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Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day. I'm afraid we're heading that way again.

(449 Posts)
garlicblocks Mon 28-Jan-13 11:21:31

"It is estimated that close to 250,000 disabled people were murdered under the Nazi regime. Persecution of people with disabilities began in 1933, but mass murder commenced in 1939.

"The organised killing of disabled children began in August 1939 ... All children under the age of three who were suffering from conditions such as Down’s syndrome, hydrocephaly, cerebral palsy or ‘suspected idiocy’, were targeted. A panel of medical experts were required to give their approval for the ‘euthanasia’ of each child. In the first few months of the program this was usually achieved either by lethal injection or by starving the child to death. Many parents were unaware of the fate of their children, instead being told that they were being sent for improved care.

"The first experimental gassings took place at the killing centre in Brandenberg and thousands of disabled patients were killed in gas chambers disguised as shower rooms. Now that a fast and effective method of mass-murder had been developed it could of course be used to exterminate gays, Gypsies, political opponents and of course over six million Jews.

"Worryingly, in 2012 in Great Britain, Geoffrey Clark, a local government candidate for the UK Independence Party in a by-election in Gravesham, Kent posted this on his website:

"Consider compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family."

"Although UKIP suspended Clark’s party membership when this hit the news, it was too late to cancel his candidacy. He came second to the conservatives with almost 27% of the vote."

What can we do about escalating persecution of the disabled and otherwise 'unproductive' people in the UK? Are we heading back towards forced sterilisation and murder?

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 28-Jan-13 12:00:10

Unfortunately, due to the meme of "Godwin's Law," invoking the Holocaust or Nazis, however relevantly, is instantly derided. If you mention Nazis, you are declared to have automatically lost the debate by default.

Dawndonna Mon 28-Jan-13 12:01:37

Lying, Thieving Bastards

That's how many disabled people are seen, by firms that are supposed to act in the best interests of said disabled people.

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 28-Jan-13 12:02:08

manic could you please give me a good, logical argument against euthanizing someone with dementia? I mean someone who is really far gone, unable to feed themselves, needs their ass wiped, etc. What if there are a lot of such people and few people to care for them? Wouldn't it make logical sense to just end their suffering and free up resources for someone who is capable of enjoying life?

HecateWhoopass Mon 28-Jan-13 12:03:57

The point is, as I understand it, that the Holocaust did not begin with the Holocaust.

Someone didn't wake up one day and exterminate millions of people.

It began in small ways.

It began by changing the way people thought about certain groups of people. By planting the seed that some people were worth less, were a burden. Then guiding people to feel that they were somehow disadvantaged by the existence of these other people. Then let's see if we can just pop some people to one side. Maybe it might be a good idea to put certain people all in one place - for the benefit of all, you know...Let's see if we can stop supporting the vulnerable. I wonder who it is to blame for these tough times...Oooh, such a burden. Well, let's think about quality of life, shall we...

By the time you get to actually hurting people, you have changed the mentality of enough people that it is seen differently from just sending in the troops one monday morning and carting off anyone who is disabled/black/whatever.

If people can't see that atrocities don't happen out of the blue, but are slowly built up to, then I fear that yes, we are indeed condemned to repeat them.

I think people want to believe that those who were part of those times, those who took part or stood back and did nothing were, I dunno, evil or something. Because that feels safer than to think that they were, for the most part, ordinary people like you and me.

Cos we'd stop it, wouldn't we.

Would we?

What things are happening right now. Little things. That people are standing up and saying NO to?

So while I am not comparing what is happening right now to the actual Holocaust and think that to do so would be very disrespectful, I think that it is not impossible to believe that what has happened before could happen again.

garlicblocks Mon 28-Jan-13 12:05:25

You make a sound and chilling point, Katy. If you only look at numbers, viewing any society as an engine of production, then each non-working member drags down the overall productivity. It's actually quite an easy principle to sell, until you remember that unproductive units are people with parents, sibling, friends, children and feelings!

