Here is the contribution from Newsweek, a fairly large & influential American magazine, to what is called the health care debate.
The Case for Killing Granny
Rethinking end-of-life care.
By Evan Thomas | NEWSWEEK
Published Sep 12, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Sep 21, 2009
My mother wanted to die, but the doctors wouldn't let her. At least that's the way it seemed to me as I stood by her bed in an intensive-care unit at a hospital in Hilton Head, S.C., five years ago. My mother was 79, a longtime smoker who was dying of emphysema. She knew that her quality of life was increasingly tethered to an oxygen tank, that she was losing her ability to get about, and that she was slowly drowning. The doctors at her bedside were recommending various tests and procedures to keep her alive, but my mother, with a certain firmness I recognized, said no. She seemed puzzled and a bit frustrated that she had to be so insistent on her own demise.
The hospital at my mother's assisted-living facility was sustained by Medicare, which pays by the procedure. I don't think the doctors were trying to be greedy by pushing more treatments on my mother. That's just the way the system works. The doctors were responding to the expectations of almost all patients. As a doctor friend of mine puts it, "Americans want the best, they want the latest, and they want it now." We expect doctors to make heroic efforts—especially to save our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
The idea that we might ration health care to seniors (or anyone else) is political anathema. Politicians do not dare breathe the R word, lest they be accused—however wrongly—of trying to pull the plug on Grandma. But the need to spend less money on the elderly at the end of life is the elephant in the room in the health-reform debate. Everyone sees it but no one wants to talk about it. At a more basic level, Americans are afraid not just of dying, but of talking and thinking about death. Until Americans learn to contemplate death as more than a scientific challenge to be overcome, our health-care system will remain unfixable.
My comment: very well, I will be more than happy to think and to talk about it. As a preliminary, let me call you a liar as you have called me, and all Americans, cowards. You casually assume, nameless Mouth of the Dark Lord of Newsweek, that no one can disagree with your political program except through an unwillingness to think about the issue due to quaking fear. Let me also call you a liar again, for claiming our health care system is broken. It is not even sick. But all this to one side, let us talk about this anathema idea, shall we? Let's.
First, let us review a few facts.
Erik von Kuehnelt-Keddihn, in his book LEFTISM REVISITIED, reports that in the highlands of New Guinea (Papua) by the long established custom of the local 'natural religion' ...
"There every mother ... must give birth to her first child in the jungle. She is enjoined to take the child by its feet and bash its brains out against a stone. Several sows with litters are driven to the spot, and the first sow to munch up the little corpse becomes the woman's co-mother. From the sow's litter, the woman is made to choose a piglet to adopt, and feed with her milk. Her attitude toward the piglet will determine her moral standing in the community, will demonstrate her worth as a mother."Plutarch, in his LIFE OF LYCURGUS reports this
"Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the child as he thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before certain triers at a place called Lesche; these were some of the elders of the tribe to which the child belonged; their business it was carefully to view the infant, and, if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rearing, and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land above mentioned for its maintenance, but, if they found it puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae, a sort of chasm under Taygetus; as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not, from the very outset, appear made to be healthy and vigorous."
In the book THEATRES OF HUMAN SACRIFICE Mark Pizzato describes describes the ritual of the Tlahuahuanaliztli or "scoring with the sword" performed in the name of Xipe Totec, sacrificing to him victims so that he would not send plagues to them.
"The captive warrior was given a sacred wine to drink, a wooden shield to defend himself, and his offensive weapnos" four pine cudgels to throw and a war club that had feathers on it, but not the usual obsidian blades. he was also tied by a rope to the center of the sacrificial stone on which he stood...the object of the gladiatorial game for the home team-for the eagle and jaguar warriors who faced the captives one by one and swung bladed clubs-was to cut the visitor's body, to score by scarring the skin... When the captive could no longer stand... the priest playing the god Xipe Totec cut out the heart and placed it in the "eagle vessel" as an offering to the sun. A hollow "eagle cane" was set into the open chest so that the blood inside the body could also be offered to the sun "to drink." A bowel of blood was carried ... to various stone images...the blood was offered by placing the eagle cane against the statues' lips. The scarred body of the dead Aztec gladiator was then flayed and transported to the original captor's home, where its flesh was eaten. After a series of gladiatorial battles and sacrifices, the decapitated heads of the fallen warriors were used as props in a final dance of the god-actors around the sacrificial stone."
