Attacking the enfranchised “unfit.” Purging society of those who do not measure up to the required standards of national efficiency, ( Henry Kissinger’s “useless eaters” ) or whatever euphemisms we may have to couch the theory of euthanasia, and the sort of rule by technocracy, the scientific and rational elite that it would entail. H.G. Wells would call this, ” merciful obliteration of weak and silly and pointless things.” This is the ugly underside of social idealism and utopianism. Something that began with lethal chamber for the humane slaughtering of animals for food, the trial model he constructed in 1878, and his successful version in 1884 that enabled the large-scale destruction of unwanted and diseased dogs at the Battersea Dogs Home in London.Adorno who declared that Auschwitz began at the slaughterhouse with people thinking, “They’re just animals.”
( See link at end): …In 1913, according to Chesterton in Eugenics and Other Evils (1922), „eugenics began to appear in big headlines in the daily Press, and big pictures in the illustrated papers‟. In his description of „General Cessation Day‟ in „Perkins and Mankind‟, Beerbohm is undoubtedly commenting on extremely widespread public concerns about eugenics and alleged „racial degeneration‟ which are also apparent in the writings of authors such as D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. In a letter composed when he was twenty-three years old, Lawrence wrote:
If I had my way, I would build a lethal chamber as big as the Crystal Palace, with a military band playing softly, and a Cinematograph working brightly; then I‟d go out in the back streets and main streets and bring them in, all the sick, the halt, and the maimed; I would lead them gently, and they would smile me a weary thanks; and the band would softly bubble out the “Hallelujah Chorus”.
In her 1915 diary Virginia Woolf made the following entry:
On the towpath we met & had to pass a long line of imbeciles. The first was a very tall young man, just queer enough to look twice at, but no more; the second shuffled, & looked aside; & then one realised that every one in that long line was a miserable ineffective shuffling idiotic creature, with no forehead, or no chin, & an imbecile grin, or a wild suspicious stare. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed. Read More:http://dl.lib.brown.edu/mjp/pdf/GibbonsBeerbohm.pdf
Whether one agrees or not, as G.K. Chesterton saw it, life belongs to god, who he saw as entrusting it to us to care and preserve it as best as possible. Euthanasia was a violation of the infinite; if life becomes measured by quality, it tends to slide down the proverbial slippery slope. Life to Chesterton was god’s choice. Not surprising here, but what is peculiar is these supposed intellectual heavyweights, Bloomsbury eclectics, Fabians and the Society for Psychical Research getting swallowed up in mystical and occult doctrines, notions of “pure spiritualism” that would be layered, varnished, with pseudo-scientific endorsements of the most arbitrary sort. Remember that Nazi Germany did not operate in a vacuum; the idiots carried out the dirty deed, but did not invent or put the process in function.
Since this chapter began with the contention that the road to Auschwitz begins at the slaughterhouse, it is fitting that it close with the story of the automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, whose impact on the twentieth century began, metaphorically speaking, at an American slaughterhouse and ended at Auschwitz.
In his autobiography, My Life and Work (19
Ford revealed that his inspiration for assembly-line production came from a visit he made as a young man to a Chicago slaughterhouse. “I believe that this was the first moving line ever installed,” he wrote. “The idea [of the assembly line] came in a general way from the overhead trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef.”
A Swift and Company publication from that time described the division-of-labor principle that Ford adopted: “The slaughtered animals, suspended head downward from a moving chain, or conveyor, pass from workman to workman, each of whom performs some particular step in the process.” Since the authors of the publication wanted to make sure the meatpackers got their due credit for the assembly-line idea, they wrote, “So efficient has this procedure proved to be that it has been adopted by many other industries, as for example in the assembling of automobiles.”
This process, which hoists animals onto chains and hurries them along from station to station until they came out at the end of the line as cuts of meat, introduced something new into our modern industrial civilization–the neutralization of killing and a new level of detachment. “For the first time machines were used to speed along the process of mass slaughter,” writes Rifkin, “leaving men as mere accomplices, forced to conform to the pace and requirements set by the assembly line itself.”
As the twentieth century would demonstrate, it was but one step from the industrialized killing of American slaughterhouses to Nazi Germany’s assembly-line mass murder. As noted earlier, it was the German Jew Theodor Adorno who declared that Auschwitz began at the slaughterhouse with people thinking, “They’re just animals.” In J. M. Coetzee’s novel, The Lives of Animals, the protagonist Elizabeth Costello tells her audience: “Chicago showed us the way; it was from the Chicago stockyards that the Nazis learned how to process bodies.” Read More:http://www.stockmaven.com/patterson.htm