Author: Nazis Killed Disabled People First – Here's Why This History Still Matters

They say that history repeats itself. It’s up to us to remember terrible atrocities so they never happen again.

Memoirist and poet Kenny Fries talked about the history of how disabled people were the first to be murdered under the Nazi regime on Wednesday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program.” Born missing bones in both of his legs, Fries knows what it’s like to face life with a disability.

The disabled were sterilized, used for experiments and killed even before the Nazis were in power; the Germans began abusing people with disabilities as far back as the 1920s. “Permitting the Destruction of Unworthy Life” by psychiatrist Alfred Hoche and the jurist Karl Binding was later used as a template by the Third Reich to exterminate disabled people.

“These feelings about disability are prevalent in a lot of cultures; I would say probably all cultures,” Fries said. “They just manifest themselves differently.”

People in the U.S. often don’t realize their own country’s history of abusing disabled people. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that compulsory sterilization of “unfit” people was constitutional, and the decision still technically stands. “Ugly laws” beginning in the late 1860s made it illegal for “unsightly or unseemly” people to be out in public; the last one was repealed in 1974.

Glenn Beck talked about his own experience of being a dad with a child who has disabilities.

“I wouldn’t wish this for my child. It’s difficult; however, her life has real meaning and real purpose,” Glenn said. When it comes to our society deciding which people are valuable, “we’re crossing some spooky lines,” he said.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: We're changing as a people. And I just want to drop a pin in the map. And I just want to say, we're going over a cliff. And as I learn from one of the Righteous Among the Nations in Poland a few years ago, and I've shared many times, the righteous didn't suddenly become righteous. They just refused to go over the cliff with everyone else. Don't go over the cliff. There's a -- there's a new survey out. We'll talk about it later, about how so many college students are now saying freedom of speech is not that important.

It is. Societies can go crazy quickly. In 1923, there was a survey of parents of disabled children. Would you agree, definitely, to a painless shortcut of your child's life after it's determined by experts that it is incurably stupid?

The results of this survey, this study were published in 1925. 73 percent of those -- of those adults who had children said they were willing to have their children killed if they weren't told about it.

Well, what do you think happened in Germany after these kinds of polls started to come out? And we're headed down the same road.

STU: Stat comes from an amazing op-ed in the New York Times called the Nazi's first victims were disabled. Comes from Kenny Fries. He's the author of not only that op-ed, but also the book In the Province of the Gods. And he joins us live from Germany.

GLENN: So, Kenny, first of all, you were born without bones in your legs?

KENNY: Yep. I was born in 1960, missing fibula in my legs, and spent the first four weeks of my life in an incubator. People didn't know whether I would be able to walk. Some thought I shouldn't be, you know, allowed to live. But luckily, my parents weren't amongst them. So, yeah. And then lived a pretty, you know, normal life. I was one of the first kids to be schooled in the mainstream school in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1960s. And, you know, went to college. And after college, I started to write about my disability experience. Which then, you know, much later in 2002, brought me to Japan. I wanted to look at what another country -- culture very different from our own looked at how they looked at disability. So I went to Japan. And the result was my new book In the Province of the Gods.

And I learned some interesting things there, Glenn. I was very surprised when I went to Japan that I was treated more as a foreigner, which I was, than I was as a disabled person. Whereas, in my own country, in the United States, I was always looked at as different because I was disabled. I kind of felt like a foreigner in my own country.

I also found out a lot about how central disability -- you know, central disability was to Japanese culture at the -- you know, historically at the same time where it was looked at as something shameful. And you talk about, you know, what happened with Germany. There was a story that happened in Yokohama, Japan, in the early 1970s, where a mother had a child with cerebral palsy. And she had numerous children. And in true Japanese fashion, you know, the husband was away a lot. And she was very overburdened by having the child. And she killed the child.

And though she was -- she was, you know, charged with murder and found guilty, the outcry was so great, that people felt so sorry for her, that she really got off without any -- any -- you know, any -- any punishment for killing her own child.

GLENN: Kenny, there was a story that came out in a couple of weeks ago, I think, about Reykjavik. How Reykjavik is becoming a country that will -- and it was celebrated. The -- this first city or country now that will be Down syndrome-free. Because they're doing early testing. And most people are aborting these children before they're born.

So Reykjavik now is Down syndrome-free birth. And I found that article really disturbing. As a dad of a child of special needs, my daughter has cerebral palsy, I wouldn't wish this for my child. It is -- it's difficult. However, her life has real meaning and real purpose. And I don't understand -- we're -- we're crossing some spooky lines.

