Beyond the Cusp

July 1, 2015

When Our Traditions All Fall and Fail Us

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Shared traditions and agreement on common goals are the glue which holds societies together. Without these familiar items as the glue there is no need to fear threats from without as the society eventually will tear itself apart from the inside. You want a current example of such a society all one need do is look to the Middle East and pick a nation which is crumbling and intertwined in a destructive civil conflict and you have your example. Syria is all too obvious as Bashir al-Assad had a view of his Alawite minority should be defended by the Druze militias acting as his personal army and all the aid he needed from Iran in arms and even soldiers as things began to go wrong. Bashir al-Assad’s father held the nation together with the glue of fear of his wrath while the son is nowhere near the fearsome leader imbuing strength and competence like his father and before one knew it he was challenged and failed. When an iron fist and the fear of it visiting your little corner of the world is all your nation has holding it together, then you better be ready to use it and use it without mercy or else you are doomed. Such nations are destined to fail from the outset as sooner or later one falls victim to the el-Duce syndrome where the people revolt against your leadership as soon as your power comes into question even if it was your alliance with one megalomaniac that collapses and the next thing you know you are strung up in the town square for a week or so. When the Soviet Union began its surprisingly rapid crumbling from the inside, a friend asked if this was real and if it was, what would be the sign to look for that would signal it was irreversible. As for if it was real, let us say I was as in shock as the next person. As for the sign signaling this truly was the end, that was the easy part so that is what I tackled using that to hedge my answer on belief. I simply told him that I would believe this was the end when Nicolae Ceaușescu fell in Rumania, and sure enough he was the last of the leaders to fall and he fell almost as hard as the European Axis leaders at the end of World War II. The other modern day examples of such failures are Saddam Hussein’s Iraq where the three main societies within have each gone their own way whether by choice, the Kurds in the north, by default, the Shia who hold the power of the governance now, and those who lost outright, the Sunni who are now caught between two enslavers, the Shia government of Iraq and the murderous hordes that are ISIS and they have nowhere to turn as neither the Kurds nor the Shia have any love left for them as they were seen as the cruel oppressors who benefitted from Saddam Hussein’s rule and are now collecting the payment for his sins. Libya is the final example where without a strong leader or the perception of such the entire society reverted back to tribal divisions and will remain each tribe to themselves against the other tribes forming and breaking alliances as it fits them without any possibility of reinstituting a central government which has reach more than twelve blocks in any direction from central Tripoli. There are even those who blame the collapse of the Roman Empire on their failure to incorporate Roman culture, rules and societal structures on those they had conquered at the fringes of their empire which eventually led to the downfall which is a concept with a share of its validity.

 

If such failure of the Roman Empire came from the fraying at its edges of the application of a singular set of societal norms, then we are today witnessing the death throes of the United States as their common heritage and societal norms are currently under assault in the courts where laws are being fortified in defiance of the traditional culture ripping things apart in such a manner as to make the separate, even disparate, parts of the society unglued from each other which may lead to the collapse of that society. The latest and possibly second most destructive tear just was handed down by the Supreme Court with their universal acceptance of same-sex marriage as the law of the land. The real culprit which will eventually topple the United States and potentially all of Western society is multiculturalism which stands that one must honor all others and their customs and no universal set of shared standards can be allowed to stand unassailable by the many and varied lesser cultures within the society. There was a time not that long ago where gun ownership was near universal in the United States and now in most of the major cities gun ownership is not only shunned but illegal which has led to rampant crime as now the criminals do not need a firearm to make them equal to any victim they choose as all they need is two other fellow miscreants to forcibly take anybody’s money by force of numbers, though there are those who prefer not sharing who simply use a weapon, not even necessarily a gun. Then there are those cultures which are forced into remission and made to hide their identity or to regress into enclaves where their numbers provide protection. The day is coming and coming rapidly to the United States shores and is awash over Europe which is pushing the Jews out of society despite the Jews having mostly adopted what was sold to them as the societal norms. The Jews have been consistently seen to be on the leading edge of every trend which came along and was considered enlightened. They were among those marching for civil rights for blacks in the fifties and sixties and have remained supporters of equality of the races through to the current times. They have been at the forefront of the march for gay acceptance and even same-sex marriage. Now that the Jews are the ones being shunned from the college campuses, and trust that which enthralls the masses in the colleges today will be the mainstays of the society ten to twenty years hence; there are already signs that there is sufficient an undercurrent in American subcultures which already hold anti-Semitic feelings which are now slowly emerging from what many would claim were the same centers from which Jew hatreds grew in Europe in the rise of the Nazis. One of the things people seem to forget was the rise of the Nazis had two epicenters and the college campuses were just as important if not more so than the reemergence amongst the rest of the areas blamed for this resurgence of Jew hatred as the ideological leaders more often came from the ivory halls of academia which was also one of the first places that the Jews were banned, from either attending or teaching in the universities. How much longer before such purges strike Western nations’ colleges and universities. It already happens on many campuses for a period every year during the heights of Israel Apartheid Week or during pro-Palestinian celebrations which have started to resemble the pogroms of Russia and the Inquisitions and other cleansings in Europe where the Jews were singled out for exclusion from the society often simply by their being expelled with only the possessions they had packed in a suitcase or two readied ahead of the pitchforks and angry mobs wielding them and other times by simply removing them permanently often burning them at the stake and other methods the crown would demand during their frenzied assault on the other, the Jew.

