Early on in the lockdown period I was sitting with a friend on some grass in a patch of spring sunlight. We were by the side of a path in an area of unruly parkland. A young man approached and complained that we had not left enough room for him to pass. In fact, there was plenty of room for him to get by - as he proved by doing so. The problem was not that he did not have enough space to walk through. It was that he was as fearful of being near to other healthy human beings as some young men had once been of going over the top of battlefield trenches into a hail of machine-gun fire.
Once he had safely passed us he found his courage return to the extent that he was rude to my friend. In response I informed him that lockdown propaganda was this generation's weapons of mass destruction and suggested he watch less television. I hoped to call to his mind the fact that governments and media do not always tell the truth. He did not engage with me or question my views. His response was to call me a moron. Later I discovered that he was unwittingly following a new and emerging template for public discourse. The moment you raise an objection to the prevailing lockdown narrative, some helpful custard will label you a moron.
The irony of the use of this term struck me immediately. In the early part of the 20th Century a burgeoning eugenics movement categorised the feeble-minded as idiots, imbeciles, and morons. Children whose mental development was arrested between the ages of seven and twelve were defined as morons. In the vernacular this last term has obviously come to be used as an insult for those who display a lack of intelligence or an inability to think for themselves.
It now seems that the word is routinely applied to those with the temerity to question the state.
Curiously, eugenics was once much more widely espoused. The celebrated inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was on the Eugenics Records Office Board of Scientific Directors. John Maynard Keynes, the economist, was a member of the British Eugenics Society, and Tommy Douglas and Marie Stopes both advocated compulsory sterilisation of the feeble-minded or inferior stock. The playwright George Bernard Shaw is on video suggesting that every few years people should be obliged to justify their existence to the state. Anyone unable to do so he would have executed, but “not in any unkind or personal spirit,” you understand. Reassuringly, he would have executed people in a kind and impersonal spirit.
In presumably the same spirit, the Buck vs Bell trial in 1927 led to 70,000 people being forcibly sterilised in the US. At the judgement, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. concluded, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
In 1915, Madison Grant, director of the American Eugenics Society, opined that “Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life,” were obstructive to eugenics. Later, Frederick Osborne, a founder member of the Society, pointed out that “Eugenic goals are most likely to be attained under a name other than eugenics.”
After the Second World War, eugenics came to be perceived as an evil that was largely associated with the defeated enemy. The American Eugenics Society moved into the offices of the Population Council, of which Osborne became the President when John D. Rockefeller III died in 1957. As well as funding both of the organisations in the afore mentioned offices, Rockefeller also funded the German eugenics research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute that ultimately led to the forced sterilisation of 400,000 people and the euthanasia of 70,000 more.
This was the point at which eugenics exited the stage of polite public discourse. Although today we still have public figures who are occasionally sexist, racist, or homophobic, it is uncommon for any of them to publicly advocate eugenics, even inadvertently.
When politicians and world leaders today speak of lowering the carbon footprint, or of reducing the world's population, it is borne of a sense of concern as custodians of the planet. The fears they pass on to the public about the management of resources and climate change are all genuine and heartfelt.
In the lockdown era we accept the measures imposed on us because they are all self-evidently designed to preserve public health. We deny ourselves sunlight and society.
We break social bonds and we isolate. We avoid human company. We mask our young, stunting their emotional understanding of one another's faces and dislocating their relationships. We receive restrictive sexual advice. We are told to engage in sex through a hole in a panel of wood, or that the best sexual partner is oneself. We sacrifice our faces, our individuality, and our livelihoods. We are advised to sit granny next to an open window on Christmas Day. We allow our schoolchildren to shiver in aerated classrooms through the winter. We speak to our old people on phones through care home windows like visitors to prisoners at a jail. We deny and delay hospital treatment to all those fortunate enough not to have the dreaded virus. To the old, vulnerable, and those with learning disabilities, who test positive, we give Do Not Resuscitate orders.
We accept all this because we are blessed to live in an enlightened age in which our leaders love us. Where once intellectuals spoke of defective germ plasm that needed to be eliminated, modern leaders seek to eradicate the threat of asymptomatic spreaders. They pursue this goal because they care about the unwashed masses and they want to see us to prosper.
Such is their concern that they have gone to great lengths to inject us all with an experimental biological agent in order to save us from the relatively harmless disease that is proving to be the scourge of our age. We rejoice as they trial this liberating potion on the elderly and frail first, followed by those with special needs. Our considerate leaders are also very keen to medicate black people so as to avoid any social injustice. Although it is not yet clear whether the injections of this experimental serum will affect people's fertility, this is not apparently a concern because the intentions of our politicians are not in question.
For the same reason, we can dismiss any warnings about Antibody Dependent Enhancement, a reported side-effect of mRNA vaccines that may cause a severe reaction when a subject later encounters the illness for which they have been primed.
Clearly, we would be very concerned about the measures being imposed upon us if they were part of eugenics plan, so it is fortunate for us that they are not. The avuncular Bill Gates would no doubt have told us of his motives if they were not in our best interests. Powerful people always do. Incidentally, Bill's father William H Gates succeeded the Director of the American Eugenics Society as head of Planned Parenthood and there was also a William H Gates who was a member of the American Eugenics Society in the 1920s. The fact that Bill seems more preoccupied with injecting people than providing them with food and water is an anomaly of his philanthropy we can overlook.
The fact that the measures being brutally imposed on us are indiscernible from those that would satisfy a eugenicist is one of life's curious coincidences. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron.