Tomorrow is the beginning of “Early Voting” in my state, USA. Many people think it is important who is in government control (local or national) and others could care less. We better care if we have learned anything from history.
I write about this not to promote one candidate or another, but reflect on what history may teach us on government and control… if we pay attention. The problem is that we rarely connect past history with the potential present or future history and what it may look like. Therefore, we will take a look at past history and hope that our skin does not crawl…but it will.
Did you know that one of the most famous names in our USA Supreme Court was responsible for the cutting off many individual rights during the early 20th century? Here’s his picture…Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Why was this esteemed man important? He had a great deal to do with the philosophy of Eugenics. Here is what he said on the matter of a court case from Virginia entitled Buck v Bell in which he voted Yes to enforce the following:
Buck v. Bell
(from Wikipedia) “In 1927, Holmes wrote the 8–1 majority opinion in Buck v. Bell case that upheld the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924 and the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck who was claimed to be mentally defective. Although later scholarship has shown the suit was collusive and Carrie Buck was probably of normal intelligence. The record before the Supreme Court showed only that she had received a proper hearing in which she was represented by a competent guardian, and was able to press her suit in the federal courts. She apparently had received the procedures required by due process of law in ample measure. The argument made on her behalf was principally that the statute requiring sterilization of institutionalized persons was unconstitutional, itself a violation of what today is called “substantive due process”. Holmes repeated familiar arguments that statutes would not be struck down if they appeared on their face to have a reasonable basis. In support of his argument that the interest of “public welfare” outweighs the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, he argued:
(Quote by Judge Holmes) “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. 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. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes … Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Although the opinion and eugenics remain controversial, the decision in the case still stands. Sterilization rates under eugenics laws in the United States climbed from 1927 until Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942). While Skinner v. Oklahoma did not specifically overturn Buck v. Bell, it created enough of a legal quandary to discourage many sterilizations…”
“A historical marker was erected on May 2, 2002 in Charlottesville, Virginia where Carrie Buck was born. Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner offered the “Commonwealth’s sincere apology for Virginia’s participation in eugenics,” noting that “the eugenics movement was a shameful effort in which state government never should have been involved.” (Paul A Lombardo U of V School of Medicine)
We are hearing words that will make the hair stand on the back of the neck: FORCED STERILIZATION… THE INCOMPETENT or the first use of the word “Moron” (feeble-minded or perhaps mentally ill)
This was what Eugenics was all about…getting rid of the undesirables. It came in the form of our first emigration policies and restrictions, the mental institutions where many ended up whether they were actually insane or not. It also had to do with racism. Even the histories of citizens were stored in locked vaults by the government. These could explain inherited traits and pinpoint those who would be considered “unacceptable”.
Perhaps we should think twice before we give over to any organization our DNA to do with as they like. Any authority may decide to act upon this greatest of our identity. Take for instance the controversy of 23andMe, a DNA test group.
” …23andMe’s Personal Genome Service is much more than a medical device; it is a one-way portal into a world where corporations have access to the innermost contents of your cells and where insurers and pharmaceutical firms and marketers might know more about your body than you know yourself. And as 23andMe warns on its website, “Genetic Information that you share with others could be used against your interests. You should be careful about sharing your Genetic Information with others.” (Charles Siefe in Scientific America)
One may ask, what about the good parts of having DNA used by the police investigators to find killers or rapists who may have been Cold Cases for years? Of course, this technology today can be celebrated for bringing the guilty to justice as we heard about recently on 60 Minutes. However, we must not forget that there are few standards set in the use of DNA and someone who is calling themselves DNA professionals could also make mistakes or prove to be using the knowledge for less than good to an individual…criminal or not. Could these same people be brought in to court as a witness with authority? Caution may be the best word. How important is your lineage to you?
Under President Wilson, the belief in Eugenics for the nation flourished. Some of the terms used are everyday words to us today because of the government efforts in years past to make lawful things that we might question today. The public can be coerced and made from advertisements to think that the government knows best. That is precisely why we should look at the people we put into office very, very carefully. Is individual liberty a priority to a candidate…or does he or she thinks that government knows best and can be the solver of all problems? When would they think, you, the citizen is the problem…for whatever reason.
