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Did the Allies really defeat the Nazis?

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Cross-posted at The Christian Watershed


On May 8, 1945 the German government officially surrendered to the Allied Forces, thus ending the War in Europe (the War in the Pacific would continue another three months). The Nazis was a horrible government that aside from its treatment of the Jewish people and other “unwanted,” regularly practiced infanticide. Their justification for such an action was they believed the perfect human (read: healthiest human) was the Aryan human; all other babies of unwanted races or that were not healthy at birth were killed off.

63 years later we are faced with a Nazi-like mentality once again – this time, however, the threat is occurring in the nations that defeated Nazism in the first place. The London Times has reported that parents are on the verge of having an easy, non-invasive procedure done to determine if their child has Down’s Syndrome. If so, the parents are then left with the choice to abort the pregnancy or prepare for a child with special needs.

I must ask, how is this way of thinking any different from the Nazi mentality of killing off weaker children in order to have a better society? I know that such a question will automatically get people to accuse me of downplaying the Holocaust, attempting to compare a medical procedure to the horrors of the Holocaust, and that somehow I’m an anti-Semite for bringing this issue up (even though I’m an ethnic Jew), but I believe it is a very legitimate question. How is the mentality that it’s okay to abort a child with Down’s Syndrome – because he won’t lead a productive life, is weak, and will be “inadequate” according to our definition of normal – any different from the Nazi way of thinking?

The chilling answer is simple; there is no difference. By choosing and allowing parents to abort unwanted children due to a “weakness” in the child (a physical or mental abnormality) we, as a society, are saying that such people actually do harm society and therefore really don’t deserve to live. If the parents want to keep the child, mazel tov to them, but as a society we could care less if parents want to kill handicapped children in the womb.

My question is, why stop in the womb? There is no logical justification for this (see my post, “A Philosophical Argument Against Abortion” to see how the lines are very blurry when attempting to define the beginning of human life if “conception” is not the base definition). As a society we’ve devalued life so much that if an individual life does not aid in furthering society, or contribute to the evolution of the community, then that life is looked upon with disdain. Why not begin killing life outside of the womb once it has lost its capability to produce or evolve society?

Is grandmother costing you too much and not making any money? Put her to sleep like a dog. Did your child fall three stories and now has severe brain damage, unable to feed herself? Take her to the doctor, get an injection, and be done with this weight on society. Just found out your son has severe Autism? No worries, we can just kill him.

This brings me to my bigger point; this may not be the end result of Naturalism, but it is literally impossible for someone with a Naturalistic mindset to argue adequately and logically against this ethical system. In fact, such an ethical system is far more logical within Naturalism than one that attempts to protect the weak and feeble minded.

(Continue reading post at The Christian Watershed)