KENNY: Yep. We are. And we can't forget that -- and, you know, as I pointed out in my New York Times article that the history of -- in our own country in the United States is not free of these things. Back in 1927 in the Buck v. Bell decision, you know, Oliver Wendell Holmes, that three generations of imbeciles was enough. And it was constitutional to sterilize, you know, disabled people. So that was one thing. In our own culture, we used to have what they called ugly laws. Where you were prohibited from being in public if you were disabled, if you looked different, if you looked, you know, deformed. And the last of those laws wasn't rescinded until 1974, Glenn.

GLENN: Was that -- because I had never heard -- I've never heard of the ugly law. I mean, I know about the human betterment society. And I know all about the nastiness of what we've done with eugenics. I think we were -- in some ways, we taught the Germans an awful lot.

But when it comes to -- when it comes to the ugly laws, was that one of those laws that just happened to still be on the looks like, you know, you can't tie your horse up at the supermarket. And it just wasn't removed?

KENNY: No. They started being passed in the 1860s, 1870s, in various cities across the country. Some states tried to pass them. And they weren't as successful as cities. So there were basic local odor ordinances that just basically said that you can't --

GLENN: That's crazy.

KENNY: Yeah, yeah. There's also a case in Germany that happened a couple of decades ago called the Frankfurt judgment, where people went on a holiday -- you know, they booked a holiday, and they encountered disabled people on their holiday. And they asked to be reimbursed for -- by their travel agents, you know, because they happened upon these disabled people. And they got -- they got -- they won in court.

GLENN: Wow.

KENNY: So these feelings about disability are prevalent in a lot of cultures. I would say probably all cultures. They just manifest themselves differently.

GLENN: So can we have an adult conversation here, Kenny? And it's not popular to do. And it will be taken and chopped up. But we have to have real conversations. Because we're dealing with really scary stuff.

I -- I -- as we're looking at health care, the argument is about, we just can't let people die. Et cetera, et cetera. But when a state is in control, it -- there has not been -- there's too many examples of, it just comes down to the money. And if you can't opt out of that, you know, and the state says, hey, you're not producing enough potatoes, I got to give this to somebody else who has a better quality of life and who are actually going to put into the system. And it becomes this horror show, versus, well, these people can't afford any health care. And so they're just going to die. Which is also awful.

I mean, how do you balance those two? In my mind, I would rather have the chance to opt out or opt in, than being stuck in a system where whatever they call and say, I'm sorry, you're done. You're done.

KENNY: Well, I mean, you know, to go back to Japan. You know, in Japan, I don't know if you know the movie Ballad of Narayama, where they basically take these small villages in Japan -- a while back, they would take their elderly, when they were go to just go to the mountain and to basically die alone in the mountain. Which I don't think is a good thing to do either.

GLENN: No. That's like Logan's Run, low-tech.

KENNY: Yeah. But the problem, Glenn is you -- in a society that disvalues disability, that misunderstands disability, that fears disability, you can't make a true voluntary choice. If, you know, people say that if -- if somebody -- when I get dementia, Alzheimer's, I don't want to live like that. It's not a dignified life. But what are they reacting to? They're reacting to a fear about the body changing. And if the disability experience teaches anything, it's about the fact that that's what our life is. Our life is change.

You know, I talk about this in, In the Province of the Gods. Because Japan deals with the idea of change -- which, ultimate change is mortality. That we're all, you know, not going to be here for a while.

So it's this fear that I think gets in the way of making a decision of what one would want to do if one was severely disabled, you know, Alzheimer's or whatever it is. And I don't think you can make a rational choice in a society that disvalues disability and disabled lives.

So what is dignity? The only dignity you could have is to die? I mean, is that dignified? I don't think that's dignified.

GLENN: What you're saying, Kenny, is going counter culture. I mean, I agree with you. But it's really going counter culture now. And I, as a Libertarian, I don't want to tell you what you have to do. But we are going into a culture that is wanting to make the decisions for people. And -- and based on quality of -- of life.

I -- I don't know where to -- how do we change this? How do we restart this human spark?

KENNY: We look at why we're afraid of difference. And why in this particular -- why are we afraid of disability? Why are we afraid of morality?

GLENN: So why are we? Do you have a thought on it? Why are we?

