Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unscientific Science

"I never said a word against eminent men of science. What I complain of is a vague popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one. When people talked about the fall of man they knew they were talking about a mystery, a thing they didn't understand. Now that they talk about the survival of the fittest they think they do understand it, whereas they have not merely no notion, they have an elaborately false notion of what the words mean. The Darwinian movement has made no difference to mankind, except that, instead of talking unphilosophically about philosophy, they now talk unscientifically about science." G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, July 26, 2008


“Only the sheerest relativism insists that passing time renders unattainable one ideal while forcing upon us another.” Richard Weaver

Friday, July 25, 2008

Black Genocide

In America today, nearly as many African-American children are aborted as are born.

A black baby is three times more likely to be murdered in the womb than a white baby.

Twice as many African-Americans have died from abortion than have died from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined.

Every three days, more African-Americans are killed by abortion than have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan in its entire history.

Planned Parenthood operates the nation's largest chain of abortion clinics and almost 80 percent of its facilities are located in minority neighborhoods.

About 13 percent of American women are black, but they submit to over 35 percent of the abortions.

Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent.

Tragically, what the Ku Klux Klan attempted but ultimately failed to do, Planned Parenthood is now accomplishing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Krauthammer on Obama

"Americans are beginning to notice Barak Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements? Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted 'present' nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself. It is a subject upon which he can dilate effortlessly. In his victory speech upon winning the nomination, Obama declared it a great turning point in history--'generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment'--when, among other wonders, 'the rise of the oceans began to slow.' As economist Irwin Stelzer noted in his London Daily Telegraph column, 'Moses made the waters recede, but he had help.' Obama apparently works alone." Charles Krauthammer

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hall of Shame

Every year Planned Parenthood Federation of America thanks its most ardent advocates in the media, arts, and entertainment industries with its “Maggie Awards.” Named for the notorious founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, the awards recognize the ways TV, radio, film, journalism, and advertising can reinforce the organization’s deleterious sex education, teen pregnancy, abortion agenda. The “Maggie Award” recipients for 2008 include:

Kate Walsh, actor, for her extensive advocacy efforts on behalf of affordable family planning services and real sex education;

ABC-TV for Boston Legal, "The Chicken and the Leg" episode;

Cosmopolitan, “The Sneaky Threat to Your Fertility,” by Stacey Colino, and “I Have an STD. Now What?” by Gail O’Connor;

Redbook, “Your (very personal) Health at 20, 30, 40, 50,” by Andrea Cooper;

Marie Claire, “The Easiest Choice I've Ever Made Is Also the Hardest to Live With,” by Gretchen Voss;

John Young from the Waco Tribune-Herald for numerous editorials in support of reproductive health and sexuality education;

Judy Peres for her extensive body of work in support of reproductive rights and sexual health while at the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Planned Parenthood and Obama

Today Planned Parenthood formally announced its endorsement of Barak Obama for president. Of course, the announcement had been expected for some time. Last month, the board of the national Planned Parenthood Action Fund voted unanimously to recommend endorsing him. This decision was then ratified by Planned Parenthood’s local action organizations, which represent the interests of all 100 Planned Parenthood affiliates.

The organization's president, Cecile Richard, confirmed the fact that the junior senator from Illinois and presumptive Democratic nominee is perhaps the most extreme pro-abortion candidate for national elective office ever to step onto the national stage. Indeed, his appalling pro-abortion credentials were enumerated in the Planned Parenthood announcement:

Senator Obama received a 100 percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. This stands in stark contrast to Senator John McCain’s zero percent rating.

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored a bevy of legislative measures favorable to Planned Parenthood's revolutionary agenda including: Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, Prevention First Act, Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act, Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act

Senator Obama supports Planned Parenthood-style comprehensive sex education and voted in favor of legislation to fund in-class indoctrination.

Senator Obama supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would prohibit any regulation of the multi-billion-dollar abortion trade.

Senator Obama voted to repeal federal standards barring taxpayer funded programs that perform or promote abortions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ummm. Right.

