Chrisforliberty's Blog

Just another site

Archive for August 2010

Was William Jennings Bryan a monkey?

leave a comment »

(Submitted as a research project for a college liberal arts class)

December 8, 2009

The Scopes Evolution Trial better known as the “Scopes Monkey Trial” which took place from July 10-21, 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee was held in regard to the teaching of evolution per the Butler Act.  It is regarded as one of the most famous trials in American history and many people are familiar with the name of the case itself.  But beyond that, very little factual information is available about the trial and what facts are generally public knowledge are often misconstrued due to false impressions.

The conventional view is that in the wake of the Scopes trial, a humiliated fundamentalist movement retreated into the political and cultural background, a viewpoint evidenced in the movie “Inherit the Wind” and the majority of contemporary historical accounts. “Inherit the Wind” itself while on the surface was about the Scopes Trial, it was in actuality a commentary on McCarthyism.

The Scopes Trial neither fully settled the issue of evolution nor creation.  However, the true purpose of the trial wasn’t even for the purpose of settling the issue, but merely to generate publicity and tourism dollars.  It speaks to how news is often generated for such purposes and not merely to inform the public.

The Butler Act which passed on March 13, 1925 read:

AN ACT prohibiting the teaching of the Evolution Theory in all the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of Tennessee, which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, and to provide penalties for the violations thereof.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

Section 2. Be it further enacted, That any teacher found guilty of the violation of this Act, Shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, shall be fined not less than One Hundred $ (100.00) Dollars nor more than Five Hundred ($ 500.00) Dollars for each offense.

Section 3. Be it further enacted, That this Act take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.1

By the terms of the statute, it was not illegal to teach that apes descended from a previous species, to teach the mechanisms of natural selection, or to teach the prevailing scientific theories of the age of the Earth. It did not even require that the Genesis story be taught.   It prohibited only the teaching that man evolved, or any other theory denying that man was created by God as recorded in Genesis.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offered to defend anyone accused of teaching the theory of evolution in defiance of the Butler Act.  They placed an ad in a Chattanooga area newspaper that George Rappleyea, a Dayton businessman and mine owner was reading.  He convinced a group of businessmen in Dayton, Tennessee that the controversy of such a trial would give Dayton much needed publicity. With their agreement, he called in his friend, 24-year-old John T. Scopes, who was Clark County High School’s football coach and had substituted for Principal Ferguson in a science class. Rappleyea asked Scopes to teach the theory of evolution.  Rappleyea pointed out that while the Butler Act prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution, the state required teachers to use a textbook, which explicitly described and endorsed the theory of evolution, and that teachers were therefore effectively required to break the law.  Scopes mentioned that while he couldn’t remember if he actually taught evolution in class, he did however go through the evolution chart and chapter with the class. Scopes added to the group “If you can prove that I’ve taught evolution and that I can qualify as a defendant, then I’ll be willing to stand trial.”2

While the trial has been portrayed as a victory for teaching of evolution and a defeat of fundamentalism, the cause of fundamentalism’s retreat was the death of its leader, William Jennings Bryan.  In fact, most fundamentalists saw the trial as a victory and not a defeat, but Bryan’s death soon after created a leadership void that no other fundamentalist leader could fill. Bryan, unlike the other leaders, brought name recognition, respectability, and the ability to forge a broad-based coalition of fundamentalist and mainline religious groups to argue for the anti-evolutionist position.3 Several magazines of the time such as the New Republic and Life took a very low view of Williams Jennings Bryan and Tennessee in particular stating that the state was “not up to date in its attitude to such things as evolution.”4 H. L. Mencken, whose syndicated columns from Dayton for the Baltimore Sun drew vivid caricatures of the “backward” local populace apparently were very effective in negatively portraying the residents of Dayton and Tennessee.5

Since William Jennings Bryan, the prosecutor in the case died just five days after the trial ended, there wasn’t much of a chance to get his perspective on the trial or why he decided to take the case.  Perhaps one reason for taking the case was that he worried that Darwin’s theories were being used by supporters of a growing eugenics movement that was advocating Social Darwinism.6  More likely, the “Great Commoner” came to view his participation in the trial both out of concern that the teaching of evolution would undermine traditional values as well as the view that eugenics if allowed to go unchallenged would be used to eliminate “inferior stock” which was a buzz word for the types of people he had long supported such as the poor and outcasts in society.

