In-depth (fastidious) analysis of a post-human, anti-human authoritarian act
(+a side of tasteful disinformation).
A.1. Presto, Godwin!
In the worldview of the Nazis, the Jew wasn’t just a mortal enemy; it was seen as some unsightly subhuman, a thing, a disgusting thing.
They rounded up millions of pacific, respectable and productive people, mostly (at least in the West) from the well-off, and (when they weren’t killing them immediately) they let those poor souls wither away in concentration camps, as terminally-ill, bony shadows of humans, fighting for their life like scared rats, begging for a morsel of moldy food.
That’s when the self-appointed Übermenschen (the Superhumans), the “Aryans”, could triumphantly point out the real nature of those subhuman beings (Untermenschen): “See? Can’t you notice how wretched, filthy, miserable and pathetic they are?”
They created the dirty Jews they despised in their imaginary world.
It’s a well know fact that one of the first steps in the development of their abominable plan in Nazi Germany was the introduction of euthanasia for the unfit (mentally or physically handicapped people).
Fast forward to today’s enlightened United Kingdom.
In my recent article discussing the fundamentally uncontrollable nature of euthanasia, inevitably progressing towards the abyss of inhuman abuse, I used the example of Charlie Gard, the gravely ill infant at the epicenter of an international legal and media battle between his parents (supported by millions of pro-lifers) and the authorities (doctors and judges) who wanted to end his life, condemning him to a (hypocritically undeclared) form of euthanasia for the sin of having a presumably low quality of life.
As you probably know, Charlie lost the fight; unexpectedly, his parents gave up. They would have lost in court anyway.
The system killed him.
They did it in a secret location, apparently in order to add salt on the wound of the family, that got even their last request, to let him die at home surrounded by his family, denied.
A feisty little man, he had already survived longer than expected for someone affected by his extremely rare disease (Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome or MDDS, with the specific, rarer and more severe variant called RRM2B), when the doctors at GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) decided to give up on him, providing only basic care and the necessary nutrition+ventilation, despite contacts with an international specialist on mitochondrial diseases (Michio Hirano) who proposed to administer a new, recently revised experimental therapy.
That was back in March. For months the legal proceeding initiated by GOSH saw the parents constantly stonewalled (in their attempts to obtain permission to take their child to another hospital and start the new therapy) by a system that was hell bent on terminating the child.
Notice how much time was wasted, for a disease that could kill you in a month or so: in January the family crowdfunded the sum necessary to get a treatment in a US clinic. On February 24 the hospital initiated their legal quest and asked the judge, Mr. Justice Nicholas Francis, to rule in favor of their decision to let the baby die of suffocation.
Francis upheld their position. Various appeals to other courts couldn’t change the initial ruling.
At the end of July, when the international pressure forced the GOSH doctors to interact with renown experts coming from abroad, including Hirano himself, reporting of what protocols they employed and what exams they
performed failed to perform, a sad reality emerged.
You had it coming, in fact I feared this would happen: since they refused to let someone else take care of the patient for months, Charlie’s muscles were now compromised, and the consensus was that it was probably too late for the new experimental therapy to have an effect.
Through their stubborn inaction and self-righteous decision to fight the parents’ rights tooth and nail (counting on the complicity of a top-down paternalistic legal system) in the name of a false compassion, those doctors made sure his condition became irreversible, thus apparently justifying this execution.
Euthanasia proponents can easily claim victory: “See? With such a clinical picture, the best you could do for him was to let him go, as they did. You were irrationally fighting for an impossible solution…”
See the analogy? They stalled the case enough to reach this stage, a pitiful state that in their eyes justifies their initial decision to euthanize the baby.
Of course it’s just an analogy. Most concentration camp victims were in perfect health before being captured, while Charlie was going to live a short and very limited life anyway. Furthermore, Nazis committed mass murder of entire populations, here we’re dealing with competent physicians who routinely save lives. Let’s grant that this is just a fringe case, not the norm of the GOSH hospital.
And yet, this episode highlights an important shift in mentality. As of late we’re witnessing multiple unchallenged voices insisting that abortion has been around for too much time for doctors to pretend they aren’t prepared to accept it as a fact of life. Hence –the reasoning goes- at least those who graduate in medicine from now on must perform abortions on demand (and, by extension, euthanasia) without any hesitation or moral qualms.
Creating a new generation of caregivers that is ideologically motivated to kill a patient when deemed opportune, i.e. doing the exact opposite of what physicians were supposed to do since Ancient Greece. Scary.
We must make it clear for everyone: this is about the self-validating judgement of those who are bestowed the power to kill, who gain through positive reinforcements the impression that their actions are deeply humane and there’s no denying that those they terminated, well, they deserved it.
Becoming like the Nazis is not at all a matter of enjoying sheer cruelty and openly choosing evil. Those would be movie Nazis.
It’s instead about doing something objectively cruel and callously disregarding the value of human life, while subjectively feeling like upstanding public servants building a better humanity.
So much for the triumph of personal emotions over time-tested human values.
A.2. The real crux of the problem
Charlie’s degenerative illness was devastating, no one denies that. But the reason for which they insisted on letting him choke to death is deliberately kept murky.
There are basically three aspects to it:
1- he may have felt a lot of pain;
2- it seems his brain function was already impaired, possibly to the point of not even being conscious;
3- the effects of cellular degradation were inevitably causing various organs to malfunction, notably the muscles.
Everybody in the media, and even the parents of the baby themselves, at the decisive moment of the trial focused on point #3. As if human beings could be put to death just because they’re paralyzed and deaf or otherwise incapable of conducting a semblance of a normal life.
