Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Careful, that gun is loaded

Ahem. via Ringo, The Western Standard has decided that Tommy Douglas' masters thesis as a student, where he apparently advocates for eugenics, makes him a worthless piece of scum - or something, the WS isn't exactly sure, though they call it "shocking."

This is silly. If you truly find it shocking that North American academics, particularly those in the west, were writing extensively on eugenics during the 1930s, then it's only because you're a historical moron and shouldn't be allowed to put fingers to a keyboard.

Look: Various eugenicist practices were maintained well into the latter half of the 20th century across North America, including force sterilization. This was accepted - morally reprehensible as it is now - as common practice. Without defending an odious system, we can surely say that Douglas wasn't personally euthanizing disabled people or anything like that.

But here's a question for you: Do we think that western conservatives really want to have a debate over eugenics? Really? Because I'm willing to put Tommy Douglas up against, say, Ernest Manning any day of the week. From Wikipedia (take it as you will):
"The province of Alberta was the first part of the British Empire to adopt a sterilization act, and were the only ones who vigorously implemented it...Between 1929 and 1972, 4785 cases were presented to the board, and 99% of these cases were approved. The 60 cases that were not approved were deferred cases that were later re-considered, and 14 of them were eventually passed. Only 60% of all cases that were sanctioned by the Board were actually completed, resulting in 2832 sterilization procedures performed in Alberta during the 43 years that the Alberta Eugenics Board was in power."
Ernest Manning, father of Preston Manning, was the Premier of Alberta for most of the time that the Alberta Eugenics Board operated. He left office without disbanding it, and throughout his permiership tolerated this policy.

So you tell me who's the worse human being: Tommy Douglas, who wrote a school paper on a subject he never actually practiced, or Ernest Manning, who was responsible for decades of forced sterilizations and oversaw a permanent black mark on Canada's human rights record.

Moreover, tell me why Douglas' school paper from the 1930s is relevant today, but the conduct of the Manning family into the 1960s isn't?

Ah, the Western Standard: Never checking to see if the gun is loaded before they start pointing it at their own head. I'd call them retards, except I'm worried they'd just go and hurt themselves.


bigcitylib said...

Glad someone mentioned the Manning connection in this context.

What I would like to find out about is: supposedly, son Preston did some classified work for the U.S Army or CIA or something in the 60s. I would love to find out what that was.

wonderdog said...

This is the latest Conservative schtick: dredge up ancient history on major left-wing figures, opinions they held at one time but that had nothing to do with what they did while in office, and then use that to discredit their later achievements. Measure them not by what they achieved, but by their juvenilia.

Trudeau is the other current target.

The aim is to tarnish their image and break them down as icons. Conservatives keep playing politics with their opponents even after they're dead.