The first story today comes from Louisiana, where a state representative now argues for the revival of eugenics with a 21st Century twist: pay the poor, such as those burdensome dead-enders living in Katrina trailers, to have themselves sterilized. I am not making this up. From Think Progess:
Louisiana State Rep. John LaBruzzo (R) recently stirred controversy by advocating a form of eugenics to decrease the number of poor. “I realized that all these people were in Louisiana’s care and what a massive financial responsibility that is to the state,” he said. “I said, ‘I wonder if it might be a good idea to pay some of these people to get sterilized.’” His plan would also give tax incentives to the rich to encourage procreation. . . .The other story comes from the New York Times, which reports that Harvard econ professor Roland Fry, who gained fame as Bloomberg's chief equality officer (get it?) in charge of devising programs to pay children for higher test scores, is resigning to head up a multi-million dollar research lab funded by Eli Broad, oligarch and mega-social entrepeneur, to study the most cost-effective and "scientifically-based" way to transform learning for the poor into a system of rewards based on the production of test scores. Children whose souls are thus purchased will willingly participate in their own intellectual sterilization, while learning the larger lesson about how the world of work will operate for them.
. . . .But this week, LaBruzzo explicitly ruled out more common sense solutions. “LaBruzzo said other, mainstream strategies for attacking poverty, such as education reforms and programs informing people about family planning issues, have repeatedly failed to solve the problem,” the Times-Picayune reported.
LaBruzzo seems to be dead serious about implementing the plan. He “gathering statistics” now and is planning to introduce legislation “if he finds that the number of people on welfare has increased” over the past decades.
All in the name of helping the poor, which, of course, was the primary rationalization exactly a hundred years ago during the first flowering of a eugenics craze that everyone was wild about, from the pulpit to main street to the university to the state legislatures. As Faulkner said, history is not dead; it is not even past.