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Of Course Bruce Chapman Is Right

Former editor of Seattle Weekly Knute Berger saw the merit in Bruce Chapman's recent blog post, Thank You, Dr. Watson, though, as he put it,

I don't agree with Chapman often, but he's absolutely right that such thinking continues in scientific (and I would add corporate) circles. Despite our collective horror about the Holocaust -- the extreme Nazi expression of eugenics -- there is a general unwillingness to own up to the sorry legacy of eugenics in America and Europe, where hundreds of thousands of people were forcibly sterilized, lobotomized, and institutionalized to "sanitize" society of the poor, disabled, gay, mentally ill, etc. A general sense of amnesia or an attitude that nothing we did was as bad as what Hitler did seems to pervade.

The states and provinces of the Pacific Northwest were early adopters of eugenics laws, among them Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alberta. Today, technological advances in things like cloning, genetic engineering, and sterilization offer a whole new playground for neo-eugenicists. This playground is more dangerous to the extent that people refuse to take the legacy of eugenics seriously. Chapman is right: Eugenics is not just yesterday's bad.

Berger seems to be as surprised as we are that he agrees with Chapman.