Pannenberg ?: "Give it another 50 years and you very well might see legalized euthanasia for the sick and infirm." Whaddya mean? We've got that now in Oregon. Rude
It seems like no matter what conservatives do, liberals keep winning. It's more like despite how much those who believe in absolutes succeed in getting their point across, those who don't keep fighting. Freedom, which means a minimal state, is the only halfway effective defense against the relativist. No matter what policy or program is put in place those who live for power are going to take it over and corrupt it -- faith-based or not. tribune7
It seems like no matter what conservatives do, liberals keep winning. PannenbergOmega
I think we can all agree that it is down right crazy and barbaric to actually consider puting to death people with debilitating afflictions. What I said earlier though I still stand by. 50 years ago gay marriage and legal abortions were unthinkable. Give it another 50 years and you very well might see legalized euthanasia for the sick and infirm. PannenbergOmega
Of interest: Sunday: 'I now believe in miracles,' mother says after autistic son is found. http://www.startribune.com/20645459.html bornagain77
Oh, and this solves magnan's dilemma, too. Which is crueler? Killing before someone who MIGHT have DOWNS is born, only to discover we were wrong, or killing AFTER someone is born so we can confirm it. Let's make sure it is truly debilitating before we snuff 'em. Graceout
Since (tongue-in-cheek) an organism is not TRULY viable until it is able to reproduce, I would submit that one should wait until adolescence before determining whether or not a person's "quality-of-life" warrants extermination. This would remove the risk of aborting an un-born child who (later) turns out to NOT have DOWNS or some other quality-lowering condition. We could then objectively judge whether it would be worthwhile to force someone to continue with their life. Say around 13 or so... Also, tragicmishap: Very good. Killing for personal convenience is probably MORE heinous (although more subtle) than the noble goals of generating a human super-race. Graceout
Joel there is a significant difference. The Nazis did it to gain an advantage for the Aryan nation in their evolutionary struggle against other races. We do it today because we don't want the inconvenience of raising a Down's Syndrome child. It is for the self, not for society and the betterment of humanity as it was for the Nazis. tragicmishap
I had always thought that America's churches acted as the bulwark against materialism and social darwinism in our society. Sadly many churches are suffering from dwindling membership today and are dieing out. Not only that but many denominations also compromise with the all pervasive social liberalism of our era. PannenbergOmega
Readers may be interested in having a look at these Web sites, for good philosophical arguments against abortion: (1) "Life: Defining the Beginning by the End" by Professor Maureen Condic, at http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=485 (2) "Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: What's Wrong with it?" by Professor David Oderberg at http://www.rdg.ac.uk/AcaDepts/ld/Philos/dso/papers/What's%20Wrong%20with%20HESC%20Research.pdf (3) Libertarians for Life Library at http://www.l4l.org/library/index.html#LFL%20Literature%20List I should add that Libertarians for Life was founded in 1976 by Doris Gordon, an atheist. It contains a wealth of excellent material arguing for a pro-life standpoint on a purely secular basis. Thanks, Joel, for having the guts to raise the issue of abortion on this post. It will take decades to defeat the so-called "pro-choice" side, but it will eventually founder nonetheless, because it will be seen to be intellectually inconsistent: every argument it adduces proves too much, if taken to its logical conclusion. In the end, people will realize that an organism whose body is currently running a program that will transform it into a self-conscious human being is just as valuable as a self-conscious human being. This is true, even if the organism is still at a pre-sentient stage in its development. Information technology has boosted the pro-life cause enormously. The key point here is that information is what enables an embryo to develop into a fetus, a baby, a child and eventually an adult. The second point is that this information is completely present at conception, and moreover, it is epigenetically "switched on" - i.e. in "run mode" - unlike the genetic information in, say, a skin cell which my body sheds, which isn't developing into anything, because the epigenetic switches haven't been turned on. Contrary to the "pro-choice" furphy that the fetus is just a "potential life," it is its ACTUAL qualities of the fetus that are of relevance here. We can speak of the embryo (and later the fetus) as a SELF-ASSEMBLING entity, in the sense that all of the instructions for making a child are contained in its body. An embryo needs many things from its mother - food, warmth, shelter, oxygen and love - but the one thing it does NOT need is more information. It has all the information it needs, and the program that uses that information is already running. At the other end of life, an aged person suffering from senile dementia embodies the same developmental program that began running when she was conceived. If a doctor from the 22nd century were to travel back in time and somehow kick-start her brain by making the amyloid plaque in her brain melt away, and then injecting her brain with some pluripotent stem cells taken from her own body to make the neurons grow back, she would still be the same person, even if many of her old memories had been destroyed in the process of "growing back" her brain. A person's a person, no matter how small (with acknowledgements to Dr. Seuss). vjtorley