Eugenic Horror

In 1922 Margaret Sanger, the radical Eugenicist and Revolutionary who founded Planned Parenthood, chided social workers, philanthropists, and churchmen for perpetuating what she called "the cruelty of charity." She argued that organized attempts to help the poor were the "surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding, and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents, and dependents." She went on to write that the most "insidiously injurious philanthropy" was the maternity care given to poor women. She concluded her diatribe by describing all those who refused to see the necessity of severely regulating the fertility of the working class as "benign imbeciles who encourage the defective and diseased elements of humanity in their reckless and irresponsible swarming and spawning."

Her alternative to charity was "to eliminate the stocks" that she felt were most detrimental "to the future of the race and the world." To that end, Planned Parenthood has always targeted minorities, the unwanted, and the disadvantaged for family limitation, contraception, abortion, and sterilization. "More children from the fit, less from the unfit," Sanger opined, "that is the chief issue of birth control."

By 1922 her fame was secure. She had won several key legal battles, had coordinated an international conference on birth control, and had gone on a very successful round-the-world lecture tour. Her name had become a household word and one of her numerous books had become an instant bestseller in spite of--or perhaps because of--the tremendous controversy it had caused.

Entitled The Pivot of Civilization, it was one of the first popularly written books to openly expound and extol Eugenic aims. Throughout its 284 pages, Sanger unashamedly called for the elimination of "human weeds," for the "cessation of charity," for the segregation of "morons, misfits, and the maladjusted" and for the coercive sterilization of "genetically inferior races." Published today, such a book would be denigrated as the basest sort of intolerant racism. But writing when she did, Margaret only gained more acclaim.

Because of her Eugenic connections, she had become closely associated with the scientists and theorists who put together Nazi Germany's "race purification" program. She had openly endorsed the euthanasia, sterilization, abortion, and infanticide programs of the early Reich. She published a number of articles in The Birth Control Review that mirrored Hitler's White Supremacist rhetoric. She even commissioned Dr. Ernst Rudin, the director of the Nazi Medical Experimentation program, to write for The Review himself.

Naturally, as the end of the Second World War neared and the grisly details of the Nazi programs began to come to light, Sanger was forced to backpedal her position and cover up her complicity. Charges of anti-Semitism had been aimed at her since her trial in 1917, but now that Auschwitz and Dachau had become very much a part of the public conscience, she realized she would have to do something, and quickly.

Her first step toward redeeming her public image was to change the name of her organization. "Planned Parenthood" was a name that had been proposed from within the birth control movement since at least 1938. One of the arguments for the new name was that it connoted a positive program and conveyed a clean, wholesome, family-oriented image. It diverted attention from the international and revolutionary intentions of the movement, focusing instead on the personal and individual dimensions of birth control.

Next, she embarked on an aggressive affiliation program that brought hundreds of local and regional birth control leagues under the umbrella of her national organization, and then dozens of national organizations from around the globe were brought under the aegesis of her international federation. This enabled Sanger to draw on the integrity and respectability of grassroots organizations, solidifying and securing her place at the top.

Finally, she initiated a massive propaganda blitz aimed at the war-weary, ready-for-prosperity middle class. Always careful to hide her illicit affairs and her radical political leanings, her campaign emphasized "patriotism" and "family values."

But, the horrific Eugenic agenda remained despite the niceties of Sanger's PR campaign. To this day, the thrust of Planned Parenthood's literature focuses on the terrible "burden" that the poor place on the rest of us. It continually reminds us of the costs that welfare mothers incur for taxpayers. It constantly devises new plans to penetrate Black, Hispanic, and ethnic communities with its crippling message of Eugenic racism.

When, for instance, Planned Parenthood shifted its focus from community-based clinics to school-based clinics, it reaffirmed Sanger's intentions: targeting inner-city minority neighborhoods. Of the more than 300 school-based clinics that have opened nationwide in the last decade, none have been at substantially all-White schools. None have been at suburban middle-class schools. All have been at Black, minority, or ethnic schools.

A racial analysis of abortion statistics is quite revealing in this regard. According to a Health and Human Services Administration report, as many as 43 percent of all abortions are performed on Blacks and another 10 percent on Hispanics. This, despite the fact that Blacks only make up eleven percent of the total U.S. population and Hispanics only about eight percent. A National Academy of Sciences investigation released more conservative--but no less telling--figures: thirty-two percent of all abortions are performed on minority mothers.

