights and a moderate degree of brute forcewith a moderate amount of freedom and a moderate amount of slaverywith a moderate degree of justice and a moderate degree of injusticewith a moderate amount of security and a moderate amount of terrorand with a moderate degree of tolerance for all, except those extremists who uphold principles, consistency, objectivity, morality and who refuse to compromise.

In both of her major articles on fascism (cited above) Rand distinguished between fascism and socialism by noting a rather technical (and ultimately inconsequential) difference in their approaches to private property. Here is the relevant passage from The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus:

Observe that both socialism and fascism involve the issue of property rights. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Observe the difference in those two theories: socialism negates private property rights altogether, and advocates the vesting of ownership and control in the community as a whole, i.e., in the state; fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government.

Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means property, without the right to use it or to dispose of it. It means that the citizens retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.

In this respect, socialism is the more honest of the two theories. I say more honest, not betterbecause, in practice, there is no difference between them: both come from the same collectivist-statist principle, both negate individual rights and subordinate the individual to the collective, both deliver the livelihood and the lives of the citizens into the power of an omnipotent government and the differences between them are only a matter of time, degree, and superficial detail, such as the choice of slogans by which the rulers delude their enslaved subjects.

Contrary to many conservative commentators during the 1960s, Rand maintained that America was drifting toward fascism, not socialism, and that this descent was virtually inevitable in a mixed economy. A mixed economy is an explosive, untenable mixture of two opposite elements, freedom and statism, which cannot remain stable, but must ultimately go one way or the other (Extremism, or The Art of Smearing). Economic controls generate their own problems, and with these problems come demands for additional controlsso either those controls must be abolished or a mixed economy will eventually degenerate into a form of economic dictatorship. Rand conceded that most American advocates of the welfare state are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property. These welfare-statists want to preserve private property while calling for greater government control over such property. But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.

A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies.

Rand gave us some of the finest analyses of a mixed economyits premises, implications, and long-range consequencesever penned by a free-market advocate. In The New Fascism, for example, she compared a mixed economy to a system that operates by the law of the jungle, a system in which no ones interests are safe, everyones interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it. A mixed economy divides a country into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense. Although Rand did not invoke Thomas Hobbes in this context, it is safe to say that the economic chaos of a mixed economy resembles the Hobbesian war of all against all in a state of nature, a system in which interest groups feel the need to screw others before they get screwed themselves.

A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one anothers expense by an act of governmenti.e., by force.

Of course, Rand never claimed that America had degenerated into full-blown fascism (she held that freedom of speech was a bright line in this respect), but she did believe that the fundamental premise of the altruist-collectivist moralitythe foundation of all collectivist regimes, including fascismwas accepted and preached by modern liberals and conservatives alike. (Those who mistakenly dub Rand a conservative should read Conservatism: An Obituary [CUI, Chapter 19], a scathing critique in which she accused conservative leaders of moral treason. In some respects Rand detested modern conservatives more than she did modern liberals. She was especially contemptuous of those conservatives who attempted to justify capitalism by appealing to religion or to tradition.) Rand illustrated her point in The Fascist New Frontier, a polemical tour de force aimed at President Kennedy and his administration.

There is no such thing as the public interest except as the sum of the interests of individual men.

Rand began this 1962 lecture by quoting passages from the 1920 political platform of the German Nazi Party, including demands for an end to the power of the financial interests, profit sharing in big business, a broad extension of care for the aged, the improvement of public health by government, an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education, and so forth. All such welfare-state measures, this platform concluded, can only proceed from within on the foundation of The Common Good Before the Individual Good.

Rand had no problem quoting similar proposals and sentiments from President Kennedy and members of his administration, such as Kennedys celebrated remark, And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what America will do for youask what you can do for your country. The particulars of Rands speech will come as no surprise to those familiar with her ideas, but I wish to call attention to her final remarks about the meaning of the public interest. As used by Kennedy and other politicians, both Democratic and Republican, this fuzzy phrase has little if any meaning, except to indicate that individuals have a duty to sacrifice their interests for the sake of a greater, undefined good, as determined by those who wield the brute force of political power. Rand then stated what she regarded as the only coherent meaning of the public interest.