The highlight of the trial was Clarence Darrow questioning Bryan on the stand on the seventh day. A number of questions were posed by Darrow to Bryan such as how Eve was created, how old the Earth was and the population of Egypt in ancient times.  Ultimately, Scopes never testified since there was never a factual issue as to whether he had taught evolution. Scopes later admitted that, in reality, he was unsure of whether he had taught evolution (another reason the defense did not want him to testify), but the point was not contested at the trial.

After eight days of trial, it took the jury only nine minutes to deliberate. Scopes was found guilty on July 21 and ordered to pay $100.00 fine (approximately $1,150 when adjusted for inflation). Judge Raulston imposed the fine before Scopes was given an opportunity to say anything about why the court should not impose punishment upon him and after Neal brought the error to the judge’s attention. The case was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court due to this technicality since only juries can levy fines.7

The trial escalated the political and legal struggles between strict creationists and evolutionists to influence the extent to which evolution would be taught as science in Arizona and California schools. Before the Dayton trial, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Kentucky had dealt with anti-evolution laws or riders to educational appropriations bills.

After Scopes was convicted,creationists throughout the United States sought similar anti-evolution laws for their states.8

By 1927, there were 13 states that considered some form of anti-evolution law. At least 41 bills or resolutions were introduced into the state legislatures, with some states facing the issue repeatedly. While most of these efforts were rejected, both Mississippi and Arkansas put anti-evolution laws on the books after the Scopes trial that would outlive the Butler Act.  The Butler Act ended up serving as a model for the anti-evolution crusade, and the ACLU could not find a teacher to volunteer for another test case.  The Butler Act itself remained on the books until 1967 until it was repealed by an act of the Tennessee legislature. 9

It read: Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee:

Section 1. Section 49 – 1922,Tennessee Code Annotated, is repealed.

Section 2. This Act shall take effect September 1, 1967.

Passed : May 13, 1967.

Works Cited

1. Tennessee Evolution Statutes: PUBLIC ACTS OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE


Accessed October 15, 2009

2. Linder, Douglas O. Statev. John Scopes (“The Monkey Trial”)

Accessed October 15, 2009

3. Cornelius, R.M. Bryan and the Scopes Trail,

Accessed October 15, 2009

4. Hollister, Howard K. “TennesseeGoes Fundamentalist,” New Republic 42 (April 29, 1925): 258–60

5. Mecklen, H.L. “A Religious Orgy in Tennessee A Reporter’s Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial”, 2006

6. Coletta, Paolo E., William Jennings, Bryan 3rdvolume, 1964

7. Decision on Scopes’ Appeal to the Supreme Court of Tennessee


Opinion filed January 17, 1927

8. Anti-Evolution and the Law

Accessed November 30, 2009


Accessed November 30, 2009

Written by chrisforliberty

August 25, 2010 at 12:21 am

Posted in U.S. History

Don’t get yourself killed on December 21, 2012

leave a comment »

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:6-7

Over the past ten years or so, there has been increasing talk about the significance of December 21, 2012. Of course this talk was coming right on the heels of all that talk about how the world was going to come to an end on January 1, 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.  The Heaven’s Gate Cult ended their lives because they thought the world was coming to an end too.  For the most part, the dispensationalists think the same way. Doomsday sayers have been at it for a long time in fact.  Being an X-Phile, December 21, 2012 plays a role in the series finale about how that is the date of the alien invasion of Earth. Of course, if you were to ask me, the finale was disappointing after nine years of plot twists and keeping us on the edge of our seats. From talking with other X-Philes over the years, I know I am not alone.