(laughter)

KENNY: Well, yeah, I have lots of thoughts on it. I think we're afraid because we're all afraid of death. For example, I was once -- I was once on book tour with an anthology called Staring Back, that I edited. And a very, very wonderful writer named Susan (inaudible), who lives in Chicago, was sitting at breakfast, minding her own business, and a woman just came over to her and said, "I'm so glad you're here." And Susan looked at her and said, "What? I'm eating breakfast. What do you mean I'm so glad you're here?"

And the woman said to her, "I'm so glad I'm not you," because she had a disability.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

KENNY: Yeah, and this woman had the need to go over and actually say that to Susan. It wasn't like, you know, she was in conversation with her. Susan was just minding her own business. And it's -- what's the -- I'm Jewish, I'm not Christian. So if I mess up the phrase, as for the grace of God, go I, yeah, if you look, throughout history, disability has been looked at through the religious moral model. Where the disabled person is looked at as either totally good, a saint, or evil, a devil.

And then we move to the medical model, where the only way to deal with disability is to basically kill it or cure it. When if you really look at it as the only way -- disability is really defined by the society that you're in, by the barriers that are put in your way. It's really the society that disables people, not the impairment itself in most cases.

I mean, if you ask anybody, you know, what's more difficult, being disabled or dealing with the barriers put in your way, they're going to say it's the barriers. So that's -- that's the dilemma we're in.

GLENN: Kenny, I hope that we get a chance to speak again. I thank you so much for your time. But I'd love to have you in and -- and to have this continuing conversation with you. It's one I think we desperately need as a society. Thanks.

A town in Sweden is under fire after denying requests to ring church bells in the 1990s and the 2000s but recently approving a mosque's request to conduct a weekly Islamic call to prayer.

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Authorities in the town of Vaxjo in southern Sweden have given the local mosque a one-year permit to recite the call to prayer every Friday for about four minutes. But Fr. Ingvar Fogelqvist of St. Michael's, the local Catholic church located about a mile from the mosque, says similar requests to ring church bells were denied.

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this story and favorable bias toward the Muslim faith. The issue isn't that the Islamic call to prayer is allowed; it's that all religions are not being treated equally.

Somebody might want to check the temperature in hell, it might be just a tad chillier than normal.

If you missed Friday's episode of The Glenn Beck Program, you missed something you probably never thought you'd see in this timeline or any other. Glenn actually donned President Trump's trademark red "Make America Great Again" hat and laid out the case for why he thinks Trump will win in a landslide in 2020.

RELATED: The media's derangement over Trump has me wearing a new hat and predicting THIS for 2020

Bottom line: Nancy Pelosi and the mainstream media may have pushed Glenn to this point, but believe it or not, Trump's record will make this next election a walk in the park for number 45. At this point, the sitting president has done enough to earn even Glenn's vote.

Glenn broke down what he thought were the 10 biggest campaign promises that — unlike those made by most politicians — Trump actually kept.

10. Impose a 10% repatriation tax to bring jobs back to America

Not all of Trump's promises were good ones, but regardless of what the consequences may be — he did keep this one.

"Now, I think this one is dangerous," Glenn said on radio Friday. "He did it. Ten percent. Bring all of your money back into the United States. It will create jobs. Yes. It will also create inflation. But it's creating jobs."

9. Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

This has been one of Trump's most passionate issues.

"The stop the TPP. Uh-huh. Right. Sure you are. Uh-huh. Yes. He did," Glenn admitted.

8. Withdraw from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord

Glenn found himself eating crow on this.

"I'm on record saying he will never do that because his daughter is a huge global warming person and he only listens to the family. Eh. Wrong," Glenn said with a puff of crow feathers coming from his mouth.

7. Bring North Korea to the table and rein them in

This looked impossible. Not so.

"'I'm going to bring North Korea to the table.' Are you? Everybody has tried to do that," Glenn said. "Now, they're at the table. We don't know what's going to happen. So the result of that is unknown. But has anybody else done that?"

6. Stop over-regulation and jump-start the economy

It's the economy, stupid.

"Does anybody feel like America is beginning to get on track somewhat economically? You know why? Because he fulfilled another promise," Glenn said. "Stop over-regulating the American people. Give them their money. Give the companies the opportunity to expand and bring their money back into the country, and maybe they'll build buildings. Maybe they'll build offices. Maybe they'll build new products. Maybe they'll build new factories. Maybe they'll hire a bunch of people."

Glenn went on.

"Now, I know Seattle is trying to do everything they can to make sure everybody in their city is homeless and unemployed, but the rest of the country is enjoying the feeling of, wow, maybe things are going to be okay."

