Cost-benefit analysis of the lives of disabled
people could lead to a dark future
by Peter Saunders
Is it wrong to kill disabled people if caring for them costs more than identifying and destroying them?
The Nazis believed killing in these circumstances was not only right but a public duty and the German public was softened up to accept it through a skilful propaganda campaign which began in the classroom.
Leo Alexander, an American psychiatrist who gave evidence at the Nuremberg trials, described the process in his classic article Medical Science under dictatorship, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1949:
“Acceptance of this ideology was implanted even in the children. A widely used high-school mathematics text, Mathematics in the Service of National Political Education, includes problems stated in distorted terms of the cost of caring for and rehabilitating the chronically sick and crippled. One of the problems asked, for instance, how many new housing units could be built and how many marriage-allowance loans could be given to newly married couples for the amount of money it cost the state to care for the ‘crippled, the criminal and the insane’.”
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