August 31, 2009

"He who controls the past, controls the future"

From today's Wall Street Journal:
Donor's Views on Race Spark Outcry Over Parkland:
Activists Criticize California Town for Accepting Gift's Terms That Plot Be Named for Scientist Who Backed Eugenics Movement

By BOBBY WHITE

AUBURN, Calif. -- This town in the Sierra Nevada foothills accepted the gift of a 28-acre plot from the estate of Nobel laureate William B. Shockley in March. The mostly forested land was to become a community park named after the famous physicist -- co-inventor of the transistor -- and his late wife.

Then the local newspaper pointed out that Mr. Shockley, who died in 1989, was a proponent of eugenics, a widely discredited movement most prominent in the 1920s and '30s that held that intelligence was racially linked -- and that called for sterilizing some Americans who were deemed socially and intellectually unfit.

Community activists and civil-rights organizations are criticizing Auburn's leaders for accepting the gift's terms that the park carry the Shockley name, and they are demanding that the town keep Mr. Shockley's name off the park or give the land back. "I cannot fathom how officials in Auburn would have the gall to name an area park after a white supremacist and think that would be readily accepted by residents," said Barry Broad, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Sacramento.

Officials in Auburn, a town of about 13,000 that is more than 90% white, said they didn't know about Mr. Shockley's eugenics ties at the time of the gift -- and don't support them -- but still plan to go ahead with the park.

The controversy in Auburn offers a window into a debate occurring in communities across the country about whether to strip the names of prominent historical figures from parks, schools and other institutions because of those people's views on race during earlier eras. ...

Eugenics has become a particular strike against once-respected historical figures in California. Last year, community groups persuaded lawmakers to strip the name of Charles M. Goethe, a prominent Sacramento-area banker in the early 1900s and founder of the Eugenics Society of Northern California, from a large Sacramento County park; it is now River Bend Park. In 2007, Sacramento's school board struck Mr. Goethe's name from a middle school and renamed it after Rosa Parks.

A reader writes:
Truly, to show how far we have come as a society and to turn our backs on racism and backward thinking, in general, we should turn our collective back on the transistor itself, tainted as it is with the stench of racism and eugenics. This would include, of course, the computer and all electronics which sprung from the transistor.

Sure, turning the clock back on progress by 60-plus years would cause some inconveniences, but it would be more than worth it to show how good and virtuous we are. For consistency's sake we must follow our logic to this conclusion.

Indeed.

And what about all the inventions of the founder of eugenics, Francis Galton, such as the weather map, the classification system that makes fingerprints usable in fighting crime, and the silent dog whistle?

Moreover, what about the entire field of statistics, which owes so much to flagrant eugenicists such as Galton, Karl Pearson, and Ronald A. Fischer? They invented much of modern statistics precisely to analyze differences among human beings. (And, I'm told, some bad people still use statistics for exactly those purposes). Therefore, statistics are inextricably bound up with evil and must be banned.

And when it comes to parks, this should be only the start! What about the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands of North Dakota? TR was an outspoken eugenicist.

In fact, the National Park system, which PBS documentarian Ken Burns calls "America's Best Idea," was largely the work of eugenicists (e.g., Madison Grant was the prime impetus for saving the redwoods). Same for the National Forest system, which was started by eugenicist Gifford Pinchot. If we simply clear-cut all the National Parks and National Forests, then nobody would be tempted to ever again visit these sites with their evil historical associations.

While we're at it, let's revoke Winston Churchill's honorary American citizenship. He was another eugenicist.

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

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey - I kinda like this idea - we'd have to do away with Roe -v- Wade and Planned Parenthood.

BOO-YAH!!!

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, we've always been at war with Eastasia.

albertosaurus said...

Shockley reminded me of my ex-father-in-law -- a real prickly bastard. I spent an afternoon with him in the early seventies. I was young and thought I might be able to organize some resources to help him mount a campaigne. I knew how to set up and run organizations.

