Just imagine that these events were to become known to the enemy! And were being exploited by them! In all probability, such propaganda would be ineffective simply because those hearing and reading it would not be prepared to believe it.
The Reichskommisar for the Ostland to the Reichminister for occupied Eastern territories – June 18, 1943
The term “euthanasia” has become a respectable concept in our contemporary vocabulary and consciousness subtly through the use of the phrase death with dignity. The term euthanasia was first used in a contemporary setting in Germany. In 1920, Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding published the book The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value. It is likely that their book was the beginning of the German rationale for what began as a program of euthanasia which brought to fruition the attempted genocide of specific classifications of people.
Consequently, the term euthanasia and the phrase death with dignity became the motto of the movement to legalize the destruction of human life. Their meaning was very clear: to legalize the murder of a person or persons whom they believed had “the right to the complete relief of an unbearable life.”
Who are the ones who declare that a person’s life unbearable? We must as the question, “Unbearable by whose definition?” When a newborn child with a congenital defect is left unattended to starve to death: physicians and professionals in the legal profession refer to the murderous act as passive euthanasia.
Is there justification for a physician to withhold extraordinary care in the management of his or her patient? In order to answer the question we must first define the term extraordinary when referring to the care of patients.
Procedures and technology which we call extraordinary today will not be so tomorrow. The administration of intravenous fluids and oxygen was once considered extraordinary. Respirators, heart-lung machines, and pacemakers were once considered extraordinary. Newborn children with congenital defects which are incompatible with life would ordinarily not survive. But those same children after receiving operations and extraordinary care do survive to live and grow without the continued use of extraordinary measures.
A physician must consider his motivation and intent when caring for a patient. The physician must keep conscious thoughts of the wonderful uniqueness of all human life. The doctor must consider the possibility of extending human life not merely prolonging the natural dying experience. Once the technical gadgetry of science merely prolongs the experience of dying, one can remove extraordinary means allowing nature to run its course. This is the realm of trust between a patient and physician or the family of a patient and a trusted physician. This position is not merely a manufactured euphemism for euthanasia but “real death with dignity.”
The question being debated is not the high value of human life based on the intrinsic unique value of humanity as being created in the image of God. The contemporary debate is not concerning cases where death is inevitable and imminent.
Today, the intent of medical personnel is the direct killing of the patient. Furthermore, members of the medical and paramedical personnel advocate the death of a patient by doing nothing when help and support would result in furthering life. Although circumstances may be difficult; the death of patients who can be helped is called “mercy killing.”
The crisis we are facing is the destruction of human individuals because they are socially embarrassing, imperfect, and unwanted. The human beings targeted are the infirm, the senile, retarded, insane and incontinence. When we come to this practice I have described; we enter the same realm as the Nazis.
This is precisely what is happening to the unborn. Many of the pro-abortionists have no medical concern whether the unborn baby lives. The reason for abortion is selfish and hedonistic. The unwanted child is merely inconvenient, uneconomical and embarrassing. Hence, the logical mathematical conclusion comes to death selection and genocide.
We are faced with arbitrary sociological law by the legislators and through the courts. Furthermore, the attitude of the medical profession has changed concerning the unique, intrinsic value of human life. Finally, there is a selfish apathy among the masses of people proclaiming “rights” as they grasp for a hedonistic lifestyle.
Several abnormal behavior patterns of mankind were present in the NAZI regime. The statements that follow are extracted from Richard L. Rubenstein’s book "The Cunning of History: Mass Death and the American Future."
“The destruction process required the cooperation of every sector of German society. The bureaucrats drew the definitions and decrees, the churches gave evidence of Aryan descent, the postal authorities carried the messages of definition, expropriation, denaturalization and deportation. A place [of execution was] made available to the Gestapo and the SS by the Wehrmacht. To repeat, the operation required and received the participation of every major social and political and religious institution of the German Reich.”
It is most important to realize that the medical profession had a leading role in planning and implementing abortion and euthanasia. Hitler’s progress in the extermination camps would have been greatly hindered if not stopped. It was the example and active role of the medical profession in Germany concerning the implementation of euthanasia which became the vehicle to fulfill the aspirations of Hitler. Large numbers of professional men in the medical community of Germany cooperated with Nazism.
Unfortunate minorities experienced the terror, genocide, and extermination programs in which not a few doctors participated. Members of the medical profession actively participated in barbaric experimentation on human beings.
