February 6, 2009

Octomom and Oliver Wendell Holmes

From the LA Times on the octuplets mother:
In 1999, she was injured during a riot at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk when she was hit in the back with a desk. She went on temporary disability and was paid nearly $170,000 in disability benefits between 2000 and 2008 for injuries to her back, neck and shoulder, the records show.

What kind of hospital has a riot? Oh, that kind ...

The LA Times doesn't explain, but Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, founded in 1915, is an old-fashioned 162 acre sanitarium for mental patients.

So, Octomom was locked up for being crazy back in 1999 before she had any of her 14 kids.

UPDATE: Readers point out she was more likely employed at the loony bin in 1999 as a psychiatric technician than detained there. Are mental health employees more likely to go round the bend? Are mental diseases infectious? Paging Dr. Cochran!

Is there a policy issue here or are we just dealing with anomalous insanity? Perhaps. I think we're seeing an extreme case of the reaction to pre-War eugenics in action here.

Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. has been relentlessly castigated for decades for opining in the 1927 case Bell v. Buck upholding a forced sterilization that "Three generations of morons were enough." That was a classic Progressive-era busybody view.

In reaction, we've moved very far in the opposite direction. A couple I once knew wanted to have their extremely retarded daughter (non-speaking, non-toilet trained) sterilized so she wouldn't get pregnant if some predator thought that the perfect rape victim would be a woman who couldn't testify in court. The state wouldn't allow it because the ACLU had sued over it.

Octomom appears quite capable of doing it again -- she's only 33 -- but I haven't heard any "respectable" calls for sterilizing her against her will (although plenty of ordinary citizens have called for it in Internet comment sections). It would be just so eugenicy, so Oliver Wendell Holmesy for anybody to even think of doing such a thing.

It's an extreme case, and I don't have an opinion on what the law should be, but it does provide a measure of the zeitgeist.

(For my opinions on eugenics, see here and here.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

29 comments:

bjdouble said...

OT: This is a good Steve topic . . .

The top basketball team, if NBA players played with their hometown team, would be the Carolina team.
The worst would be, of course, Utah.

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-38-129/Your-Local-Team.html

Anonymous said...

"when she was hit in the back with a desk". Almost like Asterix and Obelix. Getting better all the time.

Lloyd G. said...

The state can't sterilize anyone, because reproduction is a basic human right. The state, however, will take your children away from you if it disapproves of your parenting skills.
Seems like it was about 10 years ago that I saw a story on the nooz about a woman who was giving crack-addicted women money (a couple thousand bucks) if they consented to have their tubes tied. Private money from the benefactor. Consent on the part of the recipients. Fewer crack babies. Who could possibly object? It turns out the woman whose idea this was happened to be white and most of the crack heads were black. As I recall, she had to stop because of threats of lawsuits.

Stephanie Carnes said...

The article I read said she was working at the mental hospital during the riot - she wasn't a patient.

ben tillman said...

"Three generations of morons were enough."

It's "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

ironrailsironweights said...

It's much more likely that Octomom worked at the state hospital. She's been described as a former psychiatric worker, and an on-the-job injury would be consistent with her collecting disability compensation.

Peter

Anonymous said...

here is a video interview with her

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20257365,00.html

Mr. Anon said...

According to NBC, she worked at the mental hospital as a counselor. Although the old saying about people becoming shrinks in order to cure themselves comes to mind (she's not a shrink though, just a "counselor" - whatever that means).

"http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29038814/

To judge from her picture, she's also had some bad plastic surgery.

She sounds like a serious head-case - her kids might be better off being raised by wolves.

eh said...

So, Octomom was locked up for being crazy back in 1999 before she had any of her 14 kids.

Was she a patient or was she working there?

Anonymous said...

Steve --- Check the news reports again. It appears she was on the staff of the mental hospital at the time of the riot, not a patient.

RP in TX said...

Hey Steve, the NBC interview said she was an employee of that hospital at the time, not a patient.

Anonymous said...

You couldn't breed dogs the way she breeds babies.

Dutch Boy said...

The whole IVF industry is a horror. Make IVF contracts unenforceable and that will run a lot of them out of business.

Anonymous said...

On a totally glib and shallow level, I must admit I was surprised that Ms. Suleyman came across as reasonably attractive and thoughtful (if deeply misguided) in her interview. I suppose I'd been imagining some wild-eyed cross between Jabba the Hutt and the queen alien from Aliens.

jody said...

i think she worked at the hospital. according to what i read anyway. she was not a patient.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I was surprised that Ms. Suleyman came across as reasonably attractive and thoughtful...

Make-up and cueing by the best in the business. Sufficient to distract most people from the vacant gaze and inert posture. This eater who would otherwise be living under a bridge somewhere must be presented in the best light possible, because we don't want fertile, self-reliant whites like the Palins or the Duggars getting all the attention, do we?

T99 needs to get here and brag on his thesis a bit. We are slouching towards matriarchy, which humans weren't built for.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

I think the lack of interest in sterilization comes from the shift to belief in nurture over nature. The culture doesn't care who has kids as long as Child Protective Services is there to take them away.

Also, what doctor is going to perform a forced sterilization in these days when they're more conscientious about patient rights? Not to mention what the Catholic Church would say. (I was sort of under the impression you were Catholic, Steve, am I misremembering?)