 

When that befalls western culture once again it will have started in the exact same place but with a slightly different target, the unfitness of the unborn. The undertaking has traditionally been referred to as Eugenics Movement. The idea of eugenics reaches back at least as far as Plato who called for the formation of a guardian race of selective breeding of those who were of superior mind and body, the mating of the cream of humanity to produce a master race. Sound familiar? Francis Galton, the half-cousin Charles Darwin, had taken his relative’s work on evolution and the survival of the fittest and applied it to be used within the human populations to breed the perfect human being and for the removal of those who were inferior. He coined the word Eugenics and eventually it became a course of study in the universities leading to a movement started around a core of its most ardent and adamant proponents and the rest is history. What is less well known is that the forefront of the Eugenics movement formed in the United States and its acceptance was so universal that it was from the United States that the most strident proponents of eugenics emerged. Such names at the front in founding the eugenics movement in their day and up to today are the poet Carl Sandburg, the aviator Charles Lindbergh, the mother of Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger, the Perfect Human Society and an interesting proponent in current times, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel who was instrumental in the drafting of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare. People might be shocked to be informed that Planned Parenthood has not always been the equal provider of alternatives for those who either desire preventive methods to avoid pregnancies or alternatives to carrying, their terms to birth of the child, a fetal mass to its conclusive child bearing as it would cause the mother undue mental stresses and interfere directly with their pursuits in life, it originally was used to sterilize those seen as unfit to have children thus forcing a eugenics program which was, as it is today, centered in minority neighborhoods. Providing you desire to seek the reality that is Planned Parenthood all one need to do is to research Margaret Sanger and her relationship with what we would today refer to as black genocide, it is not a pretty picture. There comes now another eugenics styled movement and this time the target will be traditions, the very traditions which were the glue of Western culture and society for the last two millennia.

 

The scissors that cut the pages into confetti will be forged by multiculturalism where no culture is to be preferred because we are blinding ourselves to such observations and the axe which will sever the binding making the job of the scissors even easier will be the axe taken to the Judeo-Christian culture and in particular to cut the binding of that book which professes that there are such things as good and evil, there is such a concept as right and wrong, that a life lived with proper restraints is life to be pursued, the book that once graced nearly every house and every hotel room across the United States and now a book scorned as old, out of fashion and obsolete, but the Bible is that book which we could learn where our new follies will lead, they will lead to the same place they have always led, ruination and the destruction of all that made the Western World strong. Choosing to lose ourselves in a culture of any culture of the moment is the culture we desire to raise up, but we cannot raise up debauchery and the damnation of human life as equal to the pursuit of a good life spent rejoicing in the gift that life provides and not seeking some manner of faith which demands of us surrender or die, such is a choice without a choice. We need return to our former ideals which permit those whose cultures differ to continue such practice in their private times and spaces such as their homes and houses of worship, but also we demanded they accept our cultural rules when in public. The Western culture allowed for certain irregularities such as special religious clothing being worn in public and even providing areas for prayer permitting such did not interfere with the performance of one’s job and was committed off the clock and on the individual’s own time as the whole cannot be forced to pay them for their private time spent praying and not producing things of mutual gain as that is what working at a job is, producing things for mutual gains, a cooperative effort and a central pillar of our traditional society.