I’m very much a believer that one should learn from what history can teach us and yes to realize that we are not invincible. Indeed, it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time for recessions, natural disasters, or martial law.  Yes, there is a conspiracy, but it isn’t a Christian, Jewish or Muslim conspiracy to take over the world. Since ancient times, societies have been organized around the worship of emperors or kings. In modern times, since such rule doesn’t go over as well, presidents, government administrators, talking heads and what not are mostly puppets. The real power lies behind the scenes just like in theatre or movies.

Back to my point about December 21, 2012. If your impression of this date is from the books, movies or TV shows, you would be completely off the mark. Thankfully, my interest in Mesoamerican culture extends back at least 25 years due to reading some books on the subject and extends from my interest in Cherokee culture.  Even then I was aware of December 21, 2012.  There was even a Transformer episode set at El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.

Mesaoamerica extended from central Mexico through most of central America and part of South America.  This culture existed and thrived for thousands of years before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Most of these cultures were based on agriculture, large ceremonial activities primarily done for political-religious purposes and observatory of the skies particularly within the priesthood.  Among these cultures were the Incas, the Maya, and the Aztec.

In ancient times, the Mayans had a tradition of a 360-day year. But by the 4th century B.C.E. they took a different approach than either Europeans or Asians. They maintained three different calendars at the same time. In one of them, they divided a 365-day year into eighteen 20-day months followed by a five-day period that was part of no month. The five-day period was considered to be unlucky. A k’atun or k’atun cycle is a unit of time in the Maya calendar equal to 20 tuns or 7,200 days. It is the 2nd digit on the normal long count date.

Like the accounts of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark (which bear strong resemblance to Enûma Eliš and the Epic of Gilgamesh), there are ancient cultures and societies throughout the world that have stories of creation and floods. The mesoamerican cultures are no different.

For some insight on what is going on here, Isaiah 45:12-13 provides us with a clue. I found it interesting that this passage mentions Cyrus (as in Cyrus The Great) and the exiles returning home. This particular event occurred in 538 B.C. after Cyrus conquered the Babylonian Empire. The Babylonian captivity began in 597 B.C. with the major part of it occurring in 587 B.C. This gives us a framework in which to refer to. No one is certain who the specific authors of the Old Testament accounts are. Most likely, they were complied by a group of Hebrew priests. The Babylonian exiles were largely people from the upper class, the priesthood and landowning families. Now imagine that you are living in Babylon and you are hearing accounts from the natives about how the earth and heavens were created as a result of some cosmic battle between Gods. You are reading about how the Earth came into being and credit is being given to a foreign God or Gods. The creation stories in the Hebrew Bible particularly Genesis apparently are a metaphor developed in response to the Enuma Elish as is Noah’s Ark is in response to Gilgamesh.

For the Mayans, the creation date was in 3114 BCE and they calculated this particular cycle to come to an end in 2012. They would have considered this a cause for celebration, not gloom and doom. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. But even this would not be a case for disaster.

So as you draw closer to this date, don’t commit suicide. Go about drinking your egg nog, having your Christmas parties (this is rooted in the winter solstice, not the birth of Christ) or watching Monday Night Football.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Posted in General

What might have been

leave a comment »

While I am solidly a football fan these days and aspire to be a football coach, I decided a year ago that I would keep my options open in regards to coaching and/or teaching opportunities.

I still grab the occasional baseball game and I also enjoy watching college basketball (I’ve not cared for the NBA since Michael Jordan retired), women’s softball and volleyball. I even like ladies mud wrestling although some would beg to differ as to whether that is a sport.

Being a Mets fan back in the 1980’s-early 90’s, those were the good ole days for me. I grew up on Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, etc… Gooden and Strawberry were Hall of Fame talents in their day. Sadly, it was not to be.  I was also a big fan of the Reds and A’s during that time. I liked Chris Sabo, Dale Murphy, John Franco, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Nolan Ryan to name a few. I could name the entire rosters of all the teams and stats of all the players. I enjoyed the movies “Major League” and “Field of Dreams”.

