Human Exceptionalism

Minor Euthanized in Belgium

A Belgian MD filled a syringe with heart-stopping poison, and injected the fluid into the arm of a dying child who had asked to die, causing death. And it was all legal. From a Belgian newspaper’s story (Google translation)

The doctor who performed the euthanasia has this week delivered a dossier to the Federal Control and Evaluation Euthanasia. This is confirmed by, among others, Professor Wim Distelmans, chairman of the committee. It is a Dutch case, suggesting that euthanasia is carried out in Flanders.

(Update: Another report says the ill minor was 17.  I am not sure why a Dutch child was euthanized in Belgium because he or she could have been legally euthanized for children aged 12 and up.)

Bioedge’s editor Michael Cook wrote a sober editorial about the ethics-shattering event:

Ultimately this is a triumph for out-and-out nihilism, not just Belgium’s inventive euthanasia lobby. Nihilism is a philosophical fad which seems to catching on. Below we feature a report on three American bioethicists who argue the case for population control to fight climate change and a defense of infanticide by a Finnish bioethicist.

I’ve also just discovered a new book by South African philosopher David Benatar. In it he argues that procreation is morally wrong because life’s a bitch and then you die (I am over-simplifying, of course.) He concludes his book with these cheerful thoughts:

“Every birth is a future death. Between the birth and the death there is bound to be plenty of unpleasantness … Inflicting serious harm—or even the risk of it—on one person, without his or her consent, in order to benefit others, is presumptively wrong.”

If I’m right, euthanizing a child is not an terminus for Belgian euthanasia, but just a bus stop en route to pure nihilism. What its supporters are trying to eliminate is not just pain, but life itself.

Indeed, as Yuval Levin has noted, eliminating suffering has become the overriding purpose of society. Once that happens, eliminating ever-expanding categories of sufferers become baby steps.

It won’t take long before Belgium allows euthanasia of disabled, chronically sick and depressed, and mentally ill children, as it now does adults.

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