The Court-Ordered Death of Terri Schiavo
October 17, 2003
Even before the rise of Adolph Hitler's Third Reich,
the way for the gruesome Nazi holocaust of human extermination and cruel
butchery was being prepared in the 1930 German Weimar Republic through the
medical establishment and philosophical elite's adoption of the "quality of
life" concept in place of the "sanctity of life." The Nuremberg trials, exposing
the horrible Nazi war crimes, revealed that Germany's trend toward atrocity
began with their progressive embrace of the Hegelian doctrine of "rational
utility," where an individual's worth is in relation to their contribution to
the state, rather than determined in light of traditional moral, ethical and
This gradual transformation of national public opinion,
promulgated through media and education, was described in an article written by
the British commentator Malcolm Muggeridge, entitled "The Humane Holocaust," and
in an article written by former United States Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop,
M.D., entitled "The Slide to Auschwitz," both published in The Human Life
Review, 1977 and 1980 respectively.
Malcolm Muggeridge stated: "Near at hand, we have been
accorded, for those that have eyes to see, an object lesson in what the quest
for 'quality of life' without reference to 'sanctity of life' can
involve....[namely] the great Nazi holocaust, whose TV presentation has lately
been harrowing viewers throughout the Western world. In this televised version,
an essential consideration has been left out - namely, that the origins of the
holocaust lay, not in Nazi terrorism and anti-Semitism, but in pre-Nazi Weimar
Germany's acceptance of euthanasia and mercy-killing as humane and estimable....
It took no more than three decades to transform a war crime into an act of
compassion, thereby enabling the victors in the war against Nazi-ism to adopt
the very practices for which the Nazis had been solemnly condemned at
The transformation followed thus: the concept that the elderly
and terminally ill should have the right to die was promoted in books,
newspapers, literature and even entertainment films, the most popular of which
were entitled Ich klage an (I accuse) and Mentally Ill. One euthanasia movie,
based on a novel by a National Socialist doctor, actually won a prize at the
world-famous Venice Film Festival! Extreme hardship cases were cited which
increasingly convinced the public to morally approve of euthanasia. The medical
profession gradually grew accustomed to administering death to patients who, for
whatever reasons, felt their low "quality of life" rendered their lives not
worth living, or as it was put, liebensunwerten Lebens, (life unworthy of
In an Associated Press release, published in the New York
Times, October 10, 1933, entitled "Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain;
German Religious Groups Oppose Move," it was stated: "The Ministry of Justice,
in a detailed memorandum explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal
code, today announced its intentions to authorize physicians to end the
sufferings of the incurable patient. The memorandum...proposed that it shall be
possible for physicians to end the tortures of incurable patients, upon request,
in the interest of true humanity. This proposed legal recognition of euthanasia
- the act of providing a painless and peaceful death - raised a number of
fundamental problems of a religious, scientific, and legal nature. The Catholic
newspaper Germania hastened to observe: 'The Catholic faith binds the conscience
of its followers not to accept this method'...In Lutheran circles, too, life is
regarded as something that God alone can take.... Euthanasia... has become a
widely discussed word in the Reich.... No life still valuable to the State will
be wantonly destroyed."(3)
Nationalized health care and government involvement in medical
care promised to improve the public's "quality of life."(4) Unfortunately, the
cost of maintaining government medical care was a contributing factor to the
growth of the national debt, which reached astronomical proportions. Double and
triple digit inflation crippled the economy, resulting in the public demanding
that government cut expenses.(5)
This precipitated the 1939 order to cut federal expenses. The
national socialist government decided do remove "useless" expenses from the
budget, which included the support and medical costs required to maintain the
lives of the retarded, insane, senile, epileptic, psychiatric patients,
handicapped, deaf, blind, the non-rehabilitable ill, and those who had been
diseased or chronically ill for five years or more. It was labeled an "act of
mercy" to "liberate them through death," as they were viewed as having an
extremely low "quality of life," as well as being a tax burden on the public.
