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Infanticide again

By Bill Muehlenberg - posted Thursday, 1 March 2012

When academics call for baby killing, you know we have reached the outer limits of the moral atmosphere. Our mighty intellects, who are supposed to be training the next generation both mentally and morally, are often instead doing a great disservice.

To be well educated is certainly no guarantee of general intelligence or wisdom. To have a string of letters after one's name is obviously not a sign of high moral acumen. Tragically we often have some of the most morally deficient and intellectually lacklustre positions being argued for by our academics.

And when these people try to make a learned case for baby killing, we have proof that all is not well in academia. Today's press presents us with yet another frightening example of this. Two more Melbourne-based academics are enlightening us on the case for infanticide. More on this in a moment.


But sadly this has been occurring for some time now. One of these profs is from Monash University. We of course have had other advocates of baby killing from Monash, most notably Peter Singer. He is now at Princeton University in the US, but he began his notorious career here in Melbourne.

He is a long standing advocate of not only abortion and euthanasia, but infanticide as well. He believes the new born must not automatically be considered to be persons, and they must be tested to see who should live and who should die which I have written about elsewhere.

So here we have two more "ethicists" telling us that the newborn are not persons, and are therefore fair game for killing. One article introduces things this way: "Two ethicists working with Australian universities argue in the latest online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so too should be the termination of a newborn.

"Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne write that in "circumstances occur[ing] after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible."

Yes we have heard all this before. Not only by academics like Singer, but earlier experts and academics said similar things. A major element leading up to the "Final Solution" in Germany was the notion that some people – indeed whole classes of people – are not persons.

Decades prior to the Holocaust there were many academic positions and pronouncements which prepared the way for what Hitler and the Nazis did. For example in 1895 the German legal scholar Alfred Jost wrote an influential volume, The Right to Die. And in 1904 the German Society for Racial Hygiene was formed.


Of special importance was the publication in 1920 of Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding's Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (The Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life). Here was promoted the concept of "lives not worth living". The book spoke of the "incurable feebleminded" who should be killed. It all led nicely to Hitler's Mein Kampf (1925-1926).

State-sponsored euthanasia was called for, with the idea that many humans had to be excluded from those deserving the right to life. Other writings appeared, with much discussion especially in the German medical community. All this helped pave the way for the Nazi programs when they came to power in the early 1930s.

As Henry Friedlander says in the opening of his important book, The Origins of Nazi Genocide, "Nazi genocide did not take place in a vacuum. Genocide was only the most radical method of excluding groups of human beings from the German national community. The policy of exclusion followed and drew upon more than fifty years of scientific opposition to the equality of man."

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About the Author

Bill Muehlenberg is Secretary of the Family Council of Victoria, and lectures in ethics and philosophy at various Melbourne theological colleges.

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