In the 1930s, Hitler and his colleagues were well aware that a programme of euthanasia would be opposed by the German public if it were introduced in it's entirety from the outset, so they began by working to change public opinion slowly, but surely, via a campaign of propaganda. The National Socialist Racial and Political Office (NSRPA) produced leaflets, posters and short films to be shown in cinemas, pointing out to Germans the cost of maintaining asylums for the incurably ill and insane.
Resentment was built up in the minds of the public against those using up scarce resources, at the expense of those more worthy of receiving support, such as young men fighting and dying for their country.
As we saw in my last article in this series, the Aktion T4 Program grew from a single case - that of the euthanasia petition of a young boy, who was actually killed in 1939. This precedent was used to establish a program of killing children with severe disabilities from which the 'guardian' consent element soon disappeared.
The resulting "euthanasia decree", written on Adolf Hitler's personal notepaper, dated 1st September 1939, reads ... "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 judgement of their state of health, can be granted a mercy death."
Here in the UK, we have already seen two attempts to change the laws around euthanasia and although these have failed the government is under increasing pressure to support a right-to-die law, beginning by de-criminalising those who travel abroad to seek assisted suicide. Lord Joffe, Patricia Hewitt, Lord Falconer and Baroness Jay are amongst those who are actively seeking to amend the law.
Their efforts are supported by a massive campaign to change public opinion, via high profile cases in the media, such as that of Debbie Purdy.
Having failed, at his first attempt, to achieve a change in the law through parliament, Lord Falconer has resorted to a more devious route in an unholy alliance with DEMOS, via The Commission on Assisted Dying. This unofficial commission funded by Terry Pratchett and Bernard Lewis is taking evidence from anyone who wishes to participate. The commission has produced a questionnaire containing such leading questions as: "If some form of assisted dying were to be legalised, what safeguards would be required to protect vulnerable people?" ... and ... "If some form of assisted dying were to be legalised, who do you think should make the decision on whether somebody who requests an assisted death should be eligible for assistance? Should this decision be made by doctors, by an independent judicial body such as a tribunal, or by another type of organisation?"
We leave it to your imagination as to how the results from such a survey could be slanted towards giving the "desired" result, and then with all the kudos of DEMOS behind it, used to influence government.
Baroness Warnock, a veteran UK government advisor and one of Britains leading "moral philosophers" has no qualms about stating her views regarding the ending of the lives of those she deems unsuitable to continue living. Consider for instance her comments in an interview with the Church of Scotland's magazine - Life and Work that:
"Elderly people suffering from dementia should consider ending their lives because they are a burden on the National Health System (NHS) and their families."
or this one.....
"Pensioners in mental decline are 'wasting people's lives' because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain."
And if those don't send a chill up your spine, how about this ... she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.