The Corner


A reader fillets James Watson (whose comments to Esquire I posted a bit earlier):

“Mr. Derbyshire: In that Esquire piece, Watson says: ‘Why do we have a government that is run by rich trash? Because they’ve used their money to buy the presidency. Bush is a tool for the people who don’t want an inheritance tax. And Frist isn’t an innocent bystander, with his own family fortune—hundreds of millions. The piece of shit, I hate him.’ But then about seven paragraphs later, he says: ‘Francis Crick said we should pay poor people not to have children. I think now we’re in a terrible situation where we pay the rich people to have children. If there is any correlation between success and genes, IQ will fall if the successful don’t have children. These are self-obvious facts.’

“So are ‘successful’ families like the Bushes & the Frists supposed to have children, or are they not supposed to have children?

“By the way, two paragraphs later, he says: ‘Being raised nonreligious made you free. You could look at the evidence. Whether being nonreligious or a Democrat [is?] more important, I can’t tell you.’ So maybe there are two kinds of ‘successful’ families: the successful atheist democrat families, from whom we need more children, and the successful religious republican families, from whom we need fewer children?

“These left wing kook academics [like Watson] are absolutely pathological in their inanities.

“PS: Don’t you think there’s something a little unseemly about these über-IQ types, like Watson, living high off the hog on their government ‘grants,’ from the NSF/NIH/DARPA/etc, which in turn are funded using money stolen by the government from low-IQ flyover country troglodyte taxpayers, like the Bushes & the Frists?

“PPS: Other than the looney-tunes stuff, I agree with pretty much everything else he had to say.”

[Derb] Personally, for having discovered what he discovered, I’d give Watson a state pension, such as kings and govts. used to give to deserving people. And there’s truth in among the unworldly-professorial nuttiness–truth about the revolutionary potential of gene sequencing, about the gene-phobia of the political Left, and about liberty.

Footnote to those readers who shrieked, clutched their skirts, and jumped on chairs at the mention of Cold Spring Harbor lab , where–eeeek!—-eugenics was once researched:

If you don’t like eugenics, you are not going to like the 21st century. “Eugenics” became a scare-word because of ***STATE-SPONSORED*** eugenics programs, which were indeed a horrible idea–especially in the 1920s, when promoters of eugenics had very little idea what (as a matter of technical biology, I mean) they were talking about. State-organized anything is pretty dubious. We’re conservatives; we know that.

Private, commercial eugenics is here, though. It already has a foot in the door, & pretty soon it’ll be sprawled on your living-room couch. My children (probably) and my grandchildren (certainly) will practice eugenics. Why would they not? The desire to have smart, healthy, good-looking offspring is wellnigh universal. If parents can get assurance of such an outcome for a few thousand bucks, why should they not purchase that assurance? In a free country, how will you stop them? And why would conservatives or libertarians want to stop them? “Eugenics” has become such a scare-word that we’ll probably have to re-name the process to avoid all the shrieking and skirt-clutching; but it will be eugenics just the same.


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