Planned Parenthood's crusade to eliminate all those "dysgenic stocks" that Margaret Sanger believed were a "dead weight of human waste" and a "menace to the race" has precipitated a wholesale slaughter. By 1975, a little more than one percent of the Black population had been aborted. By 1980 that figure had increased to nearly two and a half percent. By 1985, it had reached three percent. And by 1992 it had grown exponentially to a full four and a half percent. In most Black communities today abortions outstrip births by as much as three-to-one.

In order to realize Margaret Sanger's Eugenic ideal of eliminating the "masses of degenerate" and "good-for-nothing" races, Planned Parenthood has not only emphasized contraception and abortion, it has also carried the banner of sterilization. And, of course, that sterilization vendetta has been primarily leveled against minorities.

The sterilization rate among Blacks is forty-five percent higher than among whites. Among Hispanics the rate is thirty percent higher. As many as forty-two percent of all Amerind women and thirty-five percent of all Puerto Rican women have been sterilized.

Hardly a champion of choice, Sanger often sought mandatory population control measures--measures carefully designed to deny women the freedom to choose. In 1934, she recommended that the government launch a health care reform plan that would include "parenthood permits." The permits would only be issued to those couples "deemed Eugenically fit by public officials." According to her proposal "no woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, no man shall have the right to become a father" without such a permit. And the permits were "not to be valid for more than one birth."

Following in her footsteps, Planned Parenthood has proposed that our government implement similar draconian measures. For instance, the organization has recommended "compulsory abortion for out-of-wedlock pregnancies," federal entitlement"payments to encourage abortion," "compulsory sterilization for those who have already had two children," and "tax penalties" for existing large families.

And in China, Planned Parenthood helped the government launch a brutal, no-holds-barred, one-child-per-couple policy. Nearly 100 million forced abortions, mandatory sterilizations, and coercive infanticides later, Planned Parenthood literature maintains that the genocidal approach to population control is a "model of efficiency." It has fought to maintain United States tax subsidies for the Chinese operation, and has continued to increase its own funding and program support involvement despite the widespread reports of human rights atrocities.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Liberalism's Paradox

“The whole point of the Liberal Eugenic pseudo-scientific theories is that they are to be applied wholesale, by some more sweeping and generalizing money power than the individual husband or wife or household. Eugenics asserts that all men must be so stupid that they cannot manage their own affairs; and also so clever that they can manage each other’s. G.K. Chesterton

Friday, July 11, 2008

Obama's Planned Parenthood Speech

Mike Wallace and Margaret Sanger

Long before CBS launched its signature 60 Minutes news magazine, Mike Wallace had his own interview program sponsored by tobacco giant, Philip Morris. Every program began with a soliloquy of praise for smoking. In fact, Wallace's signature sign-on was "My name is Mike Wallace; the cigarette is Philip Morris." Then, he would proceed to one of his hard-hitting interviews.

On September 21, 1957, he interviewed the aged but still controversial Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger. Having uncovered the archive of that half century-old film clip David and Tim Bayly provide an excellent summary of Sanger's moral obfuscation in a recent entry on their Bayly Blog. Or, for the video and complete transcript her shockingly muddled depravity, you can visit the Ransom Center Collection at the University of Texas.

It is fascinating to consider, as the Bayly Blog does, that smoking is now virtually banned but abortion is legal; the former is universally derided as an obvious vice while the latter is heralded as an obvious virtue. How much more latitudinarian could our sensate culture possibly be? Thanks, Mrs. Sanger.

Undercover at Planned Parenthood

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blood Money

With no little unintended irony, Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, sent a solicitation e-mail this past week to donors asserting, "Your support is the lifeblood of this organization--quite literally, you keep us going." She continued, "Your dollars, of course, are critical to our work."

Ummm--well, duh! Every week donations to Planned Parenthood enable the organization to slaughter another 5,572 children. Indeed, that blood money has cost 4,358,499 lives since Roe v. Wade made abortion and infanticide procedures legal through all nine months of pregnancy in the US.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Abortion Palaces

According to the Houston Chronicle Planned Parenthood will soon open a palatial 78,000-square-foot, six-story abortion center adjacent to the University of Houston on the busy Gulf Freeway. In Denver, the organization just opened a grand new 50,000 square-foot abortuary that the local TV 9 News report compared to "Fort Knox" because of its $300,000 security system.

