The practice of eugenics is a scar on our nation’s character. This scarring should be a warning to us of how easy it is for “good intentions” to go too far. During a war, some may feel the good of the whole outweighs the good of a few, but this is seldom justified during civilized peacetime. Providing for the general welfare of a population may infringe on the monetary rights of the citizens, but should not infringe on the human rights of the citizens. The practice of eugenics crossed this ethical line.
For the most part, I agree with the philosophy that money does not undo injustice, as North Carolina’s Senate determined this week in regards to monetarily compensating the victims of forced sterilization. When injustice is isolated, a few are victimized and should be compensated. When the injustice is widespread, we are all the victims and there is no compensation equal to the harm which was done.
As a society we tend to turn away from how injustice has been part of our nation’s “modern” past. In doing so, it is easier for us to ignore injustices still in practice. When the ideology of one group, no matter how large the group may be, infringes on the rights of others, we are in danger of ignoring the lessons of the past and we may try to justify the unjust.
It is through remembering the past that we become empowered to work for a better future.