Anonymous said...

Sterilization against her will would be appalling, but since the woman is infertile (hence the fertility treatments), she can't get pregnant again without a doctor's assistance. The state legislature should outlaw putting six embryos in a woman's uterus and perhaps require better screening of patients. Her doctor should be censured by the medical board. Friends and relatives should keep a close eye on the woman and notify Child Protective Services the instant they suspect neglect or abuse of any of the kids. I suspect that CPS has already opened a file on this woman anyway. The state will probably end up raising these kids or subsidizing their medical care and rehabilitation and education since many preemies usually end up with cerebral palsy, blindness or disabilities. There's bound to be at least two or three handicapped kids among the 8, especially since an older sibling has autism.

Anyone who pays a penny to interview her is nuts. Let her sink or swim on her own.

albertosaurus said...

(she's not a shrink though, just a "counselor" - whatever that means).

"Counselor" can mean many things. I for example was a Youth Guidance Counselor. It was my first job out of college. My qualifications were: a psychology degree, I was 6'4" 250 lbs, and finally I was heavyweight intermural judo champ. I presented my judo medal at the job interview to compensate for not having played in the line on the football team like virtually all the other couselors.

The civil service exam included being able to lift enough reps of a barbell (50 I seem to remember).

The senior guys (many of them much bigger than I was) told me about what they called "wall to wall therapy". A couple counselors would take a kid into a room and bounce him off the walls for an hour or two - it left no marks.

I worked in a mental hospital for a short time later while in the army. They had a similar concept of counseling.

When I read that someone was an institutional "counselor" I know just what it means.

michael farris said...

Good example of Steve's lack of credibility, he just can't resist the cheap shot against the LTFW (less than fully white).

anony-mouse said...

Shouldn't the word 'adoption' appear somwhere here?

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

On a totally glib and shallow level, I must admit I was surprised that Ms. Suleyman came across as reasonably attractive..."

She probably was once, before the collagen injections - her lips make here look like she just got smacked in the face.

The body modification seems to be of a piece with the Kinderlust - a sign of some serious mental problems. I bet she's a good candidate for Munchhausen syndrome.

And she'll never be able to afford to support 14 kids - California and the Feds will end up doing that.

The fertility doctor should have his license pulled.

Mark said...

I'm no fan or forced sterilization, but it would be nice if we were as morally appalled at forced wallet extraction as we are at forced sterilization.

Henry Canaday said...

Holmes learned about evolution at his breakfast table as a young man and thought about its implications all his life. He lived in the first century in human history during which average living standards advanced continuously and substantially, at least in a few countries. Some version of the Cochran-Harpending-Clark logic, implying that human beings in some countries had been getting genetically smarter on average, would almost inevitably have suggested itself to him.

By the 1920s, Holmes would know that for the first time in human history, his own society was rich enough to at least possibly reverse one of the reasons for its riches, by practicing toward everyone the kind of charity that Christianity had always taught should be practiced, but which poorer societies could never afford to practice on a broad scale.

Especially as he got older, Holmes apparently became cold and rather dislikeable. But he never wrote a Court decision without serious reasons.

Ed Campion said...

Point of order.

Carrie Buck and her mother, Emma Buck, were feeble-minded by the Stanford-Binet test of IQ, then in its own infancy. Carrie scored a mental age of nine years, Emma of seven years and eleven months. (These figures ranked them technically as "imbeciles" by definitions of the day, hence Holmes's later choice of words. Imbeciles displayed a mental age of six to nine years;idiots performed worse, morons better, to round out the old nomenclature of mental deficiency.)

From a write-up by Little Stevie Gould.

Anonymous said...

the icing on this cake will be when the father turns out to be a relative of the mother.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea of forced sterilization of some small group of people, in order to preserve society from their potential children, is simply stupid. If a society is breeding dysgenically with respect to intelligence, you would need to sterilize millions of people, people who are not crazy octomoms or just plain crazy, or severely retarded or anything - just everybody with an IQ less than 80 or 85 or something.

Sterilizing a few eugenics-horror-stories will have no effect on the gene pool - and sterilizing certain women because they would obviously make poor parents is also pointless and arbitrary unless you do it by the millions. Or are there not really millions of mothers in this country who will do a lot worse by their children than Ms. Suleyman?

none of the above said...

ISTM that almost everyone I hear comment on this, other than MSM types, expresses horror over this lady's choices and the prospects of her luckless kids. It's interesting to ask why MSM types don't seem to be able to note the same things.

Anonymous: Even if you believe outcomes of kids are 100% nurture, you still might want to sterilize people who would otherwise provide a really awful environment for their kids. For example, paying someone to get sterilization surgery when they're a crack or meth addict or a drunk makes sense regardless of whose genes they carry, just on the grounds of decreasing needless human suffering.

none of the above said...

To the extent that eugenics is about offering people more information and choices, it's hard to see it as anything but a win. But add state power, with that creepy implied premise that the state is going to be running a selective breeding program on its people and culling the undesirables, and you've got a ready-made nightmare.

Does anyone have a link to a good summary of the story about the voluntary sterilization program that got sued out of existence? I've heard thirdhand stories about it for years now, but never seen anything solid.