I fell out of interest with baseball to a large degree during my college years as many of these players retired or moved on in some other capacity. They just don’t make em like they used to. I also think many people will agree with me that Bud Selig is bar none the worst of commissioners ever in any sport.

I’ve also had the chance to tune into some Little League World Series games this week. Potentially, there would be some future major league baseball players in the making. This makes me keep in mind some lessons of the past in how to deal with some of the issues baseball/softball players would face and that I would have to keep in mind as a coach/manager.  Dwight Gooden is one example that I chosen to focus on, but by no means the only example.

While it has been commented that perhaps drug use or being unable to deal with fame at a young age have been cited as the reasons why his career went downhill after 1990, I think that is only part of the story.  Some background would suffice. I had played t-ball and baseball (although not exactly a great player) on and off from the time I was six until 13. Somehow even then, I was aware that at that age, it is not a good idea to have pitchers working too many innings or throwing too many breaking/curve balls.  Why was it that Dwight Gooden injured his arm at age 24? Whereas Nolan Ryan was still going strong at 42 and never had a big injury as best as I can tell.  Part of the reason is that muscle fibers and tendons in the arms are not fully developed until one’s mid 20’s.

Nolan Ryan was drafted by the New York Mets in 1965 and basically struggled with his control much of his career. He didn’t really start to develop into one of the better pitchers until he was with the California Angels. While his won-loss record and bases on balls left something to be desired, he was making up for it with strikeouts and being able to go the distance time and time again. He would play for 27 seasons. Also noticeable when compared to Dwight Gooden was that he didn’t throw a lot of innings until he was 25.

Gooden did not play ball his first two years of high school, but was the star in his final two years at Hillsborough High in Tampa, Florida.  His raw power attracted major league scouts from all over the country.  At the age of 17, Gooden was the fifth player chosen in the 1982 MLB draft by the New York Mets. Gooden spent a year in the minors beginning in the Rookie Appalachian League in Kingsport, Tennessee and finishing up Triple A ball in Tidewater, Virginia. After the 1983 season, Gooden had struck out 300 batters in 191 innings and posted a 19-4 record.

In 1984, he was the youngest player in the National League (NL) and became the first rookie to lead the league in strikeouts. Against the Dodgers, Gooden established a new single- game rookie strikeout record with 14. Then  he was named to the All-Star team. Gooden finished the season with a 17-9 record and a 2.60 Earned Run Average (ERA). He recorded 15 double-figure strikeout games and broke the rookie strikeout record with 276 Ks in only 218 innings. Gooden finished second in the NL Cy Young Award vote and was named the NL Rookie of the Year. He received 23 of the 24 first place votes to become the youngest player ever to win this honor.

In 1985 Gooden had one of the finest seasons in major league history. In the off-season he added a change-up to his curveball and blazing fastball. By the All-Star break he was 13-3 with a 1.68 ERA; by the end of the year he finished with a 24-4 record, 268 strikeouts in 276 innings and a 1.53 ERA. Gooden led the league in all three categories and was the unanimous choice for the NL Cy Young Award. He became the youngest player to ever win Cy Young Award. Since that time, only two major league pitchers have pitched as many innings as Gooden did (Charlie Hough and Roger Clemens in 1987). The difference was Hough was 39 and Roger Clemens was 24-25.

Gooden would go on to win the 1986 World Series (one of the best in my opinion) and had a few more good seasons after that.

But trouble was lurking underneath the surface.  While the drinking which began when he was a teenager and some legal troubles are fairly well known in baseball circles, overlooked by just about everyone was the number of innings he pitched between the ages of 19-25.

He did return to form in 1990, but after a second arm injury in 1991, he was never the same.

