Socialists touted euthanasia as a humane end for people under socialized medicine’s protective umbrella, but a story from Holland hints that this was a lie.
Back in 2002, I heard a very smug Dutchman on an NPR show (All Things Considered? Terry Gross? I can’t remember) shortly after Holland passed its law making euthanasia illegal. The Dutchman assured his NPR host that the law would never be abused in Holland because the country had socialized medicine. He was arrogantly certain, however, that euthanasia should never be put in place in America, which was already seeing its own push for euthanasia. His rationale was that, because people did not have socialized medicine in the U.S., they would be way too hasty to kill grandma to save on medical costs.
For me, 2002 was a fairly pivotal year politically. Although I didn’t honestly acknowledge my conservativism until 2004 (when I started this blog), I had already traveled far down the road away from my unthinking loyalty to the Democrat party. NPR’s relentlessly anti-Israel coverage in the 1990s had soured me on the station and made me suspicious of its viewpoint on other issues. I was also dismayed by the Democrat response to 9/11, which consisted of blaming America rather than blaming Islamic terrorism. Just as I questioned NPR’s viewpoint, I now began to wonder whether the Democrat Party aligned with my values.
Lastly, having seen England’s socialized medicine in play during the early 1980s, I was not impressed with it. It was great if you had a cold; not so great for anything else. When my father’s hip finally gave out, he was in surgery six weeks later. When my friend’s mother’s hip gave out, she was “on the list” for the next decade. She died still in a wheelchair. It reminded me strongly of my aunt, the one in East Germany, who’d been on a list for nine years to get her useless kitchen sink repaired. Socialism is better at waiting lists than it is at providing actual services.
Moreover, when it came to socialized medicine, I had finally figured out that Europe’s socialized medicine came courtesy of the US taxpayer. Because we bore the brunt of Europe’s defense costs, Europeans had extra money lying around to fund the “free” medical care they so smugly waved in front of Americans. Moreover, having begun to expand my reading, I was beginning to suspect that “socialism” on the whole was about power, not love of citizens.
All this meant that, when this smug Dutchman went on about Europe’s altruistic socialized medicine making euthanasia just another healthcare choice, I was dubious. It struck me that the state will never love you as much as your family will. Families will bankrupt themselves for their loved ones; the state does not have that moral or emotional impulse. [Read more…]