In 1933, in a preface to On The Rocks, Bernard Shaw derided the principle of the sanctity of human life as an absurdity to any good Socialist, calling for extermination to be put \’on a scientific basis\’. Shortly after, in the Listener, Shaw wrote;
Appeal to the chemists to discover a humane gas that will kill instantly and painlessly: in short a gentlemanly gas – deadly by all means, but humane, not cruel. It might be useful in war, but if another war does not come, we shall find a use for it at home.
Shaw reasoned that to kill off the acquisitive classes is \”quite reasonable and very necessary\” since \’no punishment will ever cure them of their capitalistic instincts\’.
Though Shaw was more concerned with the extermination of the idle, the unfit and opponents of Socialism, he defended the rights of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews – but preserving the clever ones. Writing to Beatrice Webb in 1938, he said;
We ought to tackle the Jewish question by admitting the right of States to make eugenic experiments by weeding out any strains they think undesirable, but insisting they do it as humanely as they can afford to
With a \’humane lethal gas\’ no doubt.
Along with Shaw, the Webbs and HG Wells, even Virginia Woolf was a supporter of State murder; after passing a line of the profoundly mentally ill, she wrote \”Imbeciles – every one of them a miserable, ineffective, shuffling, idiotic creature. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed.\”