Samuel Gershon’s response to Carlos Hojaij’s reply


Carlos R. Hojaij: Ethics for psychiatrists


            Thank you for your courteous and thoughtful response. However, I should say at the outset that “Education,” however broadly defined, will not teach, induce or produce ethical behavior in humans or a society.   Nevertheless, I have seen positive examples of some degrees of success in some smaller entities. But in this latter case, the effects do not and can not encompass the whole entity.

              Now, if we shift to look at history, we have a dramatic and enormous experiment to study: Germany. Specifically, we are looking at two periods in Germany: The Weimar Republic from 1918-19 to 1932-33 and Nazi Germany from 1932-1946.

              The Weimar Republic was democratic and liberal in all aspects of culture and society. In addition, while looking at “education” in this period, Germany won more Nobel Prizes than the US. However, with the advent of Hitler the society became a monster for the ages. Now, I can give one example to illustrate this. As you know, part of the Nazi education was to inculcate the belief that the German Volk was a master race and, therefore, it became patently clear that some of this group did not fill this high expectation and they were inferior. The Nazis produced many specific definitions of this inferiority and determined that some of these designated groups should be exterminated from the genetic pool, so as not to contaminate the total purity of the Volk. 

           One solution for this was the concept of eugenics and the use of EUTHANASIA to implement this. However, this proposal was approached by the German leadership with some trepidation, both in Germany and Internationally. However, some of the proponents pointed out that euthanasia had been practiced in the southern states of the US starting in the 1920, so even the Germans started this program hesitantly, targeted to mentally impaired children and then adults.

           The surprise was that it took on to such a degree that there was a rush to build additional facilities to accommodate the demand for families with such family members that would fit the criteria of the system.

           My reference for this is a recent book entitled “Blitzed” by Norman Ohler, published in Harcourt, NY, by Houghton Miflin, in 2017. Thus, I feel that what is needed to alter the levels of Ethics and Morality in current societies has not yet been devised


December 14, 2017