It soon became clear that he was not interested in actually having some lasting effect. He just wanted to stir up trouble, get people mad, and make a nuisance of himself. By that time in his life he seemed to think he had already made his contribution, as indeed he had, so now he was going to tweek the noses of polite society. For an old man he acted a lot like a naughty boy.

Shockley was a dilettante on social issues not a serious person at all. He would no doubt be delighted that even from his grave he can still annoy those whom for whom he had so much contempt while alive.

dearieme said...

There is a better reason to think that Shockley was a very naughty boy:-
"The first patent[1] for the field-effect transistor principle was filed in Canada by Austrian-Hungarian physicist Julius Edgar Lilienfeld on 22 October 1925,....
On 17 November 1947 John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, at AT&T Bell Labs, observed that when electrical contacts were applied to a crystal of germanium, the output power was larger than the input. William Shockley saw the potential in this and worked over the next few months greatly expanding the knowledge of semiconductors ... According to physicist/historian Robert Arns, legal papers from the Bell Labs patent show that William Shockley and Gerald Pearson had built operational versions from Lilienfeld's patents, yet they never referenced this work in any of their later research papers or historical articles.[3]"
from Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

I guess we need to change the name of Washington, DC since George owned slaves.

Anthony said...

Eugenics holds that intelligence is racially linked? According to my dictionary definition, it does not mean this.

Trilling said...

"There is a better reason to think that Shockley was a very naughty boy..."

Sigh...You always hear stories like this and think it's just urban legend, but learning more about the history of science and engineering you find that more than a few cases of breakthroughs and discoveries involved some quiet nerd slaving away doing all the work until some ruthless opportunistic jerk manages to swoop in and take all the credit. Not to say that Shockley or any others weren't brilliant. But still.

Anonymous said...

"I guess we need to change the name of Washington, DC since George owned slaves."

How about Barrytown? Remember Marion Barry? Or, better yet, Barryton.

njartist said...

I wonder if these same people would campaign against abortion?...Nah

Anonymous said...

"eugenics, a widely discredited movement most prominent in the 1920s and '30s that held that intelligence was racially linked"

The idea that IQ is racially linked has been discredited? When did that happen? Quick, someone tell Steve Sailer! That oughta shut him down...

daveg said...

1925 to 1947 is a huge gap. It is doubtful that the 1925 document was very useful, as can be seen by the lack of use for 27 years.

Also, the patent was long expired.

The idea of switches, tubes and transistors were all well known in at least some conceptual form, for many years.

However, getting a system including, materials and implementation methods, is what makes someone "the inventor."

The FET was inferior to the standard transistor in many ways and that is why it was probably ignored until someone came up with a system for performing the function in a useful manner.

The big advantage to a FET is low power and cost. Bi-polar was the king of speed for well into the 90's, as a matter of fact.

anony-mouse said...

I don't know about controlling the past or the future, but I wouldn't mind controlling old cliches.

Richard Hoste said...

Allow me to point to my review of a book on the great and honorable life of Shockley.

Anonymous said...

Are we allowed to castigate Margaret Sanger as well, or is she safe since she's Billary's idol...?

This is all so confusing; is it four fingers or five? The shock treatments must be working...

Anonymous said...

"eugenics, a widely discredited movement most prominent in the 1920s and '30s that held that intelligence was racially linked..."

WTF? It's astounding. That is not what eugenics means. Eugenicists understood that obvious (that intelligence distributions vary among racial groups), but eugenics per se has nothing to do with race, but selecting favorable characteristics for breeding.

""I cannot fathom how officials in Auburn would have the gall to name an area park after a white supremacist and think that would be readily accepted by residents," said Barry Broad, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Sacramento."

Could KMac have scripted this any better? Stereotypes really are true.

BTW Steve, have you referenced this recent article by Jason Richwine?

http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=YjQ4N2EyMTQ4NzZjZmNlOWQwN2RiNTZjMWZiZDY4YzQ

Melykin said...

