Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Nazis, Shiavo and Pro-life Folks

from grannyhelen

Even before the rise of Adolph Hitler's Third Reich, the way for the gruesome Nazi holocaust of human extermination and cruel butchery was being prepared in the 1930 German Weimar Republic through the medical establishment and philosophical elite's adoption of the "quality of life" concept in place of the "sanctity of life." The Nuremberg trials, exposing the horrible Nazi war crimes, revealed that Germany's trend toward atrocity began with their progressive embrace of the Hegelian doctrine of "rational utility," where an individual's worth is in relation to their contribution to the state, rather than determined in light of traditional moral, ethical and religious values.


--William Federer, nationally syndicated pundit, in his article "The Court-Ordered Death of Terri Schiavo", October, 2003



The reason for this public support of removal from ordinary sustenance, I believe, is not that most people understand or care about Terri Schiavo. Like many others with disabilities, I believe that the American public, to one degree or another, holds that disabled people are better off dead. To put it in a simpler way, many Americans are bigots...As Schiavo starves to death, we are entering a world last encountered in Nazi Europe.


--Joe Ford, Harvard Student writing an opinion piece in the Harvard Crimson, "FOCUS: Bigotry and the Murder of Terri Schiavo", March 25, 2005


Before the Palm Sunday rescue, Schiavo was scheduled to die by starvation and dehydration, a method of capital punishment most would consider criminal if done to a pet.


This was the method used at Auschwitz to murder Father Maximilian Kolbe, the priest who volunteered to take the place of a Polish father of a large family, who was one of 10 the camp commandant had selected for execution in reprisal for the escape of a prisoner...


...One wonders if our young, so many of them cheated of a knowledge of history in schools they are forced to attend, are aware of how closely our elites approximate, in belief and argument, the elites of Weimar and Nazi Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.


--Patrick J. Buchanan, "In the Schiavo Case, Elites Reveal Similarity to Nazi Germany", March 24, 2005


The latest comparison between the Nazi Party and liberals, Democrats and just plain old ordinary folks who want don't want Congress and the President presiding over personal family decisions and taking sides in a family feud, is pretty darn interesting. These comparisons are made by pure hacks like Michael Savage, to academics like Dr. John Hunt and a whole lotta folks in between.


Some of the more reasonable people making these arguments - like Dr. Hunt - have some pretty good facts on their side. In order to understand the presentation of these facts, however, you have to understand that euthanasia and abortion are intimately linked in the minds of the pro-life crowd as human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that the Nazis committed.


Briefly, here's the outline of their argument (distilled from Dr. Hunt's academic paper, "The Abortion and Eugenics Policies of Nazi Germany"):


1. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood..."believed there were "tinfit" (the poor, epileptics, alcoholics, criminals, those physically and mentally disabled) who should be prevented from reproducing, by force if necessary". They argue she was pro-eugenics, and that this philosophy is the basis of Planned Parenthood.


2. The Weimar Republic first jump started the drive toward abortion, birth control, and euthanasia. The push to legalize abortion was done under the philosophy of perpetuating "wanted" life. Dr. Hunt states: "...In 1928, ministry officials at the Department of Health held secret sessions with the most prominent racial thinkers in Germany, in which they talked about the possibilities of forced sterilization and killing of the severely mentally disabled, among a number of other measures. The law, uneasiness about public opinion, and a desire for more knowledge about heredity held them back."


3. Therefore, the mass murders, human rights abuses, torture and drive toward the "master race" was the Nazi Party's continuation of the same philosphies that drove the Weimar Republic in issues of abortion, birth control and euthanasia. Dr. Hunt sums up this argument as follows: "Whatever the respective motives of Weimar and Hitler, the whole infrastructure for the Nazi sterilization-eugenics program had been laid by the democracy the Nazis had overthrown."


4. The logical inferences are now clear. To be pro-life is to be against those tools that the Nazis used in their mass murders and genocide. To be pro-choice is to want to continue the same mentality that enabled the Nazis to commit atrocities. As Dr. Hunt sums up: "In looking at the Nazis and abortion, and abortion in general, many...Tend to want to be called "centrists," "moderates," "mainstream," not "extremists." Prochoice, not pro-life, is closer to fascism. Remember also that democracies can do horrible things.


You know what's really interesting about these arguments? They're wrong. The facts are correct, but the conclusions are totally off kilter.


How do I know? The arguments themselves are based on a very selective reading of the history of Nazi Germany. For instance, in my research of the pro-life's references to Nazi Germany, they never mention that homosexuals were targeted by the Nazis. Not once. I'd actually love for someone to show me an article from a pro-life person that puts this persecution of gay men in Germany in this historical context.


Now, think a moment. Why wouldn't someone - anyone - on the "pro-life" side mention this? They can't claim it's irrelevant. The Nazis themselves saw the imprisonment, sterilization and drive to "cure" gay men in Nazi Germany of their homosexuality as vital to the health of the nation. Indeed, it was so central to their thought processes of eugenics and creating the master race that they even established a Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion. Where they encouraged homosexuality and abortion among non-Germans, among "pure" Germans they were considered threats to the health of the State. When talking about sexuality in Germany, then, why wouldn't even the most reasonable pro-lifer mention the targeting of gay men?.


Maybe it's because they don't want to upset a large segment of their base. Folks like William Regnery, a member of the family that founded Regnery Publishing, who wants to start an all-white dating service "...since the survival of our race depends upon our people marrying, reproducing and parenting." The Anti-Defamation League has found evidence of anti-semitism in the "pro-life" movement, so maybe this isn't so far off.


Maybe there's an inherent fear of homosexuality in the pro-life movement, promoted by the likes of Jerry Falwell, who feel that, "Granting a marriage license to those of the same sex is the country's stamp of approval on an aberrant, perverted, and broken sexual lifestyle", which would lead to the eventual destruction of our country.


What's wrong with this cherry-picked version of the history of Nazi Germany? I mean, leaving gays out doesn't change anything else, does it?


Well, yes it does.


You see, the Nazis didn't believe in the existence of a personal life. All issues of life, death and reproduction were matters that directly impacted the State. As Heinrich Himmler said, when delivering his speech on the "Question of Homosexuality":


"...all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the nation...The people which has many children has the candidature for world power and world domination. A people of good race which has too few children has a one-way ticket to the grave, for insignificance in fifty or a hundred years, for burial in two hundred and fifty years..."


Following this to its logical conclusion, one's race, one's gender, one's sexual orientation and the ability of one to live or die is also not the private affair of the individual. It is a matter for the State.


It is this mentality that scares most folks about the involvement of Congress and the President in the Schiavo affair. Most Americans don't like the State making these decisions for them. I'd offer a fair bet that most Americans would equate such a practice to Communism or Fascism...or Nazism.


Why the pro-life people don't see this as well is beyond me.

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