[T]here is no such thing as the public interest except as the sum of the interests of individual men. And the basic, common interest of all menall rational menis freedom. Freedom is the first requirement of the public interestnot what men do when they are free, but that they are free. All their achievements rest on that foundationand cannot exist without them.

The principles of a free, non-coercive social system are the only form of the public interest.

I shall conclude this essay on a personal note. Before I began preparing for this essay, I had not read some of the articles quoted above for many, many years. In fact, I had not read some of the material since my college days 45 years ago. I therefore approached my new readings with a certain amount of trepidation. I liked the articles when I first read them, but would they stand the test of time? Would Rands insights and arguments appear commonplace, even hackneyed, with the passage of so much time? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Rand was exactly on point on many issues. Indeed, if we substitute President Obama, for President Kennedy or President Johnson many of her points would be even more pertinent today than they were during the 1960s. Unfortunately, the ideological sewer of American politics has become even more foul today than it was in Rands day, but Rand did what she could to reverse the trend, and one person can only do so much. And no one can say that she didnt warn us.

Republished from Libertarianism.org.

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Inside the strange world of cryonics, where people are …

Posted: at 10:13 am

On a bright Sunday afternoon, in a colourfully decorated scout hut on the outskirts of Sheffieldin Britain, a dozen or so people are clustered around a table, on which lies a plastic human torso. It looks like the kind of prop that might be used by trainee doctors, the chest cut away to reveal its white ribcage and pink intestines.

But these are not doctors they are members of Cryonics UK, the charity that cryogenically froze a 14-year-old girl who won the right to have her body preserved after her death from cancer, and whose heartbreaking landmark court case was reported this week.

Cryonics UK claims to be the only group in Britain working in the legal but unregulated field of cryonic preservation where a person is frozen in time after their death, and then woken up at a point when scientific advances allow them to be revived and cured of whatever caused them to die. The not-for-profit organization charges CAD$25,000to freeze and transport a body to storage facilities in America or Russia.

Today, members of the group, many of whom have themselves paid to be frozen after death, are rehearsing the preservation process. They watch closely as a clear solution is pumped through plastic tubes snaking around the torso a biological version of antifreeze which prevents the bodys cells from shattering when its core temperature is lowered.

The 14-year-old, known only as JS, was the tenth Briton to undergo the procedure, and the first British child. Her mother had supported her wish to be cryogenically frozen, but her father had opposed it, and so the girl had asked a High Court judge to intervene. In a letter to Justice Peter Jackson, she wrote: I dont want to die but I know I am going toI want to live and live longer I want to have this chance. She learned that the judge had granted her wish shortly before her death in a London hospital on October 17. With money raised by her maternal grandparents, the girl made arrangements with the Cryonics Institute, a cryopreservation company based in Michigan; Cryonics UK prepared her body and arranged for it to be flown there.

Interest in cryo-preservation is growing. Across the world, around 2,000 people are thought to be signed up for cryonic preservation, with about 200 already frozen after death.

A majority are from the scientific community, says Marji Klima, of Alcor, another cryopreservation company in the U.S. Many people understand the direction science is heading.

In Sheffield, Mike Carter, a 71-year-old retired geotechnical engineer who has paid $120,000 from his savings to have his head preserved after he dies. (Many cryonicists choose this option, the idea being that the brain contains all the vital matter, and in the future can be attached to a new body or robot.)

He says he found the idea of death upsetting from an early age. I decided that, despite what was drummed into me at school, there was no evidence for either a god or an immortal soul. My conclusion was therefore that death was followed by oblivion.

In 2008, after reading about cryogenics in a science fiction novel, he looked online, almost on a whim, to see whether it was actually possible, and discovered the existence of storage facilities abroad and the Cryonics UK community.

While accepting that the idea of reanimation was something of a long shot, he says my mantra was, and still is, what have I got to lose?

He says his two daughters are all right with it, and while his wife is not happy, I support her in her views and shes agreed to support me in mine.

David Farlow, a thoughtful 34-year-old property manager from west London, is also at the rehearsal.

Having come across the concept as a computer science student at Kings College London, Farlow went to his first training session in 2008, which became the first of many. His friends, he says, understand once hes explained the idea. His family does not share his interest, but he wishes they did. If I was going to live longer, then Id like my family members to be there, he says.

