SCIENCE….Yesterday I was scratching my chin over the accusation that a “new eugenics” had begun to rear its ugly head among modern progressives. Where had that come from, I wondered. Today, via Matt, I see that Rick Perlstein has shed some light on this question. Here’s Glenn Beck at the end of a weird rant about the monstrousness of Al Gore’s fight against global warming:
Then [i.e., in the 20s and 30s] you get the scientists — eugenics. You get the scientists — global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, ‘That’s not right.’ And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did.
So that’s the deal. A few old-time progressives touted eugenics as a “scientific” approach to improving human nature back in the early 20th century, and modern-day progressives tout “science” as evidence that global warming is real in the early 21st century. Our reliance on science, then, basically means that we’re pining away for the days of legalized racism. Gotcha.
Now, here’s the thing: Glenn Beck, Yuval Levin, and Ross Douthat didn’t come up with this stuff themselves. But it didn’t just pop up out of nowhere either. It’s way too abstruse for that. Rather, some bright boy or girl in the conservative movement dreamed this up and now it’s being run up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes. If it gets some attention, it’ll be rolled out to a wider audience.
So whose bright idea was this? Is there a proud parent out there who wants to take credit?
UPDATE: By the way, I should note that this new meme apparently replaces the old meme, namely that liberals aren’t any more dedicated to science than conservatives, they just have different blind spots. Oddly, one of the pieces of evidence for the old meme was liberal antipathy toward evolutionary psychology (aka sociobiology) and our concomitant unwillingness to accept the vast scientific evidence showing that IQ is primarily controlled by genetics. In other words, our supposedly irrational anti-eugenics stand.
Well, whatever. Consistency has never been a strong point among movement conservatives. If X doesn’t work, try not-X!
UPDATE 2: Ah. A friend emails to say that Jonah Goldberg’s new book, Liberal Fascism, links progressivism and eugenics. Of course it does. And various folks are probably just starting to get their advance reading copies. So this will soon be the topic du jour in conservative circles.
My heart leaps with joy at the thought.