Once you degrade your reasoning to the “quality of life” imperative, there’s no right to life anymore; by extension, there are no human rights at all. At best, you can hope you won’t get caught in the grinder.
Someone decides if they perceive your life as worth living or not.
It’s not necessary to believe in a transcendent reality to want to protect human life as an absolute value.
Forbidding the killing of fringe case patients isn’t about them at all, it’s about the power to treat humans as disposable objects; the threshold between full citizen and human carcass in need of a lethal injection is movable: you can’t set an objective standard.
As for #1 and #2, they are almost mutually exclusive! Besides, modern medicine gives us plenty of drugs meant to remove the pain, not the patient.
The GOSH doctors gave Charlie painkillers just to be on the safe side, because they couldn’t tell if he was feeling pain or not.
As for the brain damage, when in July international pressure finally put a huge spotlight on the case they had to reveal that since the legal proceeding began, they had performed only one EEG and one brain MRI; their (contested) assessment of Charlie’s condition wasn’t as clear cut as it was made to be. There was no conclusive evidence about the extent of Charlie’s neurological issues. Furthermore, his parents insisted that he reacted to their presence even in his last days. That he was conscious.
Dr. Hirano, discussing June MRI, insisted that such scan did not necessarily indicate structural damage to the brain.
Human brain’s plasticity and the unique nature of Charlie’s disease (he was essentially the only known patient ever with his specific condition and surviving for months) mean that no one could categorically predict his future mental abilities, although his prospects were dismal.
But the core issue is: was he brain-dead (i.e. our best definition of dead)? No one even suggested that. Then there’s no justification for what happened. They killed him, despite no legal framework for justifying euthanasia.
A fundamental precautionary principle: better risk protecting the life of someone who’ll never regain consciousness again than getting used to kill people when we strongly suspect they aren’t conscious anyway.
A.3. Jurisdiction? That’s not the issue.
Try to think outside of the box for a moment. Let’s say, for the sake of the argument, that the State has a legitimate case taking the matter in its hands.
Just as some countries put into law the principle that certain vaccinations are obligatory, because the benefit for the community outweighs the personal liberty of the individual to refuse a beneficial treatment, they could also require patients that have nothing to lose to participate in experimental therapy programs. It’s a step forward, granted, because it may involve a sort of compulsory exposure to suffering; and yet it’s in the same direction.
Even a society that doesn’t value human life per se could rationally consider prudent to order people asking for euthanasia to keep fighting instead, to help the development of new cures.
The fact that the authorities do the exact opposite indicates that their decisions have nothing to do with individual rights or the common good, they’d rather express an ideology that wants to devalue human beings as fungible pawns.
The outcome? People are pushed to learn to desire euthanasia, while advancements in medicine, if this trend continues unabated, are expected to get quite rare, since most patients and hospitals won’t consider the option of fighting beyond what level of care was already known to pre-euthanasia era science and still available.
(Just to be clear: I’m all in favor of obligatory vaccinations, yet I’m against pushing people to participate in experimental therapies.)
Some euthanasia advocates insisted that “Children Do Not Belong To Their Parents”, conveniently forgetting that people like Victoria Butler-Cole (we’ll discuss her role in the next chapter) consistently fight (and win) in the name of killing the patient, both stripping the parental rights of those who want to save their children and empowering parents who want euthanasia for a child that had a chance according to doctors.
Moreover, if it’s true that children don’t belong to their parents, how does defining them, de facto, as a property of the state, represent an improvement?
Jurisdiction issues (including the distinction between local, state and federal prerogatives) are a distraction, usually to avoid dealing with delicate matters, thus preserving one’s palatability to a wider audience.
The truth is, two distinct fundamental rights have been infringed upon in Charlie’s case.
i. the state taking the life of an innocent citizen;
ii. taking away the right of the parents to make decisions for their child.
Through the extraordinary claim that sometimes not killing someone means harming him, a dangerously well-meaning provision, originally intended for the community to take a minor away from the control of abusive, horrible parents is morphing into a sort of license to abduct children from non-compliant, non-progressive families.
But the most important abuse here remains the idea that euthanasia should be taken for granted and a judge can decide whether or not your life is so miserable that you should be killed.
B. The actors in this tragedy
♦ Doctors, as I said, are becoming extremely powerful: most people nowadays eventually put their lives in their hands; often a doctor has the opportunity to administer a lethal dose of a legit drug, for instance a painkiller like morphine, without leaving any objective trace of his will to terminate the patient.
And yet at the same time they’re supposed to follow rules and guidelines that push them in the wrong direction.
Administrative managers, bean counters and lawyers seem to have taken the lead. Good doctors are shooed away. Compliant, cold yes men take their place.
Consider this article reporting on a legal battle that is underway within GOSH between consultants (doctors) and the hospital’s management (cutting costs, thus harming patients due to lack of personnel).
A consultant involved in the no confidence move said: “The motto of the hospital is ‘The child first and always.’ Increasingly, the reality has become ‘The child last and never.'”
Even the minute details of the Charlie’s trial (let’s call it as such, at least once, even if it wasn’t technically a trial at all) highlighted an obstinate determination, on the part of GOSH doctors, to stop any attempt to reverse their decision. Consider for instance how in 2016 they neglected to perform a tracheotomy on the baby, preferring a more invasive and temporary solution, which made moving him from the hospital problematic, giving them one more excuse to deny the family the possibility to bring him home, at least to die peacefully.