 

Schools were a place where we learned about our mutual culture and were able to master those basic tenets which supported the society, and where we learned how to think and not so much exactly what to think though guidelines were imposed and what was out of bounds was ingrained. We even learned to cooperate through sports where we also learned the easy joys of winning and even more importantly how to cope with losing and thus with failure. The best amongst us learned that failure was not the end but rather a stop where we reassessed our priorities and assumptions making changes where we found things in error or lacking altogether and then proceeded on towards our ultimate goal. Further we learned, were we that fortunate, lucky even, that failures come in the thousands and that success comes only to those willing to fail and fail repeatedly and learning from each failure where we diverted from our goals and how to get back on track. Are there ideas whose failure is guaranteed and where one can never fully achieve the goal? Yes. We can never make a machine which is 100% efficient as in all things there is that degree of wasted effort, effort which does not contribute to the completion and realization of the goal. In a machine that goal is the product such as a generator making electricity; we use water, steam, explosive fuels all to drive the generator to make electricity but there are losses to friction and pushing the generator against the resistive magnetic forces induced in the coils which does not directly produce the electricity but which must be overcome. The same is true in life. Sleep is something our bodies must submit to or we will eventually collapse and possibly die. Still, it is sometimes in our dreams that the spark bursts forth solving some vexing problem which assists the project to completion. Such is an exception and even that spark was not the only dream we enjoyed or endured, and there were the periods of sleep which were used as a dedicated means of repairing and preparing the body for the next day. Another item which obviously diverts us from achieving goals but may be necessary in order to reach our goals are the failures along the way. Lessor peoples will allow failures to prevent them from trying and just surrender to their failures. That is not an intricate part of our society until recently when we found ways of rewarding those who become mired in failure.

 

Another casualty in our modern society is the loosening of the moral structure. In the lives of the vast majority of the population, and to a limited extent to all of the population not restricted to an asylum (do we even have asylums any longer to care for the elderly and the comatose?) as we all wear clothing though some wear far less than others; we all eat and sleep as nature insists on these; and we all live and let live because if large segments of the society, and it need not be more than ten to twenty percent of a society, take to being belligerent and resorting to murdering those who they fear or refuse to submit; then the society will fracture and it will soon become a free-for-all with every faction against the rest; see Libya, Syria or Iraq for current examples. What many do not realize is this is rapidly becoming the definition of Western culture. The society of the Western World has become unmoored and without an anchor with which to tie off and provide immovability, permanence and the Western World has rapidly been cranking the centerboard retrieving it from below the boat allowing the winds to blow us as they may while our ability to steer the boat has failed without the centerboard. That centerboard was western Judeo-Christian ethics and the anchor was the ideal of hard work will produce and provide for one and one’s family and charity would take care of the few who for reasons often beyond their control are unable to find a place within our society. We did not used to change our society such that everybody’s quirks or the beliefs of those coming to our shores being used as a cudgel with which to beat and force us to alter our religious and social structures which we have held dear fashioning our societal norms around and have worked just fine for us and is tried and true. Therein lies the current problem, we in the West have doubted our own culture while allowing another culture whose adherents have little doubt that it is superior to all the Western World has ever known and that the Western World must be cowed and beaten into submission, and that is termed our surrendering to Allah. Do not mistake Allah for the same as G0d in our Judeo-Christian society as Hashem does not demand surrender but instead reason, trust and faith. The easiest manner to present a difference is to look at the lineage of belief. In Judeo-Christian ethics the line of faith flows through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob while Islam and Allah follow the lineage of belief through Abraham, Ishmael and Mohammad. Perhaps this is as good a place to stop before I get into deeper troubles and this is way more sufficient amount to chew of for one day. With any luck I’ll get into this stranger side of my reasoning after a decent period of rest. Thank you all for reading this far and may your life be blessed only with those failings which aid you in your journeys and make you a stronger and better you, even if others spend some time confused at what you are trying to say, and boy have I spent time on that bus.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 16, 2015

Anti-Semitism Rising Yet It Can’t Happen Here

 