Planned Parenthood's $1 billion in annual revenue from both its booming abortion business and vast taxpayer largess has made it possible for the organization to undertake a dramatic upgrade of its killing facilities all around the country. Peter Durkin, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas said, "It is our responsibility to appeal to everyone, from those who hold Medicaid cards to those with American Express cards."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Doctored Photo; Undoctored History

Obama's Pro-Abort Fanaticism

It's little wonder that Planned Parenthood invited its legion of pro-abortion supporters to send the junior Illinois Senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee "valentines" and "love letters." In her most recent WorldNetDaily column, Jill Stanek reveals why many political observers are now calling Barak Obama the most radical and deeply committed advocate of "medical" infanticide and child-killing procedures ever to run for federal office in the United States.

Last July in Washington, DC, Obama made a brazen pledge at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. "The first thing I'd do as president," he said, "is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."

The purpose of that insidious pro-abortion legislation is to "prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, any interference by the government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or to terminate a pregnancy." Thankfully, the bill has never passed muster with Congress, but its intention is obviously radical and sweeping--it is to nullify every health and safety regulation or restriction currently in place in all 50 states on the sprawling and lucrative abortion industry and on behemoth special interest groups like Planned Parenthood.

Although Obama has toned down some of the forthrightness of his pro-abortion rhetoric of late--apparently in an attempt to woo disaffected Evangelicals on the campaign trail--he has not altered or diminished his promise to Planned Parenthood in any way whatsoever.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sanger's Sordid Legacy

On January 1, 1900, most Americans greeted the twentieth century with the proud and certain belief that the next hundred years would be the greatest, the most glorious, and the most glamorous in human history. They were infected with a sanguine spirit. Optimism was rampant. A brazen confidence colored their every activity.

Certainly there was nothing in their experience to make them think otherwise. Never had a century changed the lives of men and women more dramatically than the one just past. The twentieth century has moved fast and furiously, so that those of us who have lived in it feel sometimes giddy, watching it spin; but the nineteenth moved faster and more furiously still. Railroads, telephones, the telegraph, electricity, mass production, forged steel, automobiles, and countless other modern discoveries had all come upon them at a dizzying pace, expanding their visions and expectations far beyond their grandfathers' wildest dreams.

It was more than unfounded imagination, then, that lay behind the New York World's New Year's prediction that the twentieth century would “meet and overcome all perils and prove to be the best that this steadily improving planet has ever seen.”

Most Americans were cheerfully assured that control of man and nature would soon lie entirely within their grasp and would bestow upon them the unfathomable millennial power to alter the destinies of societies, nations, and epochs. They were a people of manifold purpose. They were a people of manifest destiny.

What they did not know was that dark and malignant seeds were already germinating just beneath the surface of the new century's soil. Josef Stalin was a twenty-one-year-old seminary student in Tiflis, a pious and serene community at the crossroads of Georgia and Ukraine. Benito Mussolini was a seventeen-year-old student teacher in the quiet suburbs of Milan. Adolf Hitler was an eleven-year-old aspiring art student in the quaint upper Austrian village of Brannan. And Margaret Sanger was a twenty-year-old out-of-sorts nursing school dropout in White Plains, New York. Who could have ever guessed on that ebulliently auspicious New Year's Day that those four youngsters would, over the span of the next century, spill more innocent blood than all the murderers, warlords, and tyrants of past history combined? Who could have ever guessed that those four youngsters would together ensure that the hopes and dreams and aspirations of' the twentieth century would be smothered under the weight of holocaust, genocide, and triage?

As the champion of the proletariat, Stalin saw to the slaughter of at least fifteen million Russian and Ukrainian kulaks. As the popularly acclaimed Il Duce, Mussolini massacred as many as four million Ethiopians, two million Eritreans, and a million Serbs, Croats, and Albanians. As the wildly lionized Fuhrer, Hitler exterminated more than six million Jews, two million Slavs, and a million Poles. As the founder of Planned Parenthood and the impassioned heroine of various feminist causes celebres, Sanger was responsible for the brutal elimination of more than thirty million children in the United States and as many as two and a half billion worldwide.

