Canadian Lives Unworthy Of Canadian Life
See the man above? He's a Canadian who is too poor to pay his bills. So he's seeking out government-provided assisted suicide. This TV report tells his story. It is a moral outrage.
Alexander Raikin has a stunning article in The New Atlantis, talking about MAID, the acronym for Canada's euthanasia system, and how the supposed safeguards to keep people from abusing it are virtually meaningless. Raikin got his hands on video of conferences with MAID providers, evidence that the people who are doing this stuff know that lots of Canadians are choosing assisted suicide not because they are terminally ill, but because they are poor, or in psychological distress, or have some other non-terminal, manageable malady -- and know they can get away with having the state make their suicide clean and comfortable.
In December, an ad video by the Canadian fashion company La Maison Simons, titled “All Is Beauty,” went viral online. It told the story of Jennyfer Hatch, a 37-year-old-woman with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome who had chosen euthanasia. Slickly produced, the video showed slow-motion images of people gathered on beaches. At one point it describes “the most beautiful exit,” apparently referring to MAID. Hatch was euthanized the day before the campaign launched. She had told friends and interviewers that she wanted to live, but couldn’t afford it.
The tide has turned, and Canada’s vulnerable patients know it. They know how Canada’s system sees them. It shows up in how they see themselves, how they think about their choices.
Catherine Frazee, a disability scholar, told me by email about a doctor colleague who
has observed patients who become fixated on MAID, who under different circumstances, before MAID was a part of our culture, would have carried on living through difficult times, or who would have pursued treatment options with a reasonable chance of success even though doing so would be temporarily unpleasant or uncomfortable. Many people who are not at risk of suicide are nevertheless at risk of MAID, especially so because it has been so quickly embraced as an honourable, “dignified,” idyllic form of death.
You even hear this firsthand from some euthanasia providers — like Madeline Li, who told Parliament, “I’ve certainly had cases where I felt compelled to provide MAID against my better clinical judgment because the law did not adequately protect.” You hear it too from psychiatrists like John Maher, editor of the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, who told Parliament that he has patients who could get better but “are now refusing effective treatment to make themselves eligible for MAID.”
Amy Hasbrouck, a disability advocate, told me that MAID is a way to “get rid of disabled people.” It’s an extreme view. Yet it is possible to imagine a euthanasia system that is set up without that intention, even one that is nominally set up to protect the vulnerable — and yet that, step by step, becomes indistinguishable from a system deliberately designed to usher them to their deaths.
From Rosina, Les, Mary, Nancy, Greg, Lucy, and so many others across Canada, what we hear are the cries of people in despair asking for help. Just a few years ago they would have been textbook candidates for what a just society would say: Your life has value. In Canada today they hear something else: Your death will be beautiful.
Please read the whole thing, and get the details. It is something out of a Walker Percy novel, but it's real.
The Nazis had a concept called "life unworthy of life," which they used to justify mass euthanasia of the "unfit". Here's a poster promoting the concept. It tells the reader that it costs 60,000 reichsmarks a year to care for someone with a genetic disability, and says, "Comrade, this is your money too."
What's happening in Canada now is, in a way, even worse. In Hitler's Germany, the state euthanized you. In Trudeau's Canada, the state helps you euthanize yourself, thus creating a culture in which people are democratically encouraged to consider whether their own life is unworthy of life, and ought to end. Not just those facing certain death, or who live in irremediable physical agony -- but even people who are just poor. Their government and their medical authorities tell them that they might be better off dead, and offers to help them commit suicide.
The hard totalitarian government euthanizes "life unworthy of life" for unsentimental reasons. The soft totalitarian government urges its own people to choose death, for totally sentimental reasons. And also for "practical" ones:
In December two Quebec bioethicists argued in the Journal of Medical Ethics that combining euthanasia with organ donation would be an excellent idea which could yield top-quality organs for needy patients.
