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Ask a Eugenicist

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Editor’s Note

Because of the very positive responses to Marian Van Court’s recent essays on eugenics, we are running a multi-part series called “Ask a Eugenicist.” If you have other questions for Marian, please post them as comments below or email me at [email protected].  

1. Doesn’t the Declaration of Independence state that all men are created equal?

This is an objection that is frequently brought up. The Declaration of Independence reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This means they are equal before the law, that government can’t (or shouldn’t) take away these fundamental rights. The historical record is quite clear that the Founding Fathers meant equal before the law, not that everyone was born equal in intelligence, talent, or athletic ability. Their other writings amply attest to the fact that they did not believe in biological equality – between individuals, or between races. A number of them were slaveholders. In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson rejected the aristocracy based on one’s birth as an artificial one, and spoke of “the natural aristocracy of talent and virtue,” which he felt was our country’s most precious gift. (And isn’t that a lovely turn of phrase to express what he valued most highly?) Furthermore, in spite of the great admiration Americans rightfully feel towards the Founding Fathers, even if they had made the assertion that all people are biologically exactly the same (which they didn’t!), then it could be easily demonstrated that science has subsequently proven it to be false.

2. Will the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect eugenics in America?

It looks like the ACA, popularly called “Obamacare,” will have a significant eugenic effect, although it could be far greater. For example, it covers contraception (except in cases where religious employers ask for an exemption), and it covers abortion except in states which ban abortion. The entire issue of state restrictions on abortion is extremely complicated, but the bottom line is that Pro-Lifers are engaged in massive efforts to block abortion (and often contraception) in any way they can at the state level all across the U.S., and the result of their efforts is severely dysgenic.

Contraception and abortion are vitally important to eugenics. When there are impediments to either – cognitive, financial, or otherwise – most women with intelligence, education, money, and initiative will find a way, whereas many or most women without these qualities will not, reducing the number of people with these positive traits in future generations. Birth control failure on the part of low-IQ women is the main cause of dysgenic fertility, and if all women had easy access to abortion, this would go a long way towards neutralizing the dysgenic effect of birth control failure.

Today, Aid to Families with Dependent Families (AFDC) is the largest component of welfare in America, and it provides a number of benefits, plus a monthly stipend, to unmarried girls and women who become pregnant, and it assists them financially until the child is grown. This program is horribly dysgenic, and it costs taxpayers a fortune. Research shows that the girls who do the worst in high school are the most likely to get pregnant as teenagers, and then rely on welfare, often for life. The extent to which the Affordable Care Act can rectify this situation is not precisely known at this time, but it looks promising.

As most of us have discovered by now, any attempt to delve into the minds of stupid people, crazy people, or (worst of all) stupid-and-crazy people is not an uplifting experience! The Pro-Lifers have absolutely no inkling of all the misery and suffering that their fanaticism + superstition causes. If you ever have the misfortune of encountering some Pro-Lifers, and there is absolutely no chance of escape, and you know that talking to them is hopeless but you just feel like being mean, you might ask them: “Tell me – how do you feel about the fact that God murders “unborn babies”? Yes, that’s right. You see, many conceptions are aborted spontaneously (often women don’t even notice because it happens when their periods come late). And studies have shown that most of these “unborn babies” have genetic defects. Now, since that happens naturally, doesn’t this mean that God is responsible? OK, just tell me this – who else could it be besides God? And if God aborts defective fetuses, shouldn’t we take God’s lead so we can make sure all children are born healthy? Hey – come back here and answer my question!”

3. Is there something inherently bad about having a low IQ?

Yes! The chances for a happy, successful life are considerably reduced because low-IQ people are much more likely to become criminals, chronically dependent on welfare, unemployed, illiterate – in fact, they’re way over-represented in every category of social problems. From the standpoint of our whole society, it’s also bad because these social problems cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually.

The Bell Curve, by Herrnstein and Murray, is a brilliant book. It’s wonderfully well-written, and easy to read. It explains the role of IQ in our society far better than I can here. Anyway, the authors found that when they moved the average IQ of their sample down statistically by just 3 points, from 100 to 97, all social problems were exacerbated: the number of women chronically dependent on welfare increased by 7%; illegitimacy increased by 8%; men interviewed in jail increased by 12%; and the number of permanent high school dropouts increased by nearly 15%.

Everyone should be treated with respect, even retarded people, but compassion requires us to face the fact that they frequently suffer from a variety of problems, and they are a big drain on our economy.



  1. Justin Huber
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Is it possible, through eugenics, that whites can raise our IQ scores so that we are on par or better than Asians and Jews (I think I read somewhere that Jews had high IQ’s)? Was this always the case? Your article seems to imply that whites may have watered down their IQs through bad breeding practices. What about geniuses that come from poor backgrounds? It seems that there have been many geniuses throughout history that came from humble beginnings.

  2. GM4tP
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Dear Marian, thanks very much for offering to answer questions. I would like to ask you about whole-genome embyro evaluation & selection.

