Friday, August 17, 2007

Food for Thought: Technological Barbarians.

The excerpt in small brown print below is from the article, When Doctors Become Terrorists, published online at NEJM here July 16, 2007, and is slated to be published in the print version in August. I encourage you to read the entire article. The author points out that "ideology and ideals" can play a part in physicians becoming terrorists, along with the belief that "the ends justify the means", and he correctly uses those physicians who participated in the Nazi death camp experiments as examples.

Medical metaphors were used to justify every stage of the Nazi genocidal campaign against the sick, the mentally ill, and the racially impure... Along with all the professions, doctors were enthusiastic supporters of National Socialism, but many also played a central part in the justification and execution of genocide... When Dr. Karl Brandt faced the hangman after being convicted at Nuremberg for his role in murder and perverse medical "experiments," he showed neither remorse nor insight and continued to believe that his actions had been justified by the need to save Germany from those whose "lives were unworthy of life".

My question is this: although I doubt it was the author's intent, could not his same arguments be applied to those physicians coetaneous to the terrorist doctors; those physicians among us (and they are in the vast majority within the medical profession) who not only perform, but deeply believe in the righteousness of contraception, abortion, in vitro fertilization (with the attendant destruction of embryos as a necessary part of the procedure), euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, as well as that growing panoply of emerging technologies dependent on the destruction of human life at it's earliest stages? Are we not entering a brave new world where the technological barbarian is ascendant in way never before imagined?

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