In 1995, Marjorie Nighbert was starved and dehydrated to death on the strength of a power of attorney, even though she was able to speak and literally begging for food. I say again, doctors starved and dehydrated stroke patient Marjorie Nighbert to death despite her pleading "I’m hungry," "I’m thirsty," "Please feed me," and "I want food." As Wesley J. Smith wrote in an article in the Human Life Review,
Marjorie was a successful businesswoman until a stroke left her disabled. She was unable to swallow safely, but not terminally ill... Marjorie had once told her brother Maynard that she didn’t want a feeding tube if she were terminally ill. Despite the fact that she was not dying, Maynard.... ordered all of Marjorie’s nourishment stopped. As she was slowly dehydrating to death, Marjorie began to beg the staff for food and water. Distraught nurses and staff members, not knowing what else to do, surreptitiously snuck her small amounts. One staffer — who was later fired for the deed — blew the whistle, leading to a hurried court investigation and a temporary restraining order requiring that Marjorie receive nourishment... Circuit Court Judge Jere Tolton appointed attorney William F. Stone to represent Marjorie and gave him twenty-four hours to determine whether she was competent to rescind the general power of attorney she had given to Maynard before her stroke. After the rushed investigation, Stone was forced to report that Marjorie was not competent at that time. (She had, after all, been intentionally malnourished for several weeks.) Stone particularly noted that he had been unable to determine whether she had been competent at the time the dehydration commenced. With Stone’s report in hand, Judge Tolton ruled that the dehydration should be completed! Before an appalled Stone could appeal, Marjorie died on April 6, 1995.
And here are the remarks of His Holiness John Paul II at a Sunday Mass at Cherry Creek State Park, Denver Colorado, World Youth Day, 1993, Solemnity of the Assumption.
Death battles against Life: a "culture of death" seeks to impose itself on our desire to live, and live to the full. There are those who reject the light of life, preferring "the fruitless works of darkness." Their harvest is injustice, discrimination, exploitation, deceit, violence. In every age, a measure of their apparent success is the death of the innocents. In our own century, as at no other time in history, the "culture of death" has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity: genocide, "final solutions," "ethnic cleansings," and the massive "taking of lives of human beings even before they are born, or before they reach the natural point of death."
Second, let us correlate these facts and see the pattern involved.
Now, it seems to me that those who urge euthanasia under the elliptical euphemisms of Newsweek Newspeak are acting in the ancient traditions of the religion of New Guinea, where one's moral standing in the community is determined by a willingness to sever natural affections.
They act with the public spiritedness of the civic-minded Spartans, whose concern was that neither the good of the child, nor the public interest, was served by allowing the child to live. Unlike the more democratic Athenians, it was the decision of the state, not of the child's father, whether to expose the infant or not. And a nice deep chasm like the Apothetae ensured no passing peasant would find and save the child, as Helenic myth feigned happened to figures like Oedipus. Of course, the concern of the Spartans was for military glory, not a mere shabby concern that some faceless bureaucrat in the national soviet socialized health care bureau would be able to balance his account books at audit time, and prove no money was wasted on useless gobblers of bread. Between Lycurgus and Evan Thomas, I would judge Lycurgus to be more human and humane.
They act with the same mystical respect, awe, and reverence for the individual self-will that the pious Aztec beheld his bloody gods of plague and drought.
You see, the priests of Xipe Totec did not simply want their captives to die in slow and lingering pain for sadistic reasons, even though (obviously) sadism can be seen in the motive of ancient Aztecs as much as it can be seen in the vulturish solemnity of the Left over the slow and lingering deaths of Marjorie Nighbert and Terri Schiavo; no, the Aztecs honestly thought these measures would bring rain as plentifully a blooddrops shed, feed the gods, and ward off pestilence. It was for the public good. It also had the side effect of maintaining their empire of terror, since their subject peoples recoiled in horror from these enormities, and in despair and fear, sapping the will to rebel. The difference is that in this case, the Aztecs actually believed their idols were gods, whereas here, Evan Thomas and his ilk treat the individual self-will as a god, but do not think it divine, or able to bring rain or health.
I call it “self-will” when the main objection Newsweek voices to the doctors acting to keep this mother alive was that this was done against her will. (A lie, obviously, since anyone at any time he is conscious and in his right mind can refuse medical treatment.) But the hook in the lead sentence of the piece means to provoke you freedom-loving moderns with the notion that the sovereign and absolute authority of the Willpower was treated disrespectfully. Naturally no discussion is offered, or, can even be imagined, of whether or not this act of the free will is good or right or proper to nature. No: for the modern mind, there is only the willpower, and the nothingness, and the will imposes whatever it will on the nothing. Nothing can restrict the will, nothing can criticize its determinations. There is no such thing as sick or healthy wills, no such thing as right or wrong: in the narrowest possible logically circular argument, like the great worm Oroborous consuming itself tail-first, the modern mind argues that whatever the will decides to will is and must be good, because good is defined as whatever the will decides to will.
Put into a sane language, the opening sentence might read: self-destruction is illogical and is unforgivable, so that suicides are buried at crossroads with curse, not in hallowed ground with a prayer. When my mother in despair toyed with this evil notion, the doctors did not rush to accommodate her.
