Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

Fighting for the Wrong Right: Your Right to Die

For The Record #117
REALAUDIO
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

For The Record #124
REALAUDIO
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

With the first patient recently killed under Washington State’s new right-to-die law, For The Record takes time to review the incisive material presented by author Wesley J. Smith and presented in these 1998 interviews, recorded in November and December of that year, respectively.

As the economy continues to flounder and with exorbitant cost of health insurance at the epicenter of American civic  debate, people should not be dismissive of the notion that the solution to the problem of the uninsured taking the turn it did in Nazi Germany. In that context, we musn’t lose sight of the fact that the eugenics laws which were the foundation  of Nazi extermination grew directly out of mainstream Western and U.S. eugenics thinking and  legislation. it is not something alien to our culture.

The co-author (with Ralph Nader) of several books about consumer advocacy, Wesley J. Smith has written Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope From Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder (Times Books, copyright 1997), a volume that Mr. Emory believes is one of the most important books ever written.

FTR #117 broadcast presents an overview of Mr. Smith’s book. Beginning with the “work” of the late serial killer Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the interview highlights the fundamental changes in medical theory and practice that are leading America down a path disturbingly similar (in certain respects) to the path Germany followed in the 1930s. (During that period, Germany adopted the T-4 euthanasia program which murdered “disposable” persons in cold blood.)

Medical ethics in this country are already evolving in a manner not unlike that in Germany, in which the physician’s primary responsibility was seen as to society rather than to the patient. The program discusses other chilling changes in medical practice including the enabling of death by dehydration of people with cognitive disabilities, a particularly brutal form of termination. In addition, the broadcast exposes the fallacy that “guidelines” will prevent abuse, citing (among other precedents) the failure of those guidelines in the Netherlands, which allows euthanasia.

Other points of analysis in FTR #117 include: the fundamental change that for-profit HMOs have wrought in American medicine and how those changes affect the issue of euthanasia; the inability of most American medical personnel to accurately diagnose both permanent brain damage and depression in patients and that failure’s implications for the issue of euthanasia; how euthanasia can be used as a vehicle of social oppression and how the hospice movement, palliative care and independent living movement for disabled people, can alleviate the problems that euthanasia advocates say only death can solve.

Recorded a little less than a month after #117, FTR #124 picks up where the earlier broadcast left off. In addition to reviewing material from FTR-117, the broadcast sets forth additional material from Smith’s book.

Particular emphasis is on Peter Singer, a bio-ethicist recently appointed to the faculty of Princeton University. A champion of the “Right to Die Movement,” Singer’s views have been compared with those of social philosophers whose work paved the way for the Third Reich’s “Aktion T-4″ euthanasia program.

One of the main texts affecting the German euthanasia movement was Binding and Hoche’s On the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life. In Forced Exit, Smith compares the text of a legal decision by Judge Stephen Reinhardt with key passages from the Binding and Hoche text, a major influence on Hitler’s social philosophy.

Other highlights of FTR #124 include: review of analysis of the difficulty physicians have in diagnosing and treating depression (many “candidates” for euthanasia are clinically depressed and, therefore, treatable); the difficulty physicians have in accurately diagnosing ‘persistent vegetative states” (many so-called “brain-dead” patients are misdiagnosed and, in some cases, conscious but unable to communicate); and review of the economic imperatives being imposed on physicians by for-profit HMOs.

Discussion

One comment for “Fighting for the Wrong Right: Your Right to Die”

  1. German drug manufacturers such as Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals are “corporate partners” with a powerful corporate HMO lobbying group that has been strongly pushing to pass PAS, called the California Association Of Physician Groups.
    http://www.capg.org/index.aspx?page=95

    Posted by JohnG | June 4, 2015, 8:15 pm

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