Friday, 7 July 2017

Euthanasia and the Love of Death

The Netherlands Recommissions the Ovens of Belsen

In Proverbs 8, Divine Wisdom is personified and calls out to human societies everywhere.

Does not wisdom call?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
    and my cry is to the children of man.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
    O fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
    and from my lips will come what is right,
for my mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips. [Proverbs 8: 1-7]

Wisdom, divine wisdom, is crying out every day to humanity.  But men are weak, stubborn, and foolish.  Men, in vast arrogance, think they can ignore the Living God and forge their own path and make up their own wisdom.  But the cry of Wisdom ends on a final, determinative climax:

For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favour from the Lord,
but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.

Those who shut their ears to God experience self-inflicted injury; those who hate God's wisdom love death.   At first glance some may advance the idea that "loving death" is a mere figure of speech, possibly an example of hyperbole.  But as humanism gains strength throughout the post-Christian West it is becoming literally true.  There is a growing love of death, as opposed to living and life.

Emma Elliott Freire writes:

Politicians in the Netherlands are discussing the possibility of legalizing euthanasia for healthy people. The proposed “Completed Life Bill” would allow any person age 75 or over who decides their life is “complete” to receive euthanasia. It doesn’t matter if they are otherwise perfectly healthy.

Under current Dutch law, a person only becomes eligible for euthanasia when they have a terminal illness and are suffering unbearably. Pia Dijkstra, an MP for Dutch political party D66, is preparing to introduce the Completed Life Bill. D66 spearheaded most of the groundbreaking socially progressive legislation for which the Netherlands is famous. They are historically a smaller party—they’ve never had a Prime Minister—but they’ve proven themselves to be politically effective.
First there was official killing of people suffering at the end of life.  Now there is growing demand amongst younger people to be allowed to terminate.  The slope is indeed recklessly slippery.  Will the Dutch draw back.  Not likely.
[D66 leader Alexander Pechtold has said]  “It’s my personal opinion that in our civilization dying is an individual consideration. You didn’t ask to be brought into the world.” He went on to explain that currently there is political support for legalizing euthanasia for healthy elderly persons. “If we want to maintain that support and not disrupt the discussion then we have to take it step-by-step. In 2002 we passed the euthanasia law for unbearable suffering. In my view, Pia Dijkstra can now continue persuading parliament and the country to—in my own words and personal opinion—take the next step for our civilization.”
The ultimate expression of human autonomy is suicide.  Of course Dijkstra is merely wanting the Netherlands to take the next "micro-step".  It permits the killing off of the elderly: now, the same "privileges" must be extended to middle aged people who feel they have "had enough".  But the long game is to extend euthanasia to any adult who wants to die at any time or age.   It's called the "Completed Life Bill".

While euthanasia skyrockets in the Netherlands (6091 killing actions in 2016) even some of the ghoulish practitioners are having second thoughts.
The controversy flared up again in June when Boudewijn Chabot, a psychogeriatrician and prominent euthanasia supporter, published a 2,600-word op-ed in which he argued that euthanasia now “getting out of hand.” He believes that the euthanasia oversight committee is lax in carrying out its duty and also insufficiently transparent about what it communicates to the public. Chabot argued that legal protections for patients have been quietly eroded over time. He is particularly concerned about the way euthanasia is administered to patients with advanced dementia or chronic psychiatric illness.
One case in particular has shaken the humanist Netherlands:
 The doctors were motivated by a 2016 case in which the Dutch committee that oversees euthanasia concluded a doctor had acted negligently. An elderly woman with advanced Alzheimer’s had previously written a legal declaration requesting euthanasia, but her specifications about the point at which she was ready to die were open to interpretation. The doctor who euthanized her began by secretly placing a sedative in her coffee. The woman subsequently woke up wide-eyed and resisted the fatal injection. She was restrained by family members and the doctor proceeded.
Philosophically and religiously Dutch society has not got a leg to stand upon.  It has sown to the wind and is beginning to reap the whirlwind.  If one person--just one--can legally be killed as a human right, then there is nothing to prohibit anyone and everyone being killed, should they wish it.

" . . . but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death."

In a few short years, we fear that the crematoriums in the Netherlands will be busier than the ovens of Belsen.

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