Speaking of national parks, I was driving through Jasper National Park in Alberta yesterday, and I happened to see a black couple, and was reminded of a previous post on Steve's blog. The black couple were getting out of their car and were about to walk across the road towards a lake. They were very black--looked like they had come directly from Africa (rather than being African American who are usually rather less dark black). When I saw them it made me realize how unusual it is to see a black person in a wilderness park. Mind you, maybe they were just driving through, and not camping. I was just driving through myself, after visiting my son in Edmonton, but I did stop once to take pics of some big-horn sheep that wondered onto the road.

Most international visitors seem to be white people from America or Europeans. I saw a pickup truck with New York plates when I was buying gas in the town of Jasper, and heard lots of people speaking in various European languages. I also noticed a few people from Japan. The Japanese seem to like visiting Jasper and Banff--also Prince Edward Island.

Sorry for the off topic post.

Svigor said...

While we're at it, let's revoke Winston Churchill's honorary American citizenship. He was another eugenicist.

Those eugenicists and racists had many offspring, who no doubt multiplied as offspring tend to do...

...all tainted by the legacy of eugenics and racism...

Anonymous said...

You are right to point out the founders of stats. Would they be allowed a park now though? I'd guess not.

The transistor was the key invention of the 20th century. Shockley did alot for people of every race for helping bring it to fruition.

That said, he was a bit of a coot (right or wrong) and that will not do apparently.

Svigor said...

How about Barrytown? Remember Marion Barry? Or, better yet, Barryton.

You dinosaur! Get with the times.

MarionBarry.com

Juan Jamal Arafat said...

Isn't the converse also true, "he who controls the future, controls the past". As evidenced by the fact that the past is now being completely re-written to accomodate PC thinking.

Chief Seattle said...

Don't laugh. King County, which includes Seattle and surroundings (named for Franklin Pierce's VP) was renamed a few years ago to Martin Luther King County. Now we've got a black and white caricature of the civil rights leader, in a bleak style that would make the Obey Giant poster guy proud, staring down from prominent places in buses and public buildings. All this in a county that's 7% black, just to prove how righteous we are.

Eratosthenes said...

Urban Lit: Blowin' up & blazin' off bookshelves
By Claudia Pinto • THE TENNESSEAN
August 31, 2009
tennessean.com

Pamela Xavier's drug-dealing baby-daddy dumped her for another woman and left her with a heap of bills, no food in the refrigerator and an eviction notice.

Out of desperation, Xavier became a call-girl. Eventually, the feisty survivor persevered to launch a profitable escort service, fencing operation and drug cartel.

Xavier is a fictional character in Vicki Stringer's novel Let That Be the Reason (Atria, $15). But Rasheed El'Shabazz of Nashville says he knows plenty of people facing similar struggles in real life, and that's why he loves Stringer's book and others like it, which are part of a wildly popular and sometimes controversial genre called urban literature...

Anonymous said...

"I guess we need to change the name of Washington, DC since George owned slaves."

No, just re-dedicate Washington, DC to Booker T. Washington.

Anonymous said...

'Eugenics holds that intelligence is racially linked? According to my dictionary definition, it does not mean this.'

Just returned from Singapore...now has to be the most impressively run city in the world. A very smart place. There , smart people are encouraged to have children...the opposite to what is happening in western countries.

Anonymous said...

-They were very black--looked like they had come directly from Africa (rather than being African American who are usually rather less dark black).-

Probably African. American blacks don't like the woods.

OneSTDV said...

"Therefore, statistics are inextricably bound up with evil and must be banned."

You might (or might not be) shocked that I've actually heard people say this. I once simply pointed out that blacks commit more crimes and someone claimed the statistics (the numbers themselves) were racist.

OneSTDV said...

Oh and didn't Shockley want to sterilize a lot of white people too? It's not his fault that blacks are overrepresented in the left half of the Bell curve.

Anthony said...

From the article:

"The American Civil Liberties Union helped organize a letter-writing campaign to inform local business leaders about Mr. Shockley's statements on race and eugenics."

Not surprising.

Toadal said...

