Ed Team

Homotextual: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Filed By Ed Team | December 07, 2007 7:33 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: language, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court

"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used."

-- Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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I'm getting ready to blog at length about (and have an op-ed piece published on) eugenics. From that, I found a staggering quote from OWH:

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

That's funny, Eric. I noticed that too when I found this quote. Holmes is known for being one of the most influential Justices ever - and most of his decisions were very progressive. His stance on eugenics though was horrid.

Actually, that gets to another thing in my essay: OWH was quite "Progressive"-- as that term was used then. Many of the Progressives-- and even more ironically, mainline Protestant leaders-- advocated forced sterilization laws.