Socialized medicine and passive-aggressive genocide

China Earthquake

Long ago in China, a boy coming home from school met up with his father, who was carrying on his back a basket holding the boy’s grandfather.

“Oh, father,” asked the boy, “where are you taking Honorable Grandfather?”

The father signaled that the boy should come closer, and then whispered in his ear, “I’m taking grandfather up to the waterfall. If I throw him over the edge suddenly, death will greet him so quickly, it will be painless.”

Aghast, the boy asked, “Why would you do that to Honorable Grandfather?”

“Because I must,” his father whispered back. “Honorable grandfather is too old to help in the field or around the house. Instead, he just sits in the corner, eating our food, drinking our tea, and requiring us to care for his needs. A quick, painless death will be better for everyone.”

The son nodded sagely upon hearing his father’s words. Then, as he turned to continue the walk home, the boy reminded his father of one thing. “Dear father, please make sure to bring the basket back, because I’ll need it for you one day.”

Although I was only around 12 when I first read that story, it resonated with me. Aside from admiring the boy’s cleverness, I was so grateful that I didn’t live in a country in which poor people had to make those kinds of choices. I didn’t realize back then that it would take a mere forty years for my country to creep ever closer to justifying the genocide of the old and the sick.  Even more ironically, I didn’t realize that this ugly choice would come about, not because individual poor people could no longer afford to care for their elders, but because our own government has decided that the nation as a whole should no longer care for its old people.

Old people certainly requiring a lot of care. With every passing year, our bodies become more fragile. While we love seeing videos showing very old people doing amazing physical feats, the reality for most people is that the journey to old age is marked by one bodily system after another breaking down. Our skin’s breakdown is the most immediately demoralizing (“I look so old”), but the real damage from aging happens under our skin, as our joints, muscles, and internal organs just stop working very well. Eventually, every cold has the potential for pneumonia; every fall has the potential to end in a broken hip; every chest pain could be a heart attack; and the joint pains that slowed us down in our 50s can render us immobile by our 70s.

Modern medicine, thankfully, can do a lot to ward off some of aging’s worst effects. Putting aside plastic surgery, which heals the spirit not the body, modern medicine offers everything from quick diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia; to hip repairs so effective that the old person can be home in a day or two, rather than confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed for weeks; to an amazing array of heart treatments, whether pills, pacemakers, bypasses, or transplants; and joint fixes that range from pills, to shots, to surgery, to replacement. All of these are the wonders and miracles of the modern age . . . and all of them are very expensive.

If you’re a free market person, you think that the way to address the expense is through the market place. If you had your way, you would allow insurance companies to compete nation-wide for customers, without thousands of micromanaging regulations but, instead, subject only to a few reasonable anti-fraud regulations.  You would also loosen the FDA’s shackles a bit, recognizing that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and that informed consent goes a long way when allowing experimental treatments on patients with fatal diseases. Doctors too would be relieved of some of the regulatory burdens that bind them, as well as the onerous burdens imposed upon them by insurance companies that are themselves straining under government’s strong hand.

However, if you believe that the marketplace is populated by idiots, and that paradise can be achieved only by putting every person’s health and well-being into expert’s hands, you would (1) make a push for single-payer (or “universal” or “socialist”) health care or (2), if you couldn’t go full socialist, you would push for a government-managed marketplace, one that seems to have private providers but, in fact, has the government dictating all aspects of medical insurance and health treatment. In the latter case, you would then tell the public is that this government-controlled market will force insurers and health care providers to lower costs. In either case, you wouldn’t tell the public that,  when the government dictates completely how the healthcare market must be run, the available money in the healthcare marketplace shrinks rapidly.

In a purely socialist system, the government has no incentive to lower costs, because there’s no competition. And in a government-managed system, as we’re seeing with Obamacare, the regulations are so onerous, and the stifling government control over what should be a dynamic marketplace so incompetent, that prices go up and the system runs out of money.  In either case, the provider is then left with only one solution: rationing.

My point about rationing is not hypothetical. In every country that has socialized medicine, there’s some form of rationing going on. What European countries have done to hide the rationing is to let people see doctors (because then people think they’re getting medical care), while issuing regulations telling doctors that there are certain treatments that, while do-able and available, cannot be given to people in the wrong demographic.

And what’s the wrong demographic? The very old and the very sick. Or in other words, the best treatments cannot be given to the people who need them most but instead, are reserved for those healthy young people who somehow stumble into the wrong disease. Even better, you can avoid treating the young people for the disease too if you argue that the disease’s rarity in their age cohort makes testing wasteful, no matter their risks or their symptoms.

