William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Surprise! A Professional Organization Comes Out Against Euthanasia

In James Bradley’s Flyboys he relates how the Japanese in Manchuria would line up Chinese citizens for the benefit of Japanese army recruits to bayonette. Most were squeamish at first—Hey! That’s a person!—but with encouragement, and a seemingly endless supply of targets, the soldiers dutifully got over their compunctions and were soon knifing with insouciance. One fellow after the war telling of his experience said, “There was a girl. I wanted to rape her. So I raped her.” And when he was finished, he gutted her. Because why? Because why not?

No reason to bring up Germany, because Hollywood, God bless them, won’t let us forget. Better to recall Russia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, France, and all the other almost Utopias where muscular socialism turned good portions of their citizens into stone-cold killers or (mainly) fertilizer.

Point is, killing is easy. Takes very little to learn how to do it as long as you’re convinced that the folks you’re slaughtering are dying for a good cause (which is usually defined as that which benefits you) or, in the best lie of all, for their own good. (Make sure you read till the end for some fun predictions.)

Most of the world already accepts that “doctors”—in the archaic definition, “healers”—can “abort” the unwanted lives growing inside women. And in the West, there is a growing trend towards killing those whose lives aren’t “worth” living. Lebensunwerten Leben! is the cry.

Belgium is the latest to take up the banner, passing a law which says “doctors”—we’re really going to have to come up with a new word for these people—can now kill children who, if kept alive, would unduly burden society and perhaps cause pain. Life should be pain free, should it not?

Of course, bayonettes are out of fashion, not the least because the amount of blood which spills out of even a child’s body is more than you’d think. What a mess! It’s drugs. Gassing still causes twinges of guilt, so it’s injections these days. Word is that “doctors” are working on a pill, which will make ordering online easy.

Anyway, so enthusiastic are the enlightened over this new kind of lethality, that I was sweetly taken aback when I learned the American College of Pediatricians, God bless them, too, stood against the rising tide of bloodlust and issued a statement condemning it.

Entitled “Neonatal Euthanasia: The Groningen Protocol“, it summarizes:

An examination of the criteria used by the Protocol to justify the euthanasia of seriously ill neonates reveals the criteria are not based on firm moral principles. The taking of the life of a seriously ill person is not the solution to the pain and suffering of the dying process. It is the role of the medical professional to care for the ailing patient with love and compassion, always preserving the person’s dignity. Neonatal euthanasia is not ethically permissible…

The taking of innocent life is never a moral act.

Isn’t it cool to give the rules that let you kill a slick name like “The Groningen Protocol”? The Groningen Protocol. Say it. Makes you feel you’re part of something (an eighties spy movie, for me). “I’m sorry, miss. We had to kill your little girl. The Groningen Protocol, you see.”

The Groningen Protocol (I can’t say it enough) goes like this: End of life decisions aren’t easy, by gum. They outta be. Therefore, when in doubt, kill. Ain’t that easy?

Don’t fret. That’s only the short version. The real one is loads more scientific. They assign numbers to things like the “crying level” of babies, and there’s nothing more scientific than assigning numbers. Kids who have happy scores are allowed to live, and those on the wrong side of the cutoff are taken down to the morgue. Somebody slits their throats on the way, of course, for the morgue is for the dead only.

No, wait. It’s drugs, not knives. My memory is playing tricks on me. Isn’t killing with drugs so much more sophisticated than killing with knives? Not as much fun for the killers, true. But, again, think about all the blood.

I leave you with this caution: whenever your in the Netherlands or Belgium, whatever you do, don’t go to the doctor.

Predictions

The enlightened, which comprises the majority of elites in the West, is largely against the “death penalty”, i.e. the killing of those that deserve it, but they are infatuated with killing those that don’t. Why, our dear leader sends drones to drop munitions on remote targets even as I write this.