Any sane person, one might think, would not doubt that anti-Semitism is rising in the four corners of the globe. While that is true, each admission of that carries an additional modifier. That modifier is the exact same modifier used by Jews everywhere from the beginning of Judaism as a major religion, “It can’t happen here.” Now, that modifier always has some accompanying rationalizations such as the following: We Jews are an intricate part of the society; we are accepted in society; we are seen as judges, lawyers, businesspeople, and are even elected to positions in government; we Jews are accepted and assimilated; and my favorite, this isn’t Nazi Germany, this is America. There is one item from the previous which has always puzzled me, how it is such an intelligent people, as Jews presumably are, can misunderstand that their being assimilated does not infer automatically that the population has assimilated them into the whole. There are other qualifiers and whatever one you can dream up is probably used by some Jews somewhere. What is really ridiculous is when there are leaders of Jewish society, the central pillar around which the community seeks wisdom and guidance, the Rabbis who when asked, “Should not the Jews leave here and seek someplace less threatening to live?” They answer, “No, of course not. Why would you suggest that? This has been our home and the homes of our families for generations. We have a lot invested in this community.” And my favorite and usually their final rationalization, “The authorities have promised to help us and keep the peace and guard against any further anti-Semitism.” Do not get me wrong, they honestly feel that these rationalizations are completely valid and hold water. They refuse to see that the actual realities have struck holes in their every argument.

 

Things in Europe are at the worse and mostly beyond the cusp range of realities; so I will stick with the queries and responses we received when we began telling the other members of the congregation with whom we had a familiar friendship. First allow me to point out that those with whom we still converse online and the Rabbi all supported our making Aliyah and gave it their blessings if not their desire that it be they who were going to live in Eretz Yisroel. But the others gave responses such as, “Why would you want to go there? You are leaving the United States? But things are so much more civil here. Aren’t you worried about the terrorism? And our favorite, you will be returning here within a year once you see what it is like in Israel. I’ve been there and I know. Those naysayers were wrong. We’ve been here well over a year and are loving it. I, myself, have never felt more comfortable and accepted as I have here and can only imagine how much more so once we have mastered Hebrew, at least master enough to, through spits and starts, get through an entire thought.

 

That little anecdotal trip down memory lane was to point out we have seen this attitude play itself out in our own experience. Of course, as mentioned, our friends all expressed their longing to make Aliyah and come to Israel and many expected to do so in the near future, but time will tell on that. Getting to make Aliyah as a Jew is no longer you show up and announce that you are Jewish, kiss the ground, and be granted immediate citizenship. The paperwork we filled out made a pile almost rivaling the stuff we brought with us. OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Still, the process for us was a little complicated and took over two years to complete and during that time it had its many ups, downs and why would they need to know this questions. Eventually we completed the process and many of the items we were puzzled why they were necessary proved not to be required but was stuff they gathered for statistical reasons. OK, so you were collecting mega-data, why didn’t you just say so, we’ve heard about Edward Snowden, we would have understood, honest.

 

Our making Aliyah had to do with a young nine year old boy promising himself, the worst promise you can make because it requires you to either complete the promise or let yourself down, that when the time came and all things in America were fulfilled he would retire in Israel, something the wiffie really might have preferred knowing about before we got married, but she already knew I was a bit strange, right, quite strange, well, if you insist, beyond the cusp strange! There, I’ve admitted it, happy? Still, it may have been the most advantageous thing we ever did as it changed our lives for the better and really opened up our lives much as a rose stretches out its petal to greet the morning sun and drink up the warmth and the blessed energy G0d has seen in His wisdom to provide for that rose bud so tightly shuttered to awaken stretching out revealing its beauty and spreading its fragrance for all to inhale and exclaim that this is a beautiful day. That is how we awaken here most mornings.

