Nazi Eugenics poster weighing the burden of the mentally impaired
Glenn Beck ended his week-long tribute to saluting exceptional people with a profound program featuring children living with disabilities.
The special was meant to underscore the devastating effects of Eugenics and the fact that these viable human beings would not have been given the opportunity to even come into existence at all if selective sterilization, abortion and euthanasia-driven policies were allowed re-entry into the American landscape. The fear is perhaps not so far-fetched, given the nation's troubling history with the controversial practice.
The segment was spurred by a recent appearance on the Dr. Phil program of a woman seeking permission to end her two disabled children's (now adults) lives -- both of whom are lingering in a vegetative state. The mother argued that medicinal euthanasia, like the kind once administered by the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, is more humane than the alternative, which is to disconnect her children's feeding tubes. Of course it is a heartrending situation for any parent to find themselves in, and while her situation is one with which many can sympathize, it is also one that could be exploited to further the notion that the state should have control over who lives, or, more pointedly, who never gets to come into existence at all.
Below are three clips from Friday evening's Glenn Beck Program that provide important context for the chilling content that follows.
Weeding out "undesirable" children
Eugenics is both a social movement and the scientific application of genetic manipulation to systematically expunge the human race of its "undesirables." Its origins are ultimately rooted in classical theories of genetic inheritance such as those explored by scientist Gregor Johann Mendel and evolutionary biologist August Weismann, but solidified in the modern vernacular by German professor Eugen Fischer. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries some anthropologists, biologists and geneticists saw Eugenics as a controversial if not a fascinating science.
In practice, the Eugenicists' first order of business was to identify the "degenerates" of society. Those deemed undesirable ranged from the mentally ill, handicapped, and the physically disabled (this included the blind and deaf), to the poor and uneducated, promiscuous women, homosexuals and certain racial groups — particularly Jews and blacks.
Once the unfit groups were sufficiently identified, institutionalization and euthanasia were two approaches employed to dislodge them from society. Advocates of Eugenics saw these measures only a means to remedy a problem that had already presented itself. Yet what they truly sought was to prevent the "problem" from ever occurring in the first place. Thus, forced sterilization and abortion became the cornerstone of Eugenics. By eliminating the possibility for society's "damaged" to reproduce, the human race could be genetically cleansed, leaving only the "fittest" alive.
Nazi Eugenics poster: Living with the costs of hereditary disease
The Nazis and "life unworthy of life"
While even Alexander Graham Bell and Leonard Darwin (Charles Darwin's son) sat on the earliest International Congress of Eugenics in 1912, it was Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich's adoption of the practice that permanently inscribed it in the pages of history. Although always considered controversial, Hitler's embrace of Eugenics as a means of facilitating the creation of his Aryan race, exposed in chilling detail how the science could be used for unspeakable ill.
Hitlers' was the most "successful" Eugenics campaign to date, purging the world of those who were
Nazi administers the "caliper" test. Broad-nose equates to ethnic "inferiority"
designated with the title of "life unworthy of life." That sum comprised 6 million Jews, nearly 3 million Poles, an estimated 1 million Romany-gypsies, 15,000 homosexuals, at least 300,000 institutionalized disabled men, women and children and 400,000 more who were spared only to be forcibly sterilized. Others expunged from existence were Africans who had been brought to Germany by the French during the Allied occupation in World War I -- many of whom married German women and produced what Hitler called the "Rhineland Bastards." Hitler laid out his plan in Mein Kampf, stating he would eliminate these "insults" on the German nation.
"The mulatto children came about through rape or the white mother was a whore," Hitler wrote. "In both cases, there is not the slightest moral duty regarding these offspring of a foreign race."
Under the stewardship of Dr. Eugen Fischer, a group called "Commission Number 3" was created to organize the forced sterilization of the Rhineland Bastards through Germany's Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.
Throughout their crusade, the Nazis showed neither remorse nor mercy, and always presented their ethnic cleansing as a means for good. By ridding Germans of the societal, financial and, ultimately, genetic burden of the "undesirable," and by ridding the undesirables of their "miserable" existence the Germans maintained that theirs was an act of virtue, rather than barbarism.
Eugenics in America
Far from the shores of the Rhineland and some would assume the embrace of Eugenics in Europe, sat the late 19th and first seven decades of the 20th century in America, where Progressive Era policies favored the science of genetic manipulation to ensure the continuity of a superior race. In fact, Eugenics was implemented in the United States first, long before it took root in Nazi Germany and is even said to have inspired Hitler.
In the same year that Alexander Graham Bell sat on the International Congress, Eugenics advocate Woodrow Wilson signed into law a sterilization act, and the following year Theodore Roosevelt wrote of the need to improve “racial qualities.” Calvin Coolidge, along with author Arthur Calhoun, also acknowledged the role Eugenic-driven procreation would play "in the new social order."
