Eugenics Then and Now

 

The Doctor Is In has an older p0ost that remains pertinent today, in fact, is even more pertinent today:

“In the years following the Great War, a sense of doom and panic settled over Germany. Long concerned about a declining birth rate, the country faced the loss of 2 million of its fine young men in the war, the crushing burden of an economy devastated by war and the Great Depression, further compounded by the economic body blow of reparations and the loss of the German colonies imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Many worried that the Nordic race itself was threatened with extinction.

The burgeoning new sciences of psychology, genetics, and medicine provided a glimmer of hope in this darkness. An intense fascination developed with strengthening and improving the nation through Volksgesundheit – public health. Many physicians and scientists promoted “racial hygiene” – better known today as eugenics. The Germans were hardly alone in this interest – 26 states in the U.S. had forced sterilization laws for criminals and the mentally ill during this period; Ohio debated legalized euthanasia in the 20′s; and even Oliver Wendall Holmes, in Buck v. Bell, famously upheld forced sterilization with the quote: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough!” But Germany’s dire circumstances and its robust scientific and university resources proved a most fertile ground for this philosophy.

These novel ideas percolated rapidly through the social and educational systems steeped in Hegelian deterministic philosophy and social Darwinism. Long lines formed to view exhibits on heredity and genetics, and scientific research, conferences, and publication on topics of race and eugenics were legion. The emphasis was often on the great burden which the chronically ill and mentally and physically deformed placed on a struggling society striving to achieve its historical destiny. ….As a testimony to their courage and integrity, not a single episode of involuntary euthanasia was performed by Dutch physicians during the Nazi occupation.

Would that it were still so.

Read the rest at the link, and keep this in mind when rationing begins at an Obamacare facility near you.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 5, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Headmistress, what sort of healthcare system would you advocate for the US?
    Nobody I know is happy with the current system, but nor does anyone want change. I hear my US friends talking disparagingly about the health insurance companies; but equally, they reject the idea of a nationalized healthcare system. I’m genuinely interested to hear if you think there is an answer!

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