When a government-run system runs into a work load too overwhelming to handle, it does something that would result in jail time for any private care provider: it ignores people to death. Just in the last year, we’ve learned about this passive genocide in both England and America. Both the National Health Service and the Veterans Administration simply stopped treating sick people because it was too much effort or because it cost too much to care for them without running over-budget (or, worse, without running the risk of wiping out bonus funds for the bureaucrats).

Because taxpayers paying for socialized (or semi-socialized) medicine dislike it when care providers give up the pretense of care and just kill people, governments that control access to medicine are always looking for alternative ways to trim the numbers of sick people that the system neither can nor wants to treat. The trend for the last decade or so has been to abandon active genocide (directly killing patients through maltreatment or no treatment) and to push what I call “passive aggressive genocide” — a health care system tells the patients to kill themselves.

The whole “you don’t want to live” push started innocuously enough — and reasonably enough — with those Do Not Resuscitate (“DNR”) directives by which patients tell hospitals that, if they have a sudden death incident while in the hospital, the hospital make only minimal efforts to revive them. The rationale is that, contrary to hospital television shows, most people aren’t miraculously saved by CPR — or at least, most old and sick people aren’t.  Additionally, the process of saving someone from sudden cardiac arrest is quite brutal, involving as it does breaking ribs or ripping the chest open to get to the heart.  Even worse, if only extreme measures will save someone’s life, there’s a good likelihood that the person will have suffered full or partial brain death or will be so frail overall that the life-saving procedure will stave death off for only hours or days, or will result in the person living as a vegetable.

The foregoing are all really good reasons to avoid resuscitation. Especially if one is elderly, it seems infinitely preferable to die peacefully under anesthetic (if something goes wrong), as opposed to having your chest beaten or sliced open, only to die soon after or to linger in a coma.  It may have been malpractice that killed Joan Rivers in the first instance but, if her number was really up, it probably would have been easier had she died on the table than lingered, intubated, catheterized, and covered with wires for several days.  Or at least that’s what they tell us.

Thus, for quite a long time, the medical establishment has told us “Old people, for your own good, if you suddenly die in the hospital, stay dead. It will make you happier in the long run.”  And to be honest, I agree with this.  For various reasons, I’ve seen or heard of a lot of people in their 80s and 90s who ended up terribly brutalized by CPR and who died anyway.  That’s why I have a medical directive.  Even good ideas, though, can be the beginning of a slippery slope, especially in a post-moral society.

For example, what do you do if old people start getting expensive before going to the hospital? Well, one of the things you can do is to have Ezekial Emanuel, the architect of Obamacare explain why it’s utterly useless to go on living past age 75 (which, according to the actuarial tables, is close to the average age of death in America anyway):

Seventy-five.

That’s how long I want to live: 75 years.

[snip]

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy. Indeed, I plan to have my memorial service before I die. And I don’t want any crying or wailing, but a warm gathering filled with fun reminiscences, stories of my awkwardness, and celebrations of a good life. After I die, my survivors can have their own memorial service if they want—that is not my business.

After explaining why it’s so good to die relatively young in a time when lifestyle choices and available medicine mean many of us can live to be quite old, Emanuel hastens to assure readers that he’s not advocating any policy that actually denies medical services to the elderly. He just thinks that old people should all join in with him and aim for dying fairly young.

Emanuel does have a point that many extremely old people complain about how awful it is to be old. Their brains and bodies are breaking down, they’re often dependent on others, and all the tasks of ordinary life are very, very difficult. What Emanuel ignores, though, is that, even as these people complain about the burdens of age, the vast majority of them still prefer it over death. Given the choice, they heed the Biblical admonition to “choose life.”

This life force is why my father, on the last day of his life before dying from cancer, when asked by a doctor “What can I do for you,” gripped that doctor by the lapels and, in a fierce whisper, said “Make me better.” And this is why a friend of mine who had AIDS, and who had stockpiled all sorts of medicines so that he could commit suicide when it got too bad, didn’t commit suicide despite Kaposi’s sarcoma, pneumocystis pneumonia, giardia, pedunculated lesions all over his body, and every other indignity AIDS could visit on what was once a healthy, handsome body. Instead, he fought to the end.

Contrary to Emanuel’s blithe certainty that, when he’s not as smart and good-looking and active as he is now (ahem), then he’ll just walk away from life with no regrets. I doubt it.

