North Carolina Will Give Victims of Involuntary Sterlization $50,000 in Comp.


How do you close out a disgusting chapter in the history of eugenics? If you're the state of North Carolina, by taking forever to cough up token compensation of $50,000 per victim.

From an AP account:

State officials sterilized more than 7,600 people in North Carolina from 1929 to 1974 under eugenics programs, which at the time were aimed at creating what was seen as a better society by weeding out people such as criminals and mentally disabled people considered undesirable.

North Carolina was not the only state to engage in the practice. But it was different because it ramped up sterilizations after World War II despite associations between eugenics and Nazi Germany. About 70 percent of all North Carolina's sterilizations were performed after the war, peaking in the 1950s, according to state records. The state officially ended the program in 1977.

A task force report last year said 1,500 to 2,000 of those victims were still alive, and the state has verified 72 victims.

More here.

The Winston-Salem Journal has put together a stunning series on the program. Go to it here.

Always worth remembering: Oliver Wendell Holmes' chilling statement in Buck v. Bell, the 1927 Supreme Court case upholding such programs:

"The public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives," wrote Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes for the majority in that case, Buck v. Bell. "It would be strange indeed if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices…in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence….Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Also worth remembering: Holmes' bon mot that "taxes are the price we pay for civilization."

A 1997 piece by yours truly discussing how the two are sentiments are linked.

Reason on eugenics, which is always done for "the right reasons" and according to the "best science" available.


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  1. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”


    1. Sounds perfectly justified.

    2. Idiocracy really should have been dedicated to Holmes, perhaps with an “if only we had listened”.

  2. Will the compensation go to the children of the victims who have already died?

    1. Uhhh…? Would they have had children?

        1. cleverness aside, were the victims prohibited from adopting?

          1. One would expect so if they are labeled as criminals or mentally handicapped.

            1. so just foster parenting then.

    2. Some were sterilized before they ever had any kids, others were sterilized after they had kids.

      1. “I just want it to be over,” said 57-year-old Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized when she was 14 after she gave birth to a son who was the product of rape. “You can’t change anything. You just let go and let God.”

        1. That’s fuckin horrible.

          Hey, are any of people responsible still alive? Maybe their asses belong in prison?

          1. Do they have tar and feathers in prison? I was not aware.

            1. Do they draw and quarter in prison anymore?

      2. “…others were sterilized after they had kids”

        Kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

        1. The general pattern was that a retarded “girl” would get pregnant for the first time and then as part of the delivery and childbirth she’d be sterilized.

          This didn’t completely prevent these people from reproducing, but certainly limited it.

          This is in no way an apology or justification for this.

      3. Also, many of the sterilizations were voluntary. Many of the women wanted to stop having more kids, but this was before the birth control pill. Sterilization was the best option available at the time. They couldn’t afford the operation, so there was a conspiracy to pretend they qualified for forced sterilization, paid for by the government.

        This notably happened in Mecklenburg County, under the leadership of Wallace Kuralt, father of famous journalist Charles Kuralt.

  3. Holy hell, the program made it all the way to the 70’s? That’s amazing.

    I blame Mendel.

    1. I think it actually made it all the way to the 80’s, with the last forced sterilization being performed in Oregon in 1981.


    2. Yes. Then abortion was legalized. Remember, the eugenics program in Nazi Germany began with abortion. Then came justification of murdering the ‘feebleminded’, then bedwetters, those with misshapen ears, mentally retarded – all those folks deemed undesirable. Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s foundress, enthusiastically supported eugenics, and called blacks and other undesirables “human weeds.”

  4. Sooo…why is my tax money paying to compensate for crimes committed before I was born?

    To make some politician look good, maybe?

    1. It’s a Christian thing — sin, and by extension, evil, is inherited.
      No, you don’t get to be forgiven.

      no hugs for thugs,
      Shirley Knott

    2. WTF, Sandy? It doesn’t matter when YOU were born. If there are any living persons who were sterilized under this program, they deserve compensation. No, this isn’t “fair” to you; but it’s much less “fair to them.”

      In an ideal world, they’d be able to recover from the individuals who did this to them, or who administered programs which are clearly unconstitutional. This is not an ideal world.

      1. I know it’s cliche to say, but life isn’t fair. Making it more unfair to me, who has done nothing wrong, to make it less unfair to others is the same logic that drives things like welfare programs. Which I also don’t support.

        Share the unfairness, share the wealth.

        1. Dear Ms. Elaine Riddick,
          We regret to inform you that, although we had agreed to compensate you for committing a horrible, unconstitutional act against you when you were a minor, it turns out someone named ‘Sandy’ has been born since that time. Sandy advises us that “life isn’t fair,” which (s)he acknowledges is a cliche. Anyhow, at least you got to pop one out before we got to you! Best of luck!
          Gestapo Apologist

          P.S. The money we would have paid you can now help us keep the State Eugenics History Museum open for another year!

          1. I feel like that’s the same kind of blatant emotional appeal that they use to justify a lot of other wasteful programs that punish the innocent in order to make life “more fair”.

            Share the wealth! It’s only fair.

            The solution to the government screwing people is not the government screwing other people in order to apologize.

            NC estimates, on the high end, that there are 2,000 survivors? That’s a hundred million dollars. To take out of the taxpaying populace of a single state. In this economy. To make up for something they didn’t do, didn’t ask for, and in at least many cases weren’t there for or don’t remember.