 

Back to the subject which is as horrific and threatening as our returning home to Eretz Yisroel was rewarding and enriching. The news we read about places in Europe such as Malmo, London, Toulouse, and numerous other places are horrific and makes us feel for those Jews residing amongst such hatreds it amazes us that they don’t simply pick up their lives and come to Israel. Surprisingly, even including all the terrorism within the Green Line in Israel, you are still safer in Israel than you are from crime in the United States or Europe, surprising but true. Yet not only do these people continue to live in places where their lives are under threat both day and night, but their Rabbis all tell them it is the Jewish thing to do to remain in defiance to the threats. Where in all that is holy is that written? Looking back over the past year or so in the United States, pulling solely from news stories, I am able to remember we have had some horrific acts of anti-Semitism. There was the Rabbi visiting family in Florida walking to synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood who was approached by two youths, at least younger adults if not teens, a brief exchange of words, the sound of gunfire and the two youths walked away calmly leaving the Rabbi sprawled out dead on the pavement. The Florida local police listed this as a robbery gone bad, as if the youths had no realization that religious Jews, which the attire of the Rabbi was obvious, do not carry money or items of wealth on the Sabbath. There have been near countless desecration of Jewish cemeteries or the Jewish section of a cemetery yard throughout the United States and ten times worse in Europe. There have been desecration committed against Holocaust memorials often accompanied by writings on such structures of “Jews to the gas,” “Hitler was right,” “Jews get out,” “Holocaust was a myth,” “We are the new Holocaust” amongst numerous other defamations of this ilk. Then there was a stretch of time where a “game” which became known as the “knockout the Jew” game where a member of a group of youths as they passed somebody sporting Jewish identifying clothing would attempt to one-punch the targeted Jew at a minimum knocking them off their feet or knocking them unconscious, scoring howls and celebratory knuckle tapping in recognition of this person’s singular accomplishment. Eventually this happening caught sufficient attention from the authorities, especially after one elderly man died from his wounds from striking his head on a curb after being struck as part of this fun game. There have been defiling of synagogues with such an event just this past week in Gaithersburg, Maryland. which is located in Montgomery County. which is heavily Jewish with a percentage of eighteen and two-tenths. That is actually a very impressive percentage when one figures in the percentage of people in the world who are Jews, a whopping two-one hundredths of one percent, for those who might be having difficulty with realizing how small a percentage that is, allow me to reference it in other ways, 0.02% which mathematically comes out to 0.0002 Jews per unit of population, one would require counting out a section of any random grouping of people from around the world a staggering five-thousand people in order to have relative assurance that there would be a single Jew in the group. Perhaps placing a bit of writing that Mark Twain once wrote about the Jewish people will be far more impressive than anything I could ever imagine up, so the rest is from Mark Twain’s essay “All Things are Mortal but the Jew”* also referred to as “The Eternal Jew.”

 

If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him.
He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 
* “Concerning The Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899
The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Doubleday [1963] pg. 249

September 28, 2014

I Will Not Report for Carousel in Twelve Years

 

In the movie Logan’s Run, a not so fantastic or well-acted and produced movie released in 1976, related some of the problems and attempted to blast holes in theories which approve of eugenics, especially those which call for the elderly to be terminated simply because of their age and the potential to no longer being able to contribute more to society than they cost. In Logan’s Run the age at which you were determined to be beyond your use-by-date was thirty, obviously chosen for the fact it was so ridiculous and possibly because that is also around the age where youth ends and the rest is a fight to avoid the decays caused by age. A recent article by Victor Davis Hanson at TownHall.com, “Old and In the Way?”, related about an article by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argued that living to be seventy-five years old was long enough. I have decided to give Dr. Emanuel’s thoughts the nickname of Zeke’s Run because I can.

 

In the world of Zeke’s Run people do not necessarily have to report at age seventy-five to their nearest disintegration chamber or join that month’s Carousel celebration wearing their ceremonial white toga, because a black shroud would not have played as well cinematographically, and float up in the hopes of being regenerated and thus float back to the ground and live for another ten or so years before being called to Carousel by the stone in the palm of your hand turning black, but they would be encouraged to refuse any further life extending treatments including things as mundane as flu shots, I am unsure if Band-Aids would be permissible, as they had lived long enough. Dr. Emanuel, the brother of former Obama Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and chief architect of Obamacare, gave as the reason he will likely take such drastic actions when he attains age seventy-five was because, as he was quoted in the article, “I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, seventy-five is a pretty good age to aim to stop.” Where making such a decision for himself is absolutely fine, and possibly wonderful because who knows what other brilliant forms of eugenics he might discover past age seventy-five, he may watch the movie Logan’s Run and seek out the President of that era and demand that the national healthcare system he designed was flawed and that a celebratory event should be held for those upon their turning thirty called Carousel and show the sitting President the applicable portions of Logan’s Run leaving out the final and most poignant scenes at the end of the movie with aging star Peter Ustinov. The curiosity he generated in the inhabitants inside the City of Domes for whom living beyond thirty was unheard of, let alone living to the age which Peter Ustinov was made to appear, was evident in their initial apprehension and then almost celebratory joy they took in examining his peculiarities. Their fascination with the wrinkles on his face and the roughness of his hands amazed them and also blew apart the entire basis for their society as it proved that there was life beyond thirty and Carousel was a hoax perpetrated to keep people controlled. It also proved that life existed outside the domes, another controlling canard which kept order and obedience within their society. Read the book Logan’s Run as it takes little more time to read than it does to watch the movie.