No one in his right mind would want to rehabilitate the reputations of Stalin, Mussolini, or Hitler. Their barbarism, treachery, and debauchery will make their names live on in infamy forever. Amazingly though, Sanger has somehow escaped their wretched fate. In spite of the fact that her crimes against humanity were no less heinous than theirs, her place in history has effectively been sanitized and sanctified. In spite of the fact that she openly identified herself in one way or another with their aims, intentions, ideologies, and movements--with Stalin's Sobornostic Collectivism, with Hitler's Eugenic Racism, and with Mussolini's Agathistic Facism--her faithful minions have managed to manufacture an independent reputation for the perpetuation of her memory.

In life and death, the progenitor of the grisly abortion industry and the patron of the devastating sexual revolution has been lauded as a “radiant” and “courageous” reformer. She has been heralded by friend and foe alike as a "heroine,” a “champion,” a “saint,” and a “martyr.” Honored by men as different and divergent as H. G. Wells and Martin Luther King, George Bernard Shaw and Harry Truman, Bertrand Russell and John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein and Dwight Eisenhower, this remarkable “killer angel” was able to secret away her perverse atrocities, emerging in the annals of history practically vindicated and victorious.

That this could happen is a scandal of grotesque proportions.

And recently the proportions have only grown--like a deleterious Kudzu or a rogue Topsy. Sanger has been the subject of adoring television dramas, hagiographical biographies, patronizing theatrical productions, and saccharined musical tributes. Though the facts of her life and work are anything but inspiring, millions of unwary moderns have been urged to find in them inspiration and hope. Myth is rarely dependent upon truth, after all.

Sanger’s rehabilitation has depended on writers, journalists, historians, social scientists, and sundry other media celebrities steadfastly obscuring or blithely ignoring what she did, what she said, and what she believed. It has thus depended upon a don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts ideological tenacity unmatched by any but the most extreme of our modern secular cults.

This brief site is an attempt to set the record straight. It is an attempt to rectify that shameful distortion of the social, cultural, and historical record. It has no other agenda than to replace fiction with fact.

Nevertheless, that agenda necessarily involves stripping away all too many layers of dense palimpsests of politically correct revisionism. But that ought to be the honest historian’s central purpose anyway. Henry Cabot Lodge once asserted, “Nearly all the historical work worth doing at the present moment in the English language is the work of shoveling off heaps of rubbish inherited from the immediate past.”

That then is the task of this site.

Of course, many would question the relevance of any kind of biographical or historical work at all. I can’t even begin to recount how many times a Planned Parenthood staffer has tried to deflect the impact of Sanger’s heinous record by dismissing it as “old news” or “ancient history” and thus irrelevant to any current issue or discussion.

It is an argument that seems to sell well in the current marketplace of ideas. We have actually come to believe that matters and persons of present import are unaffected by matters and persons of past import.

We moderns hold to a strangely disjunctive view of the relationship between life and work--thus enabling us to nonchalantly separate a person's private character from their public accomplishments. But this novel divorce of root from fruit, however genteel, is a ribald denial of one of the most basic truths in life: what you are begets what you do; wrong-headed philosophies stem from wrong-headed philosophers; sin doesn't just happen--it is sinners that sin.

Thus, according to the English historian and journalist Hilaire Belloc, “Biography always affords the greatest insights into sociology. To comprehend the history of a thing is to unlock the mysteries of its present, and more, to discover the profundities of its future.” Similarly, the inimitable Samuel Johnson quipped, “Almost all the miseries of life, almost all the wickedness that infects society, and almost all the distresses that afflict mankind, are the consequences of some defect in private duties.”

Or, as E. Michael Jones has asserted, “Biography is destiny.”