    Embryo selection is currently mostly done at a low resolution, which is to say that the embryo is not evaluated across the whole genome, but only on a small subset thereof & the process is generally geared towards avoiding selection of embryos carrying rare genetic diseases. However, high resolution (full genome) testing of blastocysts/embyos has recently become a reality.

    While non-viable or seriously-flawed embryos can be easily identified & discarded, embryos with the potential to be “promoted” for implantation & gestation will have to be assessed against each other, & given ~10 million SNPs, this requires a complex evaluation function. While we may not know anything about some SNPs, this is not in itself problematic, as these can simply be omitted from the evaluation function.

    However, complicating matters, not every evaluator (e.g. prospective parent) will have the same values, & some will wish to weight certain genetic outcomes more or less differently from others.

    I therefore propose that the embryo’s evaluation function be a sum or product of the evaluation for each allele, where the evaluation for the ith allele is (wi * xi), where w is a default value for the ‘goodness’ of that allele provided by a general template, & x is a modification to that value provided by the evaluator based on their individual values & preferences.

    Given this preface, shouldn’t we be working on tools to build such evaluation functions, so that we will be ready when it becomes cost-effective & possible for us to use them? Is such a project underway? I have noticed at that alleles can be assigned a “magnitude”, which could serve as a starting point for evaluation:

    I’m sure this technology raises the prospect of state intervention & regulation, but it should be noted that all the evaluator needs is the genome (the data), the evaluation function, & the choice (the power to choose). The evaluation can be conducted instantly in private, if the evaluation tool is ready, & the evaluator need not disclose the basis for the selection decision(s) with full granularity, if it would be inexpedient to do so.

    Your thoughts on these matters anticipated & appreciated. I send my thanks in advance & remain as ever,

    Your Fan,


  3. Verlis
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    A society practicing eugenics would presumably disvalue low-IQ or otherwise inferior people. Might there be ways to protect inferior people against excessive disesteem?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted July 29, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      You mean, beyond basic rules of etiquette and laws against assault, fraud, and murder?

  4. Verlis
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I mean beyond basic etiquette. A eugenic society would introduce inherent superiority/inferiority as an important criterion of social evaluation. Such a criterion is absent today so its introduction would likely fundamentally alter social relations. In fact, it is the very prospect that social relations may be so fundamentally altered that, in my estimate, fuels so much of the opposition to eugenics today – particularly among people who really should know better. If these fears could be allayed by demonstrating that a eugenic society could operate without those it categorizes as inferior suffering excessive disesteem it would do much to increase the likelihood that widespread, state-sponsored eugenic practices are adopted.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted July 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I despise this kind of hand-wringing. How about the Eugenics Party adopt as one of the planks of its platform that we will treat the genetically least-favored among us with seven times the esteem that liberals accord the white working class, that feminists accord men and mothers, and that gays accord “breeders”?

      • Verlis
        Posted July 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        You can despise it as much as you like, but if eugenics is to make a significant social impact it will need to be publicly funded. That means people’s reservations will have to be addressed. I have ideas of my own about how that might be done but Marian van Court has been at it for much longer so I wanted to take this opportunity to hear her thoughts.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted July 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          Fair enough

  5. Carpenter
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m not exactly sure how to word this succinctly, but I would be interested in Van Court addressing the seemingly vast disparity between her statement that “the higher the level of civilization, the better off the population” with more Nietzschean notions of the Last Man, or Spengler’s belief that ALL civilizations quickly pass into decay and egalitarianism, or perhaps even Fukuyama’s hope that the “highest” level of world civilization can be reached precisely through strident egalitarianism and men who want nothing but safety and comfort.

    Jack Donovan, especially, seems to favor a sort of anti-civilizational project. He’d rather men stick it out as roving gangs of men and smallish tribes for as long as possible…certainly as long as it takes to cleanse them of THIS stage of our civilization. And I think he makes a decent point that men become less manly, less virile as civilization increases. Virile men are less of a life-and-death necessity in highly complex civilizations.

    It may be the case that this process of manly virtues becoming less necessary, and safety and comfort becoming paramount, is exactly the mechanism by which civilizations inevitably do themselves in. Add a slave morality to that, plus certain of our own unique evolutionary quirks, and we’re right back where we left off.

    So, is it really true that the higher the civilization, the better off the population? Or does it inevitably breed some form of egalitarianism or lack of will of the very type we’re dealing with today? Is there a way around the issue?

  6. Esven
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Generally it’s been show that diversity is the key to survival, as it is near impossible to tell what traits could be beneficial to survival. For example sickle cell which causes the body to produce malformed hemoglobin can result in anemia, bouts of pain, and a whole host of other symptoms. However it is a trait that was at one time selected for because it offers a resistance to malaria. Considering the fact that complex interactions like this are possible, where a genetic defect can become a trait which increases genetic fitness. And considering the fact that we as a species while mostly beyond the pressures of natural selection are still susceptible to viral diseases and antibiotic resistant bacteria, would it not be in the best interest for survival into the future to increase genetic diversity. Even if it’s only a slight possibility at least until such a time as we have solutions to the problems caused by antibiotic resistance and viral infection.

