What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Dutch to the Elderly: Just Die Already

I hasten to add to my title that the law I refer to in it has not yet been passed, though a petition in its favor has gained 100,000 signatures, which will send it to a debate in Parliament. Holland, of course, has an incredibly liberal assisted suicide regime, as Wesley J. Smith has frequently documented. In addition to all manner of legal allowances for assisted suicide for sick people who request it, Holland also has legal post-birth infanticide, and doctors euthanize people (not only infants) without request. The Supreme Court, Smith mentions, has made assisted suicide available to the depressed.

What more could suicide advocates want?

But there's always more. The new law would allow legal assisted suicide to those over the age of seventy who "consider their lives complete." Charming, isn't it? When you consider your life complete, you can just check out.

People love the idea of control. The idea that they should not be able to control their deaths is increasingly unpalatable to people. It does not help that just being old is more and more treated as a disease. I did not really enjoy P.D. James's dystopian novel The Children of Men, but I must admit that this latest legal proposal made me think of the "quietus" in that book, which is exactly this--death for the elderly, just because they are elderly.

(Related post)

Comments (13)

And here I thought Soylent Green was science fiction.

People love the idea of control. The idea that they should not be able to control their deaths is increasingly unpalatable to people.

They also believe that the right to vote is synonymous with freedom. I believe Zippy would call this the "free and equal supermen" mentality.

God forbid that they accept the fact that they are powerless humans as that, combined with secularism, would result in them having something to truly despair about.

I'm afraid that such laws are just the logical consequence of the Left's 'tendency to reduce all morality to conflict resolution between self-interested preference satisfiers', as Prof. Feser puts it in his TLS. The idea that the essence of ethics lies in the satisfaction of preferences is deeply entrenched in contemporary Western academia, and the truth of this idea seems to be presupposed by much of Western Europe's public policy. (Or so it seems to me.) Furthermore, I see no reason to think that this kind of thinking will change any time soon; unlike the situation in America, Britain and Western Europe seems to lack anything resembling a Christian right - no widespread phenomenon of Christian home-schooling moms here, I'm afraid, Lydia. And to make matters worse, I don't subscribe to the idea that there's some sort of natural tipping point at which the average European will say 'enough is enough; now you've taken things too far'. Once the average citizen has accepted the aforementioned principle as true, it's just a matter of the state acclimatizing him to the consequences (be that necrophilia, beastiality, killing grandma, or whatever).

I'm afraid your pessimistic predictions are right, Tony W. I've never subscribed to the "tipping point" theory myself. What's interesting to see is the "choice devours itself" dynamic. Why, for example, aren't more Dutch people up in arms about the people who are killed without request? Shouldn't this be terribly upsetting as a possible violation of their free choice, their "preferences"? What if that isn't what they would have wanted for themselves? And doesn't this extension to all elderly people mean that there will be a concomitant extension of "killing without request"? That this doesn't worry them tells me that choice was never really the endgame. The endgame was that people should make the choices that the Anointed think they _should_ make. But people are really in denial about this.

I hate to bring this down to the level of ethnicity and its idiosyncrasies, but having had a great deal of exposure to many enthnicities in my life I have noticed, regarding the far northern European countries via their American cousins, that there is a certain predisposition to "a place for everything and everything in its place." There is very little patience for the very used, worn, or old. I really am at a loss to explain this tactfully, but living in the Chicago area, surrounded by certain folks of certain ethnicities, I have come to the conclusion that this compulsion to have all of life "ordered" can result in a loss of compassion for the ill, infirmed, and elderly. It is not so much a problem for the American cousins so far because of the conservative nature of the churches related to these folks, but in Europe the church has abandoned its first love and ceased to be the salt and light in society.
In contrast, I am not sure what the view of euthansia is in Ireland, but you cannot be with the Irish, here or there, for very long without noticing how laid back they are about their surroundings including whether or not those surroundings are being trampled on by the many children that seem to be everywhere. I do believe things are changing, but at this point the predominant sentiment remains, "It is what it is". The atmosphere surrounding the Irish is always very relaxed whereas the atmosphere surrounding the Nordics is about keeping all things ordered and under control.

I am not an academic, but I spend a great deal of time in social circumtances that give me insight to different ethnicities and Christian denominations.

Gina, that's a very interesting observation. I was in Europe--in Leuven, Belgium--for the first time this past summer, and what struck me was a sense of run-down-ness and disorder. Specifically, the graffiti. Here was this beautiful little European town out in the country not far from Brussels, with all these picturesque old buildings, and many street signs and plenty of walls and such were just _covered_ with graffiti. (Some of it saying, "9/11 was an inside job," by the way.) It was the opposite of orderly, but no one seemed to notice or do anything about it. Now, this shocked me, because I had always thought of Europeans in very much the way you say--as very orderly.

I'm wondering--very conjectural, here--whether, as Europeans lose control over real matters of law and order, things like crime and so forth, they are becoming more and more control-freakish in areas that they regard as solely within their own control. So, to put it bluntly, they can't stop the gangs from rampaging around, but they are by golly going to satisfy their desire for control and order by deciding on the day of their own death.