We recognise the less-quantifiable value of human beings, and everyone's basic right to life, when we think about it. But it's still easy to yell "I don't see story telling and tea making on the balance sheet! Look at the cost of these units!" And it sounds rational ... sad

HecateWhoopass Mon 28-Jan-13 12:05:40

Oh, forgot one of the most important elements - fear. Fear that if you stick your head above the parapet - you'll be next!

Dawndonna Mon 28-Jan-13 12:08:30

Extremely important points, very well made Hecate.

manicbmc Mon 28-Jan-13 12:13:47

If I had time, yes I could Katy but I am about to go to work. I don't think I need to argue the point though. By my own morals it is wrong. My morals come from me and my upbringing which didn't include religion. Yours did include religion.

garlicblocks Mon 28-Jan-13 12:14:59

Dawndonna, that article was depressing - if unsurprising! The Work Programme has been less successful than no programme at all, at getting claimants into work. It is costing £3 billion. The money goes to the firms, not the claimants. It allows the government to say it's helping people back into work, while in fact removing their choices and freedoms. It can then be made to look as if society tried to help these scroungers back to work, look how much we spent on them! And still the lazy shirkers won't get jobs!

<wonders where all these jobs are, anyway>

You've described it well, I fear, Hecate - the gradual build-up; the seeming inevitability sad

garlicblocks Mon 28-Jan-13 12:16:15

Manic & Katy, I have no patriarchal superstition religion either, and am capable of compassion all the same smile

slhilly Mon 28-Jan-13 12:17:08

Katy, pointing out the fundamental issues of moral relativism and postmodernism is fine and all that, but in case you hadn't noticed, moral absolutism and theism have produced a tremendous amount of evil as well. Religions haven't in practice been especially static in their views of what is right and wrong over the years, and a good thing too else we'd still be burning "witches" in this country.

Caricaturing Baroness Warnock as merely "some ethicist" is beyond absurd. She is one of the great philosophers of our time. She developed "statementing" and pioneered new approaches to the education of learning disabled children. She set in motion the development of the HFEA on a widely-agreed ethical basis. These were immense achievements in extremely vexed fields. You might do her the courtesy of finding out what she actually said, and appreciating the nuance, before dismissing her views out of hand.

Peter Singer is also one of the great philosophers of our time. His work is tremendously controversial but also profoundly important, as if we engage with it, we're forced to distinguish between opinions we hold for well-thought through reasons, and those we hold because they are simply comfortable.

I'm not arguing in any way that you should agree with the positions of either of them, and indeed I think it is absolutely fine if you ultimately view their ideas as dangerously wrong. These are big topics and deal with questions of good and evil, after all. But I do think you do yourself and others no favours if you just get cross with strawmen while ignoring what they are actually saying.

slhilly Mon 28-Jan-13 12:22:33

There is almost always a risk of a slippery slope from unpleasant policy X to some great evil. But that risk is usually pretty small, and I can't remember seeing a case where it would have been better to argue against the unpleasant policy on its own terms than argue against it because it might lead to a second Shoah (or slavery, or whichever other evil is being invoked).

It certainly seems clear to me that it's more important to talk about the real damage being done to disabled people today by a series of cruel policy decisions and a cheerleading press than to discuss the likelihood of a policy of mass annihilation of disabled people.

Dawndonna Mon 28-Jan-13 12:31:13

Taking into consideration the rather Benthamite policies of this government, it is probably not unreasonable to point out that in all likelihood, the death of a great many disabled people will be brought about by these cuts. The death of some having already occured due to a number of ATOS misdiagnoses.

moisturiser Mon 28-Jan-13 12:31:37

This issue scares me because I am disabled. But no, I do not think we are heading that way again.

The Holocaust happened for many reasons; a whole nation felt deeply humiliated and embittered, anti-semitism was entrenched in the country and once you have 'permission' to hate one group, it's easy to start hating and killing others.