Their legal actions (and medical inaction) tell us about what they really cared for. Once their position was known and internationally attacked by pro-life activists, the sooner Charlie could die, the better for their reputation.
Imagine their worst case scenario: Charlie legally permitted to get treatment in the US, subsequently living a few years as a semi-paralyzed boy, in constant need of medical attention, yet in some fashion capable of communicating gratitude and love for his parents. That would have proven them wrong! Gasp! Wrong in their conviction that certain patients shouldn’t receive care (wasting precious resources) based on their subjective judgement…
Before you try to downplay my concern over the transformation of the medical profession, as if I were just exaggerating, consider how hospices are becoming the easy way out, to hasten the death of unsuspecting patients away from prying eyes.
Or read about this case from Canada: a doctor suggesting to a mother that she lets them perform an “assisted suicide” on her daughter who’s gravely ill. The daughter, 25 and perfectly capable of understanding what the physician was saying in her presence, was traumatized. And yet for the ineffable doctor, the problem was with the mother, being “selfish” (sic!) for not wanting to kill her!
This is a diabolical revolution. What else do we need before mounting a forceful reaction in the name of our humanity and our civilization?
♦ The European Court of Human Rights Judges in my opinion are still the worst offenders, the actors that deserve the harshest judgment. You had the responsibility to defend a fundamental principle, that the life of the innocent cannot be arbitrarily seized by the state.
Saying from a position of authority, basically: “This guy has no quality of life in our view, therefore we order him to be killed” is a crime against humanity.
Once you’ve established this principle, it doesn’t matter which parameters you choose to measure this elusive quality of life, or what is ruled in a specific case like Charlie’s.
You’ve created a precedent. Which is a major problem with how the judiciary power can rule unopposed over us subjects.
But the ECHR had the -undeserved- responsibility to set the tone for an entire continent.
♦ Justice Nicholas Francis gives me the creeps. He’s the real protagonist here: it sounds like he enjoyed taking center stage and lecturing everybody about how he’s the law in this case. As we’ll see briefly.
The UK Court of Appeals and Supreme Court represent other actors that in essence did nothing but uphold Francis’ decision.
♦ Attorney Victoria Butler-Cole, representing in court the appointed legal guardian of Charlie, is a prominent pro-euthanasia activist. Please appreciate the classy move: they (a team of judges) nominated a guardian as the person responsible for deciding about the future of Charlie, in lieu of the parents. Justice Francis protected the guardian through anonymity. Thus you can’t attack Butler-Cole because she has no direct responsibility, she’s just technically doing her job representing someone else. You can’t confront the faceless person behind her either.
Through this opaque appointment process they subtracted a crucial element, a third party artificially inserted in the judgement, from any kind of scrutiny. Not that this is an unusual procedure.
Answering to no one while making life and death decisions for a stranger.
At any rate, it’s clear that the guardian is in complete agreement with Butler-Cole, hence we could treat them as a team and draw conclusions based on Ms.Cole stance.
Doing away with the hypocrisy of considering justice defined by the arbitrary will of those in power, let’s judge the soundness of this appointment. There are 2 possibilities: either
- they nominated someone at random, without knowing his/her opinion and expertise on the quality of life vs. sanctity of life diatribe, landing by chance on a militant advocate for the sweet release of death, or
- they appointed a pro-euthanasia guardian on purpose.
Case #1 doesn’t make any sense: how could they consider flipping a coin an improvement over the authority of the parents?
It must be #2 then. In other words, Francis and his colleagues overruled the parents, taking control of Charlie’s fate, because they disagreed with them on the possibility of performing euthanasia. Which is illegal in the UK for now, but can be performed anyway through a formal trick (passive euthanasia).
Therefore they chose a guardian sharing their vision.
This means that you had the CAFCASS High Court Team, Judge Francis, the GOSH doctors and the legal guardian+Victoria Butler-Cole all on the same side, all unshakably convinced before the hearing began that a child in Charlie’s condition had to be killed.
Charlie’s parents, alone (+pro bono attorneys), on the other side.
All those actors were just going through the motions, pretending the judgement wasn’t just theater. It was theater after all. Or theatre, if you will.
You shouldn’t be surprised that appeal judges didn’t reverse the ruling then. There’s a shared culture.
Ms.Cole here represents not just a militant harbinger of death, hell bent on creating a future world where a majority of the population would die by euthanasia while they’re still somewhat healthy.
She also embodies the sinister hand of the state: bureaucracy, social workers, legal teams and the like, taking away children from their family, obviously all done in their best interest.
A double whammy: the blind power of authorities you can’t stop, the fictitious expertise of professionals who made the right studies, i.e. graduated in “Progressive-something-studies” from “Weallthinkalike University”.
Taking away your children was once intended as an extraordinary move on the part of the state, meant to save those innocent lives from a deeply dysfunctional family.
It’s becoming an extra opportunity to give ideologues the ability to reshape society, declaring traditional values a source of abuse or neglect.
♦ Charlie’s parents, Chris and Connie. I don’t want to pass any judgement on them.
The sad reality is that they lost also in part because they accepted the logic of their adversaries.
It’s human and quite understandable: they clinged to the hope that a new therapy could give Charlie the opportunity to get better, for instance being able to move and interact.
They weren’t challenging the principle that their child’s best interest was to die, if the alternative was immobility, seizures and other medical complications.
Before we jump to conclusions we’d need to walk in their shoes. They were brave and combative facing a difficult situation; more importantly they were ready to sacrifice years of their lives to tend to a gravely ill child, while many people nowadays abort a mildly defective baby without a second thought.
