Saturday, May 28, 2022

Hilton Head Island: validation; racial purity

A few evenings ago I uploaded a post that I woke in the middle of the night and deleted.  Only about twenty of you ever saw it.

I’ve reread it and this is what is left.

After sunset here.

I am siting by the bedroom window, listening to music on headphones—at the moment Ismael Lo singing Samayaya.

Carol is asleep near me.

As I have been writing the light has faded from the sky which is now dark, broken only by a few lights in the marina.

In early October 1976 I sailed EGREGIOUS into San Diego Harbor,  I do not know the exact date and it does not matter.

I sailed to what what was then the Police Dock at the end of Shelter Island.  I remember waiting until they brought an unhappy German Shepherd on board who made his way uncomfortably down and later up EGREGIOUS’s wet steep companionway ladder.  The crack in the hull, repaired in New Zealand, had opened again on the final mostly upwind passage from Tahiti to San Diego.

I do not recall how I moved from the police dock to Suzanne and my grandmother in Mission Beach.  I think I sailed EGREGIOUS to an anchorage in the bay, but I have no memory of making my way ashore.  Obviously I did.  And obviously I sailed the engineless EGREGIOUS every inch of the way.

What is significant is that I had just set a world record and I told no one. 

I did not need validation from anyone else.  

I needed only to prove myself to me.

I never notified Guinness.  

I did write about the voyage and ultimately Guinness contacted me through a  man named Nobby Clarke and so I was in the book for a few years.

I have considered paying someone to write a Wikipedia page about me.

I could write it myself far better than any hack, but there are Wikipedia protocols that I don’t want to deal with.

But in the same way I did not notify Guinness, I do not need validation from Wikipedia. 

If no one ever thinks enough of me to write such a page, so be it.

“The commonwealth is greater than any individual in it.  Hence the rights of society over the life, the reproduction, the behavior and the traits of the individuals that compose it are limitless, and society may take life, may sterilize, may segregate so at to prevent marriage, may restrict liberty in a hundred ways.”

The words are not from Nazi Germany, but from Professor Charles Davenport, who taught at both Harvard and the University of Chicago early last century.  He was the chief proponent of eugenics which sought to improve the species by among other tactics forced sterilization.  

In 1907 Indiana became the first state to pass an eugenic sterilization law.  By 1935, not long before I was born and when Hitler was expressing identical views, thirty of the then forty-eight states had such laws.

By the 1970s when most of the laws had been repealed or were no longer being enforced, between 40,000 and 70,000 involuntary sterilizations had taken place.

I did not know any of this until yesterday when I read a chapter on Charles Davenport in VILLAINS, SCOUNDRELS, AND ROGUES by Paul Martin, a National Geographic editor.

Davenport’s writings were quoted by the defense at the Nuremberg trail of Nazi war criminals in 1946.

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