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If life is 'unworthy of being lived'
L'Osservatore Romano ^ | 5/5/12 | Lucetta Scaraffia

Posted on 05/12/2012 1:51:58 PM PDT by wagglebee

The book by Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, Die Freigabe der Venrichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (allowing the destruction of life unworthy of living) which came out in Germany in 1920 has at last been translated into Italian (in English it is: Permitting the Destruction of Unworthy Life: Its Extent and Form, translated by W.E. Wright, in Issues in Law and Medicine 1992, 8:231-265).

I say “at last”, because this is a text that marks a watershed. It has inspired many important reflections that are only partially explained in the introduction on 19th-century history – very concentrated at the legal level – by the two editors, Ernesto De Cristofaro and Carlo Saletti.

It reveals, in fact, that as well as the good fortune enjoyed in Germany in the first half of the 20th century – at the time of the rise of Nazism the definition of euthanasia in the well known Brockhaus Encyclopedia was inspired by their work and quoted them – reflection on eugenics, taken to its extremes, was widespread and was shared even before the Nazis came to power thanks to learned academics which the Nazis were not. Binding, a jurist who died in 1920 and Hoche, a psychiatrist and a pupil of Ernst Haeckel, the scholar who brought Darwinian evolutionism to Germany – even resigned from the university when the Nazis came to power. Therefore, although the Nazis were later to make great use of this book, spreading the basic opinions found in it, it treated ideas that had germinated in a previous culture: eugenic Darwinism, very widespread in Europe in the first half of the 19th century.

The book may be interpreted in two ways: as an irremediably outmoded text linked to the Nazi ideology, if the accent is put on the theme – developed especially by Binding – of the power of the State over human lives. The idea of the German people, in fact – conceived as an ethnologically homogeneous unit constituted by strong individuals in good health – was raised to a powerful body to which the interest of every individual life must be subordinate. Yet, it is a very topical text; in the essays of the two authors the excessive power of the State over the individual, present without any doubt, constitutes solely one aspect – now obsolete – in the reasoning. In the reasons used to justify – indeed, to express the hope for – the elimination of people seriously ill or affected by psychological ailments we rediscover reasoning and words that are still in use today among the supporters of euthanasia or of the selection of foetuses.

Binding and Hoche, in fact, maintain that life cannot be considered life in the full sense of those who, because of diseases, are exposed to a painful and hopeless agony, or the life of incurable idiots whose existence drags  with no purpose or usefulness, imposing on the community a heavy and pointless burden. With regard to these people, the two scholars invented a new definition which was to enjoy great success even after the defeat of Nazism: “lives unworthy of being lived”. A definition which paved the way to the elimination of the sick and the unfit, permitting these homicides to be justified with a morally appreciable motivation: they in fact spoke of “charitable death” (Gnadentod). These are the same words that recur today recur in the writings of many contemporary bioethicists, and of many politicians who support legislative proposals of a euthanasic type. As the editors write in the introduction, “the notion of life as a good that deserves protection is henceforth cast off from the anchor of any metaphysical postulation, any doctrine of natural law, and is led towards a semantics of concreteness and immanence: life has value as long as it procures pleasure and is free from pain”. We therefore see that this book, precisely because of its grimly up to date characters, must strongly embarrass those who champion euthanasia in the belief that it has nothing to do with Nazism.

Hoche also proves to be a representative of the scientistic attitude, still alive today, which holds that science is never wrong and is therefore as deserving of faith as a dogma. Indeed,  in proposing the elimination of the mentally ill, he holds that the medical science of the time is perfectly able to establish, without any margin of error, whether or not a psychologically sick person is incurable.

Contempt for imperfect human life, over estimation of the abilities of science are two attitudes that are still firmly present in our time, to show that eugenics is still alive and has not been wiped out together with  the Nazi past. And this is also because people only partially identified with the latter. As the book of Binding and Hoche proves.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: deathpanels; disabilities; eugenics; euthanasia; moralabsolutes; prolife; qualityoflife
We therefore see that this book, precisely because of its grimly up to date characters, must strongly embarrass those who champion euthanasia in the belief that it has nothing to do with Nazism.

Exactly!

1 posted on 05/12/2012 1:52:10 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser
Pro-Life Ping
2 posted on 05/12/2012 1:53:50 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee
[Jeff Foxworthy voice]:
If life is 'unworthy of being lived'
you've just been judged by a Death Panel
3 posted on 05/12/2012 1:54:10 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Chen Guangcheng: Gutsy call, Obama /UltraMegaDrippingSarc)
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To: BykrBayb; floriduh voter; Lesforlife; Sun
Ping
4 posted on 05/12/2012 1:54:31 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; APatientMan; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


5 posted on 05/12/2012 1:55:38 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee
They may of got a few pointers from Margeret Sanger...


6 posted on 05/12/2012 1:55:53 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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To: wagglebee

Who determines who to kill?


