Article 7 Detailed Notes - The Eugenics Society of Canada

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13 Oct 2011

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September 29 ,
The Eugenics Society of Canada
British Columbia and Alberta passed legislation for the sterilization of the feeble-minded and its supervision by boards of
Progressive, middle-class professionals who were interested in a variety of social reforms
1930 – The Eugenics Society of Canada – biological taint was the single most important cause of the nation’s social problems
The tardiness of Ontario in employing eugenic measures
Feeble-mindedness was difficult to define, it was easy to recognize
MacMurchy – feeble-mindedness to refer to the higher-class mentally retarded who could be mistaken for the normal
They did not have the physical stigmata of the moron or imbecile and so could even fool the ordinary physicians
Social failure was the clearest indication of mental deficiency
Solution was to round up all these individuals and subject them to custodial care
In 1911 – special classes; 1914 – auxiliary classes for the purposes of removing mental defective from the normal
school system
Register on which would be inscribed the names of all the city’s mental defectives
Stepped-up inspections and institutionalization of defective children
The feeble-minded had to viewed as a “moral cancer”
The provincial government was loath to invest money in building separate institutions for the feeble-minded
Calling for youths to be subjected to further surveys, tests, and categorizations and for new asylums, mental testing of
immigrants, and restriction of marriage
Economic constraints, refused to implement the recommended changes
Failure of the PACFM - to all intents and purposes not that much different from a host of other lay charitable
Canadian National Committee for Mental Health – 1920
Blamed much of society’s ills on the maternal coddling of misfits carried out by misguided philanthropists
What was required was a replacement of the rule of mediocrities by experts who could introduce a sterner and more “virile”
CNCMH – 1918 by Clarence Hincks
Own personality problems
The feeble-minded were, at best, a drain on the community and at worst, “potential criminals
Experts in mental hygiene were necessary to provide for the smooth running of large organizations
New forms of sophisticated social control
Successful at winning the support of local elites
A self-appointed body of experts prepared to advise business and government on mental health problems
Mental defectiveness did not strike by chance, but followed natural laws of heredity
Vast majority of criminals, delinquents, and prostitutes were driven to their evil deeds by their mental illness
Even the most up-to-date investigations of criminality – due to social inequality, adverse environment, or other
manifestations of what may be comprehensively termed the “forces of circumstance”
First successes – winning of the commissions to survey the extent of feeble-mindedness in the western provinces
preoccupied by the millions of dollars a year spend on asylums
Justify the sterilization programs of British Columbia and Alberta
Increased testing and classifying of students, in calling for the building of training schools for the mentally defective,
and in campaigning for the inspection and restriction of immigration
Launching pad for both psychiatric and psychological professions
Child’s early environment played the crucial role in determining future mental health and economic productivity
Incarceration and sterilization – old-fashioned eugenicists
Environmentalists – devising preventative programs that would pre-empt the very emergence of “abnormality”
Delinquency – poor parenting rather than to poor genes
Although their methods differed, their goals of efficient social management were similar
Hincks’ own views on inherited defectiveness did evolve
Defend the utility of sterilization, however, arguing that it was worth sterilizing all those who were identified as possible
of passing on their mental defectiveness
More children entered mental hospitals than graduated from university
Investigated provincial hospitals, asylums, and other institutions
Mainly inherited and led to crime and prostitution – provincial policy of compulsory sterilization
Misfits were kept alive and allowed to propagate because of misdirected charity
Eugenics Society of Canada
Carry out an educational program of race betterment that would result in the passage of legislation discouraging
defective reproduction while encouraging fit parenthood
Entrust the future of our civilization to the care of most of our working men and women I know and their children –
might even improve it
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