John Holdren Remains Unashamed About Hero-Worship of Eugenicist
Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren is back in the news again. Over the last week, bloggers and pundits have continued trying to decipher Holdren’s latest euphemism for global warming, “global climate disruption”:
Global warming could be a thing of the past, thanks to the Barack Obama administration.
No, the White House has not single-handedly managed to stop the apparent rising temperature — but it does think the terminology oversimplifies the problem.
According to U.S. science adviser John Holdren, the public should start using the phrase ‘global climate disruption’ because it makes the situation sound more dangerous.
What’s that got to do with eugenics? Nothing directly. The connection comes from my shock that Holdren still walks around proudly declaiming his views, even after my essay from last year exposing Holdren’s close ideological connection to a notorious eugenicist:
John Holdren and Harrison Brown
Lifelong intellectual infatuation with eugenics-minded futurist casts shadow over Science Czar Holdren’s worldview
John Holdren, the Science Czar of the United States, has long expressed an intense admiration — one that bordered on hero-worship — of a man named Harrison Brown, a respected scientist from an earlier generation who spent his later years writing about overpopulation and ecological destruction. In fact, as Holdren has pointed out several times (including very recently), it was Harrison Brown’s most famous book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, which transformed the young Holdren’s personal philosophy and which inspired him to later embark on a career in science and population policy which in many ways mirrored that of his idol Brown.
Holdren’s regard for Brown was so high that in 1986 he edited and co-wrote an homage to Brown entitled Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown, in which Holdren showers Brown with accolades and unrestrained applause.
At first glance, there’s nothing remarkable or amiss with this picture: one respected scientist giving credit to and paying tribute to another. Happens all the time. Except in this case, something is amiss. Grievously amiss. Because Harrison Brown, whatever good qualities Holdren might have seen in him, was also an unapologetic eugenicist who made horrifying recommendations for “sterilizing the feeble-minded” and other “unfit” substandard humans whom he thought should be “pruned from society.”
You might think that these opinions would disqualify Brown as someone deserving praise in the modern world; but not to John Holdren, it seems — perhaps because Brown’s views (as Holdren himself has stated many times) were the basis of Holdren’s own worldview.
Skim the whole essay for the stomach-churning details. A sampling, with quotes from both Brown and Holdren:
“The feeble-minded, the morons, the dull and backward, and the lower-than-average persons in our society are outbreeding the superior ones at the present time. … Is there anything that can be done to prevent the long-range degeneration of human stock? Unfortunately, at the present time there is little, other than to prevent breeding in persons who present glaring deficiencies clearly dangerous to society and which are known to be of a hereditary nature. Thus we could sterilize or in other ways discourage the mating of the feeble-minded. We could go further and systematically attempt to prune from society, by prohibiting them from breeding, persons suffering from serious inheritable forms of physical defects, such as congenital deafness, dumbness, blindness, or absence of limbs. … A broad eugenics program would have to be formulated which would aid in the establishment of policies that would encourage able and healthy persons to have several offspring and discourage the unfit from breeding at excessive rates.”
— Harrison Brown, in The Challenge of Man’s Future
“Harrison Brown’s most remarkable book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, was published more than three decades ago. By the time I read it as a high school student a few years later, the book had been widely acclaimed…. The Challenge of Man’s Future pulled these interests together for me in a way that transformed my thinking about the world and about the sort of career I wanted to pursue. I have always suspected that I am not the only member of my generation whose aspirations and subsequent career were changed by this book of Harrison Brown’s…. As a demonstration of the power of (and necessity for) an interdisciplinary approach to global problems, the book was a tour de force…. Thirty years after Harrison Brown elaborated these positions, it remains difficult to improve on them as a coherent depiction of the perils and challenges we face. Brown’s accomplishment in writing The Challenge of Man’s Future, of course, was not simply the construction of this sweeping schema for understanding the human predicament; more remarkable was (and is) the combination of logic, thoroughness, clarity, and force with which he marshalled data and argumentation on every element of the problem and on their interconnections. It is a book, in short, that should have reshaped permanently the perceptions of all serious analysts….”
— John Holdren, in Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown
This man remains the Science Czar of the United States, appointed by Obama. My previous exposés of Holdren (the whole “forced abortions and mass sterilization” thing) were so widely linked that they entered the mainstream consciousness; but to my mind this lesser-known eugenics-related scandal — the connection between Holdren and Harrison Brown — is even more shocking. And yet he blithely jets around the world as a representative of the United States, as if none of this had ever been revealed.