Sunday, August 02, 2015

Tortured

"Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you don’t help us, who else in the world can help us do this?"
--Albert Camus
Said at the Dominican Monastery of Latour-Maubourg (1948); reported in Resistance, Rebellion and Death (translation by Justin O'Brien, 1961), p. 73.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hoard

"I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and liberals at bay. And the nation free."
--William F. Buckley, Jr.
 "Up from Liberalism" (1959).

Instruments II

"The governments of the great States have two instruments for keeping the people dependent, in fear and obedience: a coarser, the army; and a more refined, the school."
--Friedrich Nietzsche
(1844-1900)
Source: The Complete Works of Frederick Nietzsche, 152 (O. Levy Ed. 1974)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ignorance II

"Let's not be too tough on our own ignorance. It's the thing that makes America great. If America weren't incomparably ignorant, how could we have tolerated the last eight years?"
--Frank Zappa, in 1988

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Outrage

"In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual....Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature."
--Aldous Huxley
"Brave New World Revisited" (1958)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mistaken

"History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy… These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened."
--Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790) US Founding Father
Source: Emblematical Representations, Circa 1774

Monday, July 27, 2015

Still IV

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
--Lily Tomlin
(1939-) American actress, comedian, writer, producer

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Business

"Private lives should be no business of the State. The State is bad enough as it is. It cannot educate or medicate or feed the people; it cannot do anything but kill the people. No State like that do we want prying into our private lives."
--Gore Vidal,
Quoted in Gert Jonkers, "Gore Vidal, the Fantastic Man," Butt, No. 20 (April 7, 2007)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Outside

Concentration camps were instituted almost from the moment the Nazis seized power. Dachau the first was created by Himmler on 20, March 1933, as a place where Communists, Social Democrats and other alleged political enemies were to be "concentrated" and held. These political prisoners had been arrested in considerable numbers following the emergency "protective custody" decree of 28 February, which was implemented immediately after the Reichstag fire.* Dachau, after a brief phase of quixotic brutality by the SS administration became the model for the concentration camp. Now Himmler established the camps as "legally independent administrative units outside the penal code and the ordinary processes of law."
--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", p. 152

Permitted

But prisoners could not be permitted to kill themselves; suicide violated the logic of the healing-killing paradox. Indeed, overt suicide; such as running into the electric fence, was considered a serious violation of discipline and often exhaustively investigated. (Suicides by Treblinka prisoners were described by one commentator as the "first affirmation of freedom" contributing to significant prisoner rebellion in that camp.  More gradual submission to death as in the case of the Muselmänner, could be tolerated or even encouraged because it did not seem to challenge Nazi life-death control. The healing-killing paradox, if it was to be internalized by the Auschwitz self, required exclusive' control of life and death on the part of Nazi perpetrators.
--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", p. 150

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Calm

"[T]he presence. of the physician at that moment was used to calm the mentally ill and camouflage the killing process."
--Dr. Aquilin Ullrich, on the presence of MDs at the Brandenberg gassing chamber

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Easy III

"The solution of the problem of the mentally ill becomes easy if one eliminates these people".
--S.S. Officer Werner Heyde, 1938,
at a national meeting of leading German government psychiatrists and administrators

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Arrogance

"Man commits an act of...extraordinary arrogance when he takes it upon himself to put an end to a human life because, with his limited understanding, he can no longer grasp the entire meaning of that life".
--Letter from Probate Judge Lothar Kreyssig to Hitler Justice Minister Franz Gürtner, July 8, 1940

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hand II

That death generally occurred within twenty-four hours of the patient's arrival at the killing center. Under T4 policy, a doctor had to do the actual killing, in accordance with the motto enunciated by Dr. Viktor Brack, head of the Chancellery's "Euthanasia" Department II: ''The syringe belongs in the hand of a physician.'' Rather than a syringe, however it was usually a matter of opening a gas cock.
--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", p. 71

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Disharmony

Chairman: "We deplore your spirit of disharmony."

No.6: "That's a common complaint around here, isn't it?"

