The Limits of Responsibility

I recently attended a small conference in Washington, DC, co-sponsored by the New America Foundation (NAF), a think tank that describes itself as “dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the digital age, through big ideas, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences.” The conference was entitled “The Future of Reproduction” and was troubling in all manner of ways, not least because it was unclear whether I was witnessing a naïve attempt to really speak about the renewal of American culture, or a cynical undertaking to destroy the whole enterprise from within. Continue Reading »

To Defend the Disposable

Dr. Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is best known these days for an imprudent lecture in which he suggested that the Obamacare bill (of which he was an intellectual architect) was deliberately crafted to be so complex that the stupid American people couldn’t possibly understand it. Gruber’s lecture opened a window into the arrogance of the secular clerisy: those enlightened members of the professoriate who know best and who, as a matter of duty, are going to give the dimwitted people what’s best for them—and give it to us good and hard. Yet many who found Dr. Gruber’s condescension akin to fingernails scraping down a blackboard were even more appalled by a paper Gruber wrote in 1997, which came under scrutiny during a recent congressional hearing at which the MIT professor was a witness. Continue Reading »

Nicholas Kristof’s Argument for Sterilization

Nearly a century ago, Margaret Sanger promoted birth control as a way to put an end to poverty. That meant educating the poor in its methods. But she knew that this would be successful only to a certain degree. There’s a significant portion of society, made up of “irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.” Continue Reading »

The Liberal Gene(ocide) Fantasy

John Horgan reports at the Scientific American website,Yes, the inevitable has happened. Just before Election Day—surely not a coincidence—scientists report an association between liberal political views and DRD4, a gene that produces a receptor for the neurotransmitter dopamine.He . . . . Continue Reading »