Reader Mail

Holland’s Horror

Reader outcry: Where will euthanasia end? Also: A Lawrence Henry catalogue. Recounting Washington state. Federalist gun fetish. A Nobel doll's house. Plus more.

12.5.04

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THE LEAST AMONG US
Re: George Neumayr's In Service to Inhumanity:

As a physician and recent father of a child with spina bifida, I am truly horrified by this monstrosity be purported in the name of "protecting life" by "assisting a little in death." As the first tenet of Medicine is "primum non nocere" (first, do no harm), I find the euthanasia issue illogical to begin with. My son is a joyful baby, a delight to his parents and siblings. Whether or not he may meet some truly arbitrary standard of normal is irrelevant. A society is judged on how they protect the least among them. Not how clean or neat or tolerant they are. I pray for the people of Holland and the monsters they have as their "physicians."
-- S. Batty

Thanks to Mr. Neumayr for this thoughtful article. It is chilling beyond belief. Herr Doktor Verhagen is the moral and spiritual descendant of Joseph Mengele.
-- R.C. Edwards

George Neumayr's article on Dutch euthanasia for babies, and this Verhagen character's comment "we are actually talking about children that are already in a dying process."

One thought comes to mind: we are all dying. From the moment we are born, we are doomed. It may take a day; it may take a hundred years. Some of us are born with inherent or inherited weaknesses or defects that will limit our lives to only five, maybe only fifty years. And once you start, where do you stop? Without even considering the other important aspects to this question, the least one can say is that it will be impossible to draw an immovable line. Once this ball gets rolling, it won't take long before children with, say, Down's Syndrome are given the ax. This is the coward's approach to life.
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

What's the difference between aborting babies deemed defective and euthanizing them, or euthanizing "undesirables with 'no free will'"?

Of course, that's rhetorical. It is murder just spelled different ways. However, when the adjective "defective" is applied, it becomes a reprise of the Nazi's fiendish ethnic cleansings. The euthanizing of "undesirables" that the Dutch want to do is also the resurrection of the evil of the Nazis' demented, horrific sadism.

Besides differences in how murder is spelled, though, abortion and euthanization are both crimes against humanity, especially the most defenseless.

One wonders: Will the U.N. rise up in outrage about this move of the neo-Nazi and neo-fascistic Dutch government and Dutch physicians? Article 3 of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Article 5 says, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Article 6 says, "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law."

Surely there must be something that the U.N.'s committees on human rights and rights of the child have to say? Surely there must be some way to draw up charges through U.N. resolutions and prosecute through the International Court of Justice and/or the International Criminal Court?

One also wonders: Will the Council of Europe's European Court on Human Rights intervene? In COE's Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is Section I -- Rights and freedoms, Article 2 -- Right to life: "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law." Article 5 says, with certain provisos which do not include abortion and euthanasia, "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person."

What crime have the babies and "undesirables" committed? What crimes have Verhagen, his medical cohorts and the Dutch government committed?

At least with respect to abortion, we could also ask these questions of America and apply the U.N. standards, couldn't we?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

I am reminded of the euthanasia program under another enlightened European, Adolf Hitler. These Nazi doctors too were very polite, wore suits, and didn't yell. They were also doing the logical thing: Ridding Germany of "useless eaters." The program never really ended, despite overwhelming German outrage (the only outrage by Germans during the Nazi regime) though it went secret. The lessons learned from the euthanasia program fueled the killing of others equally considered unworthy of life, primarily Jews, from 1941 until late 1944. Right up until the approach of the Allies in 1945, German doctors and nurses were killing children deemed not worthy of life in the euthanasia center. I guess the Dutch are merely resurrecting a European tradition. It's all very logical-Man, or should I say, Humankind, is, as we all know, the ultimate source of deciding right and wrong. The Europeans are so far ahead of us Red State Americans. God help us all when they logically decide that the elderly, the infirm, the religious, the pious, and anyone else, are really better off dead.
-- Paul Melody

Once more the specter of "baby killing" raises its ugly head. Not only is it acceptable to kill the unborn, but we must be challenged by the Dutch morality of killing the born? All humans, be it so strange a concept to the enlightened, are put here on earth by God for some purpose. There are some purposes that are less clear than others, but it is God's decision as to what it will be. Interventions of this nature as a service to humanity are wrong.

What's next? Elimination of those without fair complexions and blue eyes? Will gender, left-handedness, or dyslexia become a standard for "culling back the herd"? Its saddening that physicians (who have an oath to minister to the suffering) seek to do society a favor and ignore one of the greatest commandments -- Thou shalt not kill.
-- Louis Jenkins
Shelby, North Carolina

These people are murderers, that kill these babies, and they will pay for what they do. Just like the blind man in the bible. When the disciples asked why he was born blind. Was it his sin or his parents sin. Jesus said that it was neither. He said that he was born this way for the glory of God. So are these babies. Are we supposed to take just the good and not the bad. These, so called, doctors make it easier for people to not be responsible for their actions. My heart goes out to people that have to deal with children that are born with problems, but that is their child.
-- Rudy Mercado

How can such doctors call themselves so when the innocent are being murdered. Is it the child's fault that they're deformed? Is it the right of these barbaric animals to eliminate what God hath created? These so-called PERFECT IDIOTS are just that. How audacious to assume the role of God.

