Daniel Okrent, author of The Guarded Gate, draws a parallel between the eugenics movement, which helped shape U.S. immigration in the early 20th century, and President Trump's hard-line stance today. ...He is right that the notion that we were a nation of immigrants is a big lie.
The, quote, "science" was eugenics which theorized that traits like intelligence and morality were inherited and therefore, through selective breeding, you could improve the quality of the human race. Of course, the converse was also believed to be true; certain individuals or groups of people would pollute the bloodline. Those undesirables were the people the restrictive immigration law of 1924 was designed to keep out. ...
that really gave the lie to the notion that we were a nation of immigrants. ...
Francis Galton, who was actually a cousin of Darwin's, who was the man who named eugenics and was its first most vocal advocate - he suggested early on that the U.K. find the 5,000 best young men and the 5,000 best young women and pair them off in arranged marriages, which would take place in one huge ceremony in Westminster Abbey, presided over by Queen Victoria. And each of these families - these new couples - would be given a yearly stipend so instead of working, they could get down to the business of making better people, better babies for the U.K. ...
You find some very well-established scientists - Fairfield Osborn, the head of the American Museum of Natural History for 25 years - he outright declared that it is not just intelligence. It is also morality that is inherited, and criminality is inherited. ...
And I do quote a young woman - well-educated, a very, very fine family - at the age of 33 writing a letter to her mother-in-law, saying that she had been at a party where she met an interesting man, but he was, quote, "very Jew." That man was Felix Frankfurter, later a Supreme Court justice, of course.
She also said that she'd rather be hung than attend another Jew party where she was, she said, appalled by all the talk of money, jewels and sables - really repugnant, repellant comments. That 33-year-old woman was Eleanor Roosevelt
It is also true that there is solid scientific evidence showing that traits like intelligence and criminality are heritable.
And it is also true that if you attend a Jew party, you might meet people who are very Jewish and who talk about Jewish stuff.
He says the 1924 immigration law did not say anything about Jews or of any racial group. It merely required immigrant nationalities to be consistent with the previous population. A truly eugenic law would have tested for desirable and undesirable heritable traits.
The author obviously favors what he calls "non-discriminatory open immigration", or perhaps laws favoring Jews, but he doesn't really rebut a eugenic immigration policy except to say that Adolf Hitler would have liked it.
He suffers from a logical fallacy here. Hitler was reportedly a vegetarian, but that does not mean that vegetarianism is evil.
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