So if I was to ever become a baseball/softball manager, one issue among others that I would need to pay attention to is making sure that pitchers and catchers are icing the hands, elbows,  shoulders and knees after the games if not during the games. The other main issue is making sure they are not overworked. Dwight Gooden’s success at an early age blinded many people to this fact.  Nolan Ryan’s lack of success at an early age eventually set him up for a Hall of Fame career of which Gooden and Darryl Strawberry would be if things had turned out differently.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Posted in General

So what is the deal with the University of Tennessee?

leave a comment »

“We did a thorough and exhaustive national search. On the basis of all the information we gathered and the candidates to which we spoke, I am convinced Mike Hamilton is the right man at the right time to be men’s athletic director at the University of Tennessee.” UT President John Shumaker 2002-2003, who made the final decision

I had previously detailed the joyful and not so joyful realities in today’s coaching world.

I had blogged two years ago (September 24, 2008 to be exact) in regard to the possibility that Phil Fulmer would likely be out as head coach at UT:

“Ultimately, football like other areas in life is one of passion. If one doesn’t enjoy his or her work, it doesn’t matter how much fame or money someone has… While sometimes, coaches like presidents are unfairly blamed for all the world’s ills, when it comes to their immediate realm; they are the ones who set the tone. The head coach should be able to replace players when someone else isn’t getting the job done. They set the tempo and the tone of the team. Players can either get with the program or sit on the sideline. But where is the tempo? What does this team want to accomplish?”

I also wrote a few weeks later:  “An executive search firm can bring about conducting a through search of interested candidates and weed out the list and certainly prevent an embarrassing public relations display of potential candidates shooting down interviews because they won’t be taking a shotgun approach and just hoping to hit wherever it lands. Hamilton should certainly seek input, but he alone will have to make the call. If I have one concern, it would be that he may allow politics or big-money donors to influence the decision making process.”

But as the case with John Shumaker, an executive search firm is not a foolproof process especially when cronyism, fraud and nepotism are involved among others.

He even divorced his wife in the process when just a short time before he was announced as the new president, he put on a big show for the public and media.

7 years later, UT is still searching for a permanent president. My own thoughts on the particular responsibilities and skills of a university president would be one who can handle the political and public relations duties albeit while being a straight shooter. Just because the position is political doesn’t mean one can’t be honest in their dealings with people.  The chancellors at each campus should be in charge of faculty selection, academics, and running the campuses.

UT’s new president should be someone who knows and understands the overall structure of the university, understands Tennessee and its politics, and has the ability to interact with the business community and the extensive networks that contract with the university such as Oak Ridge National Labs.

Mike Hamilton’s background is in administration and banking. He was a fund-raiser before becoming Athletic Director. He makes decisions on the basis of cost-benefit analysis and budget estimating. As demonstrated by the North Carolina for Buffalo debacle (paying both teams a combined $1.5 million in the process), he was making the decision on the basis of hoping to break even rationalizing that Buffalo would provide the Vols with an extra home game and a better chance at winning thus possibly meaning the difference between a 6 or 7 win season therefore affecting bowl eligibility. The proceeds from a bowl in 2011 could in theory at least balance the books and even make a profit for the athletic department if the proceeds from the bowl is greater than $1.5 million.

While both positions involve finances and politics, the athletic director should not be making coaching and scheduling decisions on the absurd concept that I outlined above. Mr. Hamilton’s skills would be better suited for university president, not athletic director. He relates more to corporate sponsors, donors and the state legislature. He has trouble relating to the coaches, student-athletes, trainers and all the others who work in the athletic department. He apparently is not too keen to the perception that this causes namely that it is telling the players, coaches, fans and everyone else that the Vols football team is in the dumps and will be so for the foreseeable future. If we are just hoping to beat Buffalo (Bisons), how are they going to beat the Alabamas and Floridas? If that is how an athletic director  is going to be, then I don’t want to be working for him or her.