--The Prisoner, episode "A Change of Mind"

Friday, July 17, 2015

Institutionalization

"School prepares people for the alienating institutionalization of life, by teaching the necessity of being taught. Once this lesson is learned, people loose their incentive to develop independently; they no longer find it attractive to relate to each other, and the surprises that life offers when it is not predetermined by institutional definition are closed."
--Ivan Illich

Despotic

"The money power preys on the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes."
--Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happily

"Richard Nixon has never been one of my favorite people anyway. For years I've regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad. The Nixon I remembered was absolutely humorless; I couldn't imagine him laughing at anything except maybe a paraplegic who wanted to vote Democratic but couldn't quite reach the lever on the voting machine."
--Hunter S. Thompson (July, 1968)

"Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him."
--Hunter S. Thompson (2004)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Service

"What a man! I have lost my heart!... Fascism has rendered a service to the entire world... If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism."
--Winston Churchill,
in a letter to Benito Mussolini, after a visit to Rome (1927) 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Books III

"Well, I've worried some about, you know, why write books … why are we teaching people to write books when presidents and senators do not read them, and generals do not read them. And it's been the university experience that taught me that there is a very good reason, that you catch people before they become generals and presidents and so forth and you poison their minds with … humanity, and however you want to poison their minds, it's presumably to encourage them to make a better world."
--Kurt Vonnegut. Jr.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Liberties III

"All our liberties are due to men who,
when their conscience has compelled them,
have broken the laws of the land."
--William Kingdon Clifford
(1845-1879) English mathematician, philosopher

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Provocative

"It is frequently said that speech that is intentionally provocative and therefore invites physical retaliation can be punished or suppressed. Yet, plainly no such general proposition can be sustained. Quite the contrary…. The provocative nature of the communication does not make it any the less expression. Indeed, the whole theory of free expression contemplates that expression will in many circumstances be provocative and arouse hostility. The audience, just as the speaker, has an obligation to maintain physical restraint."
--Thomas I. Emerson
(1907-1991) Lines Professor of Law, Yale University, author
Source: The System of Freedom of Expression, 1970

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stand III

"How bad do things have to get before you do something? Do they have to take away all your property? Do they have to license every activity that you want to engage in? Do they have to start throwing you on cattle cars before you say “now wait a minute, I don’t think this is a good idea.” How long is it going to be before you finally resist and say “No, I will not comply. Period!” Ask yourself now because sooner or later you are going to come to that line, and when they cross it, you’re going to say well now cross this line; ok now cross that line; ok now cross this line. Pretty soon you’re in a corner. Sooner or later you’ve got to stand your ground whether anybody else does or not. That is what liberty is all about."
--Michael Badnarik
(1954- ) American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host

Mercy II

Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt are charged with the responsibility for expanding the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, to the end that patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment [menschlichem Ermessen] of their state of health, can be granted a mercy death [Gnadentod].

--Führer Degree of October, 1939
(Backdated to September 1, 1939, so it could be claimed that it was issued as a wartime measure as part of Germany's invasion of Poland that date)

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Drain

Under the Nazis, there was increasing discussion of the possibility of mercy killings, of the Hoche concept of the "mentally dead," and of the enormous economic drain on German society caused by the large number of these impaired people. A mathematics text asked the student to calculate how many government loans to newly married couples could be granted for the amount of money it cost the state to care for "the crippled, the criminal, and the insane."
--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", page 48


"That's a tradeoff society is making because of very, very high medical costs and a lack of willingness to say, you know, is spending $1 million on that last 3 months of life for that patient, would it be better not to lay off the -- those 10 teachers and to make that trade off in medical cost.  But that's called the death panel, and you're not supposed to have that discussion."
--Bill Gates
Aspen Conference, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Inflated

"A new age will come which, from the standpoint of a higher morality, will no longer heed the demands of an inflated concept of humanity and an overestimation of the value of life as such."
--Alfred Hoche [1865 - 1943), Professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ballast

[Alfred] Hoche [1865 - 1943, Professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg], in his section, insisted that such a policy of killing was compassionate and consistent with medical ethics; he pointed to situations in which doctors were obliged to destroy life (such as killing a live baby at the moment of birth, or interrupting a pregnancy to save the mother). He went on to invoke a concept of "mental death" in various forms of psychiatric disturbance, brain damage, and retardation. He characterized these people as "human ballast" (Ballastexistenzen) and "empty shells of human beings" - terms that were to reverberate in Nazi Germany. Putting such people to death, Hoche wrote, "is not to be equated with other types of killing. . . but [is] an allowable, useful act" He was saying that these people are already dead.