But perhaps I’m wrong to doubt that the Emanuel’s of this world are incapable of weakening our will to live. In societies as different as the Bushido warrior culture in WWII Japan and the radical Islamists in today’s world, we see that culture can destroy a human being’s innate life force. Despite our (and every other living creature’s) will to live, we humans can be talked into ignoring that instinct. We can be taught to value death because it serves our society. In Japan, young men who were taught to deny their life force died in kamikaze attacks on Americans; and practically every day, in every place around the world, some young Muslim boy or girl straps a few bombs to himself and goes off to die for Allah.

It’s therefore entirely possible that, if Emanuel and his cohorts spend enough time praising premature death, people will start to buy into it. And you know what?  I don’t even have to phrase this in terms of a hypothesis.  If I just cast my eyes across the Atlantic, I can see the future Emanuel desires.  Europe has had socialized medicine since shortly after WWII and has been pushing euthanasia for decades now.

WaPo columnist Michael Gerson has been looking at what’s happening in Europe.  In today’s opinion piece, he uses the Belgian government’s willingness to grant a serial killer his requested euthanasia as a springboard to discuss Europe’s reverence for medical suicide.

Gerson begins by noting that Belgians opposed to the prisoner’s euthanasia request have pointed out that killing a prisoner who is serving a sentence for murder is remarkably like having a death penalty, which the Europeans find barbaric.  Pro-euthanasia people dismissed this charge. To them, euthanasia is the ultimate act of individual freedom and self-determination. You have the power to cease being and the government will just make sure your decision gets carried out as painlessly as possible.

Put another way:  Europeans will gladly kill you if you’re a good person who has harmed no one, but they draw the line at killing a bad person who has murdered others.  Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?  Anyway, back to Gerson….

The whole “your body yourself” shtick that pro-euthanasia types in Belgium boast about sounds very nice, of course.  Gerson, though, points out the problem with this “free will” attitude, and the euthanasia system isn’t set up for total free will.  In fact, it’s set up so that the old and the sick are subtly, and not so subtly, told that they’re a drain on society. Gerson explains that the Belgian government has all sorts of legal hurdles before allowing someone to commit legalized suicide and that all these hurdles turn on proving that the soon-to-be-assisted-suicide is mentally or physically defective.  This negates the whole “anyone can cease to live if he wants” and starts to have an icky Nazi quality about it, except that this time the people march themselves to the gas chambers:

[T]he determination of certain societal classes that are helped in committing suicide is hard to separate from a judgment about the worth of those classes. The right to suicide adheres, in this case, not to all human beings but to sick and apparently flawed human beings. And such a “right” begins to look more and more like an expectation. A mentally or physically ill person can be killed, in the end, because they have an illness. A qualification can slide into a justification. This is a particularly powerful social message since people with cancer or severe depression sometimes feel worthless, or like a burden on their families, anyway. It is pitifully easy to make them — with an offer of help — into instruments of their own execution.

And suddenly, there you are . . . right back at the Chinese boy looking at his grandfather in the basket and warning his father that the father’s day will come too.

I’ll close with an anecdote I’ve told before because it deserves repeating. Many years ago, when Holland first enacted its euthanasia law, NPR ran an interview with a Dutchman who explained why euthanasia was a good idea in Holland, while it would be a terrible idea in America.  The secret to Holland’s euthanasia, he said, was socialized medicine.  The man explained that, in America, where medical costs could bankrupt families, those with terminal illnesses could be actively or passively coerced into turning to euthanasia in order to save their family’s finances.

Thus, both this Dutch man and the NPR host who interviewed him were both certain that Americans, when given the choice, would cheerfully throw Grandma from the train in order to save some money.  Europeans, the Dutchman explained, with their cradle-to-grave care, would never be pressured into killing themselves.  The beneficent state would pay all the medical bills, so money would not be an issue when it came to life and death decisions.  The only thing that would matter in Europe, said this Dutchman, was the terminally ill person’s wishes.

I, being a good liberal back in the day, enthusiastically endorsed what he had to say.  Clearly, euthanasia was a dreadful idea in America, where money was God, and people would be tempted to slip arsenic into their dying child’s broth in order to save the college fund for the next kid in line.

The intervening years since I heard that radio interview have revealed that the Dutchman was absolutely and completely wrong. In America, people have willingly bankrupted themselves to save beloved family members.  Mammon becomes meaningless when an extra treatment might give your child or a young mother a few more days, weeks, or years of life.  People have hearts and souls.  They connect to others, especially to those in their families.