They act with the same heartlessness as the assassins of Marjorie Nighbert. To get an assassin to assassinate someone wins Young Wormword only mild praise from his hungry Uncle Screwtape. But to get a hero, a nurse, a doctor, someone dedicated and avowed to protecting and preserving human life to do it, and, of course the victim is not only innocent, she trusted you, the doctor, the nurse, the hero, with her life, and you betrayed her trust entirely.
Better yet, to kill the innocent victim who trusted you slowly, hour by hour and day by day, is something you would not do to a dog. When Old Yeller goes mad, his young master, with tears in his eyes, took up a shotgun and shot the beast. Boom. Done. Quick and painless. Had Old Yeller instead been locked in a crate on the kitchen table, so that hour by hour and day by day the poor brute would grow more hungry and more thirsty, takes truly hellish sadism: you need to be, not merely a demon, but an archangel of hell, to contemplate that.
Then, better yet, to claim that murdering Old Yeller by this slow process is more humane and more humanitarian than blowing his brains out with a shotgun, and to call your sadistic murder an act of charity and kindness, even archangels of the Outer Darkness must bow and step aside: you have reached the places of thrones, dominations, principalities, and seraphim of Abaddon. Hypocrisy delights the Devil as nothing else might, not just for its lack of honesty, but also for its lack of logic.
They are the servants of the Culture of Death of which the Holy Father spoke. They know it, but they will not speak as directly as he did.
Third, there is not much need to talk because there is nothing to say we do not already know. Suicide is both a crime and a sin, an offense against the laws of God and man alike.
But we all know that. Such is the law written in every human heart.
Urging doctors to destroy life rather than save it is not merely a violation of their Hippocratic Oath, it is nightmarish on the order of something otherwise found only in dystopian literature, where eaters of Soylent Green consume each other once one of them reports in a docile fashion to the pleasures of the suicide booth.
But we all know that as well. The language of Newspeak would not be so coy and nebulous if the furies of conscience did not prevent plain speaking.
Urging doctors to become assassins in the name of –what again, exactly?—in the name of the responsible use of funds from the public coffers, is not merely inhumane, it is such rank hypocrisy, considering its source, that exaggeration fails.
Having spent millions in the previous generation, billions in previous years, and trillions in current years, of public monies for the most worthless and inane of expenditures, the Political Left, the tax-and-spend addicts, now urge that thrift of public money is so sacred and so paramount a principle, that weak old people and other useless gobblers of bread must die, like Eskimo elders left adrift on an ice flow, in order to appease the accountants.
Not only do we know that, but even the dark angels of the underworld hide their fire-crowned heads beneath their leathern wings in shame to hear how stupidly their serfs on earth, the secular collectivists, must speak to defend the monstrous evils they propose in the name of prudent use of resources. As if my Uncle Nero were to come fresh from the market where he bought ten thousand times ten thousand slaves at a million gold coins a head, had them slain and ground into fertilizer, but then let the fertilizer rot in a warehouse, which he burned to ash for no particular reason, were to come with solemn and avuncular frown and tell me not to waste money hiring a midwife when my wife is in labor, because a penny saved is a penny earned. Are the partisans of the secular Left, whose only economic theory is less coherent that the Cargo Cult belief that white men steal virtue from the air, and who just got done running up a MULTI-TRILLION DOLLAR debt that not even my grandchildren will ever pay off, is it they, is it they, who dare to lecture me that human life is worth less than the Almighty Dollar they do scorn and hate?
Fourth and finally, let me answer the challenge the gormless Mouth of Newsweek uttered. You want to practice euthanasia in the name of efficiency, the public good, preserving our health care system, culling the weak, ridding the world of Jews and under-men, or whatever the hell your motive is? Fine. You first. You can save the health care system money by killing yourself immediately when you get sick, rather than forcing the expense of your worthless life on us. As of now, I do not wish to pay for you. Lets make the system voluntary. It that not the Democratic and modern way of things? Everyone who wishes to kill himself and go directly to the Wood of Suicides in the Seventh Circle of Hell can sign up for the program. We can put it on it as a Reality Show: SEPUKU TONIGHT! hosted by Death Doctor Kevorkian. On your gravestone, we will award you the Stalin Medal for being a People's Hero of the People, sacrificing yourself so as to allow us to balance the Medicare budget.
Then once you Death Cultist vermin are all dead, we will stop hearing all your condescending lies and euphemisms and general bullshit about this stupid, wicked, cruel, inhuman, and illogical idea.
Non-religious language, as in other things, is inexact and colorless and unable to encompass the enormity of the idea being put across. Newsweek expresses things without ever quite coming out and saying what they mean, albeit, I admit “Let’s kill Granny” is refreshingly honest, considering the source.
Religious language is both more precise and more to the point. Let me then close the talk you foolishly said I was not willing to have with words from beyond the edge of the world:
Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of. Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God. If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
If that language is too colorless for you, let me add the voice crying in the wilderness:
That upon you may come all the innocent blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of all the unborn whom ye slew between conception and birth, taking away a divine gift that was not yours to take. All these things shall come upon this generation. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?