Boston psychiatrist Leo Alexander was consultant to the Secretary of War in 1946 and 1947. He was on duty with the office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes in Nuremberg. Alexander outlined the problem in his paper “Medical Science under Dictatorship.” Alexander wrote about his vital concerns in 1949. We, in this generation, are facing the same vital concerns.
“Irrespective of other ideological trappings, the guiding philosophic principle of recent dictatorships, including that of the Nazis, has been Hegelian in that what has been considered ‘rational utility’ and corresponding doctrine and planning has replaced moral, ethical and religious values…”
“Medical science in Nazi Germany collaborated with this Hegelian trend particularly in the following enterprises: the mass extermination of the chronically sick in the interest of saving ‘useless’ expenses to the community as a whole; the mass extermination of those considered socially disturbing or racially and ideologically unwanted; the individual, inconspicuous extermination of those considered disloyal within the ruling group; and the ruthless use of ‘human experimental material’ for medico-military research.”
“It started with the acceptance of the attitude basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived…”
[Before Hitler came to power in 1933] “a propaganda barrage was directed against the traditional, compassionate, nineteenth-century attitudes towards the chronically ill, and for the adoption of a utilitarian, Hegelian point of view. Sterilization and euthanasia of persons with chronic mental illnesses was discussed at a meeting of Bavarian psychiatrists in 1931.”
Several members of the medical community embraced these principles before the rise of Adolph Hitler. Alexander declares that the opening wedge was when Hitler exterminated 275,000 “in these killing centers.”
Those persons whom Hitler killed were “the entering wedge for extermination…The methods used and the personnel trained in the killing centers for the chronically sick became the nucleus of much larger centers in the East, where the plan was to kill all Jews and Poles and to cut down the Russian population by 30,000,000.”
The aged, senile, infirm, mentally retarded, and defective children were the first to be killed. As World War II approached, the targeted undesirables included epileptics, children with badly modeled ears, World War I amputees, and children who were bed wetters.
In an effort to save society money; physicians took part in planning matters of life and death. Adults were propagandized through motion pictures such as I Accuse, which dealt with the issue of euthanasia.
Alexander made the following comments:
“The film depicts the life history of a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. In it her husband, a doctor, finally kills her to the accompaniment of soft piano music rendered by a sympathetic colleague in an adjoining room. Acceptance of this ideology was implanted even in the children. A widely-used high school mathematics text, Mathematics in the Service of Political Education, Second Edition 1935, Third Edition 1936…includes problems stated in distorted terms of the cost of caring for and rehabilitating the chronically sick and crippled. One of the problems asked, for instance, is how many new housing units could be built and how many marriage-allowance loans could be given to newly-wed couples for the amount of money it cost the state to care for ‘the crippled and the insane.’”Soon after Hitler came into power, the second most widely read edition of the textbook was issued in 1935. Alexander comments:
“The first direct order for euthanasia was issued by Hitler on September 1, 1939….All state institutions were required to report on patients who had been ill for five years or more or who were unable to work, by filling out questionnaires giving name, race, marital status, nationality, next of kin, whether regularly visited and by whom, who bore the financial responsibility and so forth. The decision regarding which patients should be killed was made entirely on the basis of this brief information by expert consultants, most of whom were professors of psychiatry in the key universities. These consultants never saw the patients themselves.”
Mauthausen was a Nazi concentration in Austria where 110,000 people were killed between 1938 and 1945. Pseudo medical experiments were conducted on people of several nationalities. To the Nazis, Jewish people were an unwanted economic and social burden. They were considered to be parasites which consumed more than what they contributed to society. The young, old, strong, and weak were eliminated in the attempt to improve society eventually bringing about a utopia. Individual people were no longer considered to have intrinsic unique value derived from God their creator. People were considered to be a commodity to be used, exploited, and discarded when no longer seen as something of value to the state.
The barbarism of Nazi Germany was not confined to the Jewish people. Gypsies, Slavs, Russians, German political and religious dissidents, as well as members of the resistance were targeted. Captives throughout the course of the war and children of the categories mentioned were targets of barbarism.
On October 10, 1943, Heinrich Himmler addressed an assembly of SS generals at Poznan. Himmler declared in his address, “Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly…I mean…the extirpation of the Jewish race…this is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written.”
The Cunning of History: Mass Death and the American Future was written by Fredrich Wertham. Wertham makes it perfectly clearly. People throughout the Germany willingly surrendered their own individual will and conscience to that of the state. The depersonalization and dehumanization which followed was not that the people of Germany were ideologically fanatical with hatred for the victims of Nazi barbarism. Primarily, they were indifferent to the fate of the captives of the Nazis.
