The Philosophies of Pride and the Commodification of the Human Person

We continue with this excerpt from my book MARY, MOTHER OF THE SON (available on Kindle at the link):


In the twentieth century, like-minded eugenicists in Germany took even more terrible steps to deal with what they deemed to be “lives unworthy of life.” This resulted, as we know, in millions of murders. And as the Master Race needed medical research, it also became thinkable not simply to kill unworthy lives but to subject them to medical experimentation for the sake of the “worthy.” At Dachau, for instance, Third Reich physicians, eager to find a prevention for hypothermia and reduce the number of pilots who died when they were forced to bail out over the English Channel, immersed prisoners in vats of freezing water until they died—and then dissected them. Other “unfit” humans suffered mass sterilization. And, of course, millions were simply gassed and cremated.

All this was, of course, made widely known after the war and so the word “eugenics” (which had previously had a wonderful ring of Hardheaded Scientific Realism Against Religious Yokelism) suddenly fell on hard times.

Here in the United States, one unfortunate woman suffered terrible setbacks as a result of this public relations catastrophe. Her name was Margaret Sanger, and she had spent years warning against the growth of “human weeds,”[1] speaking to Ku Klux Klan rallies, opining that the “aboriginal Australian” was “the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development,”[2] and warning the New York legislature that

The Jewish people and Italian families who are filling the insane asylums, who are filling our feeble-minded institutions, these are the ones the tax payers have to pay for the upkeep of, and they are increasing the budget of the State, the enormous expense of the State is increasing because of the multiplication of the unfit in this country and in the State.[3]

Sanger even dreamed of establishing a vast American concentration camp for “morons, mental defectives, epileptics . . . illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, [and] dope-fiends.”[4] In all, she wanted to imprison forcibly about one-seventh of the entire American population. Needless to say, she was an enthusiastic supporter of the pioneering eugenics done by doctors of the Third Reich. A decade before the dawn of the Third Reich, her Birth Control Review ran a motto in its December 1921 issue that summed up a philosophy destined to be warmly received by her colleagues in Hitler’s scientific elite: “Birth Control: To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds!”[5]

The problem for Margaret Sanger was that all this became a tough sell in the post-war years, what with pictures of Dachau and Auschwitz circulating in classrooms and history books. So the organization she had founded changed its marketing strategy. Instead of encouraging Americans to worship racial purity, Planned Parenthood instead seized on the much more salable notion (pioneered by Freud) that we should throw off the shackles of guilt and responsibility and worship sex. This was sold as “birth control” but the practical outcome was, as Chesterton famously remarked, “No birth and no control.”

The outcome of this story is a catalogue of human misery: massive STD rates, a contraceptive culture in which love and fruitfulness are damned as hindrances to sexual pleasure, the ever-increasing sexualization of childhood, and 1.5 million abortions in the United States alone each year. And so, as Pope St. John Paul II said, “The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.”[6]

Legitimization of eugenics under the slogan “freedom of choice” has led to the latest forms of Nietzschean will-worship, as the Western genius for privatizing violence (so much more efficient and less prone to start wars than totalitarian violence) now bends its efforts toward the legitimization of euthanasia. It will be sold, of course, as choice. As an aging demographic bulge of Baby Boomers hobbles toward their enormously expensive final years, “mercy killing” will increasingly be applied to them—with the unanimous agreement of the government, insurance companies, and relatives inculcated into the culture of death—as a patriotic and compulsory cost-cutting measure. After all, the generation that survived the abortion regime created by the Baby Boomers will have learned its lesson well: inconvenient people should be killed. The Netherlands has already been murdering its elderly for years. And, as this book was being written, Terri Schiavo—who was not dying—was murdered by starvation and thirst on the order of a judge who deemed her life unworthy of being lived.

But even this will pale against the Brave New World that biotechnology threatens to unleash. Scientists are already laboring to create a limitless supply of embryos whose sole purpose is to be dismembered for raw materials. Their promises to cure numerous diseases—and the enormous rewards in Mammon that will flow in as a result—are eerily similar to those made by the Third Reich: Let us kill these unworthy lives so that the worthy may be saved. They are also the promises of Moloch: Sacrifice your children and for you it will be well. Only in this case, the children whose lives will be snuffed out so that we can pursue our all-justifying search for perfect health and primp in the mirror a few years longer will not even have parents, since they will eventually be the products of cloning technology.

But not just clones. For the day has already come when chimeras—that is, genetic mixtures of humans and animals—are being created in laboratories. That’s not science fiction. It’s real and it’s happening right now:

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.

Irv Weissman, director of Stanford University’s Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine in California, is against a ban in the United States.

“Anybody who puts their own moral guidance in the way of this biomedical science, where they want to impose their will—not just be part of an argument—if that leads to a ban or moratorium . . . they are stopping research that would save human lives,” he said.

Mice With Human Brains

Weissman has already created mice with brains that are about one percent human.

Later this year he may conduct another experiment where the mice have 100 percent human brains. This would be done, he said, by injecting human neurons into the brains of embryonic mice.

Before being born, the mice would be killed and dissected to see if the architecture of a human brain had formed. If it did, he’d look for traces of human cognitive behavior.

Weissman said he’s not a mad scientist trying to create a human in an animal body. He hopes the experiment leads to a better understanding of how the brain works, which would be useful in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.[7]

And so on and on and on. Very soon, the science mentioned in this book will be outdated. But the downward spiral of a culture that is rapidly turning millions of defenseless humans into a meat market will continue via increasingly sophisticated technology. When you think you have reached the bottom of human cruelty and depravity, the twentieth—and now the twenty-first—centuries always provide some fresh hell to explore in numbed amazement.

[1] Untitled speech, Margaret Sanger, January 15, 1937, 2 (Margaret Sanger Collection, Library of Congress).

[2] Esther Katz, ed., The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger: Volume 1: The Woman Rebel 1900–1928 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 45.

[3] Ibid., 363.

[4] Margaret Sanger, “A Plan for World Peace,” The Birth Control Review, April 1932, 108.

[5] The Birth Control Review, December 1921.

[6] Quoted in Observer (London, June 9, 1991).

[7] Maryann Mott, “Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy,” National Geographic News, January 25, 2005. Link available as of June 22, 2023.


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