            1. Uh, no Sandy.

              See, these people were victims of state violence. They were wronged by the state, and it’s now up to the state to compensate them.

              Welfare is demanding something for nothing. See the difference?

              How is this a “wasteful” program? Liberty has no value, eh?

              1. “The state” doesn’t pay for it, the taxpayers (who did not do it) pay for it.

                I believe it’s wrong to be held responsible for compensating for a crime I was not involved in. If a store is robbed, is it the responsibility of all the customers in the store to pay up to cover the costs of the stolen merchandise?

                You can’t rob others to pay for a robbery, and you can’t tax others to pay for state violence.

                1. I’m a simpering, self-absorbed schoolgirl. I expect absolute moral perfection in a demonstrably imperfect world.

                  Also, Derp.

                2. Well Sandy, you and the other fine citizens of your state could track down any living people who ran these programs, heck maybe even their descendants – and beat the money out of them. How does that strike you?

          2. Brilliant, just brilliant.

      2. Fuck this. I wholeheartedly support a program of restitution taken from the estates of the fuckers who ran this shit, not those of us that could not have fought against it because we weren’t fucking born yet. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but hanging the asswipes makes everyone feel better!

        1. Now, see, going after the people involved in this program is totally an idea I support.

        2. This, too. Yes, it would be unfair to the descendants and heirs of the perps, but in a truly just world those people would have never inherited anything from the perps.

        3. Im fine with expanding it to anyone who was of voting age in NC during that period.

          1. Even if they voted against it?

            1. Elections have consquences?

      3. Except that, according to SCOTUS in Buck v Bell, forced sterilization is not unconstitutional.

        Everyone’s favorite Progressive, Justice Holmes:

        It seems to be contended that in no circumstances could such an order [of forced sterilization] be justified. It certainly is contended that the order cannot be justified upon the existing grounds. The judgment finds the facts that have been recited and that Carrie Buck ‘is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization,’ and thereupon makes the order. In view of the general declarations of the Legislature and the specific findings of the Court obviously we cannot say as matter of law that the grounds do not exist, and if they exist they justify the result. We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. 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. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

        Collectivist ideology is fucking sick.

  5. The government is a continuing entity, and so is the state or country over which the government presides.

    Strictly, then, people could demand recompense for any crime committed by the government long after the offense took place.

    But in practice, there’s usually a political “statute of limitations” – varying by the situation.

    The internment of Japanese-Americans got an apology and compensation 43 years after it ended. In comparison, the eugenics program ended around 35 years ago.

    These apologies have a useful purpose for the present generation, because they reduce the chances of something similar happening again.

    1. Anyone under 18 in 1977 should be off the damn hook since they had no recourse as part of the Government of The People to stop such atrocities.

  6. As a North Carolinian this is fascinating to me. The mountain counties (where I am from) have always been in many ways estranged from the rest of the state and this region has suffered from that in a number of ways, but it now looks a lot like a blessing. As near as I can tell from skimming the W-S Journal’s report most of this occurred in the Piedmont and Coastal Plains. The taint that institutions like the Bowman Gray school of medicine and the Democratic party should carry from this should stain them forever.

    1. If you don’t mind my asking, where are you exactly? I’m right over in Jackson County.

      1. Morganton, but my family is all from Mitchell County.

        1. I’m going to school in Cullowhee, but I love the area so much I intend to stick around. It’s a damn sight better than the DC metro area, and not as hot as the coast of Florida…

    2. Look up Wallace Kuralt’s involvement in Mecklenburg County. This has been sold locally as the only form of effective birth control that poor women could get at that time, and there are some indications that this was frequently the case. For example, in Mecklenburg County the number of sterilizations dropped steeply immediately after the birth control pill became available. However, this was not universal, and not so common in other counties.

  7. Was this an elected position? I can only imagine what campaign ads were like.

    “Some people say they’re tough on crime, but I will literally cut the balls off of horse thieves and check-bouncers.”

    1. Thank science I didn’t have any coffee in my mouth when I read that.

  8. I’m wondering when progressives will finally get around to disavowing their progressive past.

    1. Nah, there probably say that this was a libertarian utopian idea. Kind like rape, murder, and Somalia.

      1. The quasi-official history of the NC eugenics program does this. There were evil conservative eugenicists – and good progressive eugenicists who were sometimes forced to work with the evil conservative eugenicists.

        Non-falsifiability is a great racket.

      2. What pisses me off so much about the somalia argument is just how astoundingly, provably wrong, incorrect, it is.

        Armed warlords enforcing Sharia law has NOTHING to do with libertarianism.

  9. Does anyone really doubt that if not for all the bad press stirred up by that Hitler guy, we would still have Eugenics departments here in the US?
    Margaret Sanger’s dream might be a lot closer to reality and Government sponsored Planned Parenthood Eugenics clinics would be available in every city.

    Leave it to one crazy vegitarian artist type to ruin everything…

    1. …the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. People need to exercise their rights more often.

  10. A couple fewer NASCAR fans, I don’t see the problem.

  11. re may call upon the best citizens http://www.vendreshox.com/nike-shox-r6-c-11.html for their lives,” wrote Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes for the majority in that case, Buck v. Bell. “It would be strange indeed if it could n

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