The reality is that, when it comes to end of life decisions, the state does not love you.  It really does want you dead when you start costing too much.  If it can’t kill you with the blatant hard sell, it will try to get you to kill yourself by reminding you relentlessly that your best years are having and you should do yourself and society a favor by offing yourself.  Passive-aggressive genocide in a nutshell.  (And somewhere in Hell, a bunch of Nazis are thunking themselves on the heads, saying “Why didn’t we think of that?”)

Belgium’s culture of death makes one try to imagine a world without Helen Keller

I think most of us found extremely disturbing the story out of Belgium telling about twin brothers in their 40s who were born deaf and were starting to go blind, and who found a doctor willing to legally euthanize them.  They weren’t sick and they weren’t suffering physically.  They just feared a future that added blindness to deafness.

I’m sympathetic to their concerns.  To be locked into your head like that must be very frightening.  But to make it a legitimate cause for government sanctioned death?  It’s an appalling thought.

I can see a very easy trajectory here.  It starts with people asking the government for permission to kill themselves.  The government grants that permission.  A few years of this, and you end with a government that starts thinking “Hey, there are some people who want this, so maybe others do and just aren’t speaking up, or don’t really know what they want.  Anyway, people who are suffering from these disabilities place an economic burden on society.  Let’s just make death automatic.”

Keep in mind that this trajectory is how the Nazis started their killing spree.  During the 1930s, “for the good of individuals and society,” they started euthanizing the unfit, whether they were mentally or physically disabled.

In my family, this has never been an abstract issue.  I had two relatives, one Jewish and one Christian, both of whom the Nazis “euthanized” in the 1930s because of mental health issues (or, in the case of the Christian, it might have been because he was gay — my mother doesn’t remember, as she was a young child at the time).  As we know, having discovered the institutionalized murder is easy, the Nazis expanded the scope, and begin killing Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, “deviants,” etc., while “merely” enslaving all sorts of other, less-than-worthy (in Nazi eyes) people.

But to get back to those twin brothers.  James Thunder reminds us that Helen Keller, at very young age, became both deaf and blind.  Thanks to her partnership with the amazing Annie Sullivan, those women became two of the most inspirational figures in the 20th century.  They were a triumph of patience, love, loyalty, faith, commitment, intelligence, and humanity.  It’s unnerving to think that, if Helen Keller lived in modern Belgium, and had a bad patch in her life, the government would quite cheerfully have euthanized her.

Molock rising

Long ago, in ancient Phoenicia, arose a religion reviled in Biblical as well as in Greek and Roman lore, that worshiped a deity most commonly known as Molock, Moloch or Moleck. To this deity, parents sacrificed their infant children by cremating them alive in the bronze hands of a bull-shaped statue of the deity (the golden calf all grown up?).

The religion generated revulsion among the Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and other Mediterranean peoples of that ancient time. In Judaic and Biblical lore, Molock was associated with demonology and Satan’s reign. The Romans purportedly destroyed the last vestiges of this religion in the rubble of Carthage, destroying and scattering every structure down to the last brick, so that it could never ever spring back anew. However, this rationalization for infanticide, just published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, makes me wonder if  Molock isn’t stirring anew in the ebb-tide of the Judeo-Christian West.

http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/02/22/medethics-2011-100411.abstract

In my lifetime, I have been witness to the normalization of promiscuous sex, throw-away children, abortion, partial birth abortion, euthanasia, and now, the open rationalization of infanticide should parents change their mind about a living baby. This is the end game of secular humanism, where there is nothing more transcendent about human beings than simple utilitarian sacks of meat. It was observed by G.K. Chesterton that when cultures (or cults) begin to kill their weakest members, their old and their children, such cultures are in the final stage of collapse.

I came to my Christianity relatively late in life. My faith in my faith is absolute. The existence and/or nature of a force for evil in the world, however, has been a more difficult concept to grasp, as there are so many other ways to rationalize evil behavior – e.g., bad upbringing, mean parents, schoolyard bullying, chemical imbalances, mental illness, hubris, etc. Now, though, I am coming to the conclusion that evil is a palpably real force in the world. Either that, or a violently real, contagious, psychic virus!

