In his Buck v. Bell decision — confirming that involuntary-sterilization programs pass constitutional muster “for the protection and health of the state” — the great humanist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. declared: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Never having been overturned, Buck remains, in theory, the law of the land. But that was long ago. And yet: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a reliable supporter of abortion rights, has described Roe v. Wade as being a decision about population control , “particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” Like Ellis and Sanger, Ginsburg worries that, without government intervention, birth control will be disproportionately practiced by the well-off and not by the members of those “populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” In an interview with Elle , Ginsburg said, “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.” That wasn’t 1927 — it was 2014. A co-counsel for the winning side of Roe v. Wade , Ron Weddington, advised President Bill Clinton that an expanded national birth-control policy incorporating ready access to pharmaceutical abortifacients promised immediate benefits: “You can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country. It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”
As with the biological naturalists, scholars such as Frazer and Tylor collected specimens on these groups – in the form of missionary descriptions of ‘tribal life’ or descriptions of 'tribal life' by Westernized tribal members – and compared them to accounts of more advanced cultures in order to answer discrete questions. Using this method of accruing sources, now termed ‘armchair anthropology’ by its critics, the early evolutionists attempted to answered discrete questions about the origins and evolution of societal institutions. As early sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) (Durkheim 1965) summarized it, such scholars aimed to discover ‘social facts.’ For example, Frazer concluded, based on sources, that societies evolved from being dominated by a belief in Magic, to a belief in Spirits and then a belief in gods and ultimately one God. For Tylor, religion began with ‘animism’ and evolved into more complex forms but tribal animism was the essence of religion and it had developed in order to aid human survival.
When my grandfather died, the farm was sold and my mother and her four siblings each received a share of the proceeds. And when my parents bought their first house in 1954, they used her modest inheritance for the down payment. They also obtained an affordable mortgage from the Federal Housing Administration set up after World War II to help returning veterans buy their own homes. Being ordinary citizens, they may well have been unaware of the fact that federal regulations and guidelines governing FHA loans overwhelmingly favored whites over people of color, putting them on the receiving end of white privilege in one of the biggest transfers of wealth in . history. Whether they knew it or not, however, the effect is the same.