    If not, and you suggest we ignore those problems for now under the assumption they will be solved in the future, than we can apply that same logic to eugenics and ignore the problem under the assumption that in the future when the idea of a therapeutic adeno-associated virus is more acceptable people will want to enhance their own genetics. Either doing so directly or more likely by selecting only the most ideal genes withing themselves to be passed on to their children.

    After all there are 23 pairs of chromosomes in each person. This means there are 8388608 unique sperm that every male is capable of producing and the same number of unique eggs possible from every female. I don’t think it’s all that hard to believe that some day people will want to choose which of those eight million possibilities they want to put forward. If that’s the case then on what grounds can a eugenics program stand? In the present it potentially reduces the genetic fitness of the human race against our current biggest threat, disease. In the future when that’s no longer a concern, with the way technology is going and with the way it would have to go to eliminate the risk from viral infection it is unnecessary because people will likely select the best in themselves. Even if only a small percentage of the population chooses to do so so mathematically the trend is still toward more intelligent, capable humans free of genetic defects.

  7. Jaego
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Animal breeders feel that if a pure breed female is inadvertently mated with a mutt, then she is ruined for future breeding – the premise being that the mixed breed embryo will make permanent changes to her system over the course of the pregnancy. Needless to say, classic racism felt/feels the same way. Is there anything to this belief from a scientific point of view?

    • Refocus
      Posted July 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Animal breeders feel that if a pure breed female is inadvertently mated with a mutt, then she is ruined for future breeding – the premise being that the mixed breed embryo will make permanent changes to her system over the course of the pregnancy. Needless to say, classic racism felt/feels the same way. Is there anything to this belief from a scientific point of view?

      I posed this question to Dr. Robert Graham in writing. He answered in writing that the female’s biology was not effected by the gestation of a mongrel. He clarified this by noting that the embryo is an independent organism merely being gestated inside the female. That there was no reverse to the contribution of genes, that there was no means by which the mother could absorb the genes of the offspring.

  8. Posted July 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to see that there’s been so much response to my piece. First, Justin — whites have far, far more genetic heterogeneity than Jews have, and this means that eugenics will produce bigger gains, faster for whites (See Against Good Breeding on this site.) Today the average IQ worldwide of Jews is 110, however, their distribution looks quite different from ours — it’s smushed in from both ends, so they have fewer retardates and fewer geniuses than they would with a normal bell-shaped distribution like ours. They have lots of smart people, but we have more geniuses, and with eugenics we could improve our intelligence, health, etc. a lot faster.

    Now to GM — thank you for your kind words. It’s obvious that you know much more than I do about the degrees of resolution and embryo selection. I haven’t followed the new reproductive technologies at all. The last thing I read was Glayde Whitney’s 1999 paper I’m sure a great deal has happened since then. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in writing a paper on this subject? It would be very helpful to me, and to everyone interested in eugenics. The challenge is to make it readable and easy to understand, which, in my experience, requires at least several drafts.

    To Verlis — I don’t think a society that practiced eugenics would necessarily be unkind to low-IQ people at all! Look at the way things are today. There are plenty of snobbish, selfish, self-absorbed people who treat their employees or waitresses with no respect. And there are people who make it a point to be kind and respectful to everyone. That’s just the way it is. A eugenics program isn’t going to change human nature overnight.

    Now to Carpenter — you asked how I would reconcile “the higher the level of civilization, the better off the population” with several philosophers I haven’t read (much), so I’ll just say, I ain’t got a clue!! But I would maintain that if you look around the world, there are all different levels of civilization, and people want to be where it’s highest.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted July 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      In response to Verlis, I think that we should look at people who have genetically undesirable traits and who agree not to pass them on to the next generation as philanthropists, which indeed they are. We honor people who make sacrifices for their fellow man. Catholic clergy forgo reproduction in order to devote their lives to service, and although this is generally dysgenic, most people still admire their sacrifice. It means something. It would mean something more if the sacrifice were made for eugenic ends. Thus a society that prizes eugenic values should honor all those who contribute to those values, both by propagating good genes and by not propagating bad ones.

    • Justin Huber
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the response Marian. Your response was very encouraging. It’s great to get positive news once in a while.

  9. Sutton Who?
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Marian, I want to thank you for your recent articles, which are excellent and an important contribution to the Counter-Currents project. I hope “Ask a Eugenicist” becomes a regular series. You’re not just a good writer. I’m also sensing you’re a character.

  10. Simon
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I feel obligated to point out that, while I do value intelligence as a virtuous trait, it most often does not lead to increased happiness. Intelligent people are more likely to be perfectionists, pessimists, and of course atheists. The correlation between intelligence and depression is easily explained by the phenomenon of depressive realism; that is, highly intelligent make no apology for seeing the world for the tragedy it is.

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