Academic physicians were the persons who carried out the euthanasia programs. Often these men were professors in outstanding universities. Wertham indicates that they were not “mad” as one might speak of “mad” scientists. They embraced a world view of utilitarianism. They were more concerned about the cost of caring for patients as opposed to eliminating…killing them.
The organization specifically designed for the killing of children was known by the euphemism: Realm’s Committee for the Scientific Approach to Severe Illness due to Heredity and Constitution. Patients were transported to the killing centers by The Charitable Transport Company for the Sick. The Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care was ‘in charge of collecting the cost of the killing from the relatives without, however, informing them what the charges were for; in the death certificates the cause of death was falsified.’
Alexander gives a warning beneath the heading “The Early Change in Medical Attitudes.” It all began with the acknowledgement and belief in an attitude which asserts that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.
This attitude is exactly what has been embraced in the medical community permeating the culture of our nation. The abortion / infanticide / euthanasia movement has embraced this pervasive attitude.
Furthermore, Alexander continues:
“But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which all this entre trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude towards the non-rehabilitable sick.”
This small wedge has opened doors which would have been inconceivable in the distant and near past.
Furthermore, Alexander declares: “It is therefore this subtle shift in emphasis of the physicians’ attitude that one must thoroughly investigate.”
The present culture embraces an attitude that all things are relative. This is the humanistic base of modern society. Consider how contemporary university students in the United States consider the era of Nazi totalitarianism. The comments that follow are quotations from Dr. Richard M. Hunt, associate dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
“I taught courses at Harvard for many years. I used to teach these courses from a straight historical perspective. Recently, I tried a new approach and I call the course, ‘Moral Dilemma in a Repressive Society: Nazi Germany.’ Through case studies of issues and personalities I try to present the Nazi phenomenon from the inside, so to speak, from the experience and testimony of those who lived through the period as victims, victimizers, bystanders, true believers, and members of the resistance.”
“To make a long story short, I was greatly surprised with the reaction of the students.. I had asked for personal interpretations of moral relevant dilemmas. In their end-of-term papers, it was not a matter of indifference to Nazi oppressions that I found. Nobody attempted to minimize or explain away Nazi excesses.”
“Rather what struck me most forcibly were the depressing fatalistic conclusions about major moral dilemmas facing the German people of that particular place and time in history.”
“Comments like these were frequent. ‘And with the ever present threat of Gestapo terror, who would dare to speak out and resist? Would you? Would I? Probably not!’”
“Most disturbing of all to me was the end of the line of such arguments. This point was reached by a few students who seemed somehow to realize the moral peril of such exculpatory judgments. Their way out was to lessen the responsibility of any individual by dispersing the guilt among all.”
“Clearly some trends of our times seemed to be running towards a no-fault, that is, a guilt-free society. One might say the virtues of responsible choice, paying the penalty, taking the consequences, all appear at low ebb today.
“Next time I teach this course, I hope to stress more strongly my own belief in the contingencies, the open-endedness of history. Somehow, I have got to convey the meaning of moral decisions and their relation to significant outcomes. Most important, I want to point out that single acts of individuals and strong stands of institutions at an early date do make a difference in the long run. I am through with teaching no-fault history.”
It is extremely difficult to know what is happening in our own contemporary era with the depth of perception one has after examining history. The euthanasia movement is pervasive and is well entrenched in western society. Some well meaning people are attracted to what may seem to be the benefits of the euthanasia movement. They think they are free of guilt but do not realize the logical consequences of their world view.
The ‘wedge principle’ cannot be easily dismissed for the first step is eventually followed by the second step. Consequently, if the first step is immoral; the following steps will be immoral. Even if the first step is moral; it does not follow that the second will also be moral.
In 1974, the World Conference on Population Control referred to an abortion as “a retrospective method of fertility control.” Hence, semantic legerdemain prepares us for accepting the unthinkable…the horrible. There are several euphemisms for abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Starving a child suffering from spina bifida (cleft spine) in England is referred to as putting the child on a “low calorie diet”!
Language is a powerful tool of potential manipulation and a subtle indicator of the direction in which our culture is moving. “Termination”, ‘discontinuing pregnancy, and ‘removal of fetal tissue” are euphemisms for abortion. Childless couples are spoken of as being “child free.” The term subtly indicates that children are unwanted burdens.
We gradually slip into times of monstrous inhumanity. Those persons who boldly declare moral tones of “freedom for the individual” and “rights” often do not know what they are starting. They see an isolated condition which they desire to accomplish while not considering the potential consequences of their course and direction.