Go­ing Dutch

Cul­ture of Death rages on

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

“I will use treat­ment to help the sick ac­cord­ing to my abil­ity and judg­ment, but never with a view to in­jury and wrong-do­ing. Nei­ther will I ad­min­is­ter a poi­son to any­body when asked to do so, nor will I sug­gest such a course.”

—part of the Hip­po­cratic oath

EM­PHA­SIS, please, on “when asked to do so.” That’s an im­por­tant part of the thought above, don’t you think? But what did Hip­pocrates, the fa­ther of Western medicine, re­ally know about medicine, ethics and such? Af­ter all, the next line in the oath is a pledge against abor­tion. How 2,500 years ago.

Who says that a Cul­ture of Death isn’t a slip­pery slope? Re­mem­ber when the pro-abor­tion­ists ar­gued early on that abor­tion dur­ing the first few weeks of preg­nancy is no big deal be­cause the em­bryo/fe­tus/un­wanted group of cells doesn’t feel pain yet? And could safely be re­moved like any other un­wanted growth. To which some asked: Would it be OK to kill an un­con­scious per­son just be­cause he couldn’t see it com­ing? Or what about some­body in a coma? If the abil­ity to feel pain is a req­ui­site for hu­man­ity, then the hos­pi­tals are full of un-peo­ple. Even if they are un-peo­ple for just a few hours while doc­tors op­er­ate.

Then there were those who were pro-abor­tion, which later be­came proChoice, who ar­gued they’d never be in fa­vor of eu­thana­sia, which, of course, turned out to be wrong. Well, at least they’d be against physi­cian-as­sisted sui­cide. Or at least nurse-as­sisted sui­cide, or lawyer-as­sisted sui­cide, or spouse-as­sisted sui­cide. That red line kept on a-movin’.

Oh, heck, times change, don’t they? Along with mores and maybe the thought of sin, an­other holdover from an­tiq­uity.

Any­way, the Euro­peans have al­ways been cos­mopoli­tan enough to set the ex­am­ple for the rest of us who aren’t as with it as they are. When it comes to abor­tion, eu­gen­ics, eu­thana­sia, the Euro­peans of­ten lead. In terms of elim­i­nat­ing the un­de­sir­ables in gen­eral, the Ger­mans were pi­o­neers in the field (1933-1945). A slip­pery slope? We can see it as clearly as an abyss open­ing at our feet. Es­pe­cially af­ter read­ing the pa­pers over the week­end:

Dis­patches from the Con­ti­nent show that eu­thana­sia has be­come a more com­mon way to die in the Nether­lands, ac­count­ing for 4.5 per­cent of all deaths, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­search. The same re­search shows that folks are in­creas­ingly ask­ing for doc­tors to do them in, even in cases in which peo­ple aren’t ter­mi­nally ill.

Back in an­other time—way back in 2002—the Nether­lands be­came the first coun­try in the world to make it le­gal for doc­tors to help peo­ple die. Over there, eu­thana­sia and as­sisted sui­cide are both le­gal nowa­days. The law says peo­ple must be suf­fer­ing “un­bear­ably” with no hope of re­lief, but the con­di­tion doesn’t have to be fa­tal.

Who’s to say what’s un­bear­able? Right now, mostly the peo­ple most af­fected. But who’s to say the slope won’t con­tinue to be slip­pery, as it has proven thus far, and oth­ers start de­ter­min­ing what’s a bear­able ex­is­tence and what’s not? The 25-year re­search re­view pub­lished in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine shows that at least 92 per­cent of Dutch who were put to death had a se­ri­ous ill­ness. The rest? They had prob­lems associated with old age, early-stage de­men­tia or psy­chi­atric prob­lems.

Is 92 per­cent a com­fort­able num­ber? Which means that “only” eight per­cent were eu­th­a­nized be­cause they were in­creas­ingly creaky or for­get­ful or crazy. Would a 95/5 split be more ac­cept­able to mankind? Or can we dip down to 50/50, and be­gin eas­ing the old folks out more of­ten? Why should they suf­fer with the in­dig­ni­ties of age? Surely they’d un­der­stand, and maybe some­times do.

We can hear some folks pound­ing the kitchen ta­ble now. That’ll never hap­pen!

Re­ally? So when did pro-abor­tion be­come pro-Choice? When did abor­tion dur­ing emer­gen­cies be­come abor­tion on de­mand? When did science de­cide to cre­ate hu­man embryos for ex­per­i­men­tal pur­poses only, then kill them even be­fore the crib? When did Dr. Kevorkian go into fam­ily prac­tice?

The Jour­nal says that half of those who ask for help dy­ing usu­ally get it in the Nether­lands. And more than a third are over the age of 80.

Scott Kim, a bioethi­cist at the U.S. Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health, says the re­port raises con­cerns, as it should: “These are old peo­ple who may have health prob­lems, but none of them are life-threat­en­ing. They’re old, they can’t get around, their friends are dead and their chil­dren don’t visit any­more. This kind of a trend cries out for a dis­cus­sion.”

Cries out, in­deed. It fairly weeps.

IMAG­INE: Sarah Palin was laughed out of the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion in 2009 when she opined that Oba­macare would lead to gov­ern­ment-run “death pan­els.” But that was be­fore lit­tle Char­lie Gard was deemed un­fit to live in Lon­don un­der its form of gov­ern­ment-run health care and be­fore the new eu­thana­sia fig­ures came in from the Nether­lands—and be­fore the slope got even slip­perier for homo faber, or “man the maker.” Who can also un­make with the push of a but­ton, the un­plug­ging of a ma­chine or the dis­pens­ing of a small pill which will make ev­ery­thing all right. At least for those of us who’ll re­main.

Call it the new bar­bar­ity. Maybe the only thing new about it is that it’s all done un­der the pre­text of kind­ness and the fancy of ten­der­ness.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.