This is particularly true in the case of Margaret Sanger. The organization she founded, Planned Parenthood, is the oldest, largest, and best-organized provider of abortion and birth control services in the world. From its ignoble beginnings around the turn of the century, when the entire shoestring operation consisted of an illegal back-alley clinic in a shabby Brooklyn neighborhood staffed by a shadowy clutch of firebrand activists and anarchists, it has expanded dramatically into a multi-billion-dollar international conglomerate with programs and activities in 134 nations on every continent. In the United States alone, it has mobilized more than 20,000 staff personnel and volunteers along the front lines of an increasingly confrontational and vitriolic culture war. Today they man the organization’s 167 affiliates and its 922 clinics in virtually every major metropolitan area, coast to coast. Boasting an opulent national headquarters in New York, a sedulous legislative center in Washington, opprobrious regional command posts in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, and officious international centers in London, Nairobi, Bangkok, and New Dehli, the Federation showed $23.5 million in earnings during fiscal year 1992 with $192.9 million in cash reserves and another $108.2 million in capital assets. With an estimated combined annual budget--including all regional and international service affiliates--of more than a trillion dollars, Planned Parenthood may well be the largest and most profitable non-profit organization in history.

The organization has used its considerable political, institutional, and financial clout to mainstream old-school left-wing extremism. It has weighed in with sophistocated lobbying, advertising, and back-room strong-arming to virtually remove the milennium-long stigma against child-killing abortion proceedures and family-sundering socialization programs. Planned Parenthood thus looms like a Goliath over the increasingly tragic culture war.

Despite its leviathan proportions it is impossible to entirely understand Planned Parenthood’s policies, programs, and priorities apart from Margaret Sanger’s life and work. It was, after all, originally established to be little more than an extension of her life and worldview.

It is therefore long overdue that the truth be told. It is long overdue that the proper standing of Margaret Sanger in the sordid history of this bloody century be secured.

Sanger's Root of Bitterness

Margaret Sanger was born on September 14, 1879, in the small industrial community of Corning in upstate New York, the sixth of eleven children. The circumstances of her home life were never happy--a fact to which she later attributed much of her agitated activism and bitter bombast. If it is true that “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world,” it is equally true that “The hand that wrecks the cradle ruins the world.”

Her father, Michael Higgins, was an Irish Catholic immigrant who fancied himself a radical freethinker and a free-wheeling skeptic. As a youngster he had enlisted in General William Sherman’s notorious Twelfth New York Cavalry, and proudly participated in the nefarious campaign that ravaged and ravished the South, across Tennessee, through Atlanta, and to the sea. He achieved notable infamy among his peers when he was honored by his commander for special treachery in fiercely subduing the recalcitrant captive population. Not surprisingly that cruel and inhuman experience apparently hardened and embittered him. Triage and genocide are not easily forgotten by either victims or perpetrators. His criminal inhumanity constituted a kind of spiritual calamity from which he, like so many others of his region, never fully recovered. Forever afterward he was patheticly stunted, unable to maintain even a modicum of normalcy in his life or relations.

He worked sporadically as a stone mason and a tombstone carver but was either unwilling or unable to provide adequately for his large family. Margaret's mother, Anne Purcell, was a second generation American from a strict Irish Catholic family. She was frail and tuberculous but utterly devoted to her unstable and unpredictable husband--as well as their ever-growing brood of children.

The family suffered bitterly from cold, privation, and hunger. That was the common lot of thousands of other families in nineteenth century America. But the Higginses also suffered grievously from scorn, shame, and isolation--because of Michael's sullen improvidence. And like many a man who is proudly progressive in public, he was repressively remonstrant at home. He regularly thrashed his sons “to make men of them.” And he treated his wife and daughters as “virtual slaves.” And when he drank--which was whenever he could afford it--his volatile presence was even more oppressive than it normally was.

That is the paradox of dogmatic liberalism: though it loudly declares itself a champion of the weak, it is actually an unrelenting truncheon of the strong. Ideology inevitably resolves itself in some form of tyranny.

Sanger later described her family's existence under the unenlightened and inhuman hand of Michael’s enlightened humanism as "joyless and filled with drudgery and fear.” Even as an adult, whenever she was on a train that merely rode through Corning, she got a sharp pain in the pit of her stomach. She suffered, she said, from “Corningitis.”