How outrageous to assume each child's place by society's demand. And how ludicrous and vile a society to demand this in the first place. A child is a gift from God. Sure, some may not have 10 fingers or legs that will allow them to walk, but they're still God's children and beloved by Him and mankind.

Mankind and society seem to contradict one another where these doctors are concerned, how kind a man would take the lives of afflicted children at the whim of their peers-in the name of society? Socially, society is pathetic-literally their society is apparently going to hell! Or at least those doctors whom take it upon themselves to judge the afflicted!

Adolf Hitler himself would be proud of these doctors -- they're following his lead!
-- Pam Demmitt
Mishawaka, Indiana

I haven't been able to stop thinking today about Mr. Neumayr's commentary. Decisions on who the Nazis killed were also made "in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices." Hitler had a "hospital" where children with what were deemed incurable illnesses were sent to be killed, and without the parents consent. Let us pray that Holland's moral bankruptcy never takes hold in the United States. I wonder what the GIs who died fighting the Nazis would think about Holland's direction.
-- Tom Fries
Dublin, Ohio

I was shocked and very demoralized in reading the above item. The Netherlands suffered greatly under the Nazis who were noted and many punished for doing the very same things. Any person who would do this is just as bad as the butchers in the Nazi concentration, death camps and deserve the same punishment. May they never rest in peace but hopefully their souls, they couldn't have any, go straight to hell.
-- Thomas S. Mac Kay

This letter won't be especially eloquent, so don't expect much. Just know that I thank God for Mr. Neumayr and his unwavering pro-life articles. I am never disappointed when I read his insightful comments. I have been a subscriber to TAS since 1993. It saved my life during the Clinton years. Keep up the good work.
-- J.L. McCarthy

OL' FASHIONED
Re: Lawrence Henry's It's the Little Things:

Red pencils, at Office Max at least, have gone the way of the Royal Crown sour and Outgro. The "Berol Verithin no. 745 Carmine Red" pencil, that is. Not a red pencil that is part of a package of colored drawing pencils. Being of advanced years and always having a difficult time finding the product I'm looking for from amongst the plethora of offerings, during a recent forage into the pencil department I asked a young store clerk to help me find the red pencils.

"Red pencils?" replied she.

"You know. The standard red pencils used for correcting school papers and such," responded I while looking into a pair of vacuous and confused eyes.

"Well, we have these drawing pencils..."

You can easily fill in the rest and wonder at her wide-eyed innocence as did I. To have never been confronted with shame of red pencil marks on one's school papers, one must indeed be blessed by the Fates.

In the case of the disappearin' red-pencil blues, I strongly suspect that political correctness is buried somewhere amongst the reasons for its removal from store shelves. Fortunately, Carmen Reds are still available on-line, but for how long is anyone's guess.
-- Dennis Sevakis
Bloomfield, Michigan

Lawrence Henry replies:
Your experience reminds me of the time I asked a drugstore clerk where the pipe cleaners were. She confidently directed me to the Drano display.

The website oldtimecandy.com has many of the great candies from the '50s, '60s and '70s available for purchase. Unfortunately, Royal Crown Sours are gone forever but some great candies have stood the test of time and still remain. Enjoy. (And Merry Christmas.)
-- Mrs. John B. Jackson III (Janet)

I wish I had known about the Herter's catalogue. Years ago I obtained a copy of one of the volumes of "The Bull Cook and Other Historical Recipes." What a strange mélange of idiosyncratic opinion and weird recipes (e.g., Scottish Oatmeal -- complete with the scotch). I always wondered what another Herter book, "George the Housewife," was like. My first experience with the kind of loss you talk about happened to me as a child. I'd just discovered that I really liked Ipana toothpaste and it almost immediately disappeared from the market. (Brusha, brusha, brusha,...clean(?) Ipana toothpaste; went the jingle sung by big-toothed Bucky Beaver, I think). Sixty years old and counting.
-- Robert A. Gorkin

With Lawrence Henry in Massachusetts, I am surprised he seems unaware of the Vermont Country Store (Manchester Center, S.R. of VT -- www.orton.org), where many of the disappeared delights, including hard candies, remain.
-- E.G. Tripp
Cincinnati, Ohio

