Let us turn to a young, possibly a more progressive state. Consider
the case of “California, the Golden” as it is named by Emma Duke, in
her study of child-labor in the Imperial Valley, “as fertile as the
Valley of the Nile.” Here, cotton is king, and rich ranchers,
absentee landlords and others exploit it. Less than ten years ago
ranchers would bring in hordes of laboring families, but refuse to
assume any responsibility in housing them, merely permitting them to
sleep on the grounds of the ranch. Conditions have been somewhat
improved, but, sometimes, we read, “a one roomed straw house with an
area of fifteen by twenty feet will serve as a home for an entire
family, which not only cooks but sleeps in the same room.” Here, as
in Michigan among the beets, children are “thick as bees.” All kinds
of children pick, Miss Duke reports, “even those as young as three
years! Five-year-old children pick steadily all day…. Many white
American children are among them–pure American stock, who have
gradually moved from the Carolinas, Tennessee, and other southern
states to Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and on into the Imperial
Valley.” Some of these children, it seems, wanted to attend school,
but their fathers did not want to work; so the children were forced to
become bread-winners. One man whose children were working with him in
the fields said, “Please, lady, don’t send them to school; let them
pick a while longer. I ain’t got my new auto paid for yet.” The
native white American mother of children working in the fields proudly
remarked: “No; they ain’t never been to school, nor me nor their
poppy, nor their granddads and grandmoms. We’ve always been
pickers!”–and she spat her tobacco over the field in expert fashion.
One of the child laborers revealed the economic advantage–to the
parents–in numerous progeny: “Us kids most always drag from forty to
fifty pounds of cotton before we take it to be weighed. Three of us
pick. I’m twelve years old and my bag is twelve feet long. I can
drag nearly a hundred pounds. My sister is ten years old, and her bag
is eight feet long. My little brother is seven and his bag is five
Evidence abounds in the publications of the National Child Labor
Committee of this type of fecund parenthood. It is not merely a
question of the large family versus the small family. Even
comparatively small families among migratory workers of this sort have
been large families. The high infant mortality rate has carried off
the weaker children. Those who survive are merely those who have been
strong enough to survive the most unfavorable living conditions. No;
it is a situation not unique, nor even unusual in human history, of
greed and stupidity and cupidity encouraging the procreative instinct
toward the manufacture of slaves. We hear these days of the
selfishness and the degradation of healthy and well-educated women who
refuse motherhood; but we hear little of the more sinister selfishness
of men and women who bring babies into the world to become child-
slaves of the kind described in these reports of child labor.
UNCONTROLLED BREEDING AND CHILD LABOR GO HAND IN HAND. And to-day
when we are confronted with the evils of the latter, in the form of
widespread illiteracy and defect, we should seek causes more deeply
rooted than the enslavement of children. The cost to society is
incalculable, as the National Child Labor Committee points out. “It
is not only through the lowered power, the stunting and the moral
degeneration of its individual members, but in actual expense, through
the necessary provision for the human junk, created by premature
employment, in poor-houses, hospitals, police and courts, jails and by
To-day we are paying for the folly of the over-production–and its
consequences in permanent injury to plastic childhood–of yesterday.
To-morrow, we shall be forced to pay for our ruthless disregard of our
surplus children of to-day. the child-laborer of one or two decades
ago has become the shifting laborer of to-day, stunted, underfed,
illiterate, unskilled, unorganized and unorganizable.
Margaret Sanger’s Pivot of Civilization
From my brief analysis of her thoughts on this topic, I have formed a tentative conclusion concerning her primary chains of logic with respective to the topic of eugenics and population control, specifically sterilization or birth control.
Overpopulation was seen as the chief reason that economic, social, and intellectual abilities were being stunted. This was based upon the premise that families will ‘breed’ more children in reaction to economical incentives. Thus once you eliminate the feasibility of child labor, you eliminate the incentives for large families, in part. So by restricting population size, and when you restrict child labor, you restrict the size of families and promote less ‘excess’. Thus more energy can be allocated to fewer children, thus creating an ‘elite’ class of people that will self-perpetuate themselves and their abilities.
Education was directly tied in with this, as one of the evils of child labor as perceived by Sanger, was that it prevented children from being educated, given that their parents would rather put them to work. Sanger believed that these uneducated members would forever be condemned to simply breeding more ‘excess’ population that would be just like them, while at the same time putting a drain on the resources of greater society that could have gone to better use.
On the environmentalist front, overpopulation was simply seen as a direct manifestation of too much demand and not enough supply. With more people on this planet, the greater the drain on the resources of this planet, thus a more equitable distribution of wealth, education, and success could be had if you simply eliminated the over-population of this planet.
Both lines of thought have continued today, in the form of Global Climate Change and abortion. Perhaps soon to be government covered health care, in the latter. That’s not a tentative conclusion on my part.
Some of their stated conclusions were wrong, as Europe’s de-population and Islam’s population demonstrates. But that didn’t stop them. They may have failed, but their experiments did the job anyways and directly affected the lives of many, permanently. They didn’t need to succeed at their work, the eugenicists, to destroy the lives of others. And they didn’t need to be right in their ideology for their work to continue in today’s time. As the advisers of Obama might say, eugenics can pay off for greater society purely in the economic sense.
Planned Parenthood was started with the objectives of reducing births amongst uneducated families or those who did not contribute much to society. They have performed quite well at this task for the last few decades. The more than 10 million black babies that have been aborted will attest to that, regardless of what I personally may think.History