Mr. Hamilton should step down and perhaps lobby for the UT president position. He shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the job.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 19, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Posted in General

Do You Think Hitler and Stalin Were Originals?

with one comment

(I’ve known since childhood that the official history as portrayed in the school textbooks was false.)

November 09, 2003
By Edwin Black

Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a so-called Master Race.

But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing.

Eugenics was the pseudoscience aimed at “improving” the human race. In its extreme, racist form, this meant wiping away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in 27 states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the 20th century’s first decades, California’s eugenicists included potent but little-known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles Goethe, as well as members of the California state Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.

Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation,” in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.

In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations.

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California’s quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as Pasadena’s Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations — which functioned as part of a closely-knit network — published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis.

Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people married only other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring. At the turn of the last century, Galton’s ideas were imported to the United States just as Gregor Mendel’s principles of heredity were rediscovered. American eugenics advocates believed with religious fervor that the same Mendelian concepts determining the color and size of peas, corn and cattle also governed the social and intellectual character of man.

In a United States demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early 20th century. Elitists, utopians and so-called progressives fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton’s eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: Populate the Earth with vastly more of their own socioeconomic and biological kind — and less or none of everyone else.

The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the Earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark- haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists.

How? By identifying so-called defective family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior — the so-called unfit. The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.

Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population.” Point No. 8 was euthanasia.

The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in the United States was a “lethal chamber” or public, locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, “Applied Eugenics,” which argued, “From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution . . . Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated.” “Applied Eugenics” also devoted a chapter to “Lethal Selection,” which operated “through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.”

Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Ill., fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to 40 percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect.

Nonetheless, with eugenicide marginalized, the main solution for eugenicists was the rapid expansion of forced segregation and sterilization, as well as more marriage restrictions. California led the nation, performing nearly all sterilization procedures with little or no due process. In its first 25 years of eugenics legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as “bad girls,” diagnosed as “passionate,” “oversexed” or “sexually wayward.” At the Sonoma State Home, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia.

In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed, 700 on women. The state’s two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton and Pacific Colony state hospitals.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes’ words in their own defense.

Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.

Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti- Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. Hitler’s race hatred sprung from his own mind, but the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.

During the ’20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany’s fascist eugenicists. In “Mein Kampf,” published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. “There is today one state,” wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”

Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. “I have studied with great interest,” he told a fellow Nazi, “the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenics leader Madison Grant, calling his race-based eugenics book, “The Passing of the Great Race,” his “bible.”

Now, the American term “Nordic” was freely exchanged with “Germanic” or “Aryan.” Race science, racial purity and racial dominance became the driving force behind Hitler’s Nazism. Nazi eugenics would ultimately dictate who would be persecuted in a Reich-dominated Europe, how people would live, and how they would die. Nazi doctors would become the unseen generals in Hitler’s war against the Jews and other Europeans deemed inferior. Doctors would create the science, devise the eugenic formulas, and hand-select the victims for sterilization, euthanasia and mass extermination.

During the Reich’s early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler’s plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

In 1934, as Germany’s sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe, upon returning from Germany, ebulliently bragged to a colleague, “You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”

That same year, 10 years after Virginia passed its sterilization act, Joseph DeJarnette, superintendent of Virginia’s Western State Hospital, observed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The Germans are beating us at our own game.”

More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany’s eugenic institutions.

By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 — almost $4 million in today’s money — to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 toward creation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst Rüdin, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler’s systematic medical repression.

Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute’s complex of eugenics institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the institute, once again, was Hitler’s medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin’s organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.

Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.

Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, declared of Nazism, “While we were pussy-footing around … the Germans were calling a spade a spade.”

A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. For decades,

American eugenicists had craved twins to advance their research into heredity.

