Re: the term "eugenics"

Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 16:36:42 MDT said:
> Isn't it odd that OUR ideas are classified as 'eugenics' by the state
> and the luddites, when it is their policies that are eugenics in fact?

I'm sorry, I must have expressed myself badly. It isn't the classification
of our ideas that I was saying was a problem, it was the label. You can
talk about the ideas (almost) as much as you want, without running into the
problem I was talking about. If you use the term "eugenics" to label
anything you espouse, you will immediately lose a significant part of your
audience. If you feel the term is more important than the audience, then I
won't try to keep you from using it. I only make the recommendation so
people I respect will consider whether they are preemptively offending some
audiences before they can start talking about their ideas.

I was trying to think of an analogous term earlier, and I finally came up
with a symbol that will do. The swastika has a long and respectable
history before the Nazis used it. Unfortunately, it will be a good long
time before it is possible to use a swastika as a symbol for anything you
want people to respect without drawing unwelcome assocations. All I'm
saying is it would be an improvement in communication to use a different

If you (Mike) are trying to tell me that it's a lost cause, because some
people will call our ideas eugenics whether we use the term or not, I'll
beg to differ. Not all of the people who left the room in Anders' anecdote
would have been offended by the ideas if the term "eugenics" hadn't been
introduced at the beginning. Those are the people you could win over with
your ideas if you don't use terms that can be predicted to drive them away.
 And I don't see what it has to do with having a sense of humor.

You also underline my point by using "eugenics" to indicate disapproval in
the line I quoted above.


             C. J. Cherryh, "Invader", on why we visit very old buildings:
                         "A sense of age, of profound truths.  Respect for 
Chris Hibbert        something hands made, that's stood through storms and   wars and time.  It persuades us that things we do may
                                                         last and matter."

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