A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Just When I Thought the State Couldn’t Get Anymore Depraved

I’ve ran across enough stories demonstrating the depravity of the state that I could probably write a several volume set on the subject. Sadly as I continue to get older I keep getting reminded that giving power over others to an entity with a “legitimate” monopoly on the initiation of force is the worst idea humans have ever come up with. Very recently I was introduced to North Carolina’s eugenics program:

The Eugenics Board of North Carolina (EBNC) was an agency of the U.S. state of North Carolina created in 1933 after the state legislature authorized the practice of eugenics by state officials four years earlier.

In 1971, an act of the legislature transferred the EBNC to the newly created Department of Human Resources (DHR), and the secretary of that department was given managerial and executive authority over the board. Under a 1973 law, the Eugenics Board was transformed into the Eugenics Commission. Members of the commission were appointed by the governor and included the director of the Division of Social and Rehabilitative Services of the DHR, the director of Health Services, the chief medical officer of a state institution for the feeble-minded or insane, the chief medical officer of the DHR in the area of mental health services, and the state attorney general. In 1974 the legislature transferred to the judicial system the responsibility for any sterilization proceedings against persons suffering from mental illness or mental retardation.

The Eugenics Commission was formally abolished by the legislature in 1977.

The board sterilized about 7,600 people, many of them against their will, between 1929 and 1974, in an attempt to remove mental illness and “social misbehaviour” from the gene pool. Among the victims were 2000 young people, some as young as ten years old.

North Carolina wasn’t the only state to practice eugenics but they were one of the few to continue the practice late after World War II and they had some of the loosest criteria for determining who would be sterilized and who wouldn’t. The justifications for sterilization ranged from mental retardation to simply not getting along with classmates:

People as young as 10 in North Carolina were sterilized for not getting along with schoolmates, being promiscuous or running afoul of local social workers or doctors. The state’s law, which allowed such professionals to refer people to the state Eugenics Board for sterilization, was more open-ended than similar statutes in other states, where people had to be jailed or institutionalized before they could be sterilized.

Just stop and think about this for a minute. Several states enacted laws that allowed them to sterilize people they deemed unfit to breed. Such laws gave some government bureaucrat the authority to make a permanent change to the life of another human being against their consent.

I honestly can’t fathom how such a system was ever considered acceptable by anybody. But programs like this and others that were even worse were implemented not just by some tyrannical dictator in fascist countries but also by states right here.

Many victims of North Carolina’s eugenics programs are currently fighting to get compensation from the state. Compensation from the state is really a slap in the face because the state is just returning money that they first stole from you in the form of taxes. Basically you get to pay yourself for wrongs enacted upon your person by the government. Likewise monetary compensation will never allow the victims of sterilization to have children so ultimately no justice will prevail.

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Written by Christopher Burg

June 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

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