The Institute was now prepared to undertake such research on an unprecedented level. On May 13, 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York dispatched a radiogram to its Paris office: JUNE MEETING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NINE THOUSAND

At the time of Rockefeller’s endowment, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that institute continued both directly and through other research conduits during Verschuer’s early tenure. In 1935, Verschuer left the institute to form a rival eugenics facility in Frankfurt that was much heralded in the American eugenics press. Research on twins in the Third Reich exploded, backed by government decrees. Verschuer wrote in Der Erbarzt, a eugenics doctor’s journal he edited, that Germany’s war would yield a “total solution to the Jewish problem.”

Verschuer had a longtime assistant. His name was Josef Mengele.

On May 30, 1943, Mengele arrived at Auschwitz. Verschuer notified the German Research Society, “My assistant, Dr. Josef Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as Hauptsturmführer (captain) and camp physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Anthropological testing of the most diverse racial groups in this concentration camp is being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsführer (Himmler).”

Mengele began searching the boxcar arrivals for twins. When he found them,

he performed beastly experiments, scrupulously wrote up the reports and sent the paperwork back to Verschuer’s institute for evaluation. Often, cadavers, eyes and other body parts were also dispatched to Berlin’s eugenic institutes.

Rockefeller executives never knew of Mengele. With few exceptions, the foundation had ceased all eugenics studies in Nazi-occupied Europe before the war erupted in 1939. But by that time the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the great institutions they helped found, and the science they helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own.

After the war, eugenics was declared a crime against humanity — an act of genocide. Germans were tried and they cited the California statutes in their defense — to no avail. They were found guilty.

However, Mengele’s boss Verschuer escaped prosecution. Verschuer re- established his connections with California eugenicists who had gone underground and renamed their crusade “human genetics.” Typical was an exchange July 25, 1946, when Popenoe wrote Verschuer, “It was indeed a pleasure to hear from you again. I have been very anxious about my colleagues in Germany . . . I suppose sterilization has been discontinued in Germany?” Popenoe offered tidbits about various American eugenics luminaries and then sent various eugenics publications. In a separate package, Popenoe sent some cocoa, coffee and other goodies.

Verschuer wrote back, “Your very friendly letter of 7/25 gave me a great deal of pleasure and you have my heartfelt thanks for it. The letter builds another bridge between your and my scientific work; I hope that this bridge will never again collapse but rather make possible valuable mutual enrichment and stimulation.”

Soon, Verschuer again became a respected scientist in Germany and around the world. In 1949, he became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists.

In the fall of 1950, the University of Münster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean. In the early and mid-1950s, Verschuer became an honorary member of numerous prestigious societies, including the Italian Society of Genetics, the Anthropological Society of Vienna, and the Japanese Society for Human Genetics.

Human genetics’ genocidal roots in eugenics were ignored by a victorious generation that refused to link itself to the crimes of Nazism and by succeeding generations that never knew the truth of the years leading up to war. Now governors of five states, including California, have issued public apologies to their citizens, past and present, for sterilization and other abuses spawned by the eugenics movement.

Human genetics became an enlightened endeavor in the late 20th century. Hard-working, devoted scientists finally cracked the human code through the Human Genome Project. Now, every individual can be biologically identified and classified by trait and ancestry. Yet even now, some leading voices in the genetic world are calling for a cleansing of the unwanted among us, and even a master human species.

There is understandable wariness about more ordinary forms of abuse, for example, in denying insurance or employment based on genetic tests. On Oct. 14, the United States’ first genetic anti-discrimination legislation passed the Senate by unanimous vote. Yet because genetics research is global, no single nation’s law can stop the threats.

Edwin Black is author of the award-winning “IBM and the Holocaust” and the recently released “War Against the Weak” (published by Four Walls Eight Windows), from which this article is adapted.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Happy Birthday to the Master of Suspense

with 2 comments

I could literally write a book on the man known as “The Master of Suspense”. Plenty has been written about this rather unique individual and the role he had in shaping the motion picture industry. In a rather sad way, I am fairly certain that the “Hollywood” of the 20th century can’t be re-created.  But thankfully, in large part to restoration and preservation, the films of that era can be enjoyed by future generations for decades to come.