 

Where if any physician were to decide that life beyond a particular age is beyond reasonable expectation and even should one reach such an age question the quality of life and decide for themselves to refuse any further medical treatments, such is their private choice, and I am sure somebody out there would be more than glad to point such out and chastise me for being so critical of Dr. Emanuel. Normally I might agree with such a position but Dr. Emanuel is no ordinary physician and he did not just decide for himself but made the choice public very likely to provoke a discussion of such as policy for everybody. How can I say such a thing? Well, Dr. Emanuel, as noted above, authored and designed much of what is now the healthcare system being incorporated in fits and starts in the United States, is very prominent in the political discussion of what exactly defines a useful, productive and valued life and in defining when a life no longer contributed to the society and thus should be denied medical care beyond the most benign care. He gives speeches and lectures in which he supports eugenics, though I doubt he uses the term as it has such a distasteful reputation for those old enough to remember the eugenics programs started and supported by Dr. Margaret Higgins Sanger, the founder of the organization known today as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and supporter of eugenics programs that were particular to birth control and the aborting of those in society which she claimed were genetically or genealogically inferior, and where such misguided ideas which held the worth of human life to be measurable by criteria which regarded some groups of people as being less worthy than others and thus society would gain by their eradication. Her ideas were well received by many intellectuals in Europe and particularly by one Austrian corporal who rose to prominence after World War I. Dr. Emanuel is very prominent and holds influence in circles in which policies are made and to have a physician who supports eugenics of any nature near the levers of power should frighten any sane individual.

 

Eugenics came into prominence towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century and is often credited with the efforts and writings of Francis Galton, the half-cousin Charles Darwin who wrote extensively on genetics most famously in “Origin of the Species.” There were three gatherings known as International Eugenics Conferences which presented a global venue for eugenics theories which were held the first in 1912 in London and next two in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenics found particular favor in the United States where it was supported by many famous, well known and recognized individuals even outside of the medical fields such as Charles Lindbergh and Carl Sandburg, among others. The study of eugenics received extensive funding from almost every research and other funding institutions, societies and funding groups including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Institute, Harriman railroad fortune as well as John Kellogg who once commented, “As a child I had a dream, a marvelous dream, in which I saw a wild place in the country. Dirty children were pouring down the road. The dream gave me the idea for my lifework…the Sanitarium. Everything here has behind it one ideal: biological living to improve the American race.” Fortunately for many who would have met with the wrong end of any eugenics programs, the horrors of Nazi eugenics programs in which initially the insane were sterilized and the infirm were euthanized and later homosexuals were also euthanized and eventually Roma and Jews were mass euthanized in the concentration camps, eugenics fell out of favor and any idea that mankind could engineer a better, stronger and more perfect human race than trusting such things to G0d and chance lost its appeal, apparently only temporarily.

