Once Aryan Skynet Goes Live It Doesn't Matter Who Pulled The Switch
Anti-racism and immigration advocacy – or, at any rate, virulent anti-white attitudes – are de rigueur for today’s crop of Third Wave feminists. Many of these young women would probably be surprised to discover, however, that women’s suffrage activism and other liberatory initiatives hide a progressive heritage of elitism and eugenics. No less a figure within the movement than the honored Elizabeth Cady Stanton was, by today’s standards, a bigot and proto-Nazi who wanted to exterminate six million blacks and Irish.
Stanton, who advocated for women’s reproductive sovereignty, was sympathetic to aspects of the free love movement of the time, but would not have been caught dead at a SlutWalk. “When [her cousin] Elizabeth Smith Miller, confused by her relative’s stance on free love, asked Cady Stanton directly if she espoused the ideology, she replied that she was opposed to the sexual promiscuity of many of the free lovers and advocated monogamy because, referring to her hereditarian beliefs, ‘everything short of this makes mongrel, sensual progeny’,” Lois W. Banner reveals in Elizabeth Cady Stanton: A Radical for Woman’s Rights1. “In later years she demanded educational qualifications for voting and categorized Irish and black males according to ethnic stereotypes,” Banner also observes, adding, “In the last decade of her life she supported American imperialism on the grounds of Anglo-Saxon superiority.”2
Like many progressives of her era, she was strongly influenced by the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, who is remembered for advancing Social Darwinism. “Stanton extended her advocacy of voluntary motherhood into the idea of ‘enlightened motherhood’,” Tracy A. Thomas explains in Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Feminist Foundations of Family Law:
Enlightened motherhood added to the rhetoric of individual rights a second argument about the eugenic [i.e., dysgenic] consequences of unwanted pregnancies. It articulated a concern for the greater human race by controlling pregnancy to produce fewer children, but children of “superior quality.” Stanton emphasized the impact of unwanted and unhealthy pregnancies on the mental and physical health of the child, arguing that women should aim “to have one good kind of child” rather than many and should endeavor to produce “lions not jackasses.”3
This preference for an extreme K-selection program, if an accurate and literal representation of Stanton’s eugenic vision, is rather myopic, entailing as it does that Europeans would halve their population with each successive generation. Stanton herself had seven children; but the early deaths of five of her own siblings and the wounding impact that this had on her mother no doubt influenced Stanton’s perception of the minimal burden a woman ought to be made to bear. As is the case with deliberate policies of antinatalism, such intellectual viewpoints as Stanton’s K-militancy, if ever these became fashionable, would disproportionately impact more intelligent populations, failing to put a dent in the numbers of those too stupid to think of sex in terms of ethics or science – in addition to diminishing the general level of social adaptability by engendering a race comprised entirely of siblingless children. Thomas illuminates the political background to Stanton’s embarrassing eugenics sophistry:
As historians have explained, “This concern with eugenics was characteristic of nearly all feminists of the late nineteenth century.” Feminists used eugenic arguments to bolster their credibility as to reproductive control and “conquer conservative and religious scruples about reproduction.” Women had been told it was their duty to the human race and the greater social good to produce multiple children. By co-opting this rhetoric about the greater good of the human race, feminists identified a social benefit from women’s restriction of procreation. The newly articulated eugenics theory provided a scientific basis for that argument.4
Wrongheadedness on this and other topics aside, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was, in her heart, one of us – and Jews especially know and fear her dark, centuries-spanning influence. “She certainly claimed that she fought for the rights of all women. […] But when she said ‘women,’ I think … that she primarily had in mind women much like herself: white, middle-class, culturally if not religiously protestant, propertied, well-educated,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life biographer and Torah’d Wave feminist Lori Ginzberg kvetched to NPR’s Morning Edition in 2011:
She also descended to some rather ugly racist rhetoric along the lines of, “We educated, virtuous white women are more worthy of the vote.” … She talked about how much worse black men would be as voters than the white women about whom she was concerned, and she was really quite dismissive of black women’s claims. … There were some comments about, “What will we and our daughters suffer if these degraded black men are allowed to have the rights that would make them even worse than our Saxon fathers?” She has one, I think, inexplicable comment about black women [finding] an even worse slavery under black men than they did under their former white slave owners.
That’s why when people talk about Stanton and women’s rights and her devotion to women, my first question is always, “Which women? What are the issues here? Which women are we talking about? Whose concerns are going to take priority?” And then, along the way, and this is where my disagreement with Stanton is strongest: Whose rights are you going to put down in the process of demanding your own?5