Woodrow Wilson, 28th US President and creator of the League of Nations and co-designer of World War I 'Treaty of Versailles' maintained that black political participation during Reconstruction constituted "an extraordinary carnival of public crime.

His "History of the American People" explained the Ku Klux Klan of the late 1860s as the natural outgrowth of Reconstruction, a lawless reaction to a lawless period. Wilson noted that the Klan "began to attempt by intimidation what they were not allowed to attempt by the ballot or by any ordered course of public action."

Since his League of Nations gave birth to our United Nations (U.N.), we must cleanse Wilson's thoughtcrime and deedcrime through purging both him and the U.N. from our collective memories.

Yes, President Obama will free us from Woodrow Wilson and Charlie Chaplin ... and un-nazied the world, forever.

Toadal said...

My research indicates another American hero has fallen. Nikola Tesla the genius who gave us alternating current and polyphase electrical distribution was also a proponent of eugenics! In a 1937 interview, he stated:
... man's new sense of pity began to interfere with the ruthless workings of nature. The only method compatible with our notions of civilization and the race is to prevent the breeding of the unfit by sterilization and the deliberate guidance of the mating instinct ....

Our Ministry of History should scrap the name of Tesla Motors and rename its Model S, the 'Obamamobile'.

Anthony said...

Shockley is quoted in the article as saying: "The major cause of the American Negro's intellectual and social deficits is hereditary and racially genetic in origin and thus not remediable to a major degree by practical improvements in environment."

I am glad he has been refuted by recent history. Now, let's turn to the most recent SAT scores as reported in the same newspaper, and forget about this evil man:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125121641858657345.html

jack strocchi said...

If we are going to airbrush all the persons connected with eugenics out of our history then we aren't going to have all that many people to talk about, at least from the first half of the 20th C. Wikipedia:

The modern field and term were first formulated by Sir Francis Galton in 1883, drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin. At its peak of popularity eugenics was supported by prominent people, including Margaret Sanger, Marie Stopes, H. G. Wells, Woodrow Wilson, Prescott Bush, Theodore Roosevelt, Emile Zola, George Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes, John Harvey Kellogg, Winston Churchill, Linus Pauling and Sidney Webb.

Many eugenicists were leaders of progressive thought, including the poster-boy of all progressive intellectuals: Darwin. The theory of evolution by descent through modification of heritable traits is the basis of eugenics. Exactly how are we going to discuss evolutionary theory if Darwin's name is expunged from the historical record?

Political correctness is not only worse than I imagined. It is getting worse than I can conceive.

David said...

> "I cannot fathom how officials in Auburn would have the gall to name an area park after a white supremacist and think that would be readily accepted by residents," said Barry Broad, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Sacramento. <

I wonder how many residents complained before Barry started laying on. Kevin MacDonald, call your office.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I've read you for years but this is the first time I've commented - I recently found out that the architect of the Canadian single payer health care system was a prominent Eugenecist. "Tommy" Douglas, who was voted "Greatest Canadian" of all time in a CBC national contest in 2004, wrote his master's thesis, "The Problems of the Subnormal Family" on Eugenics. He advocated sterilizing mentally and physically disabled Canadians, and sending them to camps. Talk about death panels and national health care!

Lucius Vorenus said...

For the record, our problem is not that stupid people are having too many babies, but rather that smart people are having too few babies.

A civilization can accomodate legions of stupid people, but it will perish and disappear if there are too few smart people.

Had e.g. Linus Pauling wanted the world to be a better place, then he shouldn't have embraced the nihilism which is decimating the ranks of the world's elite thinkers.

Svigor said...

WTF? It's astounding. That is not what eugenics means. Eugenicists understood that obvious (that intelligence distributions vary among racial groups), but eugenics per se has nothing to do with race, but selecting favorable characteristics for breeding.

Yes, but since W?W? is all that means anything to leftists, they rewrite history to line up the way they want. And the way they want most stories to line up is as morality plays: eugenics has "disparate impact" written all over it, which makes it racist, which is what eugenicists were all about, and they're goin' down baby!

jimbo said...

"No, just re-dedicate Washington, DC to Booker T. Washington."