And last week researchers from the University of Calgary calculated that when euthanasia reaches the level of Belgium and the Netherlands, the country’s health system could save up to up to C$139 million every year. “Medical assistance in dying could reduce annual health care spending across Canada by between $34.7 million and $138.8 million, exceeding the $1.5–$14.8 million in direct costs associated with its implementation,” they wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
It is not difficult to grasp that the state and the medical profession are rapidly creating a culture in Canada in which people who cannot care for themselves will be pushed to commit suicide so as not to be a burden on others -- in part because the healthy and the financially well off will have been conditioned to think that they have no obligation out of sheer human decency to help those who are suffering. Remember, the concept of "soft totalitarianism" that I talk about in Live Not By Lies is a totalitarianism that takes root because of a population's unwillingness to suffer pain and anxiety. We see in Canada that the state and other institutions captured by progressive ideology are teaching Canadians to internalize an ideology that tells them that some lives are unworthy of life, and should be ended "beautifully" by the system.
This is the end game of the euthanasia regime. And it is a sign of the re-paganization of a once-Christian civilization. In ancient Rome, babies who were not wanted were left outside to die. People in the nascent Christian sect would rescue as many of these babies as they could, because they recognized that all lives had dignity, because given by God. Louise Gosbell writes about what we can learn from the early Christians in this respect. Her essay starts like this:
At the end of 2006, I became pregnant with my third daughter. From the moment we announced we were having another child, I was inundated with questions related to the baby's gender. Were we planning on finding out the sex of the baby? Were we hoping to have a boy this time around? Would we be disappointed if we had "another" girl? I found myself incredibly frustrated with this line of questioning.
I was irritated by the suggestion that we would be disappointed if we had "another" girl. But more than this, I was frustrated with where this conversation always seemed to end up. When I would tell people that we chose not to find out the gender of our third child, people would often respond by saying, "Well, it doesn't matter if it's a boy or a girl, as long as it's healthy."
Initially, I let the comment go. I would tell myself that people had good intentions and all they meant was that my baby would be loved either way. But as this conversation continued with startling predictability, I grew less and less tolerant and I found myself responding to people by saying, "Yes, because if it's not healthy, I'm planning on sending it back." The comment shocked people. Some people would try to laugh it off. Others were embarrassed and would fumble for words, insisting they didn't mean anything by it. Perhaps I could have been more polite and simply said, "Even if it's not healthy, I will love it anyway," but I didn't.
What upset me was that at the heart of the statement was the implication that if the baby wasn't healthy, somehow he or she would be less valued or less welcomed than a healthy or "normal" baby. The statement seemed to imply that I would be disappointed with any baby that didn't meet society's high expectations of infant beauty and perfection. But what if the baby wasn't healthy or "perfect"? There is no possibility for exchange or refund. I can't trade it in for a healthier model or throw it away and start again. This is it. This is my baby, healthy or otherwise.
In this, Gosbell hears echoes of ancient Rome, where newborns who were lives the Romans saw as unworthy of life -- even if they were healthy, but simply unwanted -- were left outside to die from exposure. Some who were rescued were seized by slavers to be raised as slaves or prostitutes. The Jews of the Empire refused to practice exposure. So did the Christians, who emerged from Judaism. Gosbell:
Throughout the texts of the early church, no specific mention is made of the health of the infant in regards to infanticide or exposure until the work of Augustine. In his early fifth-century treatise City of God, Augustine states that every human being, regardless of any "peculiar … power, part, or quality of his nature," is part of God's good and diverse creation. In other works, Augustine states that God ordains the life of all infants who are born so that all life, "irrespective of the circumstances of their conception or their physical or mental condition," should be preserved and protected. Augustine likewise argues that, while people might be offended by the "deformity" of an individual human being, they are still a vital component of God's creation and part of his "design." Thus, according to Nicole Kelley, "By arguing that even seemingly imperfect bodies reveal their Creator's benevolence and infallibility, Augustine invites his Christian readers to view deformed individuals, including deformed children, as intentional and valuable parts of God's creation."
