John on February 1, 2010 at 8:50 am
From the Daily Mail:
Gervais, 48, said there were ‘too many unwanted children, too many people who are poor and struggling’.
He added: ‘If they all had a good quality of life, no one would complain. What there is, is too many useless people. Too many people who shouldn’t have children.’
Asked whether there should be a limitation then, he told the Sunday Times: ‘Yes, based on stupid, fat faces. If there’s a woman in leggings, eating chips with a fag in her mouth, sterilise her.’
No doubt his description is meant to be comic, but the sentiment behind it seems genuine enough. He seems to be taking his own advice:
He says he and his girlfriend of 27 years, Jane Fallon, 48, had discussed having children but decided against starting a family.
‘Too much hassle,’ he said.
All of which fits a pattern, i.e. atheists like Gervais not having kids of their own and begrudging others who do as “useless.” It recalls an earlier generation of secular progressives who counseled sterilization for such people. Going back to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, such ideas were often mixed with outright racism which still makes an appearance from time to time. It was only relatively recently that such talk was ruled off limits in polite society. US Science Czar John Holdren was still openly speculating along these lines just a few decades ago.
What’s worrisome is that the bad old days of early 20th century eugenics could return. At least one public atheist has already wondered aloud whether we shouldn’t get past the stigma of the final solution and take another look at human breeding. It’s not a trend yet, but it could become one again.