Shown here is President Wilson, a eugenics sign, and a family that was found to have good lineage…having won a contest as “the best”.
We could go on with many eugenics topics in history: immigration restrictions, unfit individuals, compulsory sterilization, euthanasia programs, fit baby contests and family fitness under eugenics, planned parenthood promotions and how we as a nation promoted racial superiority as did Germany during WWII.
What a nation can do in plain sight can be terrifying if we are looking away or turn a blind eye. (More information on Eugenics)
Yes, it matters who is in power in your local, state, or national setting. Do your homework. Your human rights are at stake…as in past years and in the future. See how they have voted in the past that effects your life and more importantly your freedoms.
“The Eugenics Crusade” The American Experience PBS
Americans are voting across the nation for the candidates who will face each other in November 2016. At this time, it is down in number to a “precious few”. Most voters just want the candidate they support to tell the truth…and nothing but the truth. This is the case whether a person votes Democratic or Republican. It is hard to tell who one can actually trust to be honest.Character, on both sides, seems to be out the window. The spin on truth begins on almost any question asked. Hardly ever is the exact question answered. It is then left up to the voter to decipher and analyze the answer. Will the person really telling the truth, PLEASE STAND UP! We’d like to know who you are.
Perhaps the most troubling has been the more recent comments made to millions of American viewers about Patricia Smith, whose son died in the Benghazi attack, that her statements of being lied to by the State Department and the President were “wrong”. Life and death matters deserve the entire truth and not called a “Fog of War”.
The video below is an interview of Patricia Smith who has not been told the truth by those government officials responsible for giving family members the comfort of reality even though the reality may be very difficult. Real people, with real hurts and concerns, need to be respected and told straight-up the truth. If things went wrong, as they surely did in Benghazi, then the truth should be told, especially to the families.
Politicians are often so concerned about the next election that they brush aside all honor. They are voted into office, often with a pledge to be “the most transparent in history” to those who elected them. The people need to hold every person in office to that pledge.
It is most surprising that the Americans can look so far past the character and moral values of those they elect, especially when that person or persons are holding some of the highest offices of the land. Truthfulness may not be expedient, but it is all we have if we are going to trust those in charge of our military, our nuclear capabilities, our economic future and our security against terrorism. At this point, people I talk to say, “It may come down to the lesser of two evils.” How sad.
As I walked through the gates of Auschwitz with my students a few years ago, I was reminded of the famous saying that one must remember history or relive it. This is particularly true today with the evil plots to destroy one’s neighbor from within or without. My fellow blogger, Stephen Liddell in England, reminded his countrymen that there is at least one great reason to get out and vote in their General Election. This picture tells that reason. We here in America should be taking as seriously our own future elections.
Voters, here in America and those abroad, were not living during WWI and many were not living during WWII, but that does not mean we can not take our lessons from history. The battles may be different, but they are battles just the same. Complacency may be the road to slavery or death. No one likes to think of it, but it is the truth just the same. A strong nation will defend itself. A strong people will not turn a blind eye to the past…especially when one is threatened with evil and destruction.
I would say to our friends in America and worldwide, teach history to your young people. When surveyed, they seem to not know even basic facts of the sacrifices of their grandparents during times of crisis. They are the future voters and the inheritance of whom we choose now as leaders in the world.
I am writing this on May 7. How many people would know some of the events of history that happened on this one day alone…May 7th? These events changed history and the lives of people, but are they remembered? Multiply this one day by all the days of the calendar year.
