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I probably should have better underlined this: I think a big part of the problem here is that a lot of people using the term just literally don't know what eugenics is. They just saw other people using it and thought it had power.

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Removed (Banned)Jan 18, 2022Liked by Freddie deBoer
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i've done a good bit of the latter. it is hard. but then it is a more comprehensive response than eugenics. fascism or even white privilege would be more symmetric.

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The consequences of the indiscriminate use of powerful words are first, the wielder wins some arguments, but then, because an equivalence has been made, it sets up a pipeline for people who liked the thing that lost that argument deciding that they in fact are that powerful word.

The Right declaring that Obamacare (and a lot of other things besides, over the course of decades) was Socialism cleared the way for Bernie. Likewise the Left's willingness to declare anything and everything racist cleared the way for success in the GOP without having to bother with dogwhistles.

I'd expect Marxism and eugenics to follow that path.

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To say nothing of "violence" which has apparently lost all meaning entirely except Thing Bad

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I think they are running out of adjectives and descriptors. Several years ago a prominent academic called Bernie Sanders a white supremacist. I found that both jarring and bizarre. Since then the term is bandied about in relation to so many people it has lost meaning and power. What term are we supposed to use for actual white supremacists now?

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Yet the woke left are college educated (not! just credentialed ), whose higher salaries and status is supposed to come from their superior cognitive ability.

It is overuse combined with misuse that slowly sucks away the power of such mystical words: now eugenics but previously racism, Marxism, fascism, censorship, genocide. Even "male".

There is also a violation of "truth". Prior definition: a person with XY chromosomes was a male = a man. But now, not all men have XY chromosomes, and not all those with XY chromosomes are "men".

Note rich co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, Chamath Palihapitiya "nobody cares about the genocide of Uyghurs" (it's below his line of the many things he cares about).

Not every comment can be on top - not every problem can be "cared enough" about to make one change behavior.

The hard truth is that virtually none who say they oppose fascism or genocide are taking actions against China, which is currently genocidal and is far more National Socialist (=fascist) than Communist, no matter what the CCP says they are.

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Reading on Arnold Kiling's blog about "catastrophe porn" - where porn is becoming a mystical bad word that is in the process of normalizing sexual pornography.

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This post is eugenics

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This comment is violence

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Be the change you want to see in the world.

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Removed (Banned)Jan 18, 2022
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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

hence, eugenics = comment

QED

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I think you're being too kind with this comment here. They might not know the literal definition, but they are not unaware they are being intellectual dishonest. They just want want those likes and retweets. I know leftists in real life, and many of them might Tweet stuff like this (or like the Tweets), but I've not heard people say nonsense like this out loud.

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It's just cuz you can't hear them thru their masks.

(I'm not anti mask btw. When I told one of my kids "sorry I couldn't hear you it's hard to hear when were talking through masks" he replied "that's what Karens say."

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You're raising a little eugenist!

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You mean "geniuste"

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That's what Erins say.

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My two cents is that there is a large number of Americans that think they are very smart, self-aware, and modern, that have unexamined, maybe unconscious religious beliefs. They just can't handle that humans have to make decisions that can affect whether other people live or die; deaths are only ok if God does it.

Also relevant and interesting: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/the-last-children-of-down-syndrome/616928/

is/ought 100%

I used to teach that fallacy when I was still in the academy. I wonder how that would go over now?

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I've been shouting into the void about abortion vs disability rights for quite awhile.

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can you be more specific?

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Sure, I think there's an obvious at-odds posture between the dignity and human rights of disabled people and the legality of aborting fetuses with non-life-threatening disabilities. I don't claim to have an answer. I wouldn't personally choose abortion but I'm not sure I could in good conscience say others also ought not to, simply because reproductive rights are important too.

I don't see the tension in this discussed enough (The Atlantic piece is a notable exception).

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I think its definitely something we should discuss as a culture which is why I posted the Atlantic article, but I do come out differently than you on this topic. This might be a sensitive topic, and maybe its very close to you.

