Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adolf Hitler, the Buck Sisters, and The Four Horsemen

Most dictionaries define “eugenics” as “the proposed improvement of the human species by encouraging or permitting reproduction of only those people with genetic characteristics judged [by the state] desirable.” It has been regarded with disfavor since the Nazi period.” (Encarta Dictionary.)

According to Wikipedia, this is a Nazi propaganda poster for the regime’s compulsory euthanasia program. The translation is: “This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Fellow German, that is your money, too.”

This poster prominently features the flags of other countries. Wikipedia describes it as a “Nazi poster from 1936 with flags of other countries with, or considering introducing, compulsory sterilization legislation. The translation is: “We do not stand alone." (Emphasis supplied.)

The lengthy article in which these posters appear relates the now infamous story about the Third Reich’s eugenics program. A portion of that article appears below (in courier font):

Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler was infamous for eugenics programs which attempted to maintain a “pure” German race through a series of programs that ran under the banner of racial hygiene. Among other activities, the Nazis performed extensive experimentation on live human beings to test their genetic theories, ranging from simple measurement of physical characteristics to the experiments carried out by Josef Mengele for Otmar von Verschuer on twins in the concentration camps. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi regime forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of people whom they viewed as mentally and physically unfit, an estimated 400,000 between 1934 and 1937. The scale of the Nazi program prompted one American eugenics advocate to seek an expansion of their program, with one complaining that “the Germans are beating us at our own game.” The Nazis went further, however, killing tens of thousands of the institutionalized disabled through compulsory "euthanasia” programs . . . . (Emphasis supplied.)

The American flag (along with those of other western nations such as England, Switzerland, and Denmark) on a Nazi compulsory-sterilization poster?

An “American eugenics advocate” competing with the Nazis in a race to prove which country could sterilize more of its citizens faster?

Compulsory sterilization?

Nothing like that could happen here. Or could it?

It could.

And it did.

And, as we shall soon see, even worse may happen soon.

Throughout the United States in the first half of the Twentieth Century, some 65,000 American men and women were involuntarily sterilized by various state governments.

Between 1924 and 1972, 8,299 of them were citizens of the State of Virginia.

A Virginia statute (Acts 1924, chap. 394, p. 569) provided that:

Whereas, both the health of the individual patient and the welfare of society may be promoted in certain cases by the sterilization of mental defectives . . . and Whereas . . . the Commonwealth has in custodial care . . . many defective persons who if now discharged or paroled would likely become by the propagation of their kind a menace to society . . . and Whereas, human experience has demonstrated that heredity plays an important part in the transmission of insanity, idiocy, imbecility, epilepsy and crime; now, therefore . . .

Be it enacted . . . That whenever the [State of Virginia] . . . shall be of opinion that it is for the best interests of the patients and of society that any inmate of the institution under his care should be sexually sterilized, such superintendent is hereby authorized to perform . . . the operation of sterilization on any such patient confined in such institution afflicted with hereditary forms of insanity that are recurrent, idiocy, imbecility, feeble-mindedness or epilepsy. . . . (Emphasis supplied.)

Seventeen-year-old Carrie Buck was allegedly “a feeble-minded white woman who was committed to the State [mental hospital]. She [was] the daughter of a feeble-minded mother in the same institution, and the mother of an illegitimate feeble-minded child.” (Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 205 (1927).)

Carrie Buck was ordered sterilized, Virginia having found that she was “the probably potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.” (Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 207. Emphasis supplied.)

Carrie’s sister, Doris, was another victim of state-ordered involuntary sterilization. Doris was told she had undergone an appendectomy. (Years later, a Virginia physician conceded that Doris Buck, who was married, “was not particularly retarded.” )

According to The New York Times:

For years, [Dr. Nelson] said, she and her husband . . . could not understand why she could not bear children. “This is one of the tragedies,” Dr. Nelson said. He said the statistical probability of their having a retarded child was no greater than for the general population.

“I broke down and cried,” [she] told the [newspaper]. “My husband and me wanted children desperate—we were crazy about them. I never knew what they done to me.”

In a legal challenge to the Virginia statute, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld it, observing that the law “was not meant to punish but to protect the class of socially inadequate citizens from themselves and to promote the welfare of society by mitigating race degeneracy and raising the average standard of intelligence of the people of the state.” (Buck v. Bell, 130 S.E. 516, 519. Emphasis supplied.)

Eventually, the question of the Virginia law's constitutionality reached the United States Supreme Court. The Court’s 8-1 decision, written by legendary Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes some eighty years ago, are a grim and fearful portend of what may coming in the Democrat Party’s current plans for “health care reform”:

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizen for their lives [i.e., the draft]. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. 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. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes . . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough. (Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. at 205. Emphasis supplied.)