- 1727 – Jews are expelled from Ukraine by Empress Catherine I of Russia
- 1862 – Battle of West Point, VA (Eltham’s Landing, Barnhamsville)
- 1913 – British House of Commons rejects women’s right to vote
- 1915 – SS Lusitania sunk by German submarine; 1198 lives lost
- 1939 – Germany & Italy announced an alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis
- 1942 – Nazi decree orders all Jewish pregnant women of Kovno Ghetto executed
- 1943 – Dutch men 18-35 obliged to report to labor camps
- 1945 – WWII: unconditional German surrender to the Allies signed by General Alfred Jodl at Rheims
- 1947 – General MacArthur approves Japanese constitution
- 1954 – French surrender to Vietminh after 55-day siege at Dien Bien Phu
- 1960 – USSR announces Francis Gary Powers confessed to being a CIA spy
- 1975 – Pres Ford declares an end to “Vietnam Era”
- 1980 – Iraq bombs a Tehran oil refiner
- 1982 – US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
- 1999 – Kosovo War: In Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens are killed and 20 wounded when a NATO aircraft bombs the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
- 2013 – 55 people are killed by a Boko Haram attack in Nigeria
Then there was September 11, 2001. President Bush and the brave first responders… men and women of N.Y. City step forward as in Washington and Pennsylvania. Leadership was everything!
The importance of leadership cannot be over-estimated. What would England have done without Sir Winston Churchill during the crisis of WWII? Leaders have to have vision larger than themselves and their political careers. They must have a vision for what is right and what cannot be tolerated. Thank you, Stephen, for reminding us of the importance of never forgetting when making choices.
Not on May 7th, but in 1962 was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Leaders could not stand by for they had been elected to protect us …and they acted. Regardless of what party Americans belong, Democrat or Republican, the leadership of a President and the elected leaders makes a difference. Perhaps these thoughts are best said by one of our former Presidents who met his last days by an evil act. History is a warning.as well as a time of encouragement …heed it!
We want to know that what we are told by our elected government officials is the truth and nothing but the truth. However, the fact is that any transparency that we require from our government or any other government on earth is probably never going to happen. Those in power are more concerned about their reputations or their political careers than the welfare or opinion of the people they represent. In democratic societies, those who run for office know what the people want….and transparency is a promise that most will make but not keep. If this is what we expect, we are probably being naive or simply hopeful. I believe we can just forget that promised transparency will ever happen.
If we have a catastrophe of any kind, whether it is the result of something beyond our control (as natural disasters of floods, landslides, earth-quake etc.), and our man-made equipment or construction explodes or melts-down, we can be certain that we will not hear the truth…perhaps not even close to the truth…for public opinion is a powerful thing that most leaders do not want to confront.
Take as an example, the melt-down of the nuclear reactors in Japan after the great earthquake and tsunami hit that country, killing approximately 16,000 people; destroying 130,000 homes at a cost of 210 billion dollars. The fall-out from this disaster polluted the waters moving out from Japan toward the U.S.A and everyplace in between. The air-pollution also spread out over the globe. Food was contaminated. The people were not told soon enough about the terrible dangers.
Why was there not transparency from the Japanese government about the risks to those who survived and the continued leakage of radio-active elements from holding tanks? The culture of “saving face” may have had a great deal to do with it.
Below is a video explaining this serious problem, which continues until today. The Japanese are not the only ones with a transparency problem. We can be certain that many other things that have effected us and will effect us in the future is hidden away by those who would not give us the truth…until it is too late. Pessimistic? Yes…one would say so. Who then can we trust to act…or speak on our behalf…and the people world-wide? My mother did a wonderful needle point that she hung on her wall. It may sum up that question: ” LIFE IS FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH PRAYER”…as it may be our only option.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America….”
A Democracy will only be as good as its LEADERSHIP. This was true in the beginning of our country and is true today.
After the War for Independence was over, the very thing that had held the confederation together was now struggling to endure. This new United States….this Union was in terrible danger. They had to prove that this step that had been taken was correct. The world needed to also see that this was true.
AN OVERVIEW OF CHALLENGES TO THE LEADERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- TIME-FRAME There were several committees appointed: One to draft the Declaration of Independence and the other to form a confederation. There was back and forth discussion in congress for over a year. They prepared a plan…and then amended it, sending it to the states for ratification This took three years to get the approval needed.
