Many are unaware that what ended in the 1940s in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Belsen and Treblinka had far more humble beginnings in the 1930s: in nursing homes, geriatric institutions and psychiatric hospitals all over Germany. Leo Alexander, a psychiatrist who worked with the Office of the Chief of Counsel for War Crimes at Nuremberg, described the process in the New England Medical Journal in July 1949:
'The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans.'
Such a progression requires only four accelerating factors: favourable public opinion, a handful of willing doctors, economic pressure and a law allowing it. In most Western countries the first three ingredients are present already. When legislation comes into effect, and political and economic interests are brought to bear, the generated momentum can prove overwhelming.
What abortion, euthanasia and the Holocaust have in common is the self-given right to kill.
People frame euthanasia as something the sick people want.
And some sick people really THINK they want to die.
But the means to do this-- giving doctors the right to kill-- is wrong.
Many progressives do not want the state to kill because, among other reasons, the state is often wrong.
The same will inevitably happen with euthanasia.
Doctors will be wrong.
Doctors will think the patient wants to die. Or believe the relatives that the patient would have wanted to die.
Or convince themselves that the patient should die, etc.
And they will kill when that was never the patient's intention at all.
Medicine should be in favour of life, even at the end of life.
It means trying to solve the patient's problem-- his real problem-- in a manner consistent with life. Not in a manner consistent with killing.
Killing should not be a solution to one's difficulties with living.