Tuition fees: Mental brutalization spreads on the Internet. An example from Austria
By Thomas Rothschild
[This article published in: Freitag 30, 7/27/2007 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.freitag.de/2007/30/07301602.php.]
Nothing is as endless as human stupidity, says Odon von Horvath. This endlessness is mercilessly obvious on the Internet under the protection of anonymity. Those with early access to the possibilities of public dialogue were not always models in intelligence. Today every dope can break taboos and publish his nonsense without having to stand behind that with his name. This disinhibits. The price of democracy is an exponential multiplication of stupidity.
Mental brutalization is joined to stupidity on the Internet. Here is one current example from neighboring Austria. More than half of Austrian universities require tuition from the disabled. The Vienna newspaper “Der Standard” reported this in its online edition July 19. This news should have provoked amazement or indignation, one would think. One contributor to the readers’ forum who hid behind the pseudonym “Avalancha” reacted this way: “Should a disabled person get a free pass for life at the expense of others? A disabled person can pay for benefits like everyone else.”
This takes one’s breath away. All the prejudices about the surviving fascism in the heads of many Austrians seemed confirmed with one blow. Persons in wheelchairs, epileptics and the blind who want to study and are economically burdened in many other ways disturb the blogger, not tax evaders, overpaid managers and politicians who actually live at the expense of others. Liberation from tuition must be the most obvious thing in the world. The social democrats first won elections when they promised the general abolition of tuition fees. Hardly in office, they sacrificed these promises for privileges offered them by a coalition with the DVP. Today Avalancha is no longer excited about these student fees. That the handicapped should not pay them is annoying. The reference to disabled children of the rich is grotesque in this context. Should the intolerable gulf between poor and rich, especially of the disabled, be closed?
The disabled have practically no lobby. Their interests and their rights are simply ignored. Where the law prescribes quotas, these are ignored or compensated by miserable remedial payments. The disabled may not expect solidarity. They are excluded from society and as a rule are ashamed of their discrimination.
The quoted sentence documents the fascism of the heart, not fascism in the head. What happens in a person who sees a parasite in his disabled neighbor? This way of thinking or mentality made possible and plausible the National Socialist euthanasia policy. When a person only has a claim to life when he pays for the costs, he may even be killed when he or she is no longer capable of paying. The logic of the National Socialist annihilation policy toward the disabled was the logic of the reduction of the person to his or her economic function. Care in the intensive ward is calculated in medical journals according to this logic. The costs of treatment are weighed regarding a possible recovery. This is the logic of two-class medicine that was silently accepted for a long time in Germany. This is exactly the logic of Avalancha and no one removes this obscenity from the net. A society that tolerates this has lost the right to criticize others for lack of hospitality.
The diagnosis is cold and heartless. By the way, “Avalancha” is Spanish and means avalanche.