Politics & Policy

Charlie Gard and the Moral Decline of Europe

(Stock image: Sailanalt/Dreamstime)
The Gard case is yet more evidence of the rise of a culture that fails to properly value human life.

Pope Francis and President Trump agree: Sentencing a baby to death is simply wrong. These two men form the twin pillars of a peculiar alliance against Europe’s expanding culture of death, and the irony is frightening. After all, what does it say about the state of European society when it cedes a man who is perhaps the most vulgar president in American history the moral high ground?

At this point, the facts of the case are well-known. Charlie Gard is an infant with a rare genetic condition, and he is being kept on life support in a London hospital. The European Court of Human Rights sided with the doctors who want to take Charlie off life support rather than let his parents take him to the United States for an experimental treatment.

A Vatican spokesman reported that the pope is praying for the parents and hopes “that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.” An Italian hospital has offered to care for Gard. President Trump tweeted his willingness to help the parents if possible. As it stands, Gard’s life remains in limbo.

It’s all emblematic of a broader moral decay in Europe, one in which the value of life is increasingly subject to utilitarian calculations, while ideas of ingrained human dignity and intrinsic worth are falling by the wayside. Euthanasia is a centerpiece of this encroaching culture of death, and the slope is slippery. Wesley J. Smith has highlighted how safeguards have failed to prevent the practice’s abuse:

Since first permitted in the 1970s, the Netherlands has always had a problem with doctors killing patients who have not asked for euthanasia. Despite that being murder under the law, nothing substantial is ever done about it.

In 2015, Smith found that over 400 patients in the Netherlands were killed without explicitly requesting euthanasia.

It gets worse.

In 2016, Dutch physicians “killed about one mentally ill patient each week.” Charles Lane has identified additional egregious practices in both Belgium and the Netherlands. In the latter, for example, “right-to-die activists opened a clinic in March 2012 to ‘help’ people turned down for lethal injections by their regular physicians.” This clinic killed almost a dozen people whose sole reason for requesting euthanasia was being “tired of living.”

In 2016, Dutch physicians ‘killed about one mentally ill patient each week.’

Pope Francis once characterized global malaise as the product of a “throwaway culture.” This is a particularly apt description of the increasingly dominant attitude toward life in Europe: Its value is reduced to a function of economics and pleasure. If it isn’t useful, productive, or joyful, then it isn’t worth living.

More pernicious, however, is the precedent Gard’s case sets for allowing judicial despots and bureaucrats to dictate whether a life is worthy of being saved. The Gard case further undermines the notion that euthanasia is about freedom and choice; on the contrary, it is blatantly totalitarian. The European Court of Human Rights has assumed quasi-divine status by claiming it has the right to determine who can live and who can die.

This is apparently what “progress” looks like: barbarism disguised as mercy. It is the logical consequence of a culture experiencing moral decay, for when society does not protect the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves, the throwaway culture thrives.

READ MORE:

The Court-Ordered Killing of Charlie Gard

Why Rome’s Statement on Charlie Gard Was So Devastating

The Vatican’s Statement on the Charlie Gard Case Is a Disgrace

Jeff Cimmino — Jeff Cimmino is an editorial intern at National Review. He is a junior pursuing a B.A. in history and a minor in government at Georgetown University. Cimmino was the founding ...

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
U.S.

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More