FLASHBACK TO PROGRESSIVISM’S SALAD DAYS: Eugenics, “An Elite Faith:”
Indeed, while elites converted en masse to eugenics, the one large constituency that opposed them at every turn was the Catholic Church, which countered that sterilization violated natural law. Cohen takes this opposition for granted, never exploring the meaning or roots of natural law and why it drove the church to quash sterilization in states such as Louisiana and New Jersey. Rather than confront sterilization on moral or philosophical grounds, Cohen bases his opposition on scientific grounds: Carrie Buck had a sixth grade education, sterilization alone couldn’t eliminate “feeblemindedness,” Jews, it turns out, are pretty smart (they just didn’t know English when the eugenicists gave them IQ tests). It is convenient that eugenics makes for crappy science, but what if it had checked out? Would that make it any more moral?
Read the whole thing.
Related: Margaret Sanger: A Dark Past.