Can we stop with the Nazi analogies?


Cutting health care costs and making it more efficient is a difficult issue. And this Washington Times editorial raises legitimate questions about whether Tom Daschle’s idea — which it says the stimulus bill would institutionalize — of letting a non-political body make decisions on how and whether to limit care to certain individuals is a good idea. But then, as the National Jewish Democratic Council points out, why do they have to go and make an anology to Nazi Germany? From the editorial:

Consider the following statement [from Daschle’s book] : "It must be made clear to anyone suffering from an incurable disease that the useless dissipation of costly medications drawn from the public store cannot be justified."

This notion is fully in the spirit of the partisans of efficiency but came from a program instituted in Hitler’s Germany called Aktion T-4. Under this program, elderly people with incurable diseases, young children who were critically disabled, and others who were deemed non-productive, were euthanized. This was the Nazi version of efficiency, a pitiless expulsion of the "unproductive" members of society in the most expeditious way possible.

Even worse is the photo the Web site uses to illustrate the unsigned editorial — an "undated file photo of Adolf Hitler." Is that really necessary? In fact, the editorial, minus the two Nazi-themed paragraphs, makes a pretty solid case for the Times’ point of view.

"The use of this example is not only inaccurate, but it is insensitive and clearly beyond the pale of even the most partisan critiques of the stimulus bill," writes the NJDC. "The Times is free to voice its thoughts on its Editorial page, but attacking the stimulus plan by printing a photo of Adolf Hitler and invoking comparisons to Nazi policies is offensive and not befitting of any newspaper with at least a modicum of respectability."

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