--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", p. 47

Monday, July 06, 2015

Abandons

The state organism,,,[is] a whole with its own laws and rights, much like one self-contained human organism... which, in the interest of the welfare of the whole, also - as we doctors know - abandons and rejects parts or particles that have become worthless or dangerous.     
--Alfred Hoche (1865 - 1943)
Professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg       

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Became

"I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?"
--Rumi (1207 - 1273)

Friday, July 03, 2015

Guardian

"The völkisch state must see to it that only the healthy beget children .... Here the state must act as the guardian of a millennial future .... It must put the most modern medical means in the service of this knowledge. It must declare unfit for propagation all who are in any way visibly sick or who have inherited a disease and can therefore pass it on."
--Adolph Hitler

Medicalization

In Nazi mass murder, we can say that a barrier was removed, a boundary crossed: that boundary between violent imagery and periodic killing of victims (as of Jews in pogroms) on the one hand, and systematic genocide in Auschwitz and elsewhere on the other. My argument in this study is that the medicalization of killing - the imagery of killing in the name of healing - was crucial to that terrible step. At the heart of the Nazi enterprise, then, is the destruction of the boundary between healing and killing.

--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", page 14

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Men

Also at issue for us here is the relationship of Nazi doctors to the human species. Another Auschwitz survivor who knew something about them asked me, "Were they beasts when they did what they did? Or were they human beings?" He was not surprised by my answer: they were and are men, which is my justification for studying them; and their behavior - Auschwitz itself - was a product of specifically human ingenuity and cruelty.

I went on to tell this survivor of the ordinariness of most Nazi doctors I had interviewed. Neither brilliant nor stupid, neither inherently evil nor particularly ethically sensitive, they were by no means the demonic figures - sadistic, fanatic, lusting to kill - people have often thought them

--Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide", page 4

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Volk

One such theorist, Adolf Jost, issued an early call for direct medical killing in a book published in 1895 and significantly entitled  "The Right to Death" (Das Recht auf den Tod). Jost argued that control over the death of the individual must ultimately belong to the social organism, the state. This concept is in direct opposition to the Anglo-American tradition of euthanasia, which emphasizes the individual’s "right to die" or "right to death" or "right to his or her own death," as the ultimate human claim. In contrast, Jost was pointing to the state’s right to kill. While he spoke of compassion and relief of suffering of the incurably ill, his focus was mainly on the health of the Volk and the state. He pointed out that the state already exercises those "rights" in war, where thousands of individuals are sacrificed for the good of the state. Ultimately the argument was biological: "The rights to death [are] the key to the fitness of life.  "The state must own death--must kill--in order to keep the social organism alive and healthy.

--"The Nazi Doctors" by Robert Jay Lifton, page 46

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Third II

"Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye."
--Bill Hicks

Monday, June 29, 2015

Engaged

"If I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago and done no good to either you or to myself. ...for the truth is that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteouosness and wrong in the State, will save his life; he who will really fight for right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one."

--Socrates, from Plato's account of the trial of Socrates


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pretensions

"I do not like the pretensions of Government -- the grounds on which it demands my obedience -- to be pitched too high. I don't like the medicine-man's magical pretensions nor the Bourbon's Divine Right.  This is not solely because I disbelieve in magic and in Bossuet's Politique. I believe in God, but I detest theocracy. For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands 'Thus saith the Lord', it lies, and lies dangerously.

On just the same ground I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in. In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They 'cash in'. It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. Perhaps the real scientists may not think much of the tyrants' 'science'-- they didn't think much of Hitler's racial theories or Stalin's biology. But they can be muzzled."

--C. S. Lewis
(1898-1963), British novelist
Source: Willing Slaves of the Welfare State, first published in The Observer on July 20, 1958