I don't agree that the dignity of existing people with disabilities requires that more people with disabilities be born.

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I appreciate your sensitivity. I don't have a direct investment in the debate (although my uncle has CP caused by oxygen deprivation at birth, that's a non-genetic issue).

One of my concerns is that the testing we have available isn't always accurately predictive; an acquaintance chose to birth a baby with spina bifida who has grown into a completely healthy, virtually typically developing teen.

Aside from that (which I'm sure is ultimately a rarity) I err on the side of personhood for fetuses and I freely admit it's an almost arbitrary choice to do so. I could certainly choose the moment of fetal viability outside the womb as my bright line, but 1) I think medical technology moves the goalposts on when that moment occurs and 2) I chose to consider my pregnancies "babies" from the outset. If I'd lost one, or for some reason had to abort one, I'm sure I would mentally revert to "fetus" as a coping mechanism.

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One of the things that has recently become clear to me now that I’m in my 40s, is that some of the people who seem quite bright and well-educated both in appearance and on paper, really aren’t at all. Many actually have no idea what they’re talking about. Blame it on colleges or high schools or a general lack of reading but somehow we wound up with an elite class that doesn’t know very much.

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HL....you are not the only one! I notice it again and again including super high earners with degrees from fancy places.

I've come to the conclusion that when you hear about the group "educated" it only means that they 1)Have a college degree and 2)That having that degree may put them on a path to non-menial work. Apart from that, "educated" can me next to zippo.

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Credentialism.

It's a particularly nasty 3-way lovechild of narcissism, entitlement, and willful ignorance.

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It is the same thing people are doing to "equity."

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I think it's easier understood in meme format:

https://i.imgur.com/YTSD8r4.gif

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I think we're at the point where we need to abolish the use of abstract nouns in online discourse. Maybe figure out a way to claim that it's racist or ableist and shame people into sticking to concrete thoughts.

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But all the nouns are abstract. White supremacy. Fatphobia. Misogynoire even. And since none is precisely defined, each can have extraordinary definitional extent – in other words they mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean. People will not abandon that readily.

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It was a joke, but yeah, that's the problem. Meanings are hazy best.

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This is the problem with 80% of our "discourse" about everything, isn't it?

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Oh Christ, Ana Mardoll. This isn't the first time I've seen her come up in an article that listed a bunch of inane tweets.

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I used to follow her blog, close to 10 years ago now. It was like a case study in watching someone radicalize - at first she was just a normal person posting about books she was reading, then she started critiquing said books from a feminist perspective, and gradually she shifted to being a full-on Social Justice Blogger. Then I stopped following because I realized that hanging out there was encouraging my worst tendencies towards being lazy and taking no responsibility for my own problems.

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Eugenics is when different shit happens to different people.

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Eugenics is when I dont like something.

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No, that’s neoliberalism.

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I thought it was post-modern neo-marxism?

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and the more I don't like it, the more eugenics it is

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Americans are just obsessed with fairness. It's in our founding documents. People being created equal is a nice ideal, but we all know it's not true. At some point your ideals run into reality.

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tbf, Americans are obsessed with fairness as it relates to themselves

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People being created equal is not the same as them being alike.

Alike or same is a statement about what is.

Equal is a statement about what ought to be - its a social, cultural, or moral statement about how we wish to treat people.

Two people can be unalike, and yet be equal.

Here we are again, is / ought

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Well those words were also written in the context of certain individuals inheriting titles. The founders were pretty explicit about their dislike for that type of class system.

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And yet at the same time the desire to ‘get ahead’ is also a national obsession

You can’t be ahead unless someone’s behind you. Something’s gotta give

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As a shared principle, it's great, because it's the backstop for equality under the law.

If we really think it's true and are expecting the universe to support us, though, we're gonna get in trouble.

