Unlebenswertiges Leben: ‘Life Unworthy of Life’

The eugenics movement is alive and well, still influencing public policy

The title is a literally untranslatable bit of National Socialist jargon which is usually clumsily rendered into English as: “life unworthy of life.”

It was used in the discussion of what are today called “quality of life” issues regarding people born with physical and mental defects, suffering from incurable ailments, and seemingly at the end of their “useful” lives. Another quaint term for such people, likewise untranslatable in its sheer cruelty, was nutzlose Fresser, “useless eaters” (to convey a little more of the original’s flavor: fressen is what animals do, essen is what humans do).

The doctrine embodied in these terms was hardly original with the Nazis (a shorthand expression, too widely used, which conceals the actual nature and origins of the movement called the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or “National Socialist German Workers’ Party”). Its origins lay in the eugenics movement, which was a feature of late 19th and early 20th century Western “civilization.” This was one of the more sinister developments of Darwinistic evolutionary theory.

Read more by Avner Zarmi at PJmedia.com