Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Liverpool Care Pathway and ObamaCare: The Change You Wanted?

The Government is rolling out a new treatment pattern of palliative care into hospitals, nursing and residential homes. It is based on experience in a Liverpool hospice. If you tick all the right boxes in the Liverpool Care Pathway, the inevitable outcome of the consequent treatment is death...Dying Patients, Letters, UK Telegraph, 9/3/2009

Let's not mince words. The Liverpool Care Pathway adopted by Britain's National Health Service is euthanasia. Euthanasia is one of the species of mass murder practiced by human beings, mostly in the last 150 years, but in some views for as long as we've existed.

To recap, mass murder takes one of several forms: infanticide; genocide; euthanasia.

Infanticide, while universally scorned in a less populous time, has been largely legitimized in the last four decades in the form of either therapeutic, or individual choice, abortion: therapy for those raped or otherwise traumatized by pregnancy; individual choice for those who'd rather buck for promotion at work than take on the thankless job of parent. It is interesting that in areas where this is widely practiced, such as Europe, Japan, and the non-immigrant population of the United States, population growth has dipped far below replacement. The next fifty years in Europe, the United States and Japan will bear little resemblance to the past fifty. Those aborted will be replaced by those born overseas. New generations won't sit peaceably by while whole countries turn into populations of nursing home residents. There have also been philosophical explorations by such ethicists as Princeton's Peter Singer into the idea of post-natal abortion where a parent, disappointed by the outcome of reproduction, kills off a child.

The genocidal form of mass murder has recurred numerous times in the last century and a half, from the slaughter of six million Congolese by agents of Leopold the Second, to the Holocaust in 1940s Europe, to Kampuchea, and on to Rwanda. Elie Wiesel argued that the M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) doctrine of nuclear combat, established during the Nixon & Carter Administrations, was genocidal planning on a far larger scale than that of Auschwitz-Birkenau. While universally condemned, unlike individual abortions, genocides have always been a government's legal policy. While an individual can, on moral grounds, refuse to have an abortion, it is very difficult for a citizen to stop a government intent on murdering a whole population.

Euthanasia has always been presented as "beneficent" murder, the assisted, or unassisted, killing of individuals deemed to have lives too miserable to continue. Of the three traditional forms of mass murder, euthanasia is the one with the least associated guilt. After all, getting rid of the old and the infirm relieves caretakers, family, spouses and friends of the horror of looking after, visiting, or paying for the care of someone they once knew as young and whole and healthy. It also relieves insurance companies, or the state, of financial responsibilities for individuals whose futures are considered too expensive to maintain. In the Netherlands, and in Britain, there is obvious collusion between such private worries and public policy. Britain's NHS would never have been developed Liverpool Pathway without widespread, public support, however subtle or implicit. And it takes other forms. Treatments considered routine in the United States are routinely denied to patients over 70 in much of Europe. Be honest, EU; that's just another form of euthanasia as policy. If bypass surgery would keep someone alive, and it's denied as official policy in France, the state may fairly be considered as accomplice to murder if the patient dies for want of treatment. And yet, other than stories of medical tourists to the United States, we don't hear too much protest about this in the popular media. Indeed, during the summer of 2005, the hottest summer in sixty years in France, vacationers refused to respond to emergency messages about their parents and grandparents dying of heat exposure in un-air-conditioned nursing homes in the north. Between fifty and one hundred thousand elderly died of such causes that summer. It was hard to get vacationers to come home to even claim the bodies of their loved ones; their reservations on the Riviera were more valuable. In some cases, it's evident that human beings rather prefer euthanasia to, say, visiting Mom or Dad at the Home.

Infanticide, genocide, and euthanasia are the principal species of mass murder. The government, that is to say, you and the elected officials you put in Washington, have approved the first method long ago, and are openly talking about approving the third as part of medical reform. Is that the change you voted for?


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