I think it is not well known that the United States of America and the state of Virginia led the eugenics movement. I think most people incorrectly imagine that Nazi Germany led this movement. There is no original research here, but I have not seen anywhere else all these threads tied together in a single page depicting (1) scientists discovering power, followed by (2) society’s most wealthy and powerful advocating for use of that power to protect themselves by harming society’s least wealthy and powerful, then (3) government adopting policies so advocated, (4) to the grave harm of three individuals who were wrongly labeled by the US government as “imbeciles”.
Does government really work for “The People” (as I learned in school in the 01970s and the 01980s) or does government instead actually work for “the wealthiest 0.05%“; or as Professor Lawrence Lessig called them in 02013, “The Lesters”?
From the book (The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD/PhD https://a.co/9rPVyHn ) I’m reading:
Against this backdrop, the US Supreme Court took scarcely any time to reach its decision on Buck v. Bell. On May 2, 1927, a few weeks before Carrie Buck’s twenty-first birthday, the Supreme Court handed down its verdict. Writing the 8–1 majority opinion, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. reasoned, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.” Holmes—the son of a physician, a humanist, a scholar of history, a man widely celebrated for his skepticism of social dogmas, and soon to be one of the nation’s most vocal advocates of judicial and political moderation—was evidently tired of the Bucks and their babies. “Three generations of imbeciles is [should be “are” according to original source; Holmes was also not much of a grammarian] enough,” he wrote.
The US “justice” system in action.
01865 February 08: Gregor Mendel presented his paper “Experiments on Plant Hybridization” to the Natural History Society of Brno in Moravia.
01872 November 28: Emma Buck (the first of the three so-called “imbeciles” Holmes was writing about) was born (I found no references on place of birth); probably in Virginia. A partial timeline exists here.
01905: William Bateson (who coined the term “genetics”) wrote: “When power is discovered, man always turns to it…The science of heredity will soon provide power on a stupendous scale; and in some country, at some time not, perhaps, far distant, that power will be applied to control the composition of a nation. Whether the institution of such control will ultimately be good or bad for that nation, or for humanity at large, is a separate question.” Which is to say nothing about what is good or bad for the individuals comprising the nation.
01906 July 02: Carrie Buck (the second of the three so-called “imbeciles” Holmes was writing about) was born.
01910: At age 3, Carrie Buck was taken away by the Virginia government and placed in a family foster care placement. Her foster parents were John and Alice Dobbs.
01923 June 22 (calculated as 40 weeks before 01924 March 28): At age 16 (different than in some timelines), while in foster care, Carrie was allegedly raped by John and Alice Dobbs’ nephew Clarence Garland, and Carrie becomes pregnant with a daughter who was later named Vivian.
01924 March 28: Vivian Buck (see pages 4 & 5 at link) (the third of the three so-called “imbeciles” Holmes was writing about) was born but named as Vivian Dobbs. A Virginia state social worker made the official determination when Vivian was only six months old that Vivian was an “imbecile” because infant Vivian’s eyes did not follow a coin passed in front of her eyes. But Vivian’s first-grade academic scores from 01931, promoting her from Grade 1B to Grade 2A, seem to indicate this was an incorrect determination.
01927 May 02: Holmes led the 8 US Supreme Court Justices in supporting legalized sterilization throughout the US. Carrie was not yet 21 years of age.
01927 October 19: (see chapter 7 of link) Carrie was forced to undergo surgery and had both of her fallopian tubes severed, tied, and cauterized with carbolic acid, thereby making her infertile.
01932 June: “Vivian contracted measles [at age 8 years]. She died from a secondary intestinal infection, enteric colitis.”
01944 April 15: Vivian’s grandmother Emma Buck died, having never left the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded.
01983 January 28: Vivian’s mother Carrie Buck died in a nursing home (sometimes called a “Community Center”).
Thanks to Professor Paul A. Lombardo and many others, including Professor Stephen Jay Gould, for original research. For original source of US Supreme Court majority opinion, see (“imbeciles” comment is the last sentence):