Letters to the Editor: Wait, did the president of the United States imply that he supports eugenics?

Trump in Bemidji
President Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport in Minnesota on Sept. 18.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

To the editor: I confess that I no longer pay much, if any, attention to anything President Trump says because it’s almost always false. So I only vaguely noticed reports that he expressed enthusiasm for the “racehorse theory” of human genetics.

I did not know until today that he did this in front of an even whiter than usual audience in Bemidji, Minn., praising their genes, and then warned them that his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, will allow in people from Somalia.

How can this be allowed to pass without outrage? How can Republicans stand alongside this filth?


Mike Holtzman, Atascadero, Calif.


To the editor: Adam Cohen wrote:

“Richard Dawkins, one of Britain’s most prominent scientists, added fuel to the fire by tweeting that although eugenics could be criticized on moral or ideological grounds, ‘of course’ it would ‘work in practice.’ Eugenics ‘works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses,’ he said. ‘Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans?’”

Cohen seems to think that to say something is possible is to advocate doing it. On the contrary, the recognition that eugenics is possible is a powerful reason not to do it.

Cohen is shooting the messenger. He might as well say, “It would be terrible if I had cancer, therefore my doctor is a bad doctor.”

His slur against me is the more unfortunate given his context: Trump’s lamentable pandering to the racism of his well-named “base.” The eugenics I had in mind as possible but undesirable had no connection with race. Race never entered my head.

Richard Dawkins, Oxford, United Kingdom

The writer is a professor emeritus at the University of Oxford.


To the editor: In support of a proposed 1934 law, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, wrote:

“Feeble minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable disease, and others found biologically unfit by authorities qualified judge (sic) should be sterilized or, in cases of doubt, should be so isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their affliction by breeding.”

Isn’t it curious that Cohen doesn’t mention Sanger? It’s as if liberals have a pact never to mention her and to keep her eugenics past a deeply buried secret.

In July, Planned Parenthood started work to remove “Margaret Sanger Square” signage from the New York City street where its Manhattan clinic is located. I guess 86 years is just enough time.

David Pohlod, Oak Park