The Specter of Eugenics in the Age of Covid
By Jefferey Jaxen
In 1977 at a building dedication bearing his name, former vice president Hubert Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
During the past year of our collective, Covid-slanted world, Humphrey’s observations would be seen as radical and unnecessary. Or perhaps even the target of a Big Tech social media censorship campaign. Current events are beginning to rhyme with past stanzas from dark epic poems one would hope were never again written or recited by conscious humanity.
It was the late 19th century and oligarchs in both America and Europe began to aggressively centralize their wealth. To justify their rule of society a reason was needed, one that appeared to be rooted in sound scientific principle at the time. Having all the hallmarks of a religious cult directed by pseudoscience, the eugenics movement landed on the shores of America into the waiting arms of The Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the malleable minds of the influential American intelligentsia of the time.
Running parallel to the eugenic ideology’s enchantment of America’s medical and science communities, a separate power-play was initiated. The Flexner brothers, along with untold millions from both the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundation, set out to monopolize medicine steering it aggressively away from all natural therapies and holistic cures towards a ‘cut, poison, burn and inject’ future forevermore. A paradigm based upon germ theory in which the individual and their personal sovereignty was eliminated from the equation, along with the law of terrain.
With eugenics humming, a Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was established in 1910 with the aims of registering the genetic information and lineage of every American. In 1922, assistant director of the ERO, Harry Laughlin, drafted the Model Eugenical Sterilization Law to serve as the model for states.
Historian Alex Wellerstein writes, “A state law derived from his model was passed by the state of Virginia in 1924, and found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the highly flawed case of Buck v. Bell in 1927. The ruling greatly increased the passing of sterilization laws and the use of eugenic sterilization through the period of the second World War. State sterilization programs resulted in the sterilization of over 64,000 mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients by the time they went into general disuse in the mid-1960s.”
Much like the late 19th century, the Covid response has provided a golden opportunity for the vertical integration of power. Decimating economies across the world, continued rolling lockdowns have strangled main street making a select few in key positions extremely wealthy and powerful. The wholesale vertical integration of society is happening before our eyes as local economies are throttled seeing both business and life itself thrust into a tightly controlled cyberspace.
The medical community has bit down hard on the Covid response with the hysteria being used to fuel a resurgence of eugenic-like behavior –selection by government edicts, executed by the medical establishment, on which lives are more important. Actions that, only a year prior, would have been socially repulsive and legally prosecutable, are now making regular headlines floated as ‘reasonable’ in a society where the humanity of many has been sidelined by the idea of an invisible viral enemy.
During the early eugenics movement, individuals were called ‘feeble-minded’ and ‘defectives.’ Those were some of the nebulous and pseudoscientific terms used to label those with a range of challenges from neurological issues and addictions to low IQ scores became just some of a litany of ‘genetic defects’ deemed worthy the state-sponsored sterilization of people against their will. The wholesale elimination of the ‘defectives’ by government was also discussed. Fortunately, as radically inhuman as the political and legal sentiment of the time became, it never reached such obscene excesses as extermination.
In a Covid-frenzied world, profound shifts in the Overton Window are being tolerated. Political will is being easily co-oped by worse-case-scenario computer modeling and doomsday virus predictions by questionable players.
The Guardian recently reported people with learning difficulties had been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic. Mencap, the U.K.’s leading charity for individuals with learning disabilities, said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19. Public Health England claims that younger people with learning difficulties aged 18 to 34 are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than others the same age.
Another disturbing data point saw scientific aides to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson openly express views on eugenics and racial intelligence. Albeit slammed by leading scientists in February 2020 as being “confused” and “morally repugnant, the story surfaced at a time when many were mourning the loss of loved ones from government mismanagement of care homes.
Meanwhile in August, NHS managers told care homes to put blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders on all of their care home residents during the peak of the Covid crisis, according to a report detailed in the Daily Mail.
In their November interim report, The Care Quality Commission’s independent investigationfound the blanket and inappropriate use of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders “could have had an impact, including potentially avoidable death, on older people and disabled people living in care homes, including those with physical and sensory impairments, people with a learning disability or cognitive impairments such as dementia.”
An Amnesty International report in October, which called for a full public inquiry, found inappropriate or unlawful use of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders by GPs, clinical commissioning groups, hospitals, and care homes in the U.K.
In the U.S., Covid’s urgency took on a different flavor with equally devastating results to our society’s vulnerable. Having danced around the issue for nearly a year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his health lead Howard Zucker have been forced to come clean about omitting the true death toll stemming from their now infamous March 25, 2020, order. Nursing homes were devastated as civid-positive patients were directed by government into understaffed nursing homes. Rather than correct the error, the order was allowed to continue for nearly two months through the height of New York’s “first wave,” before the order was rescinded.
Calls for ‘Focused Protection’ of the high-risk by global health experts went unheeded. Cuomo’s nursing home death sentence, what should have been a one-off mistake, was repeated in several states with darkly predictable outcomes.
Even the corridors of the White House aren’t exempt from this renewed misanthropic mission creep. Doctor Ezekiel Emanuel, hired by Biden’s coronavirus task force, faced backlash for an article he wrote in the Atlantic, making “An argument that society and families—and you—will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly,” at no later than 75 [Joe Biden is 77]. Emanuel writes, “Living too long is also a loss…It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world…”
The Flexner Report of old has also witnessed a make-over, supplanted by its modern-day equivalent of Big Tech social media corporations. Longtime monied operations of old to influence the medical trajectory of universities have been replaced by immediate censorship, directed by non-governmental organizations and health agencies connected at the hip with pharmaceutical interests.
In an effort to quash competing thoughts in the online marketplace of ideas, Big Tech has activated their ‘warp speed’ version of algorithmic suppression to consolidate the conversation and thus the greater medical consciousness. Medical truths, open debate and investigative discovery by individuals or organizations—from distinguished doctors to everyday citizens—have been silenced for speaking certain inconvenient truths which cast public health initiatives and individual pharmaceutical products in an often well-deserved bad light.
Where we are along the sordid trajectory of our Covid response only history will tell. Keeping these measures in place has caused irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed. Despite our growing knowledge, the most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity has not been followed.
The most vulnerable. The sick. People with disabilities. The young and the elderly. All have been disproportionally saddled with an unfair share of harm from the government’s myopic Covid response. Which direction societies decide upon next will resonate into our future in profound ways.