Maureen Mullarkey writes at the Federalist about the troubling history of governments focusing on the nation’s health.

Twentieth-century authoritarian regimes were obsessed with cleansing the “unfit” from the national body. A revival of that toxic urge seeps toward us like gas under a threshold. The leakage is global. Nevertheless, recent news out of Germany provides a unique lesson in the tenacity of a malignant ideology.

In mid-November, Germany’s Euthanasia Society declared COVID vaccination a requirement for physician-assisted suicide. Citing public health concerns, the nation that identified “life-unworthy-of-life” (Lebensunwertes Leben) redesigned the concept to include a newly despised caste. Unvaccinated sufferers wanting to die are no longer eligible for assisted suicide. They can be left to their torments, condemned to the anguish of living as a lesson to everyone else. In effect, they have been deemed “life-unworthy-of-death.”

History gives a glimpse into the mutation of cultural pathogens. In the early 1930s Germany embraced the notion of racial hygiene. An offshoot of Social Darwinism, racial hygiene advanced previous emphasis on social hygiene with its stress on public health.

That earlier social hygiene movement, begun in the 19th century, reached a peak in the Weimar years. It laid the foundation for German eugenics and became a prerequisite for the well-being of the German people. Under National Socialism, the health and welfare of an individual was subordinated to the health of the nation.

A variant of that moral infection returns under its old cover of public health. …

… Call it malice. Hatred of vaccine dissidents—even ones in pain or despair—expresses itself first in marginalization and demonization. Then it advances to punishment of the non-compliant. We are in the early stages of coercive retribution. But the Society’s vindictive decision hints at a larger end game that has little to do with public health.