I handed my Crazifornia manuscript over to John Seiler, editor of CalWatchdog, today for editing. Just an hour before giving him the thumb drive with three years of my work on it, I learned of another insane California story that should be in the book. Such is the perilous nature of writing current event books about something as dynamic and ridiculous as California.
The new revelation came from this CNN story on California’s leadership in the early 20th century Eugenics movement. Eugenicists got laws passed that allowed – and even forced – the sterilization of “degenerates” and the “feeble-minded” in the name of race betterment. Ironically, the sort of folks California subjected to involuntary sterilizations back then would be deluged with state benefits today.
The CNN story quotes a California sterilization survivor who said he was snipped simply because his parents were alcoholics. That’s typical of the callous disregard exhibited by California’s Eugenics programs. Here’s more, from an article in the L.A. Times:
The state director of hospitals in the early 1920s, Dr. Frederick Hatch, sent dozens of “eugenics field workers” into poor neighborhoods, looking for sterilization candidates. One historian wrote of this program: “Individuals were labeled ‘degenerate’ or ‘feeble-minded’ based on dirty clothing or an unkempt appearance. Children were labeled ‘imbecile’ based on a glance from across the room.”
The storied publisher of the L.A. Times, Harry Chandler, was one of the foremost advocates of the state’s mandatory sterilization campaign. He saw to it that the Times ran a Sunday column, “Social Eugenics,” from 1935 to 1941. The column argued for stronger sterilization laws and railed about how society’s misfits – defined by the perceptions of the Progressive elite of the day – should not be allowed to procreate.
Across America, 27 states legalized sterilization in the name of eugenics, but California was far away the leader in this despicable practice, sterilizing about one-third of the national total of individuals sterilized in the name of betterment of the race.
It’s little wonder then, that as Hitler looked for expertise in Eugenics, he turned to California. To realize Hitler’s vision of a perfect Aryan race, the Nazis lifted California’s sterilization law, translated it into German and proceeded to deprive 2 million Germans of their ability to have children. The Times’ Eugenics column covered Hitler’s efforts in 1935 under the headline “Why Hitler Says: ‘Sterilize the Unfit!’” stating in part, “Here, perhaps, is an aspect of the new Germany that America, with the rest of the world, can little afford to criticise [sic].”
Way to go, California!
Have we learned from our mistakes? No. Now California is leading the world in blowing money and crushing its economy to stop global warming, and is still advocating radical social programs – expanding abortions as other states cut back, pushing the fight for a fundamental redefinition of marriage, and making it easier for teenage girls to have kids out of wedlock … just 80 years ago after the state would have strapped down a woman who had children out of wedlock and sterilized her!