Clearly, the Higginses had an impoverished and isolated life. But, not only did they have to endure grave social and material lack, they were spiritually deprived as well. As a confirmed skeptic, Michael mocked the sincere religious devotion of most of his neighbors. He openly embraced radicalism, socialism, and atheism. And he had little toleration for the modicum of morality that his poor wife tried to instill in the lives of their hapless children.

One day for example, when Margaret was on her knees saying the Lord's Prayer, she came to the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread,” and her father snidely cut her off.

“Who were you talking to?” he demanded.

“To God,” she replied innocently.

“Well, tell me, is God a baker?”

With no little consternation, she said, “No, of course not. But He makes the rain, the sunshine, and all the things that make the wheat, which makes the bread.”

After a thoughtful pause her father rejoined, “Well, well, so that's the idea. Then why didn't you just say so? Always say what you mean, my daughter, it is much better.”

In spite of Michael's concerted efforts to undermine Margaret's young and fragile faith, her mother had her baptized in St. Mary's Catholic Church on March 23, 1893. A year later, on July 8, 1894, she was confirmed. Both ceremonies were held in secret--her father would have been furious had he known. For some time afterward she displayed a zealous devotion to spiritual things. She regularly attended services and observed the disciplines of the liturgical year. She demonstrated a budding and apparently authentic hunger for truth.

But gradually the smothering effects of Michael's cynicism took their toll. When her mother died under the strain of her unhappy privation, Margaret was more vulnerable than ever before to his fierce undermining. Bitter, lonely, and grief-stricken, by the time she was seventeen her passion for Christ had collapsed into a bitter hatred of the church. It was a malignant malevolence that would forever after be her spiritual hallmark.

Anxious to move away from her malignant home life as soon as she could, Margaret was practically willing to go anywhere and try anything--as long as it was far from Corning. After a quick, almost frantic search, she settled on Claverack College. A small and inexpensive co-educational a boarding school attached to the famed Hudson River Institute, Claverack was a Methodist high school housed in an imposing wooden building on twenty picturesque acres overlooking the Hudson Valley. Not known for its academic rigors, the school was essentially a finishing school for protean youth.

It was there at Claverack that Margaret got her first taste of freedom. And what a wild and intoxicating freedom it was. She plunged into radical politics, suffragette feminism, and unfettered sex. Despite her relatively light academic load, she quickly fell behind in her work. She rarely attended her classes. And she almost never completed her assignments. Worse, she neglected her part-time job--necessary to pay for the nominal tuition.

It is said that we become most like those whom we are bitter against. Despite her now obvious animosity toward him, Margaret began to unconsciously emulate her father’s erratic personality. The stronger her resistance to his influence grew, the greater her immitation of his improvidence became.

But character has consequences. When she could no longer afford the tuition at Claverack, she was forced to return home--but only long enough to gather her belongings and set her affairs in order. She had drunk from the cup of concupiscence and would never again be satisfied with the quiet responsibilities and virtues of domesticity.

And so, as soon as she could, she moved in with her older sister in White Plains, taking a job as a kindergarten teacher. A youth corrupted became a youth corruptor.

Since she herself was now a high school drop out, she was assigned to a class made up primarily of the children of new immigrants. Much to her dismay, she found that her pupils couldn't understand a word that she said. She quickly grew tired of the laborious routine of teaching day in and day out. Gratefully, she quit after just two short terms.

Next, she applied for a job as a nurse-probationer at a small local hospital. Again though, Margaret’s careless and nomadic rootlessness was telling. Hospital work proved to be even more vexing and taxing than teaching. She never finished her training.

In later years she would claim to be a trained and practiced nurse. Nearly forty pages of her Autobiography were devoted to her varied, often heroic, experiences as a seasoned veteran in professional health care. But they were little more than Margaret’s well-realized fantasies.

In fact, her actual exposure to medicine was almost non-existent: she never got beyond running errands, changing sheets, and emptying bedpans. Like so much else in the mythic fable of her rise to prominence, her career as a nurse was little more than perpetrated fraud.

Determined to escape from the harsh bondage of labor and industry, she once again began to cast about for some viable alternative. She finally resorted to the only viable course open to a poor girl in those seemingly unenlightened days when the Puritan Work Ethic was still ethical: she married into money.