People have become so used to living in a state of perennial crisis and emergency that they seem not to realize that their lives have been reduced to a purely biological state. Life is losing not only its social and political dimensions, but also its human and affective ones. A society which exists in a constant state of emergency cannot be free.—Giorgio Agamben, Where Are We Now?
In the 1930’s, German medicine and German health care institutions were widely considered the most advanced in the world. Long before Hitler came to power, the eugenics movement, “the self-direction of human evolution” was well underway in the United States and Britain, and was later imported to Germany.
Eugenics was an effort to assume control over our human future by controlling who could or could not reproduce. The early twentieth-century progressive movement in the United States broadly embraced the concept and received funding from major foundations. The American Breeder’s Association focused on “breeding better human beings. “In 1933 Germany passed its own “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Defective Offspring,” modeled on similar laws in the U. S. Then, the German medical establishment made a shift that was fatal in the ethics of medicine and undermined the traditional Hippocratic ethic that had governed medicine since antiquity. German physicians were encouraged to be responsible for the health of the entire “social organism”—the volk, the people as a whole. The compassion and individual needs of the patients were now defunct.
The first case of legislation by which a nation-state programmatically assumed for itself the care of its citizen’s health was that of Nazi eugenics. The first people gassed by the Nazi’s were not Jews in concentration camps but disabled patients in psychiatric hospitals, killed without their consent. The mass killings in the gas chambers were initially established by the German medical community, not the Government. The Jews were routinely demonized by the Nazi’s as “spreaders of disease.” This was the logical consequence of their fatal starting point.
At the postwar Nuremberg trials, Nazi doctors claimed that nothing they had done was illegal under German laws. This claim, it is sad to say, was true. To deal with this legal difficulty, the jurists at Nuremberg had to invoke the novel concept of “crimes against humanity”—a natural law argument that there are “some things you can’t not know,” and there are some “acts that can never be justified.” That a physician or scientist was “just following orders” was not an adequate defense.
After the 1946 Nuremberg trials, in order to prevent similar human rights disasters in the future, the central principle of research and ethics and medical ethics—namely, the free and informed consent of the research subject or the patient—was clearly articulated in the Nuremberg Code in 1947. You can find the Codes here: Nuremberg Codes. While the Nuremberg Code did not enjoy the binding force of international law, its principles did inform the laws of most nations, including the United States.
Fast forward to 2020. During the covid pandemic, the public health and medical establishment once again abandoned the principle of free and informed consent to advance a supposed greater good. Vaccine mandates, for example, forced individuals to take products authorized only for emergency use, and thus still experimental by our own federal government’s definition. Under a declared state of emergency our leaders convinced us that the health of the social organism required this. It was for the volk, the people as a whole.
These crisis standards continue to dominate global health policy three years later. It is important to note that the atrocities that occurred in Nazi Germany were all during a 12- year time period where they were under a declared state of emergency.
There is a classic 1948 book, Psychological Warfare by Paul M. A. Lineberger that is still in vogue and studied today, though PSYOPS has evolved. Today it is known as fifth-generation warfare (5GW) and is conducted primarily through non-kinetic military action, such as social engineering, misinformation, cyberattacks, along with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and fully autonomous systems.
Stay tuned next month for more from Dr. Aaron Kheriaty M.D.’s book as we learn about the rise of the biomedical security state and how we can implement resilient responses to forestall this possible dystopian future.