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July 14, 2017

Judge to Allow US Specialist to Examine Charlie Gard

As Ed Morrissey notes, Time magazine (but are they really a magazine?) either credits, or blames, conservatives with pushing this issue out from under the smother blanket of leftwing media embargo.

I don't like that just one guy is being asked his opinion -- I'd rather have two - and I would like it less if, as I'd assume, the Judge, who seems to have a nearly personal stake in this dispute, didn't get to pick the expert here.

Per Time magazine (???), here is how one of Britain's many worthless #FakeChurch clergymen responded:

Thomas Williams, an Auxiliary Bishop for the British city of Liverpool, questioned the motives of some external actors. “It’s a terrible situation for both the family and the hospital,” he told TIME. “I’ve always accepted, as a priest and a hospital chaplain, that people need to be allowed to die and sometimes nature needs to take its course. The right-wing element of these evangelicals, I’m afraid I’m not down that line at all… I can’t read their minds, but I do think that people will stand on soapboxes when situations arise.”

Here's my take:

I am not a strong sentimentalist, though I do have some sentimentalism in me. I am not a life-absolutist -- there are many cases in which I'd say a life isn't worth fighting for. If the person is in pain, and his death is inevitable -- I'd say it's a justifiable position to pull the plug.

But note the very large difference between a "justifiable" decision and a mandatory one. If the people who the law has previously put in charge of these decisions -- the people closest to the stricken patient, who usually have the most love and affection for him -- made this choice, I wouldn't agree with that choice, but only because I would not have even heard of this choice -- such decisions are made every single day, and no one hears about them, and no one judges them much either way.

But in this case, the parents -- who are the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually conntected to Charlie Gard -- have expressed their strong desire to fight for the kid's life, and it's a bunch of disinterested beancounters and bureaucrats, and one judge who really seems to take "playing God" as the ultimate in judgecraft -- who are deciding he must die. Or, as the National Laughingstock would say, "must be permitted to die," as if Charlie Gard is desperately fighting for his right to die in dignity, and his square bullying parents are fighting him over this.

I doubt many people have illusions about Charlie Gard's ultimate fate: He will almost certainly die, whether by state mandated euthanasia or the natural (and often cruel) betrayals of biology, and even if he lives, it will not be for long, and even if he lives, the chances of him having much of a functioning mind are quite low.

That's my opinion. That's the opinion of the NHS and this judge.

We all have opinions. As the man said, they're like assholes. We've all got 'em, and most of them stink pretty foully.

But we are not the people to make this decision. We are not the people whose opinions count.

The opinions that count belong to this kid's flesh-and-blood parents, the ones who made him, the ones who have cared for him and suffered with him since birth.

What is the irreversible harm that will occur if Charlie Gard is permitted a few more days in this world, which may be -- for a nonbeliever like myself -- the only world he will ever exist in?

Is he in great pain? They seem to be saying he's in vegetative state; how then would he feel pain?

Death is irreversible. Unlike a reporter manufacturing news and getting stories 100% wrong, there is no Free Pass for death. There's no coming back from it.

My general instinct is that you give hope a chance.

Hope is often a silly thing. And hope often leads to hearbreak.

And yet, without hope, there is no humanity. Literally. I don't mean that metaphorically -- I mean that hope is a key component of the human survival instinct.

What does a man do without hope? Why would he carry on in a world that is usually pretty tough and often sad?

Well, he'd kill himself. Killing himself would be the rational choice for a man without hope.

Hope is often irrational -- but it is the irrational things like love, a desire to have children who you'll have to care for 20 years (or more), and who may, God forbid, die before you do and break your heart harder than you could have ever imagined, and hope for a better tomorrow that has kept this species from not simply committing mass suicide 100,000 years ago.

The parents are choosing hope. The parents are the natural (as the law would say) guardians and custodians of this child. The parents make the decisions for this child, even if disinterested third-parties might disagree with their opinion.

It's their fucking kid, man. What is so hard to grasp about this?

Here's a fact of biology: When a living thing is stricken and can endure no more, it will allow itself to die.

When someone is in critical condition, and family members ask if he'll pull through, doctors will sometimes ask, "Is he a fighter?"

Some will cling to life longer; some will find the anguish too much, and their bodies will just shut down.

I don't see much of a downside in letting Charlie Gard decide how much fight he has in his little stricken body.

I do see an enormous downside in taking such an intensely personal decision out of the hands of the mother -- don't progressives tell us that mothers, and only mothers, may decide if a child shall live or die? -- and hand it over to beancounting bureaucrats and unaccountable politicians-in-robes.

By the way, I don't totally have anything against the hospital bureaucrats for having a different point of view on this than the parents. As hospital workers, they work in -- let's face it -- a place where many people come to die. It's just a sad fact of their profession --they will see many, many people die. They will see more people die than pretty much anyone, even soldiers.

So they have a (useful, and well-earned) professional detachment about death. They do have a kind of hardened wisdom about life-and-death that most of us do not.

I can understand their feeling, as they've felt about a thousand very ill patients before, that there is no hope here, and that it's time for the baby to die.

What I cannot understand is their determination that their feeling should override the parents' feeling.

Okay, NHS: This is your ten millionth death. I understand -- without being negative about it -- that you are not particularly emotional about your ten millionth death.

Can you understand that this is these parents' first death? Certainly the first death of a child!

I'm not religious, but I am pro-human, and to me, that means understanding that human beings are hardwired for hope (otherwise, as I said, the race would have simply chosen to kill itself 100,000 years ago), and that, even to a not-particularly-sentimental-about-such things, nonbelieving, cynical realist, is a precious and fragile thing which is worth rolling the dice on and worth giving a chance.

That's my opinion.

It's also my opinion that they're just delaying the heartbreak, and, by allowing themselves to be filled with hope, they're going to feel even more heartbreak.

Because hope does that. Hope may lift you, but it sometimes lifts you up just so you can fall further and harder.

That's the nature of the thing.

So those are my opinions.

But who gives a shit about my opinions on it?

My opinion doesn't matter.

If the parents chose to take their kid off life support, my opinion still wouldn't matter.

The parents, the only two people in this world who have an elemental and primal and truly emotional attachment to this kid, have decided its in his best interest to give him a chance.

And as long as they're saying that: Who the fuck has so arrogated himself to sit in the throne of God Himself to claim the right to say otherwise?


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posted by Ace at 03:31 PM

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