The public psyche was conditioned for this, as even school
math problems compared distorted medical costs incurred by the taxpayer of
caring for and rehabilitating the chronically sick, with the cost of loans to
newly married couples for new housing units.(6)
The next whose lives were terminated by the state were the
elderly in institutions who had no relatives and no financial resources. These
lonely, forsaken individuals were needed by no one and would be missed by no
one. Their "quality of life" was considered low by everyone's standards, and
they were a tremendous tax burden on the economically distressed state.(7)
The next to be eliminated were the parasites on the state: the
street people, bums, beggars, hopelessly poor, gypsies, prisoners, inmates and
convicts. These were socially disturbing individuals incapable of providing for
themselves, whose "quality of life" was considered by the public as irreversibly
below standard, in addition to the fact that they were a nuisance to society and
a seed-bed for crime.(8)
The liquidation grew to include those who had been unable to
work, the socially unproductive, and those living on welfare or government
pensions. They drew financial support from the state, but contributed nothing
financially back. They were looked upon as "useless eaters," leeches, stealing
from those who worked hard to pay the taxes to support them. Their unproductive
lives were a burden on the "quality of life" of those who had to pay the
The next to be eradicated were the ideologically unwanted, the
political enemies of the state, religious extremists, and those "disloyal"
individuals considered to be holding the government back from producing a
society which would function well and provide everyone a better "quality of
life." The moving biography of the imprisoned Dietrich Bonhoffer chronicled the
injustices. These individuals also were a source of "human experimental
material," allowing military medical research to be carried on with human
tissue, thus providing valuable information which promised to improve the
nation's health .(10)
Finally, justifying their actions on the purported theory of
evolution, the Nazi's considered the German, or "Aryan," race as "ubermenschen,"
supermen, being more advanced in the supposed progress of human evolution. This
resulted in the twisted conclusion that all other races, and in particular the
Jewish race, were less evolved, and needed to be eliminated from the so-called
"human gene pool," ensuring that future generations of humans would have a
higher "quality of life."(11)
C. Everett Koop, M.D., stated: "The first step is followed by
the second step. You can say that if the first step is moral then whatever
follows must be moral. The important thing, however, is this: whether you
diagnose the first step as being one worth taking or being one that is
precarious rests entirely on what the second step is likely to be.... I am
concerned about this because when the first 273,000 German aged, infirm, and
retarded were killed in gas chambers there was no outcry from that medical
profession either, and it was not far from there to Auschwitz."(12)
Can this holocaust happen in America? Indeed, it has already
begun. The idea of killing a person and calling it "death with dignity" is an
oxymoron. The "mercy-killing" movement puts us on the same path as pre-Nazi
Germany. The "quality of life" concept, which eventually results in the Hegelian
utilitarian attitude of a person's worth being based on their contribution
toward perpetuating big government, is in stark contrast to America's founding
This philosophy which lowers the value of human life, shocked
attendees at the Governor's Commission on Disability, in Concord, New Hampshire,
October 5, 2001, as they heard the absurd comments of Princeton University
professor Peter Singer. The Associated Press reported Singer's comments: "I do
think that it is sometimes appropriate to kill a human infant," he said, adding
that he does not believe a newborn has a right to life until it reaches some
minimum level of consciousness. "For me, the relevant question is, what makes it
so seriously wrong to take a life?" Singer asked. "Those of you who are not
vegetarians are responsible for taking a life every time you eat. Species is no
more relevant than race in making these judgments."(13)
Singer's views, if left unchecked, could easily lead to a
repeat of the atrocities of Nazi Germany, if not something worse. Add to that
unbridled advances in the technology of cloning, DNA test which reveal physical
defects, human embryos killed for the purpose of gathering stem cells to treat
Diseases...and a haunting future unfolds before us. President Theodore
Roosevelt's warning in 1909 seems appropriate:
"Progress has brought us both unbounded opportunities and
unbridled difficulties. Thus, the measure of our civilization will not be that
we have done much, but what we have done with that much. I believe that the next
half century will determine if we will advance the cause of Christian
civilization or revert to the horrors of brutal paganism. The thought of modern
industry in the hands of Christian charity is a dream worth dreaming. The
thought of industry in the hands of paganism is a nightmare beyond imagining.
The choice between the two is upon us."(14)
In his State of the Union address in 1905, President Theodore
"There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a
new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no
such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality. All else is
immorality. There is only true Christian ethics over against which stands the
whole of paganism. If we are to fulfill our great destiny as a people, then we
must return to the old morality, the sole morality.... All these blatant sham
reformers, in the name of a new morality, preach the old vice of self-indulgence
which rotted out first the moral fiber and then even the external greatness of
Greece and Rome."(15)
In biblical comparison, Jesus showed mercy by healing the sick
and giving sanity back to the deranged, but never did he kill them. This
attitude is exemplified today by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose version of
"death with dignity" is to gather the dying from off the street, and show
compassion to these rejected and abandoned members of the human race, all the
while knowing that they may only survive for another half hour. Her
"mercy-living" movement goes to great trouble to house, wash and feed even the
most hopeless and derelict, because of inherent respect for the "sanctity of
life" of each individual. This attitude is summed up in her statement: "I see
Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed
him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and
tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus."(16)
Will America chose the "sanctity of life" concept, as
demonstrated by Mother Teresa, or will America chose the "quality of life"
concept, championed by self-proclaimed doctors of death court decisions - such
as in the case of Terri Schiavo - and continue its slide toward Auschwitz? What
kind of subtle anesthetic has been allowed to deaden our national conscience?