Killing of “unworthy” lives will increase, of course, but who will be judged unworthy? I say “mentally ill” “troublemakers.” Those who won’t get with the program. You know whom I mean. Say within twenty years.

Your ideas?

20 Comments

  1. I started counting days to the apocalypse when reading a book about animal rights where the author advocated the sacrifice of retarded children, sometimes I want to believe it was a very elaborate exercise in straussianism…soon it will be a crime (a Hate Crime) to speak of retarded children but not a crime to commend their elimination.

  2. RE: “Point is, killing is easy. Takes very little to learn how to do it as long as you’re convinced that the folks you’re slaughtering are dying for a good cause (which is usually defined as that which benefits you) or, in the best lie of all, for their own good.”

    NOT TRUE.

    For most well-adjusted humans killing another human is a very traumatic ordeal. In war, even against charging enemies shooting to kill, the defenders routinely shot to miss. One of the best summaries of this is:

    “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” by Dave Grossman; http://www.amazon.com/On-Killing-Psychological-Learning-Society/dp/0316040932 . The author is a former military officer and consults much with law enforcement, etc. His website is: killology.org or killology.com .

    Chances are, the psychological toll on those doing such ‘euthanizing’ is much much greater than anyone realizes…though a fair number of conscienceless sociopaths often find their way to such “jobs.”

  3. I heard a bit about this on NPR. The way I heard it, this policy is being considered for terminally ill children that want to end their lives, and the parents agree and the doctor agrees.

    So it is not just some doctor deciding to terminate an ill child.

    Now, if you (a terminally ill person) cannot kill yourself with the agreement of your parents and your doctor – when can you kill yourself?

    Personally, I believe that self-termination is a fundamental right.

    It is more difficult to discuss this for children than it is for adults – but if you are old enough to want to die (because you are terminally ill), ask for it, get your parents to agree with your decision and your doctor to agree – than who am I to stand in the way of your decision?

    Obviously, age is a factor – I don’t think very many 2 year olds are asking the tube to be pulled. So I don’t see this coming up for kids under 12 or so.

    Lets get past the issue of children and ask, why should a mentally competent adult who is terminally ill not be able to ask for a lethal injection? Or at least ask for the injector and deliver it to themselves? Why should there be a law against that? I don’t believe there have been huge problems with this in Oregon (or is it Washington state?).

    Is there any reason other than religious to oppose the right of self-termination? At least for mentally competent adults? And in America – we don’t allow one person to force their religious views on another (except for buying beer on Sundays in Minnesota) – so why should my religious views result in a law which prevents someone else from self-termination?

  4. Briggs

    February 20, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Ken,

    There is more than one sense of “easy.” It’s easy to turn people into killers, as history shows (and as the example I gave proves). That killing does damage to the killers is also certainly true.

  5. Ken, “a fair number of conscienceless sociopaths often find their way to such jobs.” Exactly, which is why Hayek claimed in “The Road to Serfdom” that the worst people end up in charge in a socialist system and why Hoppe extended this to all democracies in “Democracy: The God that Failed”.

    “the defenders routinely shot to miss”: This is a very questionable claim and there are no lack of critics of the studies that the book uses. An army that routinely shot to miss would lose every battle against armies that had any sort of military discipline. There may also be significant differences between an army of volunteers and one composed of the conscripted. The fact that soldiers have to be trained to kill is a banal statement as people have to be trained to do any job.

    “For most well-adjusted humans killing another human is a very traumatic ordeal.” This sounds like a no true Scotsman statement. In any case as Briggs says the fact that one is psychologically affected by the experience says nothing as to how easy the training is. Also I must protest the expression “psychological toll” which seems to have no real meaning but is often used in place of an actual argument.

    The Stanford Prison Experiment showed how easy it is to train brutality without actually doing any training at all.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

    As a final comment I have to say that if left alone people can recover from traumatic experiences remarkably well. The problem is the therapy.