I can tell you what happened to Outgro -- a product that actually worked. The podiatrists lobbied FDA and had product removed because they said it didn't do any good. But it did wonderful things to the docs' bottom lines, esp. at $500 per ingrown toenail procedure, a ghastly painful experience.
-- unsigned

Tell Lawrence Henry that while the Herter's catalog is gone their duck decoys live on at Cabela's. I miss their cheesy old catalogs as well. Gene Shepard could have reveled in their corny Americana for weeks. I know I did.
-- Brian Bonneau

Lawrence Henry worries about the disappearance of quality products and great old catalogs. I do, too, but I take some comfort in knowing that the Spectator has the good taste to preserve the L. Henry writings online and present us with a new one each week.
-- Hunter Baker

PURPLE STATE
Re: Jeremy Lott's The Bitter-Enders:

Lott is out to lunch in thinking that Gregoire is not going to be the next governor.

The third vote will take place and, as in the second vote, ballots will be "enhanced" and "discovered" with Ms. Gregoire winning by several hundred votes.

Mr. Rossi will play the role of Thune 2002 and can become Senator Dino in 2006.
-- Chris Harley
Piedmont, California

I reside in Bainbridge Island, Washington, so I reacted with both shock and relief when I read your article regarding Washington state's gubernatorial race. I was shocked because it confirmed my fear that Washington's election process has become viewed as the equivalent of those of third-world countries. I was relieved because you affirmed that I am not crazy for thinking my state has indeed become a banana republic. I voted for Dino Rossi, but if the situation was reversed, I have no doubt I would be calling on him to concede graciously. I would be more concerned about the damage a third recount would do (after having lost the first two) to the prospects of Washington;s Republicans and the electoral nightmare it would inflict on our citizens. Anyway, it's better for Dino to retain his credibility and live to fight another day.

A recent poll indicates about two-thirds of residents believe that Rossi won and should be our governor. If Christine Gregoire wins the third recount and, therefore, becomes governor, I can only hope that the Democrats in this state receive a well-deserved backlash. I doubt that will happen, however. It seems like nowadays, Republicans have to win elections twice, or in our case thrice, to be considered winners. And even at that, they are still considered illegitimate.
-- Sheridan Joslin

Actually at a macro level the Bush-Gore 2000 race and now this Washington nail biter are good indicators. Consider that 20 years ago, it would have been a foregone conclusion that a Democrat would be elected governor in that state. But no more.

At a national level a shift from a liberal to a conservative political mindset means that there must be transition years before the shift is finalized. 1994/1996 was the beginning. 2000 saw it in full swing. 2004 saw Republican consolidation of position. 2006/08 will like be contentious as well. But by 2010 the shift will have run its course.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

THE FEDERALIST SOCIETY
Re: Robert A. Levy's Courts Defend Guns:

Mr. Levy's piece is an example of extending a principle into a fetish. Federalism is certainly a fine and worthy principle, but S. 1805 did not violate it. It was called "The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" because it was actually one of the few recent examples of a legitimate exercise of Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. It is an interstate commerce issue if a court in California can entertain a suit against a manufacturer in Georgia who sold something to a distributor in Tennessee who sold it to a dealer in Washington who sold it to a Police Dept. who sold it to a dealer who sold it to someone who began a chain of transactions that led to a criminal who harmed someone in California. This would be true even if Congress chose (as it wisely declined, here) to prevent or regulate interstate suits involving defective products.

I also find it surprising that a conservative (presumably libertarian-leaning) person would be so dismissive of the rights violations against the manufacturers, distributors, and dealers that these suits represent. The fact that the 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens may not be at risk does not negate the harm and injustice done by such frivolous suits, particularly when (as noted in the article), many of them have been expensively appealed to State Supreme Courts and into the Federal Appellate Courts. Those costs represent dollars that have been taken from the defendants as surely as if they had been stolen from a safe.
-- Lowell C. Savage

In "Courts Defend Guns" Robert Levy immediately announces his overall Second Amendment outlook by referring to "the pro-gun crowd"; he didn't say "we." He argues that the soon-to-be-re-introduced Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is not needed to prevent lawsuits against gun manufacturers -- lawsuits that are solely based on facts that establish that someone, not the manufacturer, made criminal use of a gun.

Perhaps it is at least arguable, to at least some constitutional scholars, that, where in certain articles of the Bill of Rights a right is given to the People and the wording isn't explicitly that "Congress shall pass no law" preventing the free exercise of the right, the Founders meant somehow that "Congress shall pass no law" was always implied -- that the right was thereby only protected against assault by the Federal government. To me, that seems unbearable. Why bother to affirm inalienable rights in a Federal constitution if any damned state can negate them as it pleases? Did the Founders plan on a subsequent war for independence in each colony?

Nor do I comprehend how it could be that the 14th Amendment does not require the Federal government to whack states that offend the federally defined rights of their residents: that amendment clearly states "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." It would seem that the Lawful Commerce in Arms tort-reform legislation would merely partially fulfill that 14th Amendment mandate. Either it's that...or we fight the Civil War over again.