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The Pandora's box which has opened is micro-leftism. The discovery that if you focus on micro, nearly invisible, almost spiritual manifestations of left wing principles and ideas, it becomes possible to hold them while also being privileged above most of the planet. They think a dash Theory, combined with a belief that conceptual ideas must inevitably run their course like a disease has given them moral x-ray vision to detect tiny cancerous racist specks soon to be out of control fascism.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022Liked by Freddie deBoer

The Social Security Administration offices have been locked to the public for going on two years now without interruption, barring a select type of "dire need" meetings. The lack of nuance some Twitter users have is staggering; I'd love to hear them tell me how my wishes to "return to normal" so my homeless, disabled clients can easily access their disability benefits is actually eugenics, really. Or is it that only disabled people on Twitter count, while the homeless people with schizophrenia and combat-related amputations don't?

The left's emphasis on words over argument was probably the first thing that pushed me away from identity politics. I still consider myself a radical, but I think that the use of "mystical words" simultaneously presents itself as very conceptual and abstract while flattening out any discussion into a nuance-free dead zone. For me, this started with the broadening of the term "violence" to include any sort of harm, which even 20 year-old me found to be an intellectually flimsy trump card and a really alarming sort of groupthink. As soon as you label expressing any questioning or sufficiently unethusiastic view as inherently VIOLENT, you've crushed people's ability to question and learn from your side; you're just asking them to obey, or else they're doing you immoral, painful harm for which they should be ashamed. I don't want to be on a side that approaches deeply important issues that with that mentality!

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Well said. I see this with the courts. Their continued closures and slow downs are a disaster for criminal defendants and immigrants. But caring about those people is, like, sooooo 2020.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

My deep dislike of the "X is violence" thing stems from the fact that the same sort of people consistently downplay violence in the ordinary sense. Quoting a response I saw on Twitter this past weekend, "So words are violence, and silence is violence, but a gunman taking hostages isn't violence?"

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Yup, these people don't give a shit about violent crime. They established this at the police protests in 2020.

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They don't give a shit about violent crime *from their side*. Watch them lose their shit at the Jan 6 rioters[1] and demand the government go full carceral state on them.

[1] January 6 was bad and the rioters should be held responsible.

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I think the government can and should do more for us, and that it's good to demand that they do so. But there's this weird left/liberal tendency to act like the government can solve absolutely any problem it wants and that when it fails to do so, it must be out of spite--and the most actively bigoted, villainous kind of spite. It's like an inverse of Hanlon's razor ("Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"). "People whose health is vulnerable are more likely to die," which is true basically by definition, becomes "the government let the most vulnerable people die" becomes "the government wants the most vulnerable people to die."

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This post reminds me how much influence _ The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness_ (1912) had on the eugenics movement. These ideas have been in our intellectual air for a long time. And it is weird that people are thinking they are new.

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twitter really does infantilize those who use it

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Reading the string of tweets……reinforces my decision to stop looking at Twitter. I can feel my brain cells dying….

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I've blocked it on my devices and have been very happy with my choice.

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Thanks Freddie. Once again you've nailed it.

I wonder if people realize that nature is the worst eugenicist. When a foetus is severely malformed or otherwise unlikely to be viable, the result is, very often, a miscarriage.

At a more human level, pregnant women regularly undergo ultrasound, amniocentesis and other tests to identify foetuses with problems, and generally abort these. Should this be considered part of eugenics? Who cares? More to the point, should these practices be limited? My answer is a firm no.

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Based on your spelling of fetus I can tell you're truly anti eugenics because Americans have eugenixed the o out of all kinds of words.

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This is where the snake turns on itself and devours its own tail. The number of children born with Down's Syndrome in recent decades has plummeted precisely because of the availability of prenatal testing. Yet both abortion and disability rights are firmly ensconced as central planks of the Democratic Party and the liberal identity.

I can only imagine it only gets thornier when you start talking about sex selective abortion, i.e. we can only afford one or two children and we need a son.

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There is so much I could say about this. Deeply unpopular idea:

Like, you know how evolution works, right? You think God is in charge of evolution?

If evolution was the product of an omniscient, omnipresent being, that being would be evil.