You simply can’t expect two normal people caught in a terrible storm to act like bioethics scholars.
But yes, they fumbled.
♦ Other voices.
Some prominent public figures and a multitude of thousands, maybe millions of people (dubbed Charlie’s Army) made their voices heard and at least prevented this execution to go unnoticed, even though they couldn’t stop it.
I already wrote about the ambiguous stance adopted by members of the Catholic clergy discussing Charlie’s case and euthanasia in general. This is highly relevant not just because I am a Catholic, as the Gard family also happens to be.
The Catholic Church is the most important independent voice that could (and did, until very recently) defend human life from conception till death, without compromise. Its current crisis marks the nadir point of Western Civilization.
A dishonorable mention goes to Westminster’s Archbishop, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, reacting to the execution by thanking the GOSH doctors and defending their professional and humane approach to the case.
As I said in prior articles, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is hard at work demolishing Vatican institutions and didn’t miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity, commenting on the case (as the go-to Church representative) in the least straightforward and coherent possible way, basically not taking sides. As the National Review puts it, through a compelling analysis of Paglia’s words that sadly misses the point but is spot on in denouncing Vatican decadence:
I’m not surprised, really. The Vatican has lately found itself assimilating to the bourgeois morality that makes European life spiritually desolate. […]
If the Church cannot stand for the family against the courts, who will? This is worse than a missed opportunity
A few words need to be spent on Pope Francis himself, because he both intervened publicly in favor of Charlie but also gave increasing power, in the curia and elsewhere, to bishops like Paglia: unworthy of their habit, deserters who are clearly trying to destroy the traditional teaching of the Church.
Indirectly he gave the Bambino Gesù hospital and the Vatican diplomacy the green light to try and save Charlie. Directly he tweeted twice on the subject.
The revealing detail, to understand Pope Bergoglio’s stance, is the contrast between the two tweets. At first, when international pressure from the faithful demanded a reaction, he tweeted in the most generic and opaque fashion, citing the defense of human life. Then, when Charlie had already died, he named him directly.
I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) 28 luglio 2017
It’s OK, we could even argue it’s more appropriate if a pope refrains from seeking a direct involvement in a specific case.
But you can’t act prudent and allusive in a statement, like the hieratic diplomat Pius XII facing the threatening power of Hitler, then after a few days (and a defeat for the cause of life) speak explicitly on the same subject, like a meek diocesan magazine pundit who wouldn’t dare create a controversy. As if you were pushed to say something Catholic about this dramatic clash of cultures and enjoyed participating in the Media Reaction Game, but didn’t want to risk influencing the outcome.
C.1. Justice Francis and the butchering of the truth
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
At least the Nazis were sincere in their insincerity.
Nowadays the architects of this brave new world are insincere in their sincerity.
Every time I read words uttered by the Honorable Mr Justice Nicholas Francis my blood gets to a boil, because in him the dangers of unfettered judiciary power become palpable.
He has a personal conviction: those in a condition similar to Charlie’s should die. He ruled. Answering to no one.
The problem with the judiciary is that judges have little to no counterbalances to their collective power. In other words, if your legal opinions align with the majority of your colleagues, no one will stop you.
The only thing that could restrain the power of the gavel is a vague sense of decency that a given judge may retain.
The Judiciary Collective, counting on the support of mainstream media, seized the prerogative to redefine reality, introducing new standards and values, often beyond what was put into law by the legislative power. Their secret? Playing with words. Which is the weasely way of lying.
Case in point: the 1989 English Children’s Act wasn’t dealing with, let alone suggesting, the idea of hastening the death of a sick child and doing so against the will of the parents, but it can be used in this fashion thorough a creative interpretation of expressions like “best interest” and “harm”.
If your only constraint is the internal logic of your written judgement, with no external authority entrusted with the duty of revising what you wrote, then as long as you don’t overdo it, you can get away with anything. A bit of verbal gymnastics and the ability to redefine the meaning of words means you can literally justify any decision.
Take for instance the fact that Francis’ bias was self-evident, hence the attorney representing Charlie’s parents tried to ask for the case to be transferred to another judge.
Francis was unperturbed: he explained that he was absolutely objective in his examining the case, therefore no change was necessary. In other words, he judged his very own judgement and proudly declared that it was impeccable. And the system lets him define his reality in this fashion.
C.1.2. Francis insisted that he was basing his ruling on “evidence”.
Since the whole point would be that there’s no provision for killing gravely ill citizens (and there shouldn’t be), how could a slanted interpretation of a sloppy work of data collection about the health status of a patient be relevant?
Simple. Francis was “willing” to change his decision if extraordinary evidence was given that the child’s prognosis was way better than initially anticipated. I’m not making this up.
Talk about reversing the burden of proof! You’re worthy of physical elimination unless your lawyers prove beyond reasonable doubt that you’re not that ill and/or a therapy may help greatly. Which is quite the challenge, since as for the current conditions, Charlie’s parents had to find evidence contradicting the very doctors that had him
hostage under their care; as for the therapy, how could you prove the efficacy of something that has never been tried before?
Besides, even assuming Francis had not his mind already set, what were they supposed to prove? How high do you set the bar for “Ok, at this level it’s in your best interest to live”?
Once being put to death is found acceptable and even somehow beneficial, you’re at the mercy of a subjective judgement.
C.2. The futile treatment canard
Some people may retort: “Oh, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. This is not euthanasia, this is about inappropriate and futile overtreatment: we should accept our fate and let it go, instead of going to extreme measures to keep someone alive regardless of the consequences.”
