By Arthur Caplan, Ph.D
updated 1 hour, 12 minutes ago
Rush Limbaugh and those who invoking the Nazi analogy to attack President Barack Obama's effort to reform health care in America are not "insane" as David Brooks pronounced on last Sunday's "Meet the Press." Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the rest of the loud-mouthed right wing are, when they even hint at an analogy to the Nazis in talking about Obama's health reform effort, engaged in something far worse than insanity. They are engaged in the vile evil of Holocaust denial.
For some time now, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has held the title of the world's most dangerous anti-Semite due to his denial that the Holocaust occurred. Limbaugh and his ilk who have been throwing around references to Adolf Hitler, National socialism and Nazi medicine without hesitation have surpassed the danger posed by the Iranian president. They are offering a false view of why the Holocaust happened. Their flagrant, deliberate and invidious distortion of what happened to medicine in Nazi Germany must not be allowed to stand. Not just because health reform is too important an issue but also because the truth is too important to let ignoramuses destroy it.
Contrary to what Limbaugh and other Holocaust deniers would have you believe, German medicine and science were not brought into the Nazi party once Hitler took power. They fueled the fire for what became Nazism with bigotry proffered as science.
Limbaugh, Beck, Palin and other Holocaust deniers ignore the core racist evil of Nazism. They reach for preposterous analogies between counseling people about living wills and the forced, involuntary mass murder carried out in the name of racism in concentration camps.
When the right wing, in their distaste for the President's push to reform a heath care system that even the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical industry recognize has to be fixed, suggest that the disabled will be targeted or that the elderly will be killed or find themselves without health care due to rationing by government bureaucrats as happened in Nazi Germany, they marginalize the gross evil that was the racial bigotry that fueled Nazi programs to euthanize, sterilize, experiment upon and torture people in places that were in no way connected to hospitals, clinics or nursing homes.
There is plenty to debate about health reform. But there is nothing to debate about the contemptible introduction of references, direct or oblique, to Nazi Germany. To do so is to engage in Holocaust denial. To do that is, as those Americans of the greatest generation who died or were injured fighting the Nazi menace well understood, inexcusable.
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