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In the Netherlands, Els Borst has been found dead in her garage. A few hours earlier, the 81 year old physician and former deputy prime minister had attended a meeting of what is described by the Telegraph as her center-right political party. In the Netherlands, apparently, any party to the right of the Maoists can be described as center-right. After initial forensic investigation, the police have concluded that her death resulted from a criminal action. The bruises on her body point to some sort of assault.
The police have found no evidence suggesting a motive, but they are obviously looking at the real-life equivalent of Poe's purloined letter, which is staring them in the face. As Dutch Minister of Health, Borst was the leading advocate of Netherland's euthanasia law, a program that encourages the heirs of elderly people to pressure granny and grandpa to make a graceful exit, before their medical bills eat up their estate and waste the taxpayers' money. Perhaps one of Borsts' disciples decided that the time had come for the grisly lady to take her own medicine.
The "low countries" have become truly deserving of what had once been a merely geographical term. Belgium has just extended the blessing of euthanasia to children. Now, just about anyone who is not a child understands that the principal difference between children and normal adults is not size or age but the child's inability to make fully independent moral decisions. A child who decides he has suffered enough or that his family has suffered enough is not making a decision of his own free will but caving into pressure.
In Belgium and the Netherlands, a sixteen year old can consent to sex, which means that predatory teachers, ministers, and social workers may now seduce adolescents without automatically facing rape charges. Naturally, there is strong agitation, especially in Belgium, for lowering that age to 14. Indeed, between 1990 and 2002 the age of consent in the Netherlands was 12. Not coincidentally, the low countries—Belgium in particular—are infamous for child prostitution and child pornography. Paul Belien, in A Throne in Brussels, details the activities of a pornography ring with ties at the highest levels of government and society. They kidnapped girls, whom they filmed as they were being tortured and raped. Many of the girls were murdered.
It hardly matters who killed Dr. Borst or for what reason. By her own double-Dutch reasoning, she had outlived her usefulness and deserved to be put out of other people's misery.
Don't say "It can't happen here," because informally euthanasia is being practiced every day even in state that have not legalized assisted suicide. Euthanasia is the unavoidable consequence of socialized medicine: If the state takes responsibility for keeping us alive and well, then the state also has the right to decide when it is time to pull the plug or administer a fatal dose of morphine.
But the motivation for assisted suicide is deeper than practical necessities that arise in any Marxist state, such as ours. Where human life is valued only for pleasure and productivity—as it is in Hollywood movies, dating services, and consumer industries—then a creature that can neither produce nor consume Apple products is without value. Consumerism is the fatal poison that leads to the American Way of Death. Near the end of Huxley's Brave New World, the savage's mother dies happy, overdosing on soma in her death clinic.
At the height of our highest recent crisis, the September 11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush told people not to go to Church or reexamine their consciences or even to read a good book or attend a Bach organ recital. No, he told Americans to go out and shop, because real life for the Bushies and Obamies of this word is buying expensive junk and strutting your stuff.
When my time comes, I'm going to have an armed guard posted by the plug. I intend to extract every penny from the state I possibly can. When the brown and black female doctors come in to ask me why I'm being so bloody-minded, I'll have a tract ready to hand them, outlining my charges against the government that let them in and ruined my country. Every cent I can get the government to spend on me, I'll cheerily inform them, is one that can't be spent on them.
I was not originally so confrontational on this, but as the government has become bolder in its intrusion into our lives, my gorge has risen.
My great great grandmother, Cyrenne (Martin) Jones was born in 1837. She died in 1923. She spent in the last four of the hard years of her life in bed with a broken hip for which little to nothing could be done. Those years she spent in her son-in-law and daughter's Spartan house on a subsistence farm from which they grubbed a meager living. My mother recalls to this day, as a little girl on frequent and often long visits the fuss and worry on the one hand which the household had in tending to great great grandma - no bedpan or adult diapers, but on the other hand the times of visiting with her and hearing and internalizing stores about the trek from North Carolina to Louisiana, about homesteading, about the coming of the War and enduring the War, about its aftermath, and about all folk -kith, kin and strangers - who made up the settlements. Thinking about Dr. Fleming's post, I asked my ninety-seven-year-old mother tonight at our catfish supper what knowing Grandma Cyrene meant to her. She said that she was a tough, sweet lady who loved her families - the Martins and the Jones and the Maddens into which they had married. Her ultimate death was an occasion for the clans to gather and rejoice as they mourned in a life long-lived and well-lived.
The "good" Dr. Bors would have denied to Grandma Cyrene, to my mother and to the families these meaningful years of Christian service and joy of living.
I have yet to successfully post. Rather than a long post, I simply attempt yet again this test.
In 1992 in California, Proposition 161, the Aid in Dying Act, lost 54-46. That was pretty close, considering it faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church and Protestant Evangelicals. The description by the state Legislative Analyst sent to voters said, "[T]he measure would result in savings to the extent that terminally ill patients receiving public health care assistance choose to receive aid-in-dying."
In the Orange County Register, I wrote some editorials against Prop. 161.
A similar initiative has not come up since, probably because, as Dr. Fleming noted, euthanasia has become common practice in America without statutory sanction. A couple of years after the initiative failed, a friend of mine who was an elderly priest checked in for an operation -- and checked out in a body bag. His family and I were convinced he was euthanized because, among other things, they kept bringing up the cost to the Medicare system. I suggested suing the hospital. But the family was poor and didn't want to spend 10 years in courtrooms.
I see I flubbed the name Borst twice. This is what comes of working too fast.
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