Were I your President, I would issue an executive order prohibiting such lawsuits and back it up with force, for the Constitution nowhere assigns the duty to enforce the rights of citizens to any particular branch of government.

Finally, Mr. Levy glosses over the immensely important business of Federal court involvement in such matters, as he recites only state actions that went in favor of manufacturers (after they had spent their profits for the next five years on legal fees). Didn't the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals categorically rule that there is no individual right to keep or bear arms? Wasn't the lady on the California Supreme Court who is possibly in line to be appointed to the Federal judiciary by President Bush consequently forced to state, in compliance, in a recent opinion about California "assault weapon" sales, that there is no individual right to bear arms? Didn't the Federal Supreme Court refuse to review the decision, which was adverse to the Second Amendment?

Congress had better wade in and get 100% behind the Second Amendment -- now.
-- Mike O'Connor
Palo Alto, California

Thank you for another wonderful article. Walk with me for a moment along a line of thought.

Why did the founders of America and the framers of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights enumerate our right to bear arms? One explanation advanced is that the founders did not want unarmed citizens that could be bullied by the government's army. They'd had enough of that under an English King. Armed citizens serve as a deterrent to tyranny. (I know this is debatable, but bear with me a bit so we can get to my point.)

What did they mean by arms? The traditional meaning has been a device that projects a round via an explosive discharge. Alternatively, another meaning arises from an exegesis of the term within the historical context of 1776.

The rifle was the most advanced form of weapon known to the founders and framers. Given that meaning, then theoretically, they meant that citizens and their well formed militias could own the same weapons as the military, how ever advanced those weapons might be.

At that time, it was common for citizens to own the same weapons used by the military. I do not remember any 18th century laws forbidding citizens from owning cannons. Taking this to a logical conclusion, contemporary citizens should be able to own tanks, fighter aircraft, and all sorts of missiles. Since they are expensive, it would take a well organized militia to accumulate the money to buy them in quantity.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating the above. I am simply allowing my brain to work, which allowed that thought to surface.
-- Newt Love
Annapolis, Maryland

TALES OF NOBEL POLITICS
Re: Christopher Orlet's The Nobel for Neolithic Politics:

I wish to respond (belatedly) to the article by Christopher Orlet entitled "The Nobel for Neolithic Politics." I agree with Orlet about the most recent choice of E. Jelinek for the prize. Insofar as the article is about her, then I agree and praise it. Where the article is marred by half truths and fails is in the first two paragraphs and the concluding paragraph. Politicization of the prize did not begin in 1948 with the choice of T. S. Eliot. Looking more closely, very few of the picks have been devoid of politics. Even the very first choice in 1901 of Sully Prudhomme was not strictly literary. Indeed the 1903 pick of Bjornson was at that time derided for being extremely political, an attempt by Sweden to placate Norway and keep it as part of the nation. Note that Ibsen was not picked because, like most Norwegians (but unlike Bjornson), he favored independence. Also note that the committee presents its award statement to the Swedish crown, and one can easily imagine what an insult at that time it would have been to the Swedish royals to have awarded it to Ibsen. Suppose though that Ibsen had been awarded and accepted, would his acceptance speech have been embarrassing? It would have been if it touched on the subject of independence for Norway (which became independent in 1905). This points to another reason some writers have not won the prize and that is avoidance of embarrassing acceptance speeches, a category that Tolstoy would have easily filled. In fact at that late stage in his life it is unimaginable that he would not have made an inflammatory speech. Another problem is awarding to different nationalities and languages because in the early years it was perceived as going too often to Scandinavians. In other words the committee can't pick writers of all one nationality consecutively to win the award. This also applies to the literary typification of the writer. This is part of the reason Jelinek won because among other things she is a poet, and no poet has won since 1996. I will conclude by agreeing that too often mediocre writers have won, and that protest is our only recourse as a corrective to poor choices. What is counterproductive is making accusations about the prize that are historically unwarranted. Doing so is misleading and sadly only calls into question what is valid in your criticism.
-- David Bartlett

TERROR DISH
Re: Shawn Macomber's Hate TV:

Al-Manar is available in the U.S. also, to anyone who has a satellite dish. It's on the satellite Intelsat Americas 5 (formerly Teslstar 5) on transponder 25.
-- David Boucher

SKIM DEEP
Re: Jay D. Homnick's The Blonde Leading the Bland:

While you are quite correct about Biblical descriptions of beauty regarding the good, you omit references to King Saul being a tall, handsome, but ultimately bedeviled fellow, for starters. There is also an emphasis on beauty being only skin deep, and Jeremiah remarks on the ugliness of the human heart, and who can know it. At least not by surface appraising.
-- Richard Gardner

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