Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bad Blood-A Tale of Class Warfare

Once upon a time, there was a government that decided certain of its people were 'inferior,' because they were brown or black, or they were mentally ill, or they were 'promiscuous,' or they were alcoholics, or they were poor.  The government didn't want to have to take care of these less-than-perfect-people, and it thought that their imperfections would spread as they reproduced.  These ideas were first proposed by the most prominent and wealthy in its society, so many people concluded they must be good ideas.

And so this  government made decisions.   It passed laws called the "Eugenics Laws."   It decided, for example, that girls as young as 8 years old were "promiscuous" or "feeble-minded" or similar indictments, and sterilized them.  In other cases, it fed them milk infected with tuberculosis, with the idea that people with better genes would survive, and the 'others' would not, and sometimes, the so-called doctors who implemented the governments plans would just withhold care from those deemed inferior.   The government decided to withhold available treatment from people with syphillis and "study" the course of the disease, which more often than not was death.  The government took children away from the families of these undesirables, ostensibly to improve their lives, but it put them in mandatory boarding schools where physical, psychological, and sexual abuse was common, and many children died. 

Occasionally, people who survived this government eugenics program would protest their treatment.  The highest court of that government sided with the killing.  Later, the government would 'apologize' for its murderous ways, and in some cases, the government made token payments to survivors or their heirs, but no one was prosecuted.  Most of the evidence of the plot was hidden, records destroyed or sealed, and the government waited for the victims to die, so that the coverup would be complete.  And, to this day, the government and all the people who perpetrated these crimes have gotten away with them, mostly because people don't want to think about it, talk about it, or acknowledge the horror of what was done.  And the people who weren't killed by their government lived happily (and ignorantly) ever after.

Sounds like Nazi Germany, or Pol Pot, or the Khmer Rouge or Stalin, or Mao Tse Tung, or Saddam Hussein, doesn't it?  We've been taught about how horrible those governments were.   We've even been taken to wars, many times, with the mantra that we had to stop these regimes, who were killing and experimenting on their own citizens.  (Gasp!)   So who is this awful totalitarian government, and when and where did all this happen?  Right here, in our flag-waving, diversity-loving, liberty-laden, US of A.  Some of these incidents are from a hundred years ago.  Some happened even during my lifetime, in the 1970s.   Victims of these atrocities are still alive--prbably so are some of the perpetrators.  And there are others happening today--a bit more surreptitiously, but they are still happening.  Some of the laws authorizing these atrocities are still on the books, or have only recently been repealed.  And that high court case that says that it's ok?  It's never been overturned.

The names of the "wealthy and prominent people" who advocated for these policies read like a who's who of blue blood America today.  Rockefeller (as in Jay and David), Carnegie (as in the Carnegie-Mellon foundation, Carnegie Hall, the Carnegie Libraries, etc.), Gamble (as in Proctor and), Hanes (as in socks and underwear), and many others.   The same folks who own most of the wealth, and have used it to purchase the government today.  Do you suppose that these families just changed their minds about whether poor, ill, promiscuous, and brown people are worthy of breathing the same air as their own privileged selves? 

Are you willing to bet your life on it?

So when you hear the yammering of the poor little rich guys about "class warfare" being waged against them with taxes and so on--well--I don't think making billionaires pay more is exactly the same thing as attempted genocide, but even if it were... paybacks are a bitch.

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