Friday, 7 January 2011

Invoking Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies

I’m very uneasy about comparing the difficulties disabled people in the UK are, and have been, undergoing for some time now with what happened in Nazi Germany. The anti-disability stories in the press; the aggressive pursuit of disability benefits’ cheats; governments’ reactionary responses to Incapacity Benefit and DLA; the government’s insistence in using a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to employing disabled people; the vicious cuts in adults services soon to be rained upon us.

We are indeed beset by an uncompromising regime ideologically bent on dismantling the welfare state; and, if in the process this sees us, disabled people, as part of the collateral damage, well just as Thatcher’s regime thought mass unemployment a price worth paying, so this crew will view the plight of disabled people in the same way.

Having said this, and being fairly confident that things will worse for a lot of us, I cannot sit back and accept the arguments that what we’re going through is in any way comparable to the systematic processes of eugenics and then murder, by means invented by the most awful of minds, visited upon disabled people in Hitler’s Germany and across occupied Europe.

Please, we need to have a sense of proportion here. While the Tories are wrong to impose such draconian, most importantly totally unnecessary, that is ideologically rather that fiscally driven, measures upon us we are not being herded into institutions and systematically killed. Nor are we having the most fiendish of experiments carried out on us, often without anaesthetics.

Yes, the Tories are the nasty party; yet, they’re a far cry from the Nazi Party. When we invoke Godwin as a comparator; when we attempt to show all bad governments in the same light as the Nazis; we do ourselves a disservice. Not only that we actually diminish the horrors of the Nazi regime.

Personally, I don’t view the Tory regime under which we’re suffering as a fascist or Nazi party. The draconian measures they’re imposing on me and people like me are harsh, yes; but, I’m not going to end up in a camp; nor am I going to be experimented upon, dipped into freezing vats of water continuously to measure my resistances to cold; or, have areas of my body subjected to heat in order to find treatments for burns, etc. These were the kind of experiments that Nazi doctors carried out on disabled people, Jews etc.

Finally, I’m no apologist for this Tory crew we are saddled with. I despise them with my heart and soul; and, would call out to all disabled people who are able to take part in any local actions that are taking place against the cuts. I’d also like to invite you all to the TUC’s March for the Alternative: Jobs – Growth – Justice on 26th March in Central London. I’m speaking with the TUC, the demo’s organiser, about allowing disabled people to be at the front of the march from start to finish.

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