Overtreatment? Really? This is a running sore, a false problem that stumps even valiant bioethicists. Euthanasia and futile overtreatment are not found at different heights on the same scale.
If you don’t define rigorously what a futile and inappropriate treatment is, you’ll end up in the hands of a thousand Judges Francis, arbitrarily ruling over other people’s lives, with a movable goalpost indicating the save/kill threshold.
A respiratory aid is not a treatment; basic life support can’t be taken away; if you can decide the date of death, it’s euthanasia. What? Too much common sense?
I’ll get back to this elusive and crucial topic in a future. Suffice it to say that nowadays overtreatment is the least of our concerns, given the prevalence of a pro-euthanasia worldview, and that futile treatments are a real ethical problem only by means of the various forms of suffering that they may cause.
The deceptive nature of this excuse may be understood considering how the judge refused to allow the experimental therapy to proceed, despite its projected minimal side effects (just rare occurrences of minimal diarrhea). An estimated 10% tentative chance of success wasn’t enough to him. Hirano in a different occasion cited a 11 to 56% chance of improvement though. This is the cutting edge: there are no certainties.
Human will vs. unclear evidence: who do you expect to win?
This is psychology. Since he didn’t want to permit the treatment, facing what was formally unknown he deemed the risk too high, while doctors suggesting this type of cure has essentially no harmful side effects could be ignored; the possibility that the therapy could also benefit the brain was untested but quite doubtful, therefore treated as non-existent and the whole protocol as insufficient; while the worrying brain damage that had already occurred, also doubtful and not quantified at all, assumed as unquestionable and extreme. As for the physical pain, instead of considering it manageable, it was treated as a given; abstract suffering then, which was by definition completely absent here, was always assumed, on the murkiest grounds, absolutely intolerable.
The suffering inflicted through murder by suffocation, irrelevant; the pain (or what else?) caused by the hypothetical accidental mishandling of the ventilator minutes or hours before the euthanasic procedure, completely unacceptable. Thus granting the extra wish to GOSH doctors: denying transfer to the parent’s home of a patient that was in the hands of a nurse at the hospital, but somehow required the services of a certified doctor if brought elsewhere.
If your will points in a precise direction, any evidence supporting your idea is treated as important and solid, while any evidence corroborating the other side’s thesis could be treated as too uncertain, their arguments glossed over.
With this kind of reasoning no one will ever find a cure for cases like this.
As pointed out by my friend Gabriele Marconi (who wrote about the case for the Catholic newspaper La Croce), discussing Hirano’s words in defense of the idea of trying (I’m slightly paraphrasing his words): we don’t know why Charlie was still alive, if due to a weaker form of the variant, to a specific resilience factor of the baby or to something else. But it was worth it.
We could even presume that by treating him, precisely because of his uniqueness, we could’ve learnt something more about the syndrome and his variant. Treating him we could have cured others in a future, and this didn’t imply abusing him anyway.
Gabriele also added, discussing the choice of GOSH doctors not to perform a tracheotomy (a standard procedure even for less serious cases), preferring intubation despite its being a temporary, invasive solution (the same goes also for hydration and feeding):
how come the precautionary principle is promptly invoked in order to move public opinion to a new and opposite form of pity, but it’s not invoked when there’s an objective opportunity to improve Charlie’s well-being?
C.2.2. The result is factually worse than what was prevented.
Was all this excruciating legal battle about Charlie or not? Because if it was, the outcome was terrible: supposing (as they insist) that the poor boy needed death as a form of liberation, the whole process had him captive for an additional 6 months, in their view suffering in vain; in essence, reproducing the worst case scenario of the experimental therapy failing! Minus freedom, minus the therapy. Plus the extra anguish for his parents and relatives, feeling betrayed and helpless facing the blind power of the state. And this disaster is just the assessment of what happened if seen through the eyes of someone who’s in favor of euthanasia!
If instead the whole judiciary ordeal wasn’t about Charlie at all, this means they were willing to inflict suffering on him and his family to obtain an ideological victory: setting a precedent, establishing the principle that the lives of the unfit can be unilaterally terminated by the state.
Even if Charlie had made an imaginary spectacular recovery, being subsequently “pardoned”, the principle would have stayed intact, ready to be applied to other similar cases.
In fact a new battle began to save Alfie Evans, another infant with a mysterious, undiagnosed disease making him comatose, with doctors telling the family they might take legal action to have him killed.
This is not just running away from life; it’s running away from knowledge.
C.2.3. Healthcare costs as a false problem. Or maybe not.
Justice Francis insisted that money has never been a consideration, only the well-being of the child was at stake. This is quite convenient since it was a spontaneous fundraising initiated by the family that took money out of the equation, but how would the system deal with non-exceptional cases, where the treatments are paid through taxes and the number of patients is large? Can you acknowledge healthcare rationing being a sad reality in the UK today?
Realistically, this societal tidal shift is ideological in nature, caused by a diabolic culture of death. But healthcare and retirement costs associated with the lengthening of human life have become a potent incentive for many to further facilitate this self-destructive social revolution. Let’s not kid ourselves.
C.3. More falsehoods from the protagonist of this story
The ineffable Judge Francis made a declaration intended to chastise ignoramuses like yours truly, pretending to weigh in on the delicate subject of his judgement.
It reads like a perfect obfuscation attempt worthy of coming from a ministry of propaganda.
What was all this brouhaha about? The problem to Francis is with… social media!