What horrors await us? The question is not whether the suffering and dying
person's life should be terminated, the question is what kind of nation will we
become if they are? Their physical death is preceded only by our moral death!
1 Malcolm Muggeridge, "The Humane Holocaust," The Human Life
Review, Winter, 1980. Ronald Reagan, Abortion & The Conscience of the Nation
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc. 1984; The Human Life Foundation,
Inc.), pp. 85 - 87.
2 C. Everett Koop, M.D., "The Slide to Auschwitz," The Human
Life Review, Spring, 1977; quoting from Leo Alexander, "Medical Science Under
Dictatorship," New England Journal of Medicine, July 4, 1949, 241:39 - 47. (C.
Everett Koop, M.D., originally delivered as an address to The American Academy
of Pediatrics, on the occasion of his receiving the William E. Ladd Medal, the
highest honor given to pediatric surgeons in America.) Ronald Reagan, Abortion
and The Conscience of the Nation (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc.
1984; The Human Life Foundation, Inc.), pp. 61 - 63. Die Freigabe der
Vernichtung liebensunwerten Lebens (Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life)
1920. Adolf Jost, Das Recht auf den Tod (The Right to Death) 1895. Robert Jay
Lifton, The Nazi Doctors (N Y: Basic Books, 1986), p. 27.
3 New York Times, October 10, 1933, Associated Press release,
"Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move."
Noah H. Hutchings, "Nazi Euthanasia" (Oklahoma City, OK: Bible in the News,
published by the Southwest Radio Church, P.O. Box 1144, Oklahoma City, OK 73101,
October 1996), Vol. 1996, No. 10, p. 16.
4 Koop, p. 70.
5 Ibid., pp. 61, 70. Muggeridge, p. 90. The World Book
Encyclopedia 19 vols. (Chicago, IL: Field Enterprises, Inc., 1957), vol. 7, p.
6 Koop, pp. 61 - 63; Muggeridge, pp. 86 - 89.
8 Ibid, 9 Ibid, 10 Ibid, 11 Ibid,
12 Koop, pp. 67 - 70.
13 Peter Singer. October 5, 2001, comments at the Governor's
Commission on Disability, Concord, New Hampshire. Harry R. Weber, Associated
Press, Boston Globe,10/5/2001 17:46 "Singer gets respectful reception."
14 Roosevelt, Theodore. 1909. Noah Brooks, Men of Achievement
- Statesmen (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904), p. 317. George Grant, Third
Time Around (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Inc., 1991), p. 118. George
Grant, The Quick and the Dead (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1981), p. 134. John
Eidsmoe, Columbus & Cortez, Conquerors for Christ (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf
Press, 1992), pp. 296-297.
15 Roosevelt, Theodore. 1905, in his State of the Union
address. David, L. Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt: American Monarch (Philadelphia:
American History Sources, 1981), p. 44. George Grant, Third Time Around
(Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Inc., 1991) pp. 118-119.
16 Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Statement. Bless Your Heart
(series II) (Eden Prairie, MN: Heartland Sampler, Inc., 1990), 10.15.
Muggeridge, pp. 91 - 92.
Other sources include: Fr. Virgil C. Blum, S.J. & Charles J.
Sykes, "The Lesson of Euthanasia," The Human Life Review, Spring, 1976. A.J.
Dyck, "The Value of Life: Two Contending Policies," Harvard Magazine, Jan.,
1970, pp. 30 - 36. Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From
Euthanasia to the Final Solution (N.C.: University of North Carolina Press,
1995). Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing & the Psychology of
Genocide (Basic Books, 1986). William Brennan, Medical Holocausts: Exterminative
Medicine in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America (Norland, 1980). William
Brennan, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives (Chicago, IL:
Loyala University Press, 1995; 3441 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL. 60657). Eleanor
Schlafly and John D. Boland, "Word Warfare: Giving Evil a Tolerable Name"
(Mindszenty Report, Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, P.O. Box 11321, St. Louis,
Mo. 63105), Apr. 1996, Vol. 38, No. 4. "Protection of Life" series, Sanctity of
Life or Quality of Life, Law Reform Commission of Canada. Francis Schaeffer and
C. Everett Koop, M.D., What Ever Happened to the Human Race? (1979).
William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker,
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©2003 William Federer