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A hundred years ago, American progressives were big into eugenics, in an effort to purify the gene pool by selectively killing off and preventing the breeding of people they thought of as undesirables. To the early 20th century progressive, this included blacks, criminals, and those with disabilities.
Today, American progressives are big on silencing dissent, in an effort to purify the intellectual space by squelching ideas and opinions — and sometimes data — that they think might lead people into “wrong thinking.” To the modern progressive, this includes any idea that is contrary to up-to-date progressive ideology: a lot of things that were completely anodyne and almost universally believed as recently as the year 2000 would now be forbidden by the left’s benevolently censorious mobs.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was wrong when she thought it was a good idea to abort lots and lots of black babies in order to “improve” the gene pool. But when you think that you’re on the side of the angels, it’s easy to think that you’re justified in doing whatever you like, whether it’s purifying the race or silencing critics or burning down police stations or shouting down a speaker with whom you disagree.
[ Correction: It has been pointed out to me that Margaret Sanger, though a eugenicist and a racist, was not pro-abortion. She preferred to prevent those she deemed “undesirable” from breeding, but was opposed to the destruction of the unborn. I think she would be horrified to discover what the organization she founded is doing in her name today. ]