|The Money Angle
Under the guise of a scientific discussion about the roots of the new violence, Science magazine devoted a special issue, July 28, 2000, to a revival of racist eugenics, based on the fraudulent argument that human beings are mere animals whose behavior can be genetically determined and, therefore, genetically modified. Not since the heyday of H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell has such a brazen call for bio-social engineering been put forward in a purported scientific publication.
The first sentence in the introduction to the special report, Violence: No Silver Bullet, gives the man is beast argument:
From the neighborhood bully berating a meek classmate to the rhesus macaque screaming at a rival, displays of aggression are the weapon of choice throughout the animal kingdom for asserting dominance, challenging a higher ranking individual, or laying claim to food, water, and other resources.
The introduction to the series of Science news articles complains that ill formulated comparisons of inner city violence and the junglewhich some saw as equating black youths with monkeys had ignited a firestorm of protests and scared many researchers away from studying the biology of violence.
Furthermore, one news section notes the recent emergence of a militant animal rights movement has scared some bio-scientists away from animal testing of techniques, and dried up funding. (Ironically, and not mentioned, of course, is that scientists have had no qualms about using such techniqueslike electro-shock and other forms of tortureon human beings who are diagnosed as violence-prone.)
In addition, Science Senior Correspondent Eliot Marshall notes in his news coverage, researchers like Peter Breggin, an independent psychiatrist, have added to the furor by charging that the widespread dissemination of Prozac and Ritalin to children is part of a scheme to pacify inner city children with drugs.
The good news, however, according to Sciences Marshall, is that the horror of the Columbine High School massacre has created a sense of desperation about the symptoms of a diseased society, and convinced many skeptics that Deeper knowledge of the biology of violence will help social scientists match violence-prone individuals with intervention programs. . . .
After reviewing a string of new research protocols into the biology of violence, Science News Writer Martin Enserink provides a glimpse into future treatments of violence-prone people. He cites the work of Adrian Raine, a British neuropsychologist now at the University of Southern California, who published a recent article in the Archives of General Psychiatry, arguing that one biological cause of violence is insufficient glucose metabolism in the prefrontal cortex. Science reports:
[I]f the prefrontal cortex is at fault, says Raine, one future way to intervene may be to implant chips that somehow make up for its reduced function. Already, he notes, some biomedical engineers have predicted that the first electronic brain implants w.ll become a reality within the next decade.
Raine commented to Science about the happy prospects of a more advanced kind of lobotomy: Forty years ago, we were chopping off the frontal cortex in violent people. In fifty years time, well be doing the opposite. Well be doing reparative surgery.
Some of the scientists cited by the magazine were not willing to go whole-hog down the eugenics path, arguing, instead, that an interplay of factorsgenetic and environmentalproduced the violence-prone individual. Science News Writer Constance Holden notes, in a section titled The Violence of the Lambs:
[U]ntil a decade or so ago, most social scientists thought violent individuals were almost invariably the products of an abusive environment. Recent findings, however, reveal that violent tendencies often show up in infancy, suggesting prenatal roots. Researchers are increasingly coming to view violence as the end result of multiple risk factors that may include a biological vulnerabilityeither genetic or created in the prenatal environmentthat can be brought out or reinforced by the social environment.
Either way, however, the solutions being peddled are the same: drugs, chip implants, behavior modification therapy, and incarceration.
The Money Angle
While promoting the new eugenics, Science clearly did not wish to cross swords with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice, which disburse millions of dollars a year in grant money to bio-researchers plumbing the depths of violence. So, the Science special report applauds the successful decline in rates of violent crime in America since the 1991 peak, but seeks, at the same time, to make sure eugenics and similar forms of Nazi-like quack science stay in line for the research funding largesse. (The editorial for this issue of Science, in fact, is titled Violence: A New Frontier for Scientific Research, written by Alfred Blumstein, a director of the National Consortium on Violence Research, which funnels research money to scientists.)
In a section titled Has Americas Tide of Violence Receded for Good, Science News Writer Laura Helmuth, comes up with a two-fold explanation for the post-1991 fall in the crime rate, even at the same time that a new breed of superpredators were finding their way onto the streets and school yards of America, bringing us such horrors as Littleton.
The first crime-reducing factor she applauds is the skyrocketing rate of incarceration, which quadrupled from 1970 to 1995. But Helmuth notes: Imprisonment alone cant explain the recent drop in violent crime, [University of Chicago economist] Steve Levitt says, because the boom in incarceration started in the 1970s and crime rates started falling almost 20 years later.
The article continues: He [Levitt] and John Donohue III of Stanford Law School point to a surprising factor: the legalization of abortion. The psychological literature shows that unwanted children are more likely to commit crimes, they contend, and demographic data suggest that women who have abortions are disproportionately young and poorsub-populations whose children are at relatively high risk for committing crimes. Without 1973s Roe v. Wade decision, the researchers reason, more potentially violent children would have reached their peak crime years beginning in about 1991when crime rates started dropping. They estimate that legalized abortion accounts for 50% of the recent drop in crime.
Not to worry, the report notes: In the past year, there are signs that crime rates are going back up again, suggesting that a few more Littleton-style school massacres, and a new wave of urban superpredator crime, could crank up those research dollars, and, perhaps, accelerate the day when the brain chips start rolling off the assembly lines, into a hospital operating room near you.
Jeffrey Steinberg is Counterintelligence Director for the Executive Intelligence Review.