 

Fortunately there have been a number of articles expressing righteous indignation and inexorable horror at the comments by Dr. Emanuel, but I fear that those of us who felt the stark terror that such an idea should engender are few and older and soon to no longer be heard from, especially if Dr. Emanuel’s concepts should bring eugenics and its evils back to prominence. Part of the reason that the time is approaching where eugenics will make its return into polite society and once again become the recommended panacea for all the ills of society is that nothing once thought ever completely dies off and no matter how evil it may have been proven, in time that stigma is removed by the fog of time and forgotten lessons. It is another axiom of Santayana’s famous admonition which states that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

 

What many might find strange is that there is a story in the Old Testament which could be interpreted to be a warning to beware of those claiming they have a path to perfection if only their idea were applied. It is actually from commentaries on the Torah and the story of the Tower of Babel comparing some of the concepts from that story with the commandment that only unhewn stone when construct in altar to make a sacrifice to the L0rd. The story of the Tower of Babel does not begin with the words; Let us build a tower to the heavens so we can see G0d. The opening command is, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” Rather than continue tediously, let us jump straight to how this applies to eugenics, in my humble opinion (or for those who love texting, IMHO) the Tower of Babel condemned in its way the sins which come from building with bricks where every brick is perfect and constructed to be as solid and perfect a building material possible. Meanwhile, the unhewn stones demanded by G0d for the construction of altars used to sacrifice acceptable by the L0rd are each one difference and completely unique. Where bricks fit together perfectly and in only one manner while unhewn stones may fit together giving more stability in one arrangement over another, there are likely many multiple ways that any group of unhewn stones can be erected in making said altar. Thus, the commentary explains, we are to love all because they are different and not seek uniformity as such pursuit will cheat us of the wonders and beautiful precious things which often come from unexpected places and are only possible by allowing everything to play out as G0d has planned. Further, where bricks can be perfected and are the result of planned and ordered steps laid out in a specific order from particular elements carefully chosen and always the same thus they are produced by a set combination controlled by man and chosen for their purpose by man. Stones, on the other hand, come in varying sizes, shapes and internal materials and are constructed by measures beyond the control of man from different sources, each one producing stones best used for different purposes. Where bricks may be best for the designs of man and make things easier to control and have a basic and consistent manner in their manufacture, much like eugenics has its specific formula for producing offspring which the eugenicists claim will be superior and produce a more homogeneous and superior offspring of human beings. Allowing people freedom to marry and have children in the random and uncontrolled manner of a totally free society, without eugenics pairing people for genetically suspected superior offspring, their offspring will be like the unhewn stones, each one different and constructed with unique genetic combination producing random qualities and abilities and sometimes very unexpected results which the eugenicists would be unable to predict and unlikely to have ever been permitted under the control of the eugenicists.

 

Still, the greatest evil comes when a single question is considered, who gets to decide who may and who may not be permitted to reproduce, who should be forced to marry in order to produce the most desirable results, and in the worst case scenarios, who should be permitted to live and who must be removed from the gene pool. Such decisions could reasonably be considered trying to be a god with the powers of life and death over future generations by controlling the genetic matches in the present. The most simple and straight forward way to depict the evils of eugenics would be to ask yourself a simple pair of questions. First, how many people do you know who would pass the eugenics test of perfection and be allowed to have children for the good of society. Second, how many people do you know whose parents would have been chosen to be permitted to have offspring in order to improve society. I have met some impressive people with off the scale intelligence or physical abilities and met very few whose parents or children would meet the criteria put forth by the eugenicists. May people like Dr. Emanuel not become the arbiters of our futures as their ideas of what constitutes a worthwhile life frighten me to the core and should everybody. Eventually we will all, G0d willing, reach an age where the prevailing opinion of the medical profession will assume that we would require far greater expense on efforts to sustain our lives than we could ever give back to the society as a whole. Those people making these decisions will not be asking your children, grandchildren or, if you are blessed, great-grandchildren if they want the patriarch or matriarch of the family euthanized so there will be more stuff available for them. They probably would not even be old enough to understand that by enough they are talking about food, air, medical provisions and whatever else they care to measure as an undue expense to waste of old geezers and would just find it horrific that somebody wanted to rob them of sharing their next birthday party with Nana or Gumpa and that is all they would really care about after all. Who’s to say that their scale for measuring importance is any more or less valid than that of the eugenicists such as Dr. Emanuel? My vote is with my darling granddaughter and newborn grandson and I trust them far more than any supposed authority, especially if they are advising some red ribbon government panel who get to decide what age we should stop allowing people access to medical treatments beyond the least expensive and which consume the most minimal amount of any physician or other healthcare professional’s time. Oh, wait, Dr. Emanuel already got to make those very recommendations when the initial stages of the Affordable Care Act were first crafted, didn’t he.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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