5. Reverse Obama's executive orders

If you're like Glenn, you've gotten used to politicians promising "no new taxes," but you can really tell they're lying if their lips are moving. Guess what? That's apparently not Trump.

"The executive orders? Yeah. He's reversed a lot of Obama's executive orders," Glenn said. "These are outrageous promises."

4. Pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

No big deal...

"'I'm going to cancel the Iran Deal.' Yep. None of these are small. You know, I've got maybe ten minutes. I think we can get that done in the first term. And they did," Glenn said.

3. Give tax cuts to middle-class Americans

Maybe this could have been better, but we'll take it.

"I don't like the tax cut. I think he could go a lot further," Glenn said. "But that's not even his job. His job is to sign things that Congress puts in front of him. Not to design it. You Republicans in Congress, you disgust me. You disgust me. 'Imagine what we could do if we had the House and the Senate and the White House.' I can imagine what you'll do — nothing. You'll do nothing."

2. Change strategy and defeat ISIS

The mainstream media have been radio silent on this.

"How about the president's — well, I know I can defeat ISIS. I know I can do it. I'll defeat ISIS. He did," Glenn said. "And did you notice no one in the press even talked about it? All of a sudden, we're not talking about ISIS anymore. How come? Oh, I know. President Trump. That's why."

1. Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy

This one is a true game-changer.

"Now, every president will say to you, when he's running, 'I'm going to make Jerusalem the home.' Well, really? The home of the embassy. Really, are you? Because everybody says that, nobody does it. He did it," Glenn said. "And I think that's going to go down as the biggest game-changer possibly in my lifetime. This is going — it already is — it is changing the game in Iran."

Glenn continued.

"And when it does, this president is going to come out and say something directly to those people, that we support them," he said. "And that's going to add fuel to the fire. And you might see a regime change and a collapse of the Islamic regime in Iran. And it will be 100 percent Donald Trump that made that responsible. One hundred percent. You're going to see changes because of this. He kept that promise. A promise I said, he's not going to do that. Nobody is going to do that. He did."

One chapter of ISIS has ended, but another may be starting

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

For the most part, ISIS has fallen in Syria and Iraq. But before we celebrate the demise of this awful terrorist group, before we let our guard down, we should zoom out a bit, because ISIS is spreading. ISIS has largely just scattered out of the region as if someone turned on the kitchen lights and they scrambled.

RELATED: It IS About Islam: This Is a War Against Evil

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang University in Singapore. “Although Islamic State's ideology has suffered, it still has a huge potential," he told them. “Islamic State has entered a phase of global expansion, very much the same way al Qaeda extended globally in late 2001."

ISIS has spread into West Africa, and throughout much of Southeast Asia, and, as is typical of ISIS, they have done it violently, with a sick venom.

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

Again, from the Wall Street Journal: “One chapter of ISIS has finished and another is beginning," said Hassan Hassan, a specialist on Islamic State at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington. “Their resurgence is coming sooner than expected."

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

'The Handmaid's Tale' got it right, just with the wrong religion

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Just in case The Handmaid's Tale's heavy-handed message wasn't already heavy-handed enough, a recent episode made it clear there's always room for further hysteria. Particularly, in relation to depictions of a “patriarchal society" run by Christian doctrine and determined by men — oh those dastardly men.

RELATED: Christian privilege is the new white privilege

The show appropriates Margaret Atwood of the same name, depicting a totalitarian society led by Christian doctrine in which women's bodies are controlled, and they have no rights. The story sounds familiar, but not in the same way Atwood and the show's creators have so smugly assumed.

Just as tone-deaf as 4th wave feminism itself, and tone-deaf in all the exact same places. Most notably, the show's heavy-handed indignation toward Christianity. Toward the patriarchy. Toward conservatives and traditional values. And just like 4th wave feminism, the show completely overlooks the irony at play. Because there is a part of the world where women and children are being raped and mutilated. In fact, in this very real place, the women or girls are often imprisoned, even executed, for being raped, and they are mutilated in unspeakable ways.

Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life.

There is a place, a very real place, where women are forced to cover their entire bodies with giant tarp-like blankets, which is all the more brutal given the endless heat of this place. There is a place where women literally have one-third of the rights of men, a place where women are legally, socially and culturally worth less than men.

They cannot drive cars. They cannot be outside alone. They cannot divorce, they cannot even choose who they marry and often, they are forcibly married at a young age.

They are raped. A lot. Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life. This is the life of tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of women. And, I'll tell you, their religion isn't Christianity.