People share and spread opinions that aren’t corroborated by facts. Chaos ensues.
Realistically: on any topic you may easily find scores of ignorant / superficial / ill-informed people -expressing any opinion and its opposite- saying stupid things and spreading falsehood on social media.
Attacking this social media effect is a cheap distraction.
But it’s expedient if you can get significant support when you pick and choose the targets. Typically only questionable assertions against the mainstream media and the authorities are singled out and taken as a sort of demonstration of the inconsistency of any non-compliant thought.
While in general the opposite is true: those who think as they are told to tend to regurgitate unsubstantiated talking points. Those who question authority need a solid background based on a rational analysis, to deconstruct a cleverly deceptive narrative.
Francis in the aforementioned declaration wants to dispel the absurd notion that Charlie was -in practice- a prisoner of the National Health Service; then proceeds to explain us why keeping him prisoner (and then killing him) was the right thing to do!
What can we say? That it’s OK to arbitrarily keep someone captive and determine his fate, if you represent the law and don’t want to use the word ‘prisoner’?
His justification: parents normally are entrusted with making decisions on behalf of their children, but…
Just occasionally, however, there will be circumstances such as here where a hospital and parents are unable to decide what is in the best interests of a child who is a patient at that hospital.
It is precisely because the hospital does not have power in respect of that child that this hospital makes an application to the court, to an independent judge, for a determination of what is in that child’s best interests.
Splendid! The hospital has no power. The judge is independent. The parents decide almost all the time. Everybody keeps repeating this “child’s best interest” line. And yet they take away your child to kill him. Legally.
It’s easy to pretend to have come up with a solid argument if you carelessly gloss over all the important bits.
- “Occasionally” hides the fact that you had absolutely no justification to deprive those parents of their parental rights, and yet you did.
- Your words say “the hospital does not have power” but in this formal framework they had at least as much power as the parents, in practice even more, stalling any action and keeping the child from being brought to a different hospital.
- “Independent” means arbitrary and unaccountable.
- “Best interest” means you can introduce a novel human right, the right to die, then kill people and pretend you did them a favor. Of course you’re not theoretically entrusted with redefining the foundations of our civilization, but it’s sufficient to avoid saying it out loud.
C.3.2. Reversing the meaning of words.
Judge Francis proudly declares:
In this country children have rights independent of their parents.
as if he were to extol the virtues of civilization to a bunch of savages.
Let’s deconstruct this further deceptive statement.
A human right is something that predates (exists before) the state and ideally shouldn’t be put in the hands of public officials.
Some clear-cut, basic rights may be defined and recognized once and for all, independent of any judgement or opinion. Otherwise an individual should be left alone, defending his rights through the exercise of his will.
A child that cannot express a will is naturally represented by his/her parents. Only under exceptional circumstances, when patently inept parents put the child in clear and grave danger or harm him/her significantly, you could revoke their parental rights. In the name of the basic right to life and personal safety, nothing else.
This is already far from optimal, because it creates a gray area where abusive parents and abusive authorities may overlap.
That’s why when in doubt the right to keep your parents should prevail.
Now in this specific case as I said a new right to die was introduced (also stripping parents that disagree with this idea of their power to decide, based only on their disagreement itself).
An individual that has both a right to live and a right to die, and is counting on a judge to enforce those rights, has no rights at all: the presence of two opposite goals (depending on circumstances) puts him at the mercy of those who call the shots.
The published judgement defines the intervention of the court and the judgement itself as independent and objective. …Because? Maybe because we’re expected to never question the objectivity of such a prestigious institution? It’s axiomatic, that’s it!
The text explicitly refers to the need for the judge to look at the issue from Charlie’s assumed point of view. In other words, empowering Francis’ subjective impressions.
The relevant legal principles which guide the exercise of my discretion are well settled. It is important that I stress that I am not applying a subjective test. I am not saying what I would do in a given situation, but I am applying the law.
Clear as mud. He exercises his discretion and puts himself in the shoes of a patient, but he’s not applying a subjective test. Because the Law.
Here’s a subject (read:underling) whose right to life is non-existent, yet through a bit of oratory is declared to have his full personal rights guaranteed even beyond the authority of his parents!
Guess what: the primary threat to your rights is the state. Here it’s instead assumed to have the capacity to define them, and by consequence protect them.
I couldn’t think of a more perverse twisting of the truth.
How self-delusional to pretend to have reached a more advanced stage of civilization through such callous word games…
D. The earnest obfuscation warriors
Another good example of pro-euthanasia deception comes from this
evil partisan article.
Please excuse my verbosity analyzing the flaws in the mentioned piece, but especially when dealing with grave matters, if it’s worth disputing, it’s worth destroying.
Consider it a paradigmatic example of what is wrong with ideology-infused journalism today.
Charlie Gard: the facts as a title is already framing the scope of the misdirections contained there.
They insisted that:
1. there was no therapy available.
Which is irrelevant since you had no right to kill him anyway, but yes, there was one, and the fact it was experimental is still better than nothing, considering it was expected to have essentially zero downsides, and you’re coming up with creative ways to imagine horrific side effects that you can’t predict (because, remember, for the things we don’t want uncertainty is an opportunity to project nightmare scenarios).
2. Children aren’t property, they don’t belong to their parents.
Which would be indisputable if it wasn’t meant to treat them as a property of the state, as I already illustrated.
3a. Charlie wasn’t killed by the government.
Which is true, it was the judiciary as an independent power, which is worse because there’s no way you can stop their plans.