That Uncle Tom? Hell, no.

Maybe "Harold Washington, D.C."?

"Washington D.C. Carver?"

Anonymous said...

Just returned from Singapore...now has to be the most impressively run city in the world. A very smart place. There , smart people are encouraged to have children...the opposite to what is happening in western countries.

I did notice an eyebrow raising 5 point increase in mean IQ for Singapore when comparing the statistics cited in 2002's IQ and the Wealth of Nations and 2006's IQ and Global Inequality, tying them with Hong Kong for tops in the world. It's certainly a strictly run place though.

Dutch Boy said...

Eugenics is not a racially-based theory at all. The eugenicists were quite interested in limiting the reproduction of white ethnic groups they disliked regardless of "IQ"(e.g.,Catholics and Jews). This fact should suggest the real genesis of eugenics: WASP angst at being out-reproduced by more fertile ethnics and non-whites. The joke is on them - all their aborting and contracepting have decimated their own ranks (which might be just as well - Mr.Strocchi's list of prominent eugenicists is a veritable rogues'gallery!).

silly girl said...

My neighbor is an Electrical Engineer Ph.D. and he has nine kids.

Does that make him a eugenicist?

Acilius said...

Forgive an off-topic comment, but I'm surprised you haven't yet posted about this study and the the headline at Science Daily, "No Such Thing as Ethnic Groups, Genetically Speaking, Researchers Say":

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090831212951.htm

Anthony said...

@Lucius,

Do you mean Pauling's atheism? If you are equating atheism with nihilism, can you say what you mean by nihilism? Alternately, can you say a little more about Pauling's beliefs and why they in particular equated to nihilism?

Svigor said...

A civilization can accomodate legions of stupid people, but it will perish and disappear if there are too few smart people.

Nah, you need a decent mean IQ as well. Too many stupids make advanced society impossible (this is sub-Saharan Africa's problem), though IQ is probably a proxy in many ways.

Anonymous said...

ANON #1: Just returned from Singapore...now has to be the most impressively run city in the world. A very smart place. There , smart people are encouraged to have children...the opposite to what is happening in western countries.

ANON #2: I did notice an eyebrow raising 5 point increase in mean IQ for Singapore when comparing the statistics cited in 2002's IQ and the Wealth of Nations and 2006's IQ and Global Inequality, tying them with Hong Kong for tops in the world. It's certainly a strictly run place though.


List of countries and territories by fertility rate
en.wikipedia.org

Singapore, UN, 2000-2005: 1.35
Singapore, UN, 2005-2010: 1.26, #186 of 195
Singapore, CIA, 2000: 1.16
Singapore, CIA, 2008: 1.08 , #221 of 223

Hong Kong, UN, 2000-2005: 0.94
Hong Kong, UN, 2005-2010: 0.97, #194 of 195
Hong Kong, CIA, 2000: 1.27
Hong Kong, CIA, 2008: 1.00, #222 of 223


Singapore and Hong Kong are already extinct.

They are akin to archaeological zoos - or amusement parks - inhabited by the living dead.

Anonymous said...

LV - For the record, our problem is not that stupid people are having too many babies, but rather that smart people are having too few babies.

True, but it might be easier to formulate public policy which discouraged the below average from breeding as often - rather than one which boosted the birthrate amongst the above average.

FB said...

"I once simply pointed out that blacks commit more crimes and someone claimed the statistics (the numbers themselves) were racist."

In the documentary, "A Conversation About Race," one of the respondents says that computers are racist because they are too difficult to use.

Anonymous said...

I just watched Mike Judge's movie "Idiocracy" the other night, and wondered what's more desirable: a society with a sound, humane eugenics policy or the worst of all possible worlds: an out-of-control defacto reverse eugenics policy.

S. Smith

Anonymous said...