Critics of cryopreservation say, variously, that it offers false hope in a process not backed by science, that it is unethical to live longer than ones natural lifespan, and even, perhaps prematurely, that it could exacerbate the worlds overpopulation problem.

Aside from the many scientific hurdles that would need to be overcome to resurrect frozen humans, the cost of preservation is prohibitively high, with the most expensive packages at $270,000.

However, life insurance packages are now available which allow you to spread the costs out, an option that Farlow is considering. An office in Devon called Unusual Risks Mortgage & Insurance Services helps would-be cryonicists route their life insurance to cryogenics securing, as it were, a chance at a second life in exchange for down-payments of $75 amonth.

Its like being on a plane, and they announce that its going to crash, and theres nothing you can do.They offer you a parachute, and theres only a small chance of it working, but would you take it?

In the U.S., Alcor and the Cryonics Institute employ trained personnel to carry out the urgent preparatory work on a body before it is placed in storage. In the UK, this is done by volunteers who undergo training in sessions. The organization describes itself as a mutual assistance group and some who sign up to be frozen also train to be volunteers. Cryonics UK says it has around 50 members on call to help with preservation. Their first job is to administer chest compressions, as soon as is feasible from the moment of death, to supply blood and oxygen to the brain to prevent the cells from deteriorating. The body is then packed in ice and transported to a cryonics facility where an embalmer makes an incision in the corpses neck and gradually replaces the blood with a cryoprotectant solution, using a cannula like the one on the table in the scout hut, with a cryoprotectant solution.

Finally, sealed in a well-insulated box packed with dry ice, the body is flown to the storage facility where it is preserved in liquid nitrogen at -196 C.

Mike Carter has now helped to carry out three cryopreservations, including one on a terminally ill person he had got to know through Cryonics UK.

The first time, he says, he was nervous as hell but in the end it went pretty well. Once, he says, there was a situation where the family members were uneasy with it, but they still supported it because they knew it was the persons wishes.

Scientists remain sceptical of the practice of cryonics. This week, it was revealed that doctors at the hospital where JS was cared for felt deep unease about her decision and accused Cryonics UK of being underequipped and disorganized in its handling of her body after she died last month.

In a statement, Cryonics UK said: We always seek to negotiate before acting and our protocols were carried out with the permission of the hospital. A successful outcome was achieved as a result of the determination of the family and their legal representation and the resourcefulness of Cryonics UK.

It said that better regulations of cryopreservation would be likely to lead to more people signing up.

For many, the notion of bringing humans back to life remains very much the stuff of science fiction. But the extraordinary case of JS sheds light on the small, but growing handful of people willing to take a leap of faith.

Its like being on a plane, and they announce that its going to crash, and theres nothing you can do, says Peter Farlow. They offer you a parachute, and theres only a small chance of it working, but would you take it?

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Government news, articles and information:

Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Why governments aren’t all that different from street gangs 3/12/2016 – At some point, you may have heard someone call the government a “gang of thieves writ large,” which is a generalization of a quote attributed to libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard. However, if you’re not familiar with the philosophy behind that quote, you might mistakenly believe that it is nothing… Have you ever felt like the government doesn’t really care what you think? 3/2/2016 – Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent the people? (Article republished from Represent.Us.) Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion… A message to Libertarians about the FDA 2/6/2016 – “When I ran for a seat in the US Congress in 1994, I was very aggressive in demanding that we go after the FDA as a rogue criminal agency. Others, at the time, who were in favor of Health Freedom, said I should dial back my rhetoric; all we needed was a good law that would protect our right to take… The emergence of Orwellian newspeak and the death of free speech 1/23/2016 – “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it……. UK government caught running ISIS Twitter accounts 1/7/2016 – Americans are rightfully concerned that jihadis from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are already on U.S. soil, but apparently we’re not the only Western nation with an ISIS problem. Britain, it seems, has one as well. As reported by the UK’s Mirror, hackers have made the claim that several… DHS gives TSA authority to forcibly irradiate Americans against their will 1/3/2016 – Americans who understand the health risks of full-body TSA X-ray scanners will choose to opt out of the invasive scan. The TSA requires those who opt out of the full-body scan to undergo a physically invasive full-body pat down. Now, a new rule created by the Department of Homeland Security will… Propaganda at your expense: U.S. govt. is second largest P.R. firm in the world 12/23/2015 – It’s no secret that many people feel that the U.S. Government is synonymous with all things shady, filled with half-truths, loopholes and lingo that sounds fancy, but is really a self-serving set of words designed to offer minimal benefits to the rest of society. Supporting these opinions is a finding… The dire state of our nation (what you won’t hear from the politicians) 12/10/2015 – “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” –… Vaccine vs. Virus: Which is the bigger threat? 12/3/2015 – Mainstream media clamor for mandatory vaccines, ignoring official statistics that show the drug is more dangerous than the disease. Should government force parents to vaccinate their children? The deaths of more than 100 children have been officially linked to receiving a measles vaccine during the… Evidence of vaccine injuries memory-holed from U.S. government website 11/9/2015 – The federal government, perhaps at the behest of the Obama administration, has been quietly removing vaccine injury court data from a publicly reported chart that at one time was updated monthly, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson reported recently on her web site. “In March, the federal government… U.S. government STEALS American family’s land near Area 51 Air Force base 10/31/2015 – For decades, the U.S. government has maintained that “there’s nothing to see” at its secretive Air Force base designated as “Area 51.” Certainly not Martians or other creatures from outer space, as many have theorized. And yet, for some reason, Uncle Sam seems to have something to hide out there… DARPA creates search engine to expose the dark web to government surveillance 10/21/2015 – The Defense Department’s most secretive research division has created a new computer program giving America’s spies a powerful tool to search the so-called “dark web,” where some of the most sophisticated terrorist organizations operate. DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – recently… The Gestapo is alive and well in Obama’s America 10/18/2015 – Hi. I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. Barack Obama is going rogue. By every metric,[1] the Obama economy is melting down. We are seeing the beginning stages of another recession, at best, or a total economic meltdown, at worst. (Story by Wayne Allyn Root, republished from PersonalLiberty.com) At… Russian government to outlaw all GMO food products to protect citizens’ health 10/3/2015 – As the American people are being force-fed GMOs and petitioning their government for honest food labels, other countries around the world are already removing the transgenic ingredients from their food supply. As Americans beg to know what kind of agro-chemicals and GMOs are in their food, the Russian… UK government to require registration of all religious leaders 9/16/2015 10:29:24 AM – In September 1620, pilgrims from England set sail for the “new world,” hoping to find new opportunities and escape religious persecution. Today, hundreds of years later, its possible British subjects might once again be forced to flee religious oppression. Canada’s National Post reports that religious… Government water police state almost here 7/30/2015 – Anyone who says that liberty, freedom and individualism has thrived under the Obama administration has either been living in a cave or is far too partisan to acknowledge what’s really been going on. The Obamaites have long used the power of the federal bureaucracy that the president controls to limit,… New Zealand government takes further steps to ease raw milk prohibition 7/17/2015 – It’s not exactly a complete scrapping of the country’s antiquated prohibition laws governing the production and sale of raw milk, but the government of New Zealand has responded to consumer demand and made it at least somewhat easier for individuals and families to access this highly sought-after food… Supreme Court rules against federal seizure of farmer’s crop production 7/15/2015 – The U.S. Supreme Court has either been a bane on the Constitution or a champion of civil rights with rulings handed down in recent days, but one issue in particular that appears to win approval of a large majority of Americans garnered far fewer headlines and attention. On June 22, in one effort,… See all 2206 government feature articles. Robots: Japan: Robot: WHO: Future: World: Sales: Canada: Pharmaceutical industry: The FDA: Drug company profits: Drugs from Canada: Drug monopoly: FDA: SAMe: Consumers: Today’s Top Stories on NaturalNews

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CounterThink Cartoons are free to view and download. They cover topics like health, environment and freedom.

The Consumer Wellness Center is a non-profit organization offering nutrition education grants to programs that help children and expectant mothers around the world.

Food Investigations is a series of mini-documentaries exposing the truth about dangerous ingredients in the food supply.

Webseed.com offers alternative health programs, documentaries and more.

The Honest Food Guide is a free, downloadable public health and nutrition chart that dares to tell the truth about what foods we should really be eating.

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Trump’s pro-Second Amendment platform could end gun sales …

Posted: at 9:57 pm

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to push to relax gun laws when he takes office, but significant changes in the firearms industry began as soon as he was elected and some put the law of unintended consequences squarely in the cross hairs.

