Redefining Eugenics

I recently quoted Glenn Beck in providing one example of the anti-science right using eugenics to disparage science. This has been a common meme from the right wing noise machine. Apparently their logic is that a few scientists advocated eugenics in the distant past, and therefore liberals who quote science when discussing evolution or climate change are planning a secret eugenics program. Kevin Drum also questioned Beck’s reference to eugenics.

Russ Douthat responds to Kevin Drum by arguing that conservatives have been talking about eugenics for a long time–as if holding a fallacious belief for a long time is somehow superior to recently developing a fallacious belief. Douthat’s response comes down to redefining support for abortion rights (or unfettered right to abortion as Douthat erroneously calls it) as being “pre-natal eugenics.”

Abortion rights is a totally different debate. Regardless of the merits of that argument, abortion and eugenics are two different things. Maybe the opponents of abortion rights found that they were sounding too shrill and unconvincing with their cries of “baby killers” and are looking for a new word. This is just another example of the Frank Luntz school of trying to win arguments based upon the words you use as opposed to the merits of the argument.

Be Sociable, Share!

No Comments

2 Trackbacks

Leave a comment