Katie Hopkins is an English sensation. She is a celebrity, reality TV star, and newspaper columnist; her own panel show starts in August. Because of her high profile, her comments advocating “euthanasia vans” have exploded across the U.K.
She’s serious. “We just have far too many old people. It’s ridiculous to be living in a country where we can put dogs to sleep but not people.” She leaves nothing unexplained. “Euthanasia vans—just like ice cream vans—that would come to your home.”
If this sounds very much like the proverbial ice cream truck making its way down your block with recorded chimes, it’s because Hopkins anticipates just that. “They might even have a nice tune they’d play.” Those who think she’s being facetious are wrong: “I mean this genuinely. I’m super-keen on euthanasia vans. We need to accept that just because medical advances mean we can live longer, it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
In 1936, the Soviet Communists were the first to use euthanasia vans. But it was the Nazis who perfected the death vehicle. Ironically, their first victims were Russian: they put their “gas vans” to use in 1941. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, they were used to remedy a problem: Nazi soldiers complained that shooting large numbers of women and children was taking a physical and psychological toll on them.
It is striking that a contemporary celebrity is the first to pick up on where Hitler left off. What does Hopkins have in common with the Nazis? A wholesale rejection of moral absolutes. Add to that a heady dose of narcissism—the signature characteristic of celebrities—and the recipe for “euthanasia vans” is complete.