The initial event that disabled Terri Schiavo didn’t end up killing her. But in her obituary notice, what will the cause of death read? Will it read: murder? It should. The heart attack that disabled her didn’t doom her; a husband without a heart did.
Under judge-made law, euthanasia has become America’s most astonishing form of premeditated murder, a cold-blooded crime in which husbands can kill their wives and even turn them into accomplices to it through the telepathy of “their wishes.” To wonder if we’re on the slippery slope sounds like an obtuse moral compliment at this point. The truth is we’re at the bottom of the slope and have been for quite some time, standing dumbly as the bodies of innocent humans pile up around us. As we sift through them — puzzling over how they got so numerous — we’re reduced to mumbling sophistries about compassion and consent.
This is the “humane holocaust” of which Malcolm Muggeridge wrote, a culture that kills the weak, from deaf unborn children to mute disabled women, and calls it mercy. Those responsible for this humane holocaust look into the mirror and see Gandhi, but it is Hitler who glances back. If someone had taken the passages of Mein Kampf that speak of euthanizing “unfortunates” and inserted them into the columns from newspapers and magazines cheering Schiavo’s death, would anyone have known the difference?
In the humane holocaust, murdering undesirable unborn babies at the beginning of life, the elderly at the end of it, and the disabled in between, forms the final solution in the quest for the perfect, burden-free society. In the humane holocaust, one generation’s crimes become another generation’s compassion.
Could a liberal humanism which sanctions a million-plus abortions a year and presses for a widening culture of euthanasia be Hitlerite? No, many in our society would scoff. But read the words of Leo Alexander, a doctor who assisted the chief American counsel at the Nuremberg Tribunal, about the beginnings of Nazi society and he is describing our own:
Whatever proportion these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitudes of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted, and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which the entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude towards the non-rehabilitative sick.
Then as now, doctors, judges, and politicians threw the stone that turned the slope into an avalanche. And that stone was the utilitarian rejection of an inviolable right to life for the innocent — a right to life that no innocent human can lose because it is based not on their utility but their humanity, a humanity which no chronic illness, disability, or weakness can eradicate.
With Hitler the advocates of the humane holocaust say that the value of a human being derives not from his humanity but from his activity, and hence inactive humans possess no value worth preserving. With Hitler the advocates of the humane holocaust accord power to the strong but none to the weak: Michael Schiavo could kill Terri Schiavo simply because he was stronger than her. With Hitler the advocates of the humane holocaust conceal mercilessness in the language of mercy.
Evil is always done under the appearance of goodness. But evil renamed is still evil. And injustice to which our society has manipulated the aged and disabled into consenting is still unjust. If a man consents to slavery, does slavery cease to be wrong? If patients don’t mind violations against the Hippocratic Oath, are doctors free to flout it? The engineers of the humane holocaust uses this lie of consent as moral absolution of evil, but if it can’t collect the lie from its victims (as in the case of abortion where no killed child gives consent) it keeps churning anyways.
Terri Schiavo is its latest victim. May she find in God the real compassion the vile imposter gods among us denied her.