- A UNIFORM POLICY: Whether it was a matter of commerce; raising funds to run a government or other matters, it was most difficult to get all states involved to see things in the same light. Selfishness abound from every angle. “A uniform policy was necessary, and while a pretense was made of acting in unison to achieve a much desired end, it is evident that selfish motives frequently dictated what was to be done.” (Max Farrand)
Example: If a state happened to be a coastal state with ports of entry such as North and South Carolina and Virginia…taxation or not of other states who used their ports would be a way of cutting off their life-blood. There could not be an interference with the “arteries of commerce. “Virginia and Maryland had come to a working agreement regarding the navigation of Chesapeake Bay….requesting the cooperation of Pennsylvania and Delaware.” Sounds good? Hold your horses! The Article of Confederation specified that Congress must first consent. This had not been done.
Having given this small example of only this many states and only a problem within commerce to build a nation, one can see how this type of problem multiplied by many such matters could cause a great deal of grief; confusion and even a stalemate. Public opinion was to be added into the equation. A French representative put it this way in a letter he wrote home about this young, fledgling country and those who governed: “….there is no expectation and no intention that anything should be done by the convention beyond preparing the way for another meeting and the report has been hurried through before sufficient states could be represented…”
It is amazing to us in the 21st Century, 2013…looking back at the 1780’s…that anything was accomplished at all. Yet, the men who stepped forth to lead….and I emphasize the word LEAD… were up to the task. They had to call a meeting…with a fixed time to meet in Philadelphia. With the approval of congress, it was set for the second Monday of May, 1787.
- WHO WERE SOME OF THE MEN WHO LED THIS YOUNG NATION?
The men shown below are not all the leaders or signers of the Constitution, but are a few, interesting men who were not afraid to be leaders. As we look at their lives, we may be surprised that they would not fit into political correctness today….as some were holders of slaves…fought duels…and met with other problems. For some, their personal lives and problems could have been a detriment to their willingness to help forge a nation. Not so. They were TOUGH…DEDICATED..PATRIOT LEADERS.
Alexander Hamilton born 1757 , on the island of Nevis, British West Indies. In 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington’s assistant. In 1788, he convinced New Yorkers to agree to ratify the U.S Constitution. He then served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, from 1789 to 1795.
Personal facts: Hamilton died of a gunshot wound that he sustained during a duel with Aaron Burr.
George Washington was a soldier and presided over the convention that drafted the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and established the position of President. He became the first President of the United States (1789-1797). Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism. Of him was said, “…first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Personal facts: Mount Vernon was Washington’s home and he freed all his slaves in his final will.
Patrick Henry was an attorney, plantation farmer and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. He served as the post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is remembered for his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech.
Personal Facts: In 1771 Henry and his wife Sarah moved into their Scotchtown plantation in Virginia, along with their children. Sarah developed a mental illness and deteriorated rapidly, becoming dangerous to herself and others, she was clothed in a ‘Quaker shirt,’ an early form of strait jacket.”
It was recommended that she be moved to the public hospital in Williamsburg. After inspecting the facilities, Henry “saw that if he agreed, his wife would be locked into a windowless brick cell containing only a filthy mattress on the floor and a chamber pot. There she would be chained to the wall with a leg iron. Appalled by what he saw, he instead prepared a private, two-room apartment for her in the basement of Scotchtown. Each room had a window, providing light, air circulation, and a pleasant view of the grounds. The apartment also had a fireplace, which provided good heat in the winter, and a comfortable bed to sleep in.” She died in the 1775. “Because of her illness (then thought to have been caused by being ‘possessed by the devil’ ) she was denied a religious funeral service or a Christian burial. Henry buried her thirty feet from the home they shared and planted a lilac tree next to her grave to remember her. The tree still stands there, a few steps from the door to her basement.”
When Patrick Henry refused to attend the Philadelphia Convention, Virginia’s legislature selected Dr. McClurg as a delegate. Dr. McClurg thus became one of three physicians involved in crafting the U.S.Constitution. McClurg advocated increased executive powers while at the Convention, but returned to Virginia in early August. He never returned, worried that his “vote would only operate to produce a division, & so destroy the vote of the state.” He never returned, and thus did not sign the final draft of the Constitution. President Washington later considered nominating him as Secretary of State, after [Thomas Jefferson] resigned.