Dear Lydia, with regard to the matter of 'choice devouring itself', I suppose the left-winger could argue that he is interested in choice, but that the only choices that are relevant are rational choices. Here I'm thinking of Peter Singer's remark that we are only disposed to think of bestiality as immoral because of some 'yuk factor'; for this reason anti-bestiality preferences should not be taken into account when we do our utilitarian calculus, as they are by nature irrational. Of course this just raises the question of why we ought to favour some preferences and not others (here one thinks of Mill's appeal to higher and lower pleasures); but it looks as if, in practice, the only preferences that end up in the calculus (or whatever) are those which an atheistic, scientistic left-winger would have.

Dear Gina, I think there's a good deal of truth in that. It seems to me that those nations affected most by the industrial revolution have developed a technocratic society and ethics (think of Britain and Germany in the nineteenth century, as well as parts of the U.S., in particular the eastern seaboard; but remember that much of Ireland remained quite rural well into the twentieth century). Technocratic societies, as G. P. Grant noted, are interested in maximising utility and bending the material world for the material benefits of mankind - in short 'techne'. This view of the world leaves little room for the good as classically conceived by Western Christendom - and little room for those who are, supposedly, neither the cause of pleasure in others, nor the recipients of it. (It's noteworthy that Ireland seems to have become more liberal since its economic up-turn in the '90s.)

Dear Lydia again, fighting crime would require, I think, a belief in the retributive nature of punishment; something of which many European officials are not convinced.

I'm wondering--very conjectural, here--whether, as Europeans lose control over real matters of law and order, things like crime and so forth, they are becoming more and more control-freakish in areas that they regard as solely within their own control.

You mean that when a kid doesn't have the guts to stand up to a bully, he overcompensates by picking on someone weaker? I'd say you are spot on. So there's Europe, little better than a Delian League protectorate of the US, lacking the conviction to identify criminals and lacking the fortitude to dialog with lead. So they throw their weight around against people who are the least of their problems: the law-abiding.

That's all absolutely true, Scott. But I was thinking still more in this context of becoming hyper-controlling about the self. "I can't make my sweet little European burg tidy and picturesque like it used to be, but I can tidy myself away when I get old and infirm. That much lies within my control." Then that idea to tidy away the old and infirm gets generalized: They _ought_ to want to be tidied away. And we end up with coercion. Which I guess is related back to your comment about picking on the weak after all!

I just want to clarify that I do not think that any one race or nationality is superior to another. Each nationality has its own character quirks that can either be annoying or endearing when not taken to an extreme. When any negative character trait, whether in an individual or an entire nation, is not modified by the infusion of the Christian belief system, strange things can happen. Even though I am 1/2 Irish, I by no means find my ancestors without blemish. There is plenty of brutality and violence in every corner of the world and in my own family/community.

Lydia, I am surprised to hear that about Belgium, but in 2003 when I visited Piacenza in northern Italy (visiting the hometown of the other half of the family), I was surprised and saddened by the same thing. There was graffiti everywhere on buildings that were hundreds of years old. What a disappointment. And if I remember correctly, there was graffiti in certain parts of Florence also, although I think they managed to control it in the main part of the tourist area around the Duomo. At least the Medici buildings were clean:-)I remember feeling thankful for Mayor Daley and the attention Chicago gives to its downtown area.

I just wonder if the gang activity has overwhelmed certain European countries at a time when political correctness has taken root parallel to European guilt over its sins of the past, ie. the persecution of the Jews and collaboration with Hitler. I am not basing this on anything other than conjecture. Also, the acceptance of euthanasia, in an effort to keep the floor swept clean, is probably most acceptable to the natives of those countries who represent the upper middle class (if there is one)as opposed to the gangs which I am guessing are populated by immigrant youth. So, as the native Dutch or whomever continue to euthanize and fail to procreate like many European countries, they will commit cultural suicide. It's funny how that works.

Tony - I agree with your observations on Europe and the technocratic society, and yes, Ireland has taken a huge turn toward liberalism since the prosperity of the 90's. I live in a Dutch community, worship at an evangelical church that includes many Dutch, but I was raise Catholic and my family's cultural activities have taken us deep into the heart of the immigrant Irish community and to Ireland itself. Many of these immigrants seem conflicted about the changes in Ireland. While they are generally happy that their families there are much better off than ever before(mind you this has all changed dramatically in the last 18 months, but that's another post), they have lamented the changes that prosperity has brought. The quaintness of the country, the humility that comes with being thankful for the few blessings that were experienced, and the community that existed in small towns because they didn't have the means to travel far and wide were all gone in the blink of the 90's. However, that may all be reversing now. My friends shake their heads at how bad it is over there and once again, even though these friends are experiencing their own financial difficulties (many are home builders), they will probably be sending money back to the remaining family members.

I'm going too far off subject again.

Dear Gina, don't worry about the ethnicity thing; I understood your point clearly. And it's sad to hear of the way things have been going in Ireland.

"Charming, isn't it? When you consider your life complete, you can just check out."

Naturally, we can assume that check-out time will become as 'regulated' for assisted suicide (the new murder) as "only to save the mother's life" became for abortion.

Who said the liberal left is 'progressive?' How barbaric will these fiends become, I ask you?

People are so obsessed over control. Throughout the USA and much of the rest of the western world, it is considered normal to undertake measures to preserve life when people simply "don't consider their life complete."

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.