For instance, while Trumps unapologetic pro-Second Amendment stance may be good for gun owners, it has already dealt a blow to manufacturers, who enjoyed record sales throughout President Obamas eight years in office. Stocks in companies like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. plunged on Nov. 9, and experts say it is because Trumps election erased fears that guns would become harder to get.

A lot of people were buying guns simply because they were worried Hillary Clintons regulations would make it more costly and more difficult to buy guns, and people are not going to feel quite the need to go out and buy guns now, Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott told FoxNews.com. I think the stock market is a pretty good predictor of whats going to happen, and the fact that you see drops in stock prices by almost 20 percentage points I think thats pretty significant.

While the government does not publish an official number of gun sales, background checks, a gauge of how many people try to buy guns, skyrocketed under President Obama. In 2008, 12.71 million background checks were conducted, a number on pace to double this year, to set an all-time record.

The prospect of a pro-gun control administration of Hillary Clinton following Obama, together with a campaign that put gun rights in the spotlight, was the likely driver of the firearms boom, acknowledged Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. But he was skeptical that a rise in 2016 gun sales or an anticipated dip in the coming year will have a major effect on crime.

Gun violence is obviously a complicated issue and doesnt just turn around because of a month or two of different sales, Horwitz said. There are so many guns in America that a blip in the sales rate is not going to change the death and injury rate in any meaningful fashion, and its just too early to tell.

The weekend following Trumps election, arms vendors from all over the country set up their exhibits in Oklahoma for the semi-annual Wanenmachers Tulsa Arms Show, the largest gun and knife show in the world. Show founder Joe Wanenmacher told FoxNews.com sales were steady, but wouldve been through the roof if Clinton had won.

Had Secretary Clinton been elected, it would have been panic sales, because gun shows were in her sights to either be eliminated, or make it so difficult to sell that they wouldnt be effective, Wanenmacher said. When there is complacency, there isnt the motive to buy guns in anticipation of something bad happening.

One attendee agreed.

I think if Trump hadnt won, it would have been chaos, she said. It was a relaxed atmosphere and everyone was upbeat.

Fear of new gun control laws was not the only sales driver in recent years, said National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Mike Bazinet. He said local crime also spurred people to buy guns, and does not expect that factor to diminish in the near future.

There is no question that the concern over political situations over the past several years, where people may have feared additional restrictions of access to firearms was a motivator, but it wasnt the only one, Bazinet said. Our retailers tell us that a more important factor is local crime.

Trump has said he intends to work with state and local governments to repeal gun-free zones, do away with the special tax on silencers, encourage expansion of conceal carry laws and carry out a host of other pro-gun industry initiatives. Advocates of gun control say such measures will put more people at risk of becoming victims of gun violence, but Trump and other Second Amendment stalwarts disagree.

If you get rid of gun-free zones and make it easier for people to carry, you will deter criminals, Lott told Fox News. You will be able to reduce crime.

The irony is that an administration more sympathetic to the gun industry could hurt its bottom line.

There is no doubt that the firearms industry will not be treated as a social disease by the Trump Administration, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News. The president-elect will make the Second Amendment great again.

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Social Darwinism – Dr. Hartnell’s Nutty the A.D.D. Squirrel

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

Eugenics is a belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population. (Wow! Every word in that sentence is a landmine of problems!) Although the idea of eugenics (but not the term) is contained in the Greek philosopher Plato’s Republic, the modern concept became prominent during the second half of the 19th Century. Its predecessor was the group of sociological theories known as Social Darwinism. The favorite phrases of Social Darwinism “struggle for existence” and “survival of the fittest” – when applied to humans in society, suggested that the rich were better endowed than the poor and hence more successful in life. The continual and natural sorting out of “better” and “worse” elements would, in theory, lead to continued improvement of the human species. Eugenics differs from Social Darwinism because Social Darwinism was characterized by its laissez-faire attitude, that is, letting nature take its course so that the worst elements of society were eventually be eliminated. Eugenics, on the other hand, preaches that proper breeding is the key to bettering society. In other words, you push for the higher reproduction of people with desired traits (called “positive eugenics”) and prevent the reproduction of those with less-desired traits (called “negative eugenics”).

This can’t be serious, can it?