Britain is a liberal, kind country. There are right wing idiots, of course, and in a recession people do as a group become more right wing. I do think there will continue to be a rise in hate crimes against people with disabilities, I do think that the Tories won't rest until disabled people lose huge amounts more money and freedoms (and are forced to move in with their families instead of being independent, which in some eyes is how society should operate hmm ). I do think there will be less tolerance of people being on benefits and people calling for food vouchers, etc. Things are definitely going in a horrible, scary direction. But I do nto think we are heading for the mass extermination of disabled people. There are too many educated, caring people in our society. It might feel like many don't care right now but personally I think things are going to get so bad over the next 5 years (when DLA goes) that people won't be able to avoid seeing how bad things are and will take a stand. Because lots of people are going to die, lose their jobs, lose their cars/independence and end up in care homes. It's easy enough to not see the suffering that exists right now, but it will multiply hugely. And actually, what is really important is not that people consider whether we are heading for mass extermination of a vulnerable group, but that people stand up on our behalf and say no to the terrible suffering that is already happening.

I do wish people knew more about how frightening it is to be disabled in 2013. But lots of people have no practical knowledge of disability and equally have no idea that they are a moment away from potentially becoming disabled themselves, so how can they really be prompted to care?

moisturiser Hear, hear. I have three children, two of whom are disabled. I am terrified of what is going to happen further down the line, what sort of a society they are going to grow into.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Mon 28-Jan-13 13:11:10

The idea that people with disabilities are lesser members of the human race and should be exterminated was not invented by the Nazis and did not, unfortunately, die with them. It is not an idea necessarily shared by people who self-idntify as right-wing, either; as a Tory voter who also happens to be the parent of a child with a disability I am getting heartily sick of being libelled in this fashion.
On a more pleasant note, and for those who genuinely want to remember the Holocaust with humility and compassion rather than make cheap points, if you did not watch the memorial music programme shown by BBC4 last night, I thoroughly recommend you try and catch it.

fromparistoberlin Mon 28-Jan-13 13:13:44

I think you are scaremongering to be honest

one dickhead does not mean Nazi-ism is restarting

Orwellian Mon 28-Jan-13 13:21:52

It scares me that one silly person's opinion can be conflated with the holocaust. Sorry but there is no comparison. OP, your thread trivialises something that was genuinely horrific on a huge scale. If you think the comments of one minor figure in a minor party compare to the deeds of the architects of the holocaust then you are deluded.

Dawndonna Mon 28-Jan-13 13:27:31

I think those of you that consider this to be scaremongering are being rude. Somebody has a genuine fear, surely kind reassurance would be better. Or even discussion.
I don't think the comments of one minor figure matter a great deal, but having been on the receiving end of an organised campaign of disability hate crime, I do believe that the OP has a valid point.
I also feel that to close one's eyes to the reality of the situation, a situation compounded by the likes of the Daily Mail, is dangerous.

HecateWhoopass Mon 28-Jan-13 13:39:08


As a person with disabilities myself and the mother of 2 children with disabilities, I for one am very well aware how things are for us right now. And that it ain't getting better. I am afraid for the future for my children. They are never going to be able to live independently and I shudder to think what care and support will mean by the time I am gone and they're on their own.

and also, oddly, I am not deafened by the cries of the general public that what is being done to us is not fair and must stop.

Strange that.

Perhaps I have lost my hearing without realising it...

lovelyladuree Mon 28-Jan-13 13:39:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

HecateWhoopass Mon 28-Jan-13 13:42:30

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Dawndonna Mon 28-Jan-13 13:45:38

Lovelyladuree I have reported your disgusting post.
Your views are not welcome here.

LaVolcan Mon 28-Jan-13 13:46:56

I agree with OP and Hecate. I was watching Genocide under the Nazis last night, which very much brought home to me how the slow drip drip process happens.

aleene Mon 28-Jan-13 13:48:32

Ridiculous comments Lovely Laduree. Are you always this narrow minded?

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