3b. It wasn’t a death sentence: Charlie died due to MDDS, his rare medical condition, not because of the decision to withdraw artificial ventilation.
This is preposterous. When you know you’re deciding the day someone will die as a direct consequence of your intervention, while he could have lived for an unknown amount of time, how is that not killing?
So there’s this guy who’s diabetic. You take away his insulin and he dies. Who killed him? The coroner will write down ‘diabetes’, is that it?
Hypocrites! You’re like whitewashed tombstones, playing the part of informed and conscientious citizens, enabling evil with your forked tongues.
3c. The Human Rights Act, Article 3 states that:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
and of course, in the words of Charles Arthur, the author of the piece,
Lengthening Charlie Gard’s life without palliative care, without a treatment, is an infringement of his Article 3 rights
Maddening. Not only their argument rests on the assumption that there was no treatment, but Arthur felt appropriate to add the “no palliative care” clause for no reason other than gratuitously strengthening his case.
But the whole defense of the judgement rests on the ability to divert your attention from the part that matters, to focus instead on side issues. Like in a magic show: “watch my right hand!” while the left hand does the trick.
Giving someone air to breathe is treated as equivalent to torture!
This fundamental and unjustifiable leap of logic is kept hidden in the subtext, while the author rants at length about various side issues, including a tirade against famous politicians shamelessly failing to understand the Human Rights Act (!) because they tweeted or spoke against this atrocity.
Reading into an article meant to protect citizens from abuses a justification for the state to declare the continuation of some lives as degrading and unworthy to require a direct action to terminate them!
Sadly, the vast majority of the population isn’t trained to resist to an eloquent argument where a false assumption is treated as fact, so they easily fall for these tricks.
4. It’s not true that the hospital prevented treatment with their obstructionism until it was too late. Because, well… this disease was so terrible and untreatable that there was no hope anyway.
Which is a diversion, we already discussed how the issue is with fundamental rights. But yes, even if Charlie’s future was going to be pitiful anyway, stalling any further action damaged Charlie. Refusing to allow a treatment against the advice of the best experts in the field is inexcusable. That you gave up on a patient wouldn’t be a valid excuse even if you weren’t fighting to have him killed.
That’s it. Those 4 points were meant to seal the truth, through facts, about this case…
That’s the kind of reasoning that is sufficient to dupe us, to justify a degenerative shift in the public perception of ethical matters.
Bonus assertion. Charlie’s parents were too emotional, hence someone else had to take the lead:
when you have a dying child, who’s going to assess your rationality? How?
You damn idiot. Assuming by default that a parent’s judgement cannot be trusted when emotionally involved means that parents could only weigh in on trivial matters, like choosing how to dress their child; matters where there’s no need for a recognized parental responsibility anyway. In other words in your magic world parents should have no real authority whatsoever.
The idea is me : my child = janitor : school.
Although janitors get paid.
E. They think they’re building a better world, they’re just bungling Sorcerer’s Apprentices.
There’s no such a thing as Superhumans (Übermenschen).
Granted, Friedrich Nietzsche was kind of a genius (with a few loose screws) and a precursor to the spirit of the new century. But he’s the father of a disaster.
He had the idea of freeing us from the shackles of religious values, seen as a distraction from worthwhile, earthly goals, in a word: evolution. Sorta.
His new and improved world had to be established through the creation of a superior human being (Übermensch), setting new goals in the name of the love for life itself and the endless possibilities offered to the sophisticated citizens of an advanced civilization.
The sad truth is, once you begin deconstructing human values, running away in horror from our humble animal nature, from the limitations that mark our existence, there’s no end to it. Trying to construct something better, you end up discovering there’s nothing you want to salvage. Raising children becomes vulgar and too burdensome; marriage is just a barbaric institution restricting your liberty; sexuality and identity lose their meaning; earthly pleasures are too imperfect, eventually even sex gives way to synthetic drugs. There’s no point in a life full of pain and suffering. Love of life becomes love of death.
The surgery was a success, the patient is dead.
All the recent social reforms are interconnected. It’s not just euthanasia. You wanted to create Supermen, you end up hating our species.
What really empowers the efforts of our half-learned Masters is this incredible scientific, technological and societal progress, that gave us the illusion to be able to control our lives. To become like Gods (the Original Sin, here again). But means and knowledge can’t help someone lacking a will and a meaningful goal.
Reject God and anything becomes possible. If you’re the new god in town, any act can be described as progressive and compassionate. Killing children is but one example.
It is true that the Nazis weren’t technically the kind of Superhumans Nietzsche had in mind, even if they viewed themselves as such. But you’re responsible for the consequences of what you teach, not for what you imagined and desired. Eugenics, for instance, is implied in the idea of a superhuman. Genocidal racism is just a small step further.
When you’re playing with fire, when you pretend to be able to redefine delicate and foundational concepts that touch on the very nature of human beings -while you know very little beyond your crude aspirations- a catastrophe is inevitable.
Desiring to come up with a plan meant to improve upon humanity makes you functionally blind, not seeing the trees for the forest; those tiny human beings are indistinguishable from ants.
Which is fitting, considering one of the most effective and sinister heralds of the new era, Alfred Charles Kinsey, tearing human sexuality apart through the publication of fabricated studies, was an entomologist.
Well-being, quality of life, compassion, dignity, decorous death, human rights… all those words, plus others, generously poured, like a giant molasses blob, over our discourse to signify something completely alien to their original meaning; sedating, soothing, distracting. Serving the godless god of self-annihilation.