Ann Coulter’s most recent book, “Demonic”, relates the proclivity of the secular Left (Democrats) for mob violence and bloodshed, tracing its bloody trail from the French Revolution through the Nazi and Communist abominations of the 20th Century, to the social-justice proclaiming Liberal/Left movements of today (oh, heck, let’s throw in the Marxist Jim Jones Cult for good measure). The violence that our society increasingly wreaks on our weakest members is all part of the same disease and I fear that it is going to get much, much worse.

For me, it’s simple: babies are for loving, not killing — I know, I know…others disagree! The publication of such an article under the guise of “medical ethics” tells me that something truly wicked this way comes. Today, the secular Left may feign indignation at the thought that their revolution will ultimately involve killing those that do not fit their Utopian ideals, but we can see how easily they are getting comfortable with the concept over time. It will be what it will be. I hope that I don’t live to see it. But, as the New Age of Molock establishes itself, I certainly will resist it to the end. I know that you will, too.

 

*** UPDATE

And, now, in support of the Secular Humanist view of human kind as utilitarian pieces of meat, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shares her policy perspective that abortion and contraception means fewer babies, ergo fewer government expenditures. Human reproduction becomes a simple government-mandated budget line item.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/sebelius-decrease-human-beings-will-cover-cost-contraception-mandate

One would have to be a total fool not to recognize that this is Government asserting its sovereignty over reproductive rights and life and death decisions.

 

 

“Make me well” *UPDATED*

My Dad always said that, when his time came, he’d just lie down and die.  He was fatalistic and, after WWII and the Israeli War of Independence, not afraid of death.  It all sounded very reasonable.  But reason and experience aren’t the same.  When my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, he didn’t just lie down and die.  He fought back.  He had every surgery and treatment available, and managed to survive seven years from the date of diagnosis.  Not all those seven years were good, especially near the end, but he was still my dear daddy, a loving husband to his wife, and a good friend to those who loved him.  His very last words, when he briefly emerged from a morphine haze one day before he died were in response to a doctor’s shouted request asking “What can I do for you?”  “Make me well,” my Dad said, his last known conscious thought.

My friend Mark, a hard-living gay man who got AIDS, would show visitors his vial of pills, insurance against the time when the AIDS got too unbearable.  I thought he’d take his pills when his body was covered with huge, mushroom shaped tumors that caused him tremendous pain.  But he didn’t.  I thought he’d take his pills when giardia ran amok, and he almost died from the horrible symptoms.  But he didn’t.  I thought he’d take it when he was so weak, he could no longer move from the couch, and all of his limbs were simultaneously numb and subject to shooting pains, but he didn’t.  (Apropos that couch, in one of the best examples of humanity I’ve ever seen, his ex-lover took Mark in after Mark’s illness left him homeless.  Mark’s parents would have taken him, by the way, but Mark was more comfortable dying in the gay community in which he had lived.)  Ultimately, Mark never did take those pills, but simply passed away in his sleep.

When we’re healthy and strong, it’s easy to state that, “when things get to tough,” we’ll just die with dignity.  But that’s not how the human life force works.  Our core being wants to live.  We humans are also tremendously adaptable.  As I have seen with friends and family, situations that would have seemed intolerable during the good times prove to be survivable during the bad.  Just think how many people in Death Camps (Nazis death camps, North Korean death camps, Gulags, death nations such as Ethiopia or Somalia) fight to live, despite conditions that ought not to sustain life at all, rather than giving up and dying.

Bottom line:  We humans, especially we Western humans, are programmed to fight for life.  It’s even part of our Biblical canon (Deut 30:19:  “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.“)

What’s very disturbing about the health care bill currently on the Congressional burner is that it mandates using government power to try to reprogram the elderly so that they consciously abandon the will to live.  This government mandate is entirely different from a situation in which a family doctor sits down with a sick person and carefully explains the dynamic of both illness and treatment.

I have friends who are doctors, and they are often sickened and saddened by the brutality of treatment used on elderly bodies, merely to buy a few days of (usually) unconscious and invariably pain-filled life.  The fact that we can enable a 97 year old cancer victim to live an extra month doesn’t mean we should.  The issue right now, however, isn’t end of life care — it’s whether the government should coerce, bully, and brainwash people into making decisions about their last days.

When it comes to death, whether a quick one or a slow one, we don’t know until we reach the situation what we’ll do.  Whether because of temperament, treatment or the disease process itself, some of us are probably better off without futile treatments that will add minimum time and maximum suffering.  Others of us, however, again because of temperament, treatment or the disease process itself, should have every opportunity to use the most sophisticated medicine in the world because we want to live.  Which leads me to the one thing I do know for certain:  I don’t want the Obama administration, or Congress, or any other governmental entity making the decision for me, or bullying me in one direction or another.