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My dad used to make us repeat back to him “life’s not fair and this is not a democracy.” He was a good dad.

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I said something very similar to my kids when they were little. My older son, now 42, still remembers it.

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As a parent I have realized that life’s little setbacks and injustices (not making the soccer team - having a jerk as a home room teacher who doesn’t like you) are important and necessary for your kids to develop. Life isn’t always fair and sometimes you have to just move on. Helicopter parenting teaches kids the opposite.

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Anybody else noticed an uptick in the number of people claiming they’re being erased, ignored, or thought of as “invisible” by the CDC et al?

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The activist always has to stand in opposition to the powers that be. The narrative of the little guy standing up to great forces is, for whatever reason, central to their identity. Never mind that the people in power now are ostensibly their ideological fellow travelers.

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I dunno, there’s something even deeper to it. It’s like, Amy policy that doesn’t directly acknowledge them and cater to them is equivalent to them “erasing” their existence.

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Yeah, that too. I remember seeing a study a while back that suggested that neuroticism among the activist set was off the charts compared to the general population. Egomania does seem like it's a common characteristic.

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I saw that too! …and see it.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

This is what happens when you define democracy as "everyone affected by a decision (however slightly or indirectly) has a (strong, direct, LOUD) voice in the decision -- in fact, preferably veto power over that decision."

It's Occupy Wall Street all the way down.

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A modern day liberum veto, just as stupid and self destructive.

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founding

My brain always hurts when people say dieting is eugenics (or genocide) because they’re trying to “eliminate fat people.”

I’m no fan of the weight loss industry, but that’s not what those words mean!!

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They're trying to eliminate money from your bank account. If there were no fat people they'd be out of business.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

I was confused by what that Tweet even meant and was surprised to see, in the followup, the writer mocking people who asked for more explanation/a source. I knew right-wing anti-vaxxers get pissed anytime someone wants a source for one of their outlandish claims -- didn't realize that's now a movement on the left too. Twitter's fun.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

Have you actually heard people say that?!

Sounds almost like the classic part-whole merelogical fallacy: encouraging an individual to pare down their mass so there's "less of them" gets confused with fewer of them. Is it genocide if you shrink someone down?

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For me, the all-time overblown eugenics take was this guy accusing an episode of The Mandalorian for promoting eugenics. All because of a plot line where the bad guys wanted Baby Yoda's Force-sensitive blood. I shit you not. https://www.patreon.com/posts/44130879

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Pretty sure The Mandalorian is an allegory about Naziism, albeit without the veiled critique of the Vichy.

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Man that is some unreadable Whedoncore syntax. Funny enough, I have seen an entirely different eugenics discourse arise around Baby Yoda. Some people were claiming that the genetic features that made him cute were similar to those that deliberately breed into pets (squat body, big eyes, etc.) and could possibly convince people to breed animals to take on these appearances. For the record, I do animal welfare volunteer work and abhor the breeding of designer pets, but man is that a stretch.

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As you can tell from my avatar, it's far too late to be concerned about that.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

It does seem like eugenics has developed a second popular meaning of: overlooking or not foregrounding the specific impact of something on a more vulnerable population when this impact is leading to greater death among that population. Intention, end game and guiding attitude toward the vulnerable population is no longer essential to the definition. But this definition also equates individual statements characterizing or justifying a particular policy, with any increased death following in the wake of that policy (even when little or no causal link).

Sometimes I see a similar dynamic with the term "white supremacy": embedded structural injustice is substituted for a particular extremist movement and associated racist agenda, and then failure to call out this embedded structural injustice signifies enabling of white supremacy, where enabling equals collusion with and enactment of white supremacy. There is analytic slippage among different modes and degrees of relationship to the tragic outcome.

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Disparate impact eugenics

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The inevitable result of "intersectionality"?

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Which is eugenics of traffic circles.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

Basically, they want to accuse people of social Darwinism without ever admitting that we are all, in the end, subject to actual Darwinism.

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