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Jan 12, 2012

Reparations Could Have a Future

Posted by in categories: ethics, homo sapiens


This week Reuters reported:

“As many as 2,000 people forcibly sterilized under a past North Carolina program should be compensated $50,000 each, a panel voted on Tuesday, the first time a state has moved to pay victims of a discredited human selection program.”

There approximately 2000 living victims of the eugenics experiment conducted between 1929 and 1974 in the State of North Carolina. The short report released at a late hour of the business day (3:26PM) in a non-graphic format only commanded ‘24’ tweets by the time that I wrote this article some 24 hour later. These are extremely small viewership numbers for the magnitude of this article.

Governor Beverly Perdue provided political backing for the aforementioned compensation derived by a five member task-force. While this information may just seem as common as Interpol discovering some Waffen SS General in his late 90’s, it is not. The political and legal implications of this executive decision are wide spread. It is not the normal protocol of any government to give legal and financial incentive to its constituencies to demand (and receive) any type of indemnification. A greater question for the NC-Governor and the task force is: Why? While I’d expect to see some District and possibly even the Supreme Court push back on this legislation, there is a real opportunity posed to the pseudo-democratic body that is the United States from a legal, socio-cultural, and technological standpoint. Of course there is a real threat posed from an economic standpoint. Every affected entity (individual or institution) seeking reparations for their abuse, from slavery to agriculture subsidies, has some new grounds for argument; and further, in the fashion of capitalistic we should assume that every ambitious attorney is paying attention.

Pandora’s passions for chaos provides all the incentives that federal, state, and local governments need to keep denying the need to even consider reparations for the many socio-cultural, ethnic, gender, and preference groups that are deemed “undesirable” by the most conservative and elitist of us all. Transhumanists have long had ties to eugenics,but ideas on how to improve the genetic composition of a population have to ensure that individual choice to (or not to) participate at their own risks/reward.

The lack of ethics that human-kind has witnessed by technological elites will over the others has been consistently dangerous to the optimal operation efficiency and effectiveness of our species. While it is likely impossible philosophically for human’s to actually have a nature about themselves, the one thing that we’ve always tried to do is control our situation to better manage the risks of uncertainty. It’s not an ill mission, but the pathology of our altruism often shows that it is our most stifling virtue. Projecting our idea of greatness onto the entire population is not progressive, even as technology progresses. As we merge away from the socio-cultural conservatism of the past century(s) and our diverse preferences become cliché, let’s be conscious to honor and protect choice, and continue to scale the distribution of information to individuals and institutions alike.

– originally from Integrationalism

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Comments — comments are now closed.

  • GaryChurch on January 12, 2012 4:35 pm

    “-the pathology of our altruism often shows that it is our most stifling virtue.“
    There has never been and never will be anything “stifling” about altruism.
    It is the finest quality of humankind and only people with a predatory agenda will try and muddy the water with mixed definitions of what is “optimum operation and efficiency.” Efficiency was a byword of the Nazi method and soap from human fat is a good example of it.

    The solution, thought maybe not the “final solution”, is to test everyone for their genetic makeup and pay by percentage whatever reparations are awarded. I probably have a few percent of native american and a few percent of that native american may very well be african american and the arabs would owe me money for slave trading on that score.… and my irish genes can get some money from the brits and my english genes can get some money from the french for the norman conquest.….and so on.
    Plenty of pennies to go around- which is what everyone would end up getting after all the grievances are settlled. And the lawyers would of course laugh all the way to the bank.

  • James Felton Keith on January 12, 2012 4:48 pm

    @Gary:

    I think that we should start with your quote. “It is the finest quality of humankind and only people with a predatory agenda will try and muddy the water with mixed definitions of what is”.

    If you read the link that I posted on “pathology of our altruism ” Here: http://books.google.com/books?id=FPtwdmXtjmoC&printsec=…38;f=false I think that you will find that sometimes (or rather often) people without predatory agendas make efforts that they honestly believe will better a society, group, institution, individual without considering the contrasts of their beliefs in their efforts find that there is some unethical and even morally unjust consequences to their action(s).

    It should not be assumed that, as you say “There has never been and never will be anything “stifling” about altruism.”.

    I think that this response adequately addresses the rest of your reply as well. Thanks for reading :-)

  • GaryChurch on January 13, 2012 12:52 pm

    Adequately adresses what?
    I can’t read your mind James. You assume you are right and I am wrong when altruism is not a positive or a negative, it is an expression of human nature we would go extinct without.
    The Nazi’s were always ready to sacrifice for their race- but that was not really altruistic was it? Altruism is selfless and does not adress what you or I consider efficient or stifling- it is about sacrifice of the personal for the collective. There are unintended consequences to every action- you are trying to make a negative out of a positive by positing any action is not worth the risk of a negative result.

    You are pursuing an agenda that seeks to tear down altruism as a response to predation by somehow making selfless acts seem harmful and not desirable while ruthless efficiency is a more ethically appropriate path.

    I disagree with you.

  • James Felton Keith on January 13, 2012 1:07 pm

    @Gary: I have no aims to “tear down” altrusim. I’m not sure how you could have read that from my post. The article that inspired this post is about sterilization/eugenics, and we know (form historical transcripts, also linked to this post) that lots of the ethical defense of forced or coerced participation in these types of experiments (and others) are represented as altruistic. It is impossible for me to “tear down” a phenomenon as cognitively natural (occurring because of multiple individual’s interactions) as altruism. My post is about questioning our motive for altruistic efforts. The author of the book that I referenced for you had a similar reaction from some “distinguished” conservatives to say that “altruism cannot be pathological”…lol…which is bias and ignorant to the research that the text provides. I’m not sure how or where your opposition stems from, but I appreciate it. Thanks for your feed back.

  • GaryChurch on January 14, 2012 12:14 pm

    “My post is about questioning our motive for altruistic efforts.“
    Still not getting you. LOL.

    But whatever. I concede.
    Altruism, like many other noble pursuits, is quite often debased and perverted. The worst kind of such manipulation is found when the right wing propagandizes the liberal mindset as being intrinsically evil.
    I am easy to win over- all you have to do is criticize conservatives and I am drawn in like a moth to flame.

  • James Felton Keith on January 14, 2012 7:44 pm

    Great :-) Thanks for you last post.
    If you don’t understand what I mean, perhaps you might enjoy reading the text that I referenced for you, in efforts to expand your understanding. There is nothing liberal or conservative or propagandized about my post. I’m not looking to “win you over”. I didn’t post this for you in particular.

  • GaryChurch on January 15, 2012 12:52 pm

    I am not going to read the link James. Stop asking. You want to expand my understanding but not win me over- LOL.

    I did post this for you in particular.

  • James Felton Keith on January 15, 2012 8:04 pm

    I don’t need to win you over. You argue off topic. Stop obsessing over my posts. You last comment wasn’t necessary. If you don’t understand the topic, and you can’t afford to read more on it, just stop posting and stick to what you know.