UPDATEMelanie Phillips’ article about the societal dangers that come with popularizing assisted suicide is very apropos to this post.  Her point is that the powers that be are manipulating people into being so frightened of unmanageable pain that they’re virtually pointing the way to suicide.  Pain can be made manageable, though, and, as I’ve pointed out above, people discover that they’re able to bear a great deal if they’re not entirely controlled by fear.

What are the odds, do you think, that any mandatory government counseling for elderly people in this country won’t make a very, very big deal about the potential for pain, as opposed to pain management, in connection with diseases in the elderly?

Herding seniors to the abattoire *UPDATED*

Don Parker nails both the costs and hypocrisy behind the mandate in the new health care bill that seniors be gently steered towards a cheap death.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Old Flyer for reminding me of this, which fits in so perfectly with the new plan:

UPDATE II:  A story from my dad’s old joke book.

In long ago Japan or China (or amongst the Eskimos, or something else), a young boy came across his father carry a large basket on his back.  In the basket was the boy’s grandfather.

He asked, “Father, where are you taking grandfather?”

“Shh,” said the father.  “Grandfather is old and sick.  He eats, but he does not earn.  I’m taking him to the river, where I will leave him to die.  It will be better for all of us.”

“Oh, father,” said the boy.  “That is an excellent idea.  But be sure to bring the basket home, so that I can use it for you one day.”

All cultures living on the margin of survival have used abandonment as a way of culling the herd so that the strong can survive.  The Hansel and Gretel story is a perfect example of this.  With too many mouths to feed, the children were left in the wilderness.

My question, of course, is whether we, in America, have come to that marginal existence?  The Left thinks we have.  I don’t — or, at least, I hope we haven’t.

When God closes a door, he sometimes opens a window

In the wake of Sarah Palin’s appearance on the national political scene, some Obama supporters made some pretty deranged statements about the Palin family decision to go ahead with a pregnancy when they knew that the baby would have Down Syndrome.  There was a lot of eugenics-type talk about the social utility of handicapped children (none) and the societal wisdom of destroying them (huge).

To those of us who have been paying attention for periods longer than this political season, these ugly outbursts weren’t surprising.  After all, Pete Singer, “dean” of American ethicists (with a chair at Princeton), and founder of the American animal rights movement, has long advocated that it is ethical to give parents a 30 day window after a child’s birth within which to destroy the child should the parents deem it defective.  Singer, like others with his statist views, have a peculiarly Utopian view of the perfectibility of humans, one which depends, not on moral growth, but on government force.

And yes, you’re not imaging it — Hitler did in fact put this ideology into effect.  Aside from trying to kill entire races he deemed defective, such as Jews and Gypsies, he was also big on genetic management, which involved prostituting German women to SS forces to make “perfect” Aryan babies and, on the flip side, killing those Aryans he deemed defective.  My uncle on the Christian side of the family was gassed because he was a manic-depressive.  This is what happens when the state makes decisions because, as I’ve said before, the state has no conscience.

The most clear and recent statement of this principle came from yet another famed “ethicist,” this one in England (emphasis mine):

Elderly people suffering from dementia should consider ending their lives because they are a burden on the NHS and their families, according to the influential medical ethics expert Baroness Warnock.

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are “wasting people’s lives” because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was “nothing wrong” with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be “licensed to put others down” if they are unable to look after themselves.

Her comments in a magazine interview have been condemned as “immoral” and “barbaric”, but also sparked fears that they may find wider support because of her influence on ethical matters.

Lady Warnock, a former headmistress who went on to become Britain’s leading moral philosopher, chaired a landmark Government committee in the 1980s that established the law on fertility treatment and embryo research.

In the statist world, it is impossible for those the statists deem defective to have any value.  It’s the one gaping hole in their identity politics world view.  Everyone has a protectible identity except the handicapped who are either very young (fetal and infantile) or very old.

I mention all this for a reason.  Don Quixote forwarded an email to me about Paul Smith.  Have you ever heard of Paul Smith?  I hadn’t ’til now, but I think meeting him and his work is very important as we tremble on the brink of becoming a truly statist state, with the same universal health care that led the “moral philosopher” of Britain to advocate the mass slaughter of Britain’s helpless elderly.

Here’s an abbreviated version of Smith’s bio from the Foundation set up to honor him and his work:

Paul was born in Philadelphia on September 21, 1921.