Oh, it is. The modern eugenicsmovement was closely associated with a sense of white Anglo-Saxon superiority. Sir Francis Galton (Charles Darwin’s cousin), the founder of the English eugenics movement, for example, had been drawn to the study of human heredity and eugenics by his curiosity about what he called the hereditary “genius” in his own family… as in, “Damn, we’re a smart bunch. We should be breeding more.” (I’m guessing his knighthood went to his head.) The publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859 was an event that changed Galton’s life. He became obsessed with the first chapter about the breeding of domestic animals (um, what?) and devoted the rest of his life to exploring the variations found in the human population. In so doing, he established a research program which categorized multiple aspects of humans, from mental characteristics to height; from facial images to fingerprint patterns. In 1883, a year after Darwin died, Galton took the Greek root words for “good” and “origin” and named his research “eugenics”.

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th Century. By this point, eugenics was practiced around the world and promoted by imperialist governments. Many countries enacted eugenic policies, including genetic screening, birth control, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), forced sterilization, forced abortions, forced pregnancies… and genocide. The movement was especially strong in England, the U.S., and Germany from 1910-1940.

In the U.S., the eugenics movement received extensive funding from major corporations, including the Carnegie Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation. Even the inventor of corn flakes, J. H. Kellogg, launched the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. (Yea, now your cereal tastes like shame! But trust me, that was one weird dude. Real the caption under his picture. And then go eat some cereal…) Renowned biologist, Charles B. Davenport, organized the Eugenics Record Office in New York and the American Breeder’s Association (ABA). He formed the ABA specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and to emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” One of the ABA’s biggest members wasAlexander Graham Bell. (Yea, now your phone sounds racist.)

Eugenics exerted considerable influence on popular opinion and was reflected in some state and Federal legislation. Starting with Indiana in 1907,31 states passed sterilization laws aimed at breeding out various social “misfits”: the mentally retarded, criminals, and the insane. (Indiana was the first, California conducted the most, and North Carolina was the most aggressive: an IQ lower than 70 meant sterilization was appropriate.) Laws were also passed restricting marriages between members of various racial groups. Even the National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among major feminist organizations that lobbied in favor of eugenics, specifically birth control and sterilization in order to prevent unwanted children from being born into poverty and to curb passing on mental diseases or birth defects. However, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, made it abundantly clear that it wasa woman’s decision and not the state whether or not to have a child. (Some see this as the start of the Pro-Choice Movement.)

The key triumph of the U.S. eugenics movement came in 1924, when a coalition of eugenicists and some big-business interests pushed through the Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the National Origins Act. The actseverely limited immigration into the U.S. from Eastern European and Mediterranean countries. Eugenicists claimed that these immigrants were inferior to Anglo-Saxons (whites) and were “polluting” the “pure” American bloodstream. By 1928, there were 376 courses in some of America’s leading universities, enrolling more than 20,000 students.

After the eugenics movement was firmly in place in the U.S., it spread to Germany. Eugenicists in California began producing literatureto promoteeugenics and sterilization and sent it to German scientists and medical “professionals”. By 1933, California had subjected more people to forced sterilization than all other U.S states combined.(Most werepoor, sick, and non-white.)The sterilization program engineered by the Nazis wasinspired by California’s.

But wait… it gets worse.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs, including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to the concentration camp Auschwitz. (Mengele was the notorious Nazi doctor that performed horrific experiments on people.) Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague: “You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought. I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”

After World War II, however, historians began to portray U.S. eugenics as different from Nazi eugenics. (Of course they did!) The movement in the U.S. was largely discredited by the fact that eugenics was central to both the theory and practice of Nazism. Still, California continued forced sterilizations on prisoners as late as the mid-1960s, mostly because California’s long-time attorney general was a big supporter of the practice, and it wasn’t formally outlawed there until 1979. (In fact, from 2006-2010, 148 women were illegally sterilized in California’s prisons.)

Eugenicsis rightfully andseverely criticized for what can be calledovert racial bias, subjectivity in the use of evidence, and lack of scientific “proof”.Eugenics isa shameful reminder of what happens when science mixes with racism. But don’t worry. You can sleep on this fun fact: eugenics is still officially permitted in the U.S. today. WHAT?!

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Social Darwinism – Dr. Hartnell’s Nutty the A.D.D. Squirrel

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