Coronavirus and the prospect of mass involuntary euthanasia


On March 20, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, cancelling giant public gatherings, shutting down non-essential companies and requiring individuals to practise social distancing to stem the unfold of the lethal novel coronavirus within the state.

The governor dubbed the order “Matilda’s law” in honour of his personal 88-year-old mom to guarantee senior residents of New York that, in his efforts to tame the ravaging demise tolls of COVID-19, he wouldn’t compromise the well being and wellbeing of probably the most weak residents of his state, significantly the aged.  

The measure, which was prolonged till June 13, gained reward from Americans fed up with President Donald Trump’s babbling response to the pandemic and helped Cuomo emerge as a sagacious nationwide chief with a modicum of sanity about him. The proven fact that the governor felt the necessity to reassure the aged that he doesn’t see their lives as “expendable”, nevertheless, spoke of the fear many older Americans really feel on the prospect of being allotted with, within the rush to get the financial system again on observe.  

Sacrificed on the Dow Jones altar 

Elderly Americans are certainly scared that their commander-in-chief, who couldn’t consider a public well being difficulty besides in militaristic phrases, might sacrifice their lives as “collateral damage” in his rush to salvage what’s left of the capitalist equipment of the American financial system to safe his re-election. And their fears should not unfounded. 

On March 22, only a few days after Cuomo introduced his PAUSE order, Trump declared on Twitter that: “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself” and implied that he’s prepared to finish the lockdown and reopen the financial system earlier than the virus is absolutely below management. 

Just a few days later, Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, informed the president’s most well-liked TV community, Fox News, that Americans over 70 could be blissful to die to have “the economy” reopened.  No one in any remaining civilised a part of the world may fathom such bald-faced barbarity.

On April 15, movie star doctor and casual adviser to Trump, Dr Mehmet Oz, appeared on the identical community to supply his contribution to this barbaric name for sacrificing the previous and the weak on the altar of the Dow Jones, and instructed that colleges must be opened to assist the nation return to normalcy as a result of “only 2 to 3 percent more people may die” because of this. In a inhabitants of 320 million human beings ravaged by a extremely infectious illness that has already killed over 88,000 individuals, that 2 to three p.c equates to hundreds of extra lives misplaced.  

As journalist Chauncey DeVega defined in a blunt piece for Salon, “Donald Trump and the Republican Party are now openly willing to sacrifice those Americans they consider to be useless eaters” in an effort to “save capitalism”. 

What was merely presumed or suspected earlier than is now in full disclosure.  

In the now nearly half a century I’ve lived within the US I had by no means witnessed such a daring, vicious, merciless demonstration of the legal guidelines of the jungle ruling this nation. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, one may now see in broad daylight the cruelty that was at work within the mass homicide of Native Americans and the enterprise of transatlantic slavery.  

In good previous liberal vogue, the Washington Post and the New York Times opened boards to debate “the morals” of the selection between sacrificing older individuals and getting “the economy” again on observe, the “pros and cons” of the difficulty, as they are saying.   

Scarcely anybody in such mainstream retailers would query the very basis of this economics of barbarism. They not often point out that hundreds of thousands of Americans have been unemployed and living on the breadline lengthy earlier than the emergence of COVID-19, due to many years of neoliberal financial savagery.  

The as soon as unconscious, now blunt and vulgar, need to homicide one’s elders is the logical conclusion of a tradition of perpetual consumerist youth. The elders of the tribe have lengthy handed their usefulness and have develop into a burden on the financial system.      

From Nazi euthanasia to the posthuman physique  

The coverage of killing those that are deemed not helpful for society was, in fact, most notoriously experimented with throughout the Nazis’ reign in Germany and past. 

Nazis began practising direct medical killing, or euthanasia, for the supposed good of German society, lengthy earlier than the institution of demise camps. Nazi medical doctors, who practised involuntary euthanasia in hospitals, justified their actions by means of the idea of ”life unworthy of life”.

First, they deemed “impaired” adults and kids with psychological well being issues and disabilities as “unworthy of life” and marked them to be euthanised. In time, they expanded the idea to incorporate these they thought of to be racially inferior beings, paving the way in which for the Holocaust.  

In The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (1995), Henry Friedlander  detailed the rise of racist and eugenic ideologies which led initially to the “mercy killing” of disabled individuals and finally to the mass homicide of Jews and the Roma.       

Historians of the concept of “life unworthy of life” inform us that such ideas as euthanasia wouldn’t emerge in a single day however could be contingent on developments in biology, the behavioural sciences, ethics, regulation, and naturally economics, that must facilitate such heinous practices. And it’s exactly within the situation of the present coronavirus pandemic that we have to be vigilant about such pernicious ideas and practices. 

In the case of this pandemic the world faces now we additionally have to hint the present murderous sentiments to a lot earlier developments. In my guide, Corpus Anarchicum: Political Protest, Suicidal Violence, and the Making of the Posthuman Body (2012), I argued intimately how the phenomenon of suicidal violence relies on a much more pervasive transmutation of the human physique right into a disposable entity, evident in a variety of up to date practices starting from genetic engineering to abortion, organ transplant, physician-assisted suicide, and finally eugenics and euthanasia.  

In the 1980s the title of Dr Jack Kevorkian was synonymous with the phenomenon of physician-assisted suicide. In my guide I argued that the deposition of aged dad and mom and grandparents in nursing properties away from their households was a prelude to this phenomenon of “mercy killing”, proof of a tradition of perpetual youth, as was the widespread apply of organ donation and organ transplants, all of which pointed to the formation of what in my guide I’ve known as “the posthuman body”.    

The fantasy of perpetual youth   

What we’re witnessing within the heightened phases of COVID-19 right here within the US is exactly this stage of marking dispensable our bodies – our bodies which have lengthy since handed their financial usefulness, and because of this, are deemed to be disposable so “the economy” can resume feeding the fantasy of the perpetual youth.  

This perpetual youth believes in nothing – particularly no metaphysics of any certainty – however within the sort of “science” that may maintain this phantasmagoric eternity of now and right here. Social Darwinism, Malthusian regulation of depopulation and the survival of the fittest have now coalesced in an existential perception in nothing. This is what I imply by the phrase “posthuman body”, or corpus anarchicum, a physique that begins with genetic engineering, and ends with suicidal violence, or within the promoting of 1’s organs or else disposed of on the altar of Dow Jones in mass involuntary euthanasia.  

Here predatory capitalism rules supreme, creates robotic customers, and kills the superfluous like flies and viruses. We had a premonition of this world in Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium (2013) which depicts a ravaged planet Earth from which wealthy individuals like Trump and his ilk have run away to an expensive house “Trump Tower,” because it have been, and wherein they proceed their parasitical existence.   

It was exactly on this very world that in one other movie, Andrew Stanton’s WALL-E (2008), we had seen two robots modelled on wealthy woman assembly poor boy, rising because the final vestiges of our anthropomorphic humanity, quickly after the ravaged Earth had yielded to starship Axiom.    

If you might be binge-watching today whereas sheltering at home, behold these two robots, Wall-E and Eve, because the premonition of our posthuman our bodies – hopefully.  

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.