Although severe cerebral palsy kept him out of school, it didn’t prevent him from having a remarkable life.

Never having a chance as a child to receive a formal education, Paul taught himself to become a master artist as well as a terrific chess player.

[snip]

His incredible visualization and calculation skills helped to make him a formidable chess player. Paul would stop doing just about anything else when he had a chance to play a game!

When typing, Paul used his left hand to steady his right one.

Since he couldn’t press two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key down and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys.

In other words, his pictures were based on these characters …

@ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _

Across seven decades, Paul created hundreds of pictures. He often gave the originals away. Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records.

You should read the whole bio, which you’ll find here.

And what work are we talking about? The incredible pictures he created using ten keys on an old fashioned typewriter.  You can see those pictures here, at the Paul Smith Foundation’s Web Gallery.

Are they the greatest art in the world?  Nope.  Not even close.  The Louvre or the Met would not be interested.  Nevertheless, they are extraordinary and very pleasing to the eye — and that’s entirely separate from the awe one feels when one considers the physical work and the mental vision that went into creating them.

I’m no saint.  I give thanks daily that, despite being an older mother, both my children were born without Down Syndrome or any of the other genetic diseases nature tosses out.  I’d like to think that, had something bad happened, I could have handled it, but I simply don’t know.

I do know, though, that I’m am finding increasingly horrifying the open-faced calls from the statists demanding the death of the imperfect.  I’ll therefore end this post with a slightly modified version of Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous poem (versions of which you can see here):

First they came for the Communists,
– but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for those born with handicaps,
– but I was born without handicaps so I did not speak out.

Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
– but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
– but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

It’s frightening how neatly my little interlineation fits into that poem, isn’t it?

(Right now, the gallery links aren’t working, but you can still get an idea of his work just by going to the gallary main page.  I’ll contact the gallery and see if they can fix the problem.)

UPDATEMore on those gifted lives that the raving Left now freely discusses snuffing.

How little we know

As you may recall, I thought it was a mistake to stave and dehydrate Terri Schiavo to death.  We know so little about the human brain and, as long as her parents were cheerfully willing to care for her, I thought it was out and out murder to bar them from providing that care.

It’s been a long time since Terri Schiavo died, but I thought of her when I read a story in the L.A. Times about Samantha Palumbo, a 16 year old girl who lost almost her entire left frontal lobe in a car accident.  As good as dead you’d think, right?  Wrong.  Read the story and then look at and listen to the photo essay.  If, at the end, you’re not tremendously moved and awed by the human capacity to recover, you’d better read and listen again, because you missed something.

Everything old is new again

The Captain says that the earth itself just reminded us of yet another horrible Nazi practice:  euthanizing those Aryans whom the Nazis deemed physically or mentally unfit to live.  In a Western Germany town, relying on sixty years of rumors, authorities dug up a mass grave that included skeletons of children as young as one.  As the Captain points out, the Nazis murdered over 70,000 “defective” Aryans (amongst whom was my gentile great uncle, a manic depressive).  This was, of course, in addition to the better known racial purges of Jews (including most of my paternal relatives) and gypsies.

Before we start congratulating ourselves about how superior we are, though, we’d better look at our own house.  I’m thinking, of course, of famed ethicist Peter Singer, who holds an endowed chair at Princeton.  In addition to a 2004 book about politics, The President of Good and Evil: The Ethics of George W. Bush, Peter Singer has written a fair number of other books. These include a book called “Animal Liberation,” a book called “In Defense of Animals, and a book called “Should the Baby Live?: The Problem of Handicapped Infants (Studies in Bioethics).” The latter pretty much sums up the man’s philosophy:  he advocates euthanizing handicapped infants.  He is, of course, reviled by the handicapped community (and rightly so).

The moral abyss Singer creates with his euthanasia musings is highlighted by the fact that his animal liberation writings make him a founding father of the animal rights movement — a movement that’s come to full flower in PETA insanity (which analogizes the death of chickens to the death of Jews in Hitler’s gas chambers). In other words, Singer believes that a healthy animal has greater rights than a sick person.  Singer has also made clear that he has no moral problem with bestiality, provided that the animal consents. Amusingly, this last viewpoint has put Singer at odds with the same animal rights movement he was so instrumental in creating.

Singer, of course, is one man, but our ivory towers have given him a position of prominence and respect.  That being the case, we should take special note of this story about the unearthed past, since there is at least one person with a pulpit who would have this be our future.

