Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The "Doctor Dooms" of the Republican Party

Earlier this year we learned of Dr. Eric R. Pianka, a herpetologist who at a scientific conference suggested the death of 90% of the human population would be a good thing.

The usual conservative suspects were quite admirably on the case, and provoked a few days of debate about crackpot messianic scientists saving the people from themselves.

So it is interesting to read this account from the Congressional Record
Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Republican Task Force on Earth Resources and Population, I would like to comment on two newcomers to the Washington scene. They are Dr. Philip Handler, the new president of the National Academy of Sciences and Dr. Roger Olaf Egeberg, the Assistant HEW Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs subject to his confirmation by the Senate. I was extremely heartened by the sense of urgency expressed by both of these national leaders on the problems of overpopulation and dwindling resources. In a recent interview with This Week magazine, Dr. Handler stated:

"The greatest threat to the human race is man's own procreation. Hunger, pollution, crime, overlarge, dirty cities-even the seething unrest that leads to international conflict and war-all derive from the unbridled growth of human populations. It is imperative that we begin a research campaign in human reproductive physiology. Second to the problem of overproduction is that of feeding the world. As we look toward the end of this century, we get closer to the time when the total food supply becomes limiting. If we do not provide more food, we face worldwide famine."

Dr. Egeberg has displayed his keen awareness of the crisis our world is facing by emphasizing that at the top of his list of priorities will be intensified efforts in environmental and population control through technological innovations and family planning, the reclamation of waste products, and the development of a low pollution automobile.

Representative George Herbert Walker Bush
US House of Representatives
Monday, June 30, 1969

Then-Rep. Bush was kind enough to include for the record the complete text of the This Week interview with Dr. Handler:
There are something over 300 known hereditary diseases of man. We have learned to circumvent a number of them by keeping young people alive who suffer from those diseases. They grow up and reproduce, and spread their genes in the population. Instead of improving, the genetic pool of mankind is deteriorating. I think the total good of humanity demands that we minimize the incidence of these defective genes. We have no historical ethic to guide us in this matter, but perhaps such people should not be allowed to procreate.

The other side of the coin is to prevent the problem In the first place. There are some who hope to make DNA--containing only "good" genes--and insert it into the germ plasm of prospective parents. Maybe that will be possible In the distant future.

Or you could improve inheritance by breeding. As its farthest extreme, using the processs I described for cattle, one could, conceivably, deliberately make more Einsteins, Mozarts, or whomever you choose. Another, more practical way is to pick distinguished men and preserve their sp*rm by freezing it in "sp*rm banks." Then married couples might enjoy their own sex relationship, but when they want to have a child, use sp*rm from the sp*rm bank.

Well, there you have it. A future president of the United States is on the record praising popultion control and toying with eugenics. Was this ever an issue in his later election campaigns? Does anybody care?

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