Dr. McClurg was one of the most distinguished physicians in the colonies, educated (and later professor) at the College of William and Mary; studying also at the University of Edinburgh and in London and Paris. His Experiments upon the Human Bile and Reflections on the Biliary Secretions (London: 1772), was translated into several languages. He was appointed professor of anatomy and medicine at his alma mater in 1779, and also served as a surgeon in the state navy. Dr. McClurg achieved renown in Richmond for his efforts to stop various epidemics, including the yellow fever in 1798. He had some set-backs in his career when he received criticism in connection with the botched toxicological work in the celebrated trial concerning the murder of Judge George Wythe, whom he initially thought suffered from cholera, not arsenic poisoning
John Blair’s greatest contribution as a Founding Father came as a judge on the Virginia court of appeals and on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he influenced the interpretation of the Constitution in a number of important decisions. On September 24, 1789, Blair was nominated by President George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States.(for information on today’s Supreme Court justices.)
Personal Facts: Contemporaries praised Blair for such personal strengths as gentleness and benevolence, and for his ability to penetrate immediately to the heart of a legal question.
James Madison…student of history; scholar in politics and hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and a key author of the Bill of Rights. He became the 4th President of the United States; was a slave holder who inherited his plantation known as Montpelier, and owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime to cultivate tobacco and other crops. Madison supported the three-fifths compromise that allowed three-fifths of the enumerated population of slaves to be counted for representation.
These two writings on the Constitution only give a taste of what was involved in producing this great document. A suggestion would be to do your own study and research on a great work that is often taken for granted; thought of little and those men without whose courage and dedication to carefully think-through, pray-through and give this Constitution to us…we may not be the United States of America today. Other great tests were to follow: The Civil War being one, which Boyer Writes will address at a different time.
I was impressed by a video and several news articles that I saw during the Christmas holidays. I think they speak for themselves. Leadership is extremely important to a nation and to the world. Political correctness has mired us down in the lack of ability to speak in faith and in truth.
Christmas was not a happy place for those who walked to church in Nigeria …only to worship, not to be murdered. In this place that was supposed to be a place of peace came the ugly reality of those who would wipe out peace. Christians around the world are under attack. This is the truth of persecution that has always been a part of the Christian faith throughout history. Taking up one’s cross is exactly that. It was never expected to be easy. However, one needs to call it what it is and be unafraid to speak for faith and truth.
Christmas Day in Nigeria …..Five Christian Churches bombed
“A string of bombs struck churches in five Nigerian cities Sunday, leaving dozens dead and wounded on the holiday, authorities and witnesses said.
The blasts mark the second holiday season that bombs have hit Christian houses of worship in the west African nation. In a statement issued late Tuesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called the bombings “a dastardly act that must attract the rebuke of all peace-loving Nigerians.”
(The following news article on leadership to protect a nation)
“Nigeria lacks competent leaders to tackle its security problems”, a former military ruler said on Monday, following Christmas Day bomb attacks on churches by Islamist militants that killed more than two dozen people.
Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner who lost the last presidential election in April to incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, said in a statement in a Nigerian daily that the government was slow to respond and had shown indifference to the bombings.
The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia law across Africa’s most populous country, claimed responsibility for three church bombings, the second Christmas in a row it has caused carnage at Christian houses of worship.
Security forces also blamed the sect for two explosions in the north and fear is growing that Boko Haram is trying to ignite a sectarian civil war in a country split evenly between Christians and Muslims who for the most part co-exist in peace.
“How on earth would the Vatican and the British authorities speak before the Nigerian government on attacks within Nigeria that have led to the deaths of our citizens?” Buhari said in the statement published by Punch newspaper.
“This is clearly a failure of leadership at a time the government needs to assure the people of the capacity to guarantee the safety of lives and property,” Buhari said.”
Yes, leadership is most important. Perhaps we all need to listen again to an inspirational message from a former President of the United States.