I envy those ideological simpleton that can fixate on a single explanation for everything: the power of greedy capitalists. Refreshing, in a sense, to imagine all our problems are caused by a few evil human beings that would inflict pain on others to put some extra cash in their coffers already bursting at the seams. There you go: you get someone to blame and there’s no need to toil and sweat to learn more about stuff.
I wish things were that simple.
Ideology is a more complicated beast.
Although money plays a role, it’s just a supporting actor. You could have made more money doing the right thing.
People like Francis and Butler-Cole really believe in what they do. They’re convinced that their bias, which is acknowledged only in part, is pushing humanity in the right direction (therefore it’s even OK to show it), while they’re also navigating impeccably through a procedural maze that becomes their habitat.
That’s how Francis and a few leftist websites were speaking (better: ranting!) in favor of the Gards only in relationship to a single detail: that they were denied, through -I’ve been told- spending cuts initiated by Tories, their right to have the state cover their lawyers’ fees.
To put things in perspective, consider that they were represented pro bono, i.e. their lawyers worked for free, as a form of advertising investment for their legal firm (man hours in exchange for massive media coverage). Otherwise the costs would have been significantly north of 1 million.
They re-enacted Kafka’s The Trial, with those two “naive and emotional” working class parents as the butt of the joke, surrounded by an hostile environment filled with professional know-betters. But they were genuinely convinced that in this farce the designated losing side deserved to have millions of taxpayer’s money spent to support their case.
I don’t have the competence to discuss the topic of legal fees and it’s not the matter discussed in my piece. The point is that their -possibly wise- reaction to this side issue shows us the level of willful blindness of public officials that sleep well at night while participating in a dehumanization game.
Playing God. Hiding behind weasel words and formal constructs. Deceiving even themselves. Denying human life an intrinsic value.
That’s what they call justice.
Charlie died a few days short of his first birthday.
The heartbreaking account of his final hours add a few important pieces to the puzzle.
i. Despite Charlie’s parents emotional involvement, which prevents them from objectively assessing the behavior of the GOSH doctors, Connie stated that
Charlie was the most stable child in intensive care. There was no evidence he was in pain or suffering, so he hardly needed to see a doctor. That was part of the problem — being told by doctors who rarely saw Charlie that he didn’t respond when we knew he did respond to us.
They were also shocked seeing Dr.Hirano’s impeccable professional image vilified by GOSH.
ii. Although they were denied their request to take Charlie home during his final hours, with the excuse that the necessary intensive care equipment wouldn’t fit through their door (!), we now have a photo of them taking the infant in a stroller, for a short walk in the park adjacent to the hospice where he was killed, with minimal equipment required.
(Consider also how moving the child to another structure suddenly wasn’t a problem, if the reason was having him killed in a different location.)
It seems in these cases those in power are determined to prevent an accidental death: any precaution, even distressing to the family, should be taken to guarantee that the patient will die on their terms and as a direct consequence of their action, not a moment too soon. Under the pretense of an orderly and dignified death.
I find this idea diabolical. The ultimate sick joke in the name of “not really killing him”.
iii. During his last 12 minutes without the ventilator, Charlie opened his eyes. He struggled more than expected before suffocating. He was resilient. It really seems he could have survived for a significant amount of time, had he been given air to breathe and nutrition, even without special treatments.
We have no way of assessing his brain damage, but let’s discuss the most basic elements of consciousness, since it’s reasonable to agree that he was at least partially conscious and awake while he was dying.
Recognizing your parents, sensing their presence and their love is one of the most basic instincts for a baby, already present at birth and further developed -at the very least- during the initial months of his life, when he had no symptom of MDDS. Charlie died feeling loved by his parents, which is comforting for sure.
But remember: he couldn’t scream, cry or even move.
If one is awake, there’s no way he can be spared the horrible sensation of being unable to breathe, which is even more basic and universal. I’m sorry if I’m popping a bubble, contradicting the rosy picture based on the subjective perception of the parents, but it’s probable in his final minutes Charlie experienced a terrible anguish he had no way to communicate.
So much for a humane decision, sparing him from unnecessary suffering.
Had Charlie been a dangerous bear terrorizing villages and slaughtering flocks of sheep, activists would be furious.
iv. Connie Yates, the mother of Charlie, hinted at their propensity to have another child, this time using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis: since they have a 1-in-4 chance of conceiving another baby with the same terrible disease, the plan would be that of using in vitro fertilization and aborting a small number of sons and daughters while they’re still embryos, obtaining -through this gory, hygienic selection- a healthy baby to raise.
While we may readily sympathize with their will to have children after they’ll have recovered from this terrible ordeal, and it’s perfectly understandable to be willing to do anything to avoid going through all this again, this choice is morally reckless, also of course unacceptable for a Catholic.
As we already saw, the Gards are normal people asking nothing extraordinary from life: in this poisoned cultural climate, where abortion has been normalized, you can’t really expect them to take a heroic, principled stance on a delicate subject that would see them carrying a very substantial burden with no readily apparent benefit.
Even if they’re Catholic, and especially considering how little courage, doctrinal clarity and willingness to teach on such matters is being displayed by most priests nowadays.
I made my wife cry. I read her the account of this baby’s demise. It was a very emotional moment for us. We were empathizing with Connie and Chris as parents, living their last hours with Charlie, listening to his heartbeat, then bringing his dead body home.
She’s giving birth to our daughter in days.
I would like to personally thank Gabriele Marconi, whose insightful and well-researched reports, published on his personal Facebook page, were immensely helpful to me, to understand some crucial details of this story that were glossed over by the media.