Death/killing should never be embraced as a solution to suffering, difficulty or inconvenience. We dehumanize ourselves and those we "put down" when we do embrace it. Whether a life has sufficient "quality" to continue is not ours to decide. I absolutely HATE the term "quality of life"; as if a person is some manufactured object that should be destroyed when he doesn't pass inspection. bb
Magnan, You are correct...you have helped me see the error of my ways. Whenever we decide that someone's quality of life is "de-humanizing" we should kill them out of compassion. I worked with some inner city kids that really don't have much of a chance. They live in utter poverty (some only get one meal a day if they're lucky) and only know how to commit crime. They'll end up in jail someday...so I'm all for killing them now. Also, I know of a couple with five kids that makes about $30,000 a year, which for five kids certainly isn't a lot. That means they may not be able to afford an XBox 360, cars for each of the kids, or send them all to college - so let's kill that family (because that just can't be a good standard of living). This is fun being able to dictate what is an acceptable standard of living and what is not! I see how this is compassionate...anyone who doesn't fit my standard for a fulfilled life deserves death. This makes complete sense and isn't absurd at all. Joel Borofsky
As small children, Johnny and I played together in the back lane behind our houses. He taught me to keep butterflies alive and other useful stuff from the world of nature. He died at nine years of age (I was seven), and it was only then that I learned that he was - in the idiom of the day - a "mongoloid idiot." I never forgot him, and the dedication to my book, By Design or by Chance? reads, For Johnny (1948-1957). Was Johnny's life an evil to be prevented or ended? Most people who think so have never been close to a person who lives with Down syndrome - a disease like any other. It's actually not complicated. We either accept the person as they are, or we don't. The same may be said of old-age cognitive disorders. I agree with Mother Teresa that acquiring the right to kill such persons is the greatest destroyer of our society. O'Leary
@2.(I am not attacking you personally, but the argument and view point.) No. "I contend that it is cruel to allow that child to be born" - so, we have the authority to ALLOW people to live, or not? What gives anybody the authority over another human's life? Seriously, who has authority to make that decision? That is eugenics, setting a criteria to allow people to live. "whether it is a good thing for the child with Down’s syndrome, or AIDS, etc. to be born in the first place, from the standpoint of the child him/her self." Such arguments only masquerade as caring from their point of view. The heart of them centre on whether the child measures up to what a person 'should be', and the convenience of living with/around that person. They are arbitrarily argued, without regard to the simple fact that 'they' are human. I would contend that many down-syndrome people I know contribute more to society than some healthy young people who live off government handouts (in Australia) - should we then put them down? Similarly, if we chose another arbitrary criteria, such as capacity to love, then the down-syndrome children I know are worth infinitely more than the cold-business men in the city that cheat on their wives - shall we put them down too? And down-syndrome/whatever does not rob people of their humanity. Children with down-syndrome still laugh. They still cry. They still get angry. They still think about things. They love their parents, they like to talk to people. They love horse riding, even if it is a bit harder for them (I am speaking from my own observations). But they are not objects - 'they' still experience life. 'They' are sentient. It SUCKS that there are children born with down syndrome, that accidents cause people to become 'vegetables' for life, that other people's lives are oft devoted to taking care of them as a result. But their lives are not worthless, nor 'quantifiable'. Again, who has the authority to make such decisions, over a life? What forms/senates/mandates are required to gain authority over a life? I would contend that it's actually pretty simple: 1) "They" are human. 2) No one has true authority over another person's life. 3)Life isn't perfect, and not everyone matches up to what a human "should be". (end rant) Avonwatches
This displays a complete lack of compassion for human suffering. The other side of the issue is the question of whether it is a good thing for the child with Down's syndrome, or AIDS, etc. to be born in the first place, from the standpoint of the child him/her self. I would contend it is cruel to allow the child to be born, if this future is known and the means to prevent it are available. Similarly, it is cruel to allow grandmother to linger on in misery for years with no quality of life or hope of recovery, when the means for painlessly ending her existence are at hand. Anyone having to care for a deteriorating parent/grandparent has to confront this quandary, unless their religiosity blinds them to the human badness of the situation. Of course this issue is immensely complicated, since abortion and euthanasia can be and are so terribly misused for other purposes. Just don't claim it is a simple issue. magnan
Hi Joel. You have written a very interesting and thoughtful article. I hope you will continue to post here at Uncommon Descent. "Is grandmother costing you too much and not making any money? Put her to sleep like a dog. Did your child fall three stories and now has severe brain damage, unable to feed herself? Take her to the doctor, get an injection, and be done with this weight on society. Just found out your son has severe Autism? No worries, we can just kill him." I agree that if current trends continue (social liberalism), then we will see legal euthanasia/murder of the afflicted. PannenbergOmega

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