Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cohen, Adam (Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck)

Oh, for heavens sake. This is such an important topic, and unfortunately it's mired down by either the author's and/or the editor's inability to recognize the bizarre repetitive nature of the writing. It makes reading this quite a slog. (Or very easy if you like skimming.)

So, here are the take-aways (seriously, this book could have been an article...):

1. Be extremely wary of our legal system, especially the supreme courts (of our nation and our states). It isn't necessarily going to help the underdog. In fact, time and time again it doesn't do that as a matter of course. Rely on some other system(s) to do that work.

2. Just don't ever use the phrase "feeble-minded". Regardless of the fact that it isn't anywhere near a scientific term, it sounds utterly ridiculous. Even "imbecile" and "moron" are better than that.

3. We helped the Nazis because of our nation's pro-eugenic stance. I think that's enough said about that.

4. Oliver Wendell Holmes is not the man you thought he was. He imbued the essence of judicial passivity, so you can figure it out from there.

5. And, lastly, so that you leave feeling worse than when you started this review, the original law allowing sterilization of "feeble-minded" people is still on the Supreme Court rolls. Meaning, someone could actually use it in this day and age. And you all know what this age is turning into, so beware.

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