Hezbollah takes a page from the Nazi script

Before the Nazis killed the Jews, they executed those they deemed unfit because of physical or mental handicaps. My goyish uncle, who was institutionalized because he was “crazy” (we now think he might have been homosexual), was one of the first the Nazis executed in their drive to purify the Aryan nation.

In yet another scary analogy between Hezbollah and the Nazis, reports are emerging from the Lebanese themselves that Hezbollah may have “seeded” the building in Qana with mentally and physically handicapped children, and then deliberately exposed the building to Israeli missile fire. In that way, they got two for the price of one: they got rid of children they deemed unworthy of life and they managed to score a major propaganda coup against Israel.

With regard to the latter point — that Hezbollah set it up so that Israel pulled the trigger — it is worthwhile again remembering Golda Meir’s words: “When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons. But it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.” How much harder will it be for the Israelis, who were themselves victims of a genocide aimed at racial purification, ever to forgive Hezbollah for making Israel the hand that may have carried out Hezbollah’s deranged vision of racial purification.

I’ll mention here, because I can’t resist, that Peter Singer, a leading American ethicist wiuth an endowed chair at Princeton would agree with the Nazis and Hezbollah. He advocates giving parents a 30 day window within which to destroy “defective” infants. Like Hitler, he too is a vegetarian, although I doubt Hitler would have been okay with Singer’s support for bestiality — as long as the cow consents. He’s also a virulent anti-Bush critic, who has argued that Bush is evil. I don’t know if that last fact tells us more about the loonies attracted to Bush Derangement Syndrome, or about how grateful we should be that Bush, and not someone of whom Singer approves, is President.

Hat tip: American Thinker

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Soylent Green nation

Rumors about organ harvesting surface constantly when it comes to China, and they probably have a good foundation given that, working through China, you can get any organ you need, any time.  Now, Jay Nordlinger comes with a fairly detailed report (with lots of links) that China is using Falun Gong practitioners as their preferred organ providers.  It's a story that deserves reading on its own and in conjunction with the post I did yesterday on the officially sanctioned infant killing spree in Holland. 

The conclusion I draw from both these stories is that the Judeo-Christian doctrine is one of the highest forms of humane thinking.  Neither Communism nor Secular thinking offer something as simple as God's order: "Choose life." 

Some time ago, I wrote a column for American Thinker about how the Democrats are embracing a culture of death in America.  To toot my own horn, it bears re-reading, since I think we stand at the beginning of the slippery slope, and China and Holland remind us of where that slope goes.

Lives that are not worth living

In a recent Weekly Standard article, Wesley Smith takes on the infant euthanasia that is gaining traction in Holland.  His opening paragraphs are models of clear writing:

At last a high government official in Europe got up the nerve to chastise the Dutch government for preparing to legalize infant euthanasia. Italy's Parliamentary Affairs minister, Carlo Giovanardi, said during a radio debate: "Nazi legislation and Hitler's ideas are reemerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children."

Unsurprisingly, the Dutch, ever prickly about international criticism of their peculiar institution, were outraged. Giovanardi's critique cut so deeply that even Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende felt the need to respond, sniffing, "This [Giovanardi's assertion] is scandalous and unacceptable. This is not the way to get along in Europe."

As is often the case in the New Europe, what is said matters more than what is done. Thus, the prime minister of the Netherlands thinks that killing babies because they are born with terminal or seriously disabling conditions is not a scandal, but daring to point out accurately that German doctors did the same during World War II, is.

As he gets deeper into his column, Smith notes that making Nazi comparisons can shut down dialog and allow even those engaged in egregious behavior to deflect criticism.  However, he then goes on to point out the many disturbing parallels between the Nazi program and the Dutch program.  Indeed, it seems as if the only distinct difference between the two is motive:  the Dutch kill from compassionate motives, the Nazis killed to cleanse their society.  But killing is still killing.

The article piqued my interest at two levels.  First, I knew little about the Nazi euthanasia program except for this:  my great uncle on the goyish side of my family, who was bipolar, was one of the first adult victims of this euthanasia.  Second, it occurred to me that perhaps part of the problem with Europe's ability to integrate its Muslim population may be that this isolated new population looks at a Europe that doesn't value itself and, rightly concludes, that Europe is not worthy of being valued.  And since it's not worthy of being valued, it's obviously okay (a) to kill Europeans (they're killing themselves, after all) and (b) to supplant their own, Islamic culture.