Augustine is unique in his presentation of the inherent value of deformed infants, as we have no evidence for other discussions regarding this issue within the first five centuries of the Common Era. Nevertheless, concern for the welfare of deformed infants "may be surmised" from a number of factors.
First, the early church openly condemned the practices of infanticide and exposure, despite the fact it was a socially acceptable practice throughout the Graeco-Roman world. While they did not specifically address the plight of infants with physical deformities, they did vehemently oppose the general practices of infanticide and exposure based on the belief that God created all people in his image, and thus each human is imbued with an inherent value. In comparison to the Graeco-Roman world, which generally considered one's worth to be based on the value of the contribution one could make to the greater community, the early Christians promoted the idea of inherent value that came from being created in the image of God. As Gary Ferngren summarises, "In their blanket condemnation of exposure the Christians implicitly affirmed the right of even the defective to live."
Second, the church responded to the practices of infanticide and exposure through their care of exposed infants. From the earliest days of the Christian church, Christians collected funds for distribution to the poor and sick. As part of their concern for the vulnerable members in their community, the early Christians acted to protect exposed infants. This was done through the development of hospitals with designated sections for foundlings and through the later development of orphanages that would house and care for foundlings as well as for infants whose parents had died. Indeed, the Christian church gained such a reputation for their care of exposed infants that churches became the established site for abandoning infants.
Finally, the response of the early church can also be seen from a political and legal perspective. Whereas imperial law "neither penalized nor promoted the abandonment of newborn infants," in 331 CE the Christian Roman emperor Constantine revoked the ruling that allowed exposed infants to be reclaimed by their parents as a means of deterring those who were exposing their infants and reclaiming them at a later stage. Exposure continued to be an issue throughout the empire, however, and in 374 CU Constantine's successor, Valentinian I, passed down the first law requiring parents to rear their children. Valentinian I also decreed that the killing of an infant was a capital offence. Eventually, in 529 CE, another Christian Roman emperor, Justinian I, "overturned all previous regulations on the status of expositi." Henceforth, "all abandoned infants, whatever their status at birth, were to be considered freeborn" and could no longer be kept as slaves.
Gosbell returns to the modern world to talk about how a culture has already emerged in the West of making "normality" an idol to whom abnormal infants must be sacrificed:
This pressure on mothers to birth only "normal," healthy neonates often comes from medical professionals, with growing numbers of obstetricians pushing for mothers to become financially liable for their infants' health needs, forfeiting any government subsidies toward the child's health costs if they knowingly give birth to an infant with some form of disability.
However, this pressure on mothers is also growing in the general population. I met a woman recently who has a five-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome. I was stunned to hear how many times she has found herself being abused in the streets by strangers, with comments such as, "There are tests available so children like that don't have to be born." In this perspective, it is the responsibility of the mother to ensure they bear only infants who will not become a "burden" on our society. If, however, such an infant is born, it is occasionally deemed the responsibility of medical professionals, but most often the blame resides wholly with the mother.
Read it all. This is what it means to live in a post-Christian society. This is where we are, and this is where we are headed. If we don't repent as a culture and civilization, we are facing a hideous darkness, and rivers of blood.
A while back, the bioethicist Charles Camosy went on Tucker Carlson Tonight to talk about how Canada is rushing towards a law allowing the state to euthanize certain minors without parental permission. Both Carlson and Camosy said we should be hesitant to invoke the Nazi comparison, but what else is there to say about a state that uses euthanasia to rid itself of the "problem" of the weak and vulnerable?
Get daily emails in your inbox
UPDATE: A reader writes:
The cited author is quite incorrect in dating early Christianity's infanticide prohibition to as late as Augustine. As you noted straight off, it goes back to Jewish proscriptions, and was always a Christian tenent.
The Didache (c.60AD-100AD) states "And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, Exodus 20:13-14 you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, Exodus 20:15 you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten."
Likewise the Epistle of Barnabas (c.75AD-130AD) states, "You shall love your neighbour more than your own soul. You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shall you destroy it after it is born."
There are quite a few other earliest Christian sources, but these will suffice enough, I think.