Friday, November 18, 2011


"I just can't imagine why with knowledge ahead of time one would allow the birth of a baby with any major mental or physical handicap to occur.  You wouldn't walk into Best Buy and say, 'Excuse me, I'd like to buy a broken television,' would you?  So why would you allow a broken child to be born?" - jekyll - 

This horribly ignorant statement is a comment on a column entitled "Will America Cull People With Down Syndrome?"  After reading the column, I'm still not sure exactly what argument the author was trying to take, but the part that really disturbs me is some of the comments, especially ones like the comment quoted above.

Really, Jekyll?  Broken?  Well, congratulations.  You've succeeded in insulting over 400,000 people in the United States alone.  Your comment was absolutely ridiculous, insulting, demeaning, and dehumanizing.  You've managed to dismiss an entire group of real people.  You've just told Mitch, Andrew, Karen, Katie, Tony, and many, many others that they shouldn't exist.  Were they not good enough in your high and mighty eyes?  Who made you the judge of who is and who isn't a worthwhile human being?

I could go on for pages upon pages in reaction to Jekyll's arrogance and ignorance, but I also want to write about another statement.  Surprisingly, Jekyll's ridiculous comment isn't the worst reaction to the column.  In a response to Jekyll, Ronald Davis the following statement:

"BRAVO jekyll...
I agree 1000% with your analogy!  Unfortunately too many people actually enjoy endless war and welfare, prisons and mental institutions!"  

Ronald Davis, are you actually insinuating that people with Down Syndrome are the source of all of these problems?  That we have Down Syndrome to blame for the very existence of war and prison?  You know, somebody else had some very, very similar ideas about people with disabilities.  Judging from your comment, I would think that that you, Jekyll, and this man might agree upon a few things...

Perhaps I'm being too harsh in comparing the Ronald Davis' and Jekyll's views to the views of Adolf Hitler.  You can read the quotes below and then decide for yourself whether or not you agree with me.

“Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.” 
― Adolf Hitler

“Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.” 

According to this article written by Mark P. Mostert of Regent University, under Hitler's command, The Committee for the Scientific Treatment of Severe Genetically Determined Illnesses required physicians and midwives to report the births of those born with various types of disabilities.  The Reich Health Ministry would then determine whether or not the reported children were fit to live, thus not allowing many of these children to exist (161).  Adolf Hitler, much like Jekyll, seemed to believe himself important enough to have an opinion on who is and who is not fit to exist.  The list of disabilities that required a report to the CSTSGDI certainly sound much like the things that would cause Jekyll to liken a person to a "broken television."  

According to the same article, certain types of thinking prior to WWI paved the way for Hitler's genocide of people with disabilities.  For instance, Mostert discusses the fact that the legal system of Germany often dealt with behaviors that society viewed as inappropriate.  As a result, many began to mentally blend together criminal behaviors and disabilities (156).  Does this kind of thinking sound eerily similar to what Ronald Davis said in his comment?  

We could very well dismiss the uneducated comments of these two men as lunacy.  However, if we've learned anything from history, we should know that ideas such as these have a tendency to grow when ignored by those who disagree.  A very real prejudice exists against people with Down Syndrome today, and we simply cannot ignore it.  The second we deem one life more important than another, we justify ideas such as the ones that Adolf Hitler believed in.  We absolutely must keep fighting against such evils because they will not go away if we just leave them alone.  

"Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal; and he may be properly charged with evil who refused to learn how he might prevent it." 
-Samuel Johnson, Rasselas- 

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