The Buck sisters (their brother had been sterilized, too) apparently didn’t realize that their “lesser sacrifice” had been made for the "welfare of society . . . and [to] rais[e] the average intelligence of the people of the state.”

The underlying principle in which the Supreme Court's opinion is rooted—represented by reference to “public welfare,” “sacrifices,” “better for all the world” and “society”—is that, in the end, American citizens’ lives belong to the government, be it state or federal—which is to say that our lives belong to whatever majority can be mustered to work its will at any given time about any given issue. After all, involuntary sterilization throughout the United States was made possible by laws enacted by the elected representatives of voters in all those states.

It is a short step conceptually and practically from compulsory sterilization in the name of eugenics, to passive euthanasia in the name of an amorphous public good to be achieved through the Democrat Party’s “health care reform.”

There are at least two provisions of HR 3200, as written, which are worse than anything done by the eugenicists. Those Dr. Frankensteins “only” sterilized the Bucks of this country, but at least let them live. HR 3200, as it can be applied, probably will not.

The increasingly infamous Section 1233, as written, provides for payment to physicians for end-of-life counseling every five years (or sooner if the patient has a terminal diagnosis).

Well, wouldn’t it be cozy sitting down over tea with good old Dr. Kildare and chatting about death?

Not on your life!

Even liberals see the danger.

Charles Lane is an editorial board member of the uber-liberal Washington Post.According to Gateway Pundit:

"As I read it, Section 1233 is not totally innocuous," Lane writes, adding that it "addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones."

"Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren't quite 'purely voluntary,'" as backers of the bill assert, Lane adds. "To me, 'purely voluntary' means 'not unless the patient requests one.' Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that's an incentive to insist.

"Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they're in the meeting, the bill does permit 'formulation' of a plug-pulling order right then and there," Lane explains.

"What's more, Section 1233 dictates, at some length, the content of the consultation," Lane continues.

He points out the legislation says the doctor "shall" discuss "advanced care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to"; "an explanation of . . . living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses" even though those are legal and not medical papers. The physician "shall" present "a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families."

"Admittedly, this script is vague and possibly unenforceable," Lane writes. "What are "key questions"? Who belongs on 'a list' of helpful 'resources?' The Roman Catholic Church? Jack Kevorkian?"

Ultimately, the Post editorial writer says "Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party -- the government -- recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations."

It requires little imagination, or paranoia, to contemplate eugenics-plus-oriented physicians, who believe some elderly can be “too old,” pushing them into eschewing “too expensive” medical care that could prolong their lives. Indeed, it is paradoxical that the usual liberal concern that “consumers” not be overreached by slick salesmen when they buy a used car, has somehow been forgotten when he is forced to listen to an alleged “end-of-life” expert with a financial interest in the outcome of the “counseling.”

“Sign here, Mr. Cronkite, we’ll pull the plug, and the taxpayers will save a bundle.”

But there’s more: rationing that will necessarily hasten the death of the elderly.

It is a fact that for various reasons—e.g., more people becoming insured, whether they’re intentionally uninsured or not—the Democrat’s health plan is going to be stratospherically expensive.

Where is the money going to come from (apart from more deficits, and thus eventual serious inflation)?

Among other places, from reduced Medicare reimbursements to participating physicians and institutions.

That will necessarily result in (1) fewer physicians caring for Medicare patients, (2) less time with those patients they do see, (3) reduced care and treatment for the elderly, and (4) ) likely termination of Medicare Advantage Plans (e.g., AARP)—all resulting in a reduction in the nature, scope, quality and quantity of care for the elderly.

One need not be Dr. Kildare to understand that when this is what happens to medical care, more seniors die—younger, faster and in much more distress. Indeed, Obama himself suggested that his 86-year old grandmother, instead of having a hip replacement, perhaps should have had only a few Vicodin tablets to ease her pain.

The Democrats can now play all the word games they wish, trying to bury in lies and euphemisms the nature of what they want to do, but it’s too late. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has stated categorically in his health care book that “[s]eniors should sacrifice advancements in care so that resources can be spent on the young.”

I call Section 1233 and the Daschle-Reid-Pelosi-Obama approach to elderly medical care what it is: passive euthanasia.

These Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse mean to emulate the policies of Nazi Germany, whose posters reminded the Volk that certain citizens ill through no fault of their own “cost the community” too much money, and that in instituting compulsory sterilization the Nazi’ did “not stand alone.”

Yes, elder medicine in this government-controlled, un-free, anti-competitive marketplace is expensive, and yes there are murderous, socialized triaged medical systems in other western English-speaking countries. But neither of these abomination is a warrant for the United States of America to cannibalistically dispose of its elderly.

If the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have their way, elderly Americans could easily become the Twenty-First Century’s Carrie and Doris Buck—and even end up envying them.

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