7 posted on 05/12/2012 1:59:24 PM PDT by allmost
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To: wagglebee

8 posted on 05/12/2012 1:59:30 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Like Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin has become simply a stick with which to beat Whites.)
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To: wagglebee

Take heart, there’s always Cardinal Fulton J. Sheen’s “Life is Worth Living”, one of his 60 or so books.

One might say “what did he know, he was just a priest?”, seeming to always underestimate the average priests’ credentials.

Valedictorian honors at Spalding Institute in Peoria in 1913; St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, Illinois;Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota before his ordination in 1919; further studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C; Doctorate in philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1923; Cardinal Mercier award for the best philosophical treatise.


9 posted on 05/12/2012 2:03:55 PM PDT by stanne
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To: ClearCase_guy

Nutloss Esser Bump.


10 posted on 05/12/2012 2:04:21 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: stanne

Oh, and Fulton J. Sheen saw forward and wrote about much of these crazy cultural attitudes and behaviors we are now struggling with.


11 posted on 05/12/2012 2:06:46 PM PDT by stanne
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To: wagglebee

Sounds a bit like a psychology text book. “Death is essential for the survival of our species. We die so that our own children and the children of others may live....” Quote of Nuland, S. B. (1993). How we die. New York: Random House in “Development Through the Lifespan” by Laura E. Berk.

It’s on page 639 in the intro on death, dying and bereavement. Makes death seem reasonable, eh? Our kids are being indoctrinated into the culture of death.


12 posted on 05/12/2012 2:16:13 PM PDT by huldah1776
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To: stanne
Oh, and Fulton J. Sheen saw forward and wrote about much of these crazy cultural attitudes and behaviors we are now struggling with.

Archbishop Sheen and C.S. Lewis were both very forward-thinking in their understanding of how secularism was society's greatest enemy.

13 posted on 05/12/2012 2:20:00 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

The Obsolete Man


14 posted on 05/12/2012 2:41:06 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: wagglebee

Typical attitudes among those who either reject, or have no concept of, the idea of redemptive suffering.


15 posted on 05/12/2012 2:43:37 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: allmost; wagglebee

“Who determines who to kill?”

Well look at it this way. If these people have ever aborted a baby because it has downs syndrome then they have already served on a death panel.


16 posted on 05/12/2012 3:19:38 PM PDT by Morgana (I only come here to see what happens next. It normally does.)
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To: wagglebee; TigersEye

Nihilist ba$tards.

Human birth is a precious opportunity.


17 posted on 05/12/2012 3:24:01 PM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascist info....http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
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To: Candor7

You’re just a religious nut to those nihilist ba$tards. ;-)


18 posted on 05/12/2012 3:30:36 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: NonValueAdded

the redneck nails it


19 posted on 05/12/2012 3:35:39 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: TigersEye

The world needs more religious nuts.


20 posted on 05/12/2012 3:36:39 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: TigersEye

At least the idjits got the first noble truth, that Life is
suffering. But then they go all cowardly from then on, LOL.

What an eye full of ego centric, miasmic blather that article is. My Irish Setter had more on the go.At least he lived for his favorite....Ice Cream sandwiches.


21 posted on 05/12/2012 3:40:17 PM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascist info....http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
I hope you're OK with mixed nuts! ;^)


22 posted on 05/12/2012 3:50:01 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: Candor7

I have known quite a few dogs that have more going for them than many humans do. I think they just made one bad screwup in their last life and favored pet was the best they could do for this one. lol


23 posted on 05/12/2012 3:54:23 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: wagglebee

OK folks.....time to start thinking like Democrats again. Can a severely mentally handicapped person donate money to the Democrat party? They require government money without providing any benefit to the Democratic party. That’s money the Democrats could be using to buy votes or mansions. It’s just a cost/benefit analysis to the Democrats, and yes, they are that evil.


24 posted on 05/12/2012 4:01:24 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: blueunicorn6
My apologies in advance.

OK folks.....time to start thinking like a severely mentally handicapped person again. Can a Democrat donate money to severely mentally handicapped persons? They require government money without providing any benefit to the severely mentally handicapped person. That’s money the severely mentally handicapped person could be using to buy votes or mansions food and clothing. It’s just a cost/benefit analysis to the severely mentally handicapped person, and yes but no, they are not that evil.

25 posted on 05/12/2012 4:07:04 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: huldah1776

You vant you should live forever?


26 posted on 05/12/2012 4:22:27 PM PDT by kenavi (1% of the 1% were born in the 1%.)
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To: wagglebee

Please add me to your moral absolutes ping list. Thank you.


27 posted on 05/12/2012 5:19:42 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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To: Texas Songwriter
You got it.
28 posted on 05/12/2012 5:23:27 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: kenavi

Can’t wait for eternity. Just took a class in physics/chemistry and thought about how much fun it would be to design my own planet.


29 posted on 05/14/2012 6:19:16 AM PDT by huldah1776
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