I first became a fan of Hitchcock after watching “The Lady Vanishes” as a 16 year old. My interest in the man and his work continues well into my 30’s. It is too bad I wasn’t born about 75 years earlier as I often say to myself.

Since time and space prevent me from writing a book about Hitchcock, I will just write what he has meant to me on a personal level. Aside from reading numerous articles and books on his style of film-making, the legendary lengths he went during pre-production and the MacGuffin, I’ve enjoyed the fact he was able to maintain his unique way of doing things even in an industry that while offering a creative outlet does tend to grow stale from time to time.  He was able to keep his independence from producers and was very hands-on, but not to the point of stifling the people he worked with. It is my hope future generations will come to learn and appreciate the era in which Hitchcock was part and parcel of. We can’t travel back in time. But we can enjoy it through his works.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 13, 2010 at 3:14 am

Posted in Movies

So do you think you can coach?

with one comment

“There are two kinds of coaches: those who have been fired and those who will be.”

My own personal advice on coaching is if you don’t enjoy the profession and aren’t able to handle both the rewards and challenges, then you will not last very long.

I previously detailed a good bit what coaching can entail. The responsibilities and tasks vary some degree depending on whether it is a head coach, assistant coach, high school/college/professionals, etc…    The average sports fan already has a good understanding of the general responsibilities of a coach such as holding practices, recruiting, working with staff members on game plans and what not.

Many articles have been written about how the Nick Sabans and Urban Meyers of the world make upwards of $3 million a year, how over 100,000 people watch the Vols play in Neyland Stadium and several million people watching on TV or maybe watching some video on YouTube as the coach has a nervous breakdown or has a temper tantrum that will be talked about for days or weeks on end by the radio shows, TV stations, blogs, etc…We enjoy watching head coaches and team owners in the NFL hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the Super Bowl.  But even winning a Super Bowl is no guarantee of job security. Just ask Tom Landry or Jimmy Johnson.

If that wasn’t bad enough, you might have strangers calling your home at all hours of the day and night, pictures of you and your wife being posted online while you were out shopping or people (stalkers?) will wonder what school your kids go to.  Needless to say, coaching is not all glamourous fun and games that it often portrayed to be.

Coaches don’t have much time (or should not have much time) to spend twittering, browsing Craigslist, facebooking, etc… Coaching is literally a 80-100 an hour week kind of job. Then there is the spouse and kids.  I don’t have any statistics on what the divorce rate is among coaches, but I am certain there are enough incidents of martial difficulties arising from the crazy schedules that coaches have especially if there are young children involved.

There is a very practical reason why most coaches retire by the time they are in their 60’s. Health problems are frequent.  Moving is frequent.  The average career for an assistant coach is around 25 years, and if they ever become a head coach at some point, it is somewhere around 5-10 years.

The pay despite what you often read or hear about is not as big as one is inclined to believe. Stipends for high school coaches is generally a few thousand dollars, college coaches generally make in the range of $50,000 to low six figure salary if they have been in the profession long enough and happen to be in the right place at the right time, a bit more for NFL coaches and you are dealing with players who are making more than you.

Coaches especially at the high school and college level are not only dealing with the players and coaching staff, but parents, trainers, videographers, athletic directors, boosters, donors, a player is upset because he broke up with his girlfriend, politicians wanting endorsements, etc… They are quite literally a CEO. Coaching is actually more about managing and organizing than it is about drawing up diagrams and formations.  So the more responsibilities a head coach can delegate to his or her assistants and the greater the head coach’s ability at hiring competent people is to assist in this line of work, the better he will be.

So if you are interested in getting into coaching because you thought the money was great, the hours were great and that it is all fun and games, you are seeking to get into this profession for the wrong reasons. Many people say they can coach better than the guy or gal who is currently doing it. But those same people aren’t willing to devote the time and effort that the profession requires and often at a big cost to one’s health, marriage, and reputation. With that in mind, I can’t say I blame them.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 10, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Posted in General