I dunno if Steve would consider that sciencedaily.com press release worth a response (the working url is http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090831212951.htm )

To me, such studies are uninteresting because if you're trying to study race, you should look for the populations in which a casual observer does tend to notice a racial difference, and ask yourself if he is correct to do so. If a normal smart person were to ask himself, "hypothesizing that racial differences really are significant, where would I expect to find the MOST significant racial differences?" I think the very last thing he would consider is to dive into the big mixing bowl of Central Asia and compare a village of Uzbekhs to a village of Afghans - which, oddly enough, seems to be just what the authors of this study did.

Felix said...

1. I’d agree with Lucius Vorenus that “our problem is not that stupid people are having too many babies, but rather that smart people are having too few babies”.

Which takes me to Anonymous’ paean, “Singapore ... a very smart place. There, smart people are encouraged to have children ... the opposite to what is happening in western countries”.

But such utopias don’t work. True, the Singapore Government is trying to get smart young Chinese to have kids but it’s not happening.


2. And, apropos of the attack on Shockley, I’m reminded of a piece by a fundamentalist asserting that the sun goes round the earth (sic).

Much of his argument was about the low morals of types like Galileo, Kepler, and Newton.

David said...

>Pauling's beliefs and why they in particular equated to nihilism?<

Pauling was not a papist. Ergo, nihilist. I hear Darwin was a heathen, too, until his dramatic death bed confession as reported in St. Peter's Weekly Journal and Epistle by Sister Mary Ignatius of Ellicot City, Maryland. PRAISE THE LORD!

David said...

>A civilization can accomodate legions of stupid people<

Not really.

Name one militarily successful civilization heretofore that did not eventually fall under the weight of its stupids.

Mencken had a theory that the Black Death (er, the Plague) was a necessary condition of the Renaissance.

Lucius Vorenus said...

but it might be easier to formulate public policy which discouraged the below average from breeding as often - rather than one which boosted the birthrate amongst the above average

So your solution is to impose your own nihilism upon the lesser races?

Have you thought about why that might be?

I.e. why it is that nihilism demands nihilism?

Truth said...

"I just watched Mike Judge's movie "Idiocracy" the other night, and wondered what's more desirable: a society with a sound, humane eugenics policy or the worst of all possible worlds: an out-of-control defacto reverse eugenics policy."

That's funny, I watched King Kong last night, and I wondered what's more desirable, a world where nature's most intelligent beasts are locked up in cages, or having a rampaging 75 foot gorilla swatting bi-planes out of the air!?

"In the documentary, "A Conversation About Race," one of the respondents says that computers are racist because they are too difficult to use...."

I you think that's ridiculous, I once visited a website where a small majority of the posters believed that people some years ago looked over their shoulders and turned into pillars of salt! Oh wait a minute, it was this one.

Marc B said...

I admire Shockley precisely for his ability to agitate those I find so annoyingly sanctimonious yet not intellectually curious enough to rigorously investigate whether his theories are valid.

"Are we allowed to castigate Margaret Sanger as well, or is she safe since she's Billary's idol...?"

Margaret Sanger gets a pass. She was most recently lionized by adoring contributor to Bob Edwards Weekend, Dan Gediman. Surprisingly, there was no mention her being the "brutal gardener", eradicating the human weeds, or that blacks have abortions at 3x the rate of whites.

Felix said...

OK, I’ll take David’s bait.

First, note his use of the insulting word “Papist”. Our David is not one for a civilized discussion of differing views.

And nor does he have a regard for mere facts. He tells us that that the Papists (“Sister Mary Ignatius”) invented the tale that the heathen Darwin had a dramatic death bed conversion.

Actually, this originated with the protestant “temperance and revival evangelist Lady Elizabeth Hope” (if David is interested, there’s a good discussion at http://www.darwin-legend.org/html/Charles-Darwin-Three-Minilegends.htm).

David said...

>He tells us that that the Papists ("Sister Mary Ignatius") invented the tale that the heathen Darwin had a dramatic death bed conversion.<

Factually incorrect. I said it was reported, not invented. And this was a tongue-in-cheek fictional example.

Is contraception nihilist? There is plenty of potential in condom-branding if so. We could get rich and donate the loot to overseas orphanages.