In "The Dark Roots of Eugenics," Dr. Dennis L. Cuddy wrote that philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie and the Rockefeller family all financially buoyed the movement, and in the early 20th century John D. Rockefeller himself introduced Margaret Sanger -- the founder of Planned Parenthood -- to the rainmakers who would bankroll her Birth Control League.
In November 1921 Sanger’s Birth Control Review bore the title, “Birth Control: To Create A Race of
Margaret Sanger, Eugenics advocate and founder of Planned Parenthood
Thoroughbreds.” She would go on to urge that "dysgenic stocks," including blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Native Americans and Catholics be bred out of society using Eugenics.
As the years progressed 38 state legislatures enacted sterilization laws aimed at the "feeble-minded," and Christopher Thorne’s 1978 book, "Allies of a Kind," reveals insight into then-President Franklin Roosevelt's views on Eugenics.
“Subjects to do with breeding and race seem, indeed, to have held a certain fascination for the president…. Roosevelt felt it in order to talk, jokingly, of dealing with Puerto Rico’s excessive birth rate by employing, in his own words, ‘the methods which Hitler used effectively’ [to make them] sterile.”
Even more disturbing, the same year FDR took office, Sanger's April edition of the Birth Control Review featured an article by none other than a member of the the Third Reich, Dr. Ernst Rudin, titled, “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need.”
The Blaze unearthed the entire collection of Sanger's Birth Control Reviews spanning 23 years. While there are too many to include at once, below is the complete issue from April, 1933, comprising articles on Eugenics-driven sterilization -- particularly the one penned by Dr. Ernst Rudin. The content is disturbing throughout the entire newsletter, but I urge you to at least briefly review each page. What is perhaps most profound is that these were not only the sentiments of Sanger, but of those in the mainstream medical community and even presidential "heroes" like FDR. Rudin's article appears on page 104.
For further reference, consider the following interview with Sanger conducted by Mike Wallace.
In the U.S. from the early days of the 20th century until as late as the 1970s, those targeted for sterilization were predominately the mentally ill, or "feeble minded," African Americans and "promiscuous" women. Many who were in fact not even mentally impaired but rather misdiagnosed were relegated to mental institutions where they were subjected to arcane treatments including lobotomies. Many died as a result. Those who were not sterilized or institutionalized were barred from marrying outright. Ultimately, those who made the decision on the fate of someone's life were government bureaucrats.
Speaking for the "never-born," Edwin Black, author of the book, "The War Against the Weak," posits that the sole purpose for the creation of the intelligence quotient, otherwise known as the IQ test, was to "justify incarceration of a group labeled 'feebleminded.'"
The goal, according to Black, was to "immediately sterilize fourteen million people in the United States and millions more worldwide—the 'lower tenth'—and then continuously eradicate the remaining lowest tenth until only a pure Nordic super race remained."
Ultimately, some 60,000 Americans from disadvantaged groups were sterilized across the United States.
Thomas C. Leonard in a paper for Princeton University writes that American Progressive Era eugenics "was predicated upon human hierarchy, and the Progressive Era reformers drawn to eugenics believed that some human groups were inferior to others, and that evolutionary science explained and justiﬁed their theories of human hierarchy."
A short memory, or plain indifference?
Now ponder this: Do you recall when the Obama administration included the Complete Lives System as part of Obamacare? Important decisions relating to what insurance plans will cover, how much autonomy doctors will have, and what seniors receive under Medicare were all guided by the president's then-health adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's brother). The Wall Street Journal profiled Emanuel in 2009, writing:
As a bioethicist, he has written extensively about who should get medical care, who should decide, and whose life is worth saving. Dr. Emanuel is part of a school of thought that redefines a physician’s duty, insisting that it includes working for the greater good of society instead of focusing only on a patient’s needs.
Do Americans truly want physicians who will disregard the Hippocratic Oath and instead base the healthcare they administer on what is good for the collective, rather than the imminent need of the patient? On such a trajectory, American Eugenics is but one breath away from resurrection.
It's also worth noting that as the science of genetic engineering improves in the years ahead, citizens of technologically advanced nations will be faced with an ever-growing array of difficult ethical choices. Most parents' primary concern is over the health and well-being of their children. So on the one hand, it seems a miracle to be able to eliminate, through genetic manipulation, hereditary diseases from ever occurring in child. On the other hand, such technology would also allow a less scrupulous contingent the ability to "breed out" more than just illness and "breed in" more than just natural traits.
What is perhaps most disturbing, is that the evidence is there in black and white for all to see -- the damage, the carnage, the lives extinguished. Yet those on the far-left still somehow paint themselves as the champions of the disenfranchised, the saviors of minorities and, indeed, the greatest humanitarians the world has ever known. History doesn't quite fit the narrative. And proponents of genetic manipulation and selective healthcare continue to laud their heroes: Wilson, both Roosevelts, Sanger and her Planned Parenthood, and now President Obama and his health care plan. Are they doing so simply because they are uninformed, or because they believe, like others did before them, that it is virtue, not barbarism, that their pursuits are for the "greater good?"