  6. Looks like the spam filter struct again.

  7. A non-murderer really can’t comment on how of a bona fide murderer might feel in terms of how easy (or not) it was to do the deed. If a fellow was just “following orders” it is perhaps just as easy as filling in an Excel spreadsheet. The line between barbarity and civility is much thinner than we like to believe.

  8. Your blog post opens with a Godwin.

  9. Meanwhile, the EU is doing its damndest to keep the US from executing convicted murders by preventing pharmaceutical companies in the EU from providing the drugs to do it.

    http://www.npr.org/2014/02/18/279216377/missouri-execution-stalled-over-lethal-drugs-in-short-supply

  10. For most well-adjusted humans killing another human is a very traumatic ordeal.
    Maybe if you are doing it up close and personal. I was in the Navy and we shot 5 inch bullets at people who were out of sight. The artillery spotter would call a fire mission and we would shoot at map coordinates the spotter provided. Usually the first round was white phosphorus so the spotter could see where the bullet landed. After the spotter called some correcting shots, it was fire for effect. Maybe I’m not well adjusted but It was all very impersonal and unemotional. Just a typical days work.

  11. Curt:

    I read that.

    What I don’t get is why cannot the states in question manufacture their own?

    Why do they have to buy it from a company at all?

    You would think the Feds could get the drugs manufactured and give them to the states which need them.

    We still have the Federal death penalty – so they must need the same drugs – no?

  12. Thought provoking,thanks Briggs. I agree that this is true “The enlightened, which comprises the majority of elites in the West, is largely against the “death penalty”, i.e. the killing of those that deserve it, but they are infatuated with killing those that don’t”

  13. Scotian,

    Regarding the ‘no lack of critics’ —

    Who are they?
    What are their credentials?
    Where can their counter-points be found?

    Provide the CREDIBLE rebuttal — Just a bit of the “no lack of” it…should be easy if there’s that much of it…that is, if credible rebuttal really exists….

    And when you find it, please provide it to the Department of Defense (DoD) — because after recognizing the problem DoD amended training across all the DoD services to compensate (with proven success of that training demonstrated–so DoD thinks–in Vietnam). Here’s where to send the info so DoD can quit wasting precious training dollars on unnecessary (according to you) techniques:

    Chuck Hagel
    Secretary of Defense
    1000 Defense Pentagon
    Washington, DC 20301-1000

    RE: “I must protest the expression “psychological toll” which seems to have no real meaning but is often used in place of an actual argument.”

    Protest all you want, but consider what [and who] you’re really “protesting” — a non-position based on nitpicky presumptions about semantics supported upon pure, self-inflicted, ignorance.

    Try a few seconds of research (keyword: “Post Shooting Trauma,” for example) and find out exactly what “psychological toll” means — like the links below, many of which apply to police officers where that very expression is used to summarize, before explaining, the many facets of what that toll is.

    You an “protest” the phrase–but only if you choose to wallow in ignorance…so you’re really only protesting yourself…

    Criticize, or think. The choice is yours: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/benjaminfr383249.html

    http://www.shootingillustrated.com/index.php/10737/post-shooting-trauma/
    https://www.tactical-officer.com/articles/post-shooting-trauma-the-use-of-lethal-force-can-be-devastating/www.policeone.com/legal/articles/5882513-ACLU-DC-protects-citizen-journalists-from-police/
    http://www.tearsofacop.com/police/articles/aftergun.html
    http://wtvr.com/2012/12/11/police-perspective-on-the-psychological-effects-of-using-deadly-force/
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/crime-law/police-officers-can-deal-with-ptsd-like-symptoms-a/nPX8Q/

    Lastly, if you really think “..if left alone people can recover from traumatic experiences remarkably well. The problem is the therapy.”

    THEN PLEASE, in addition to DoD, inform all those police departments across the country that employ psychologists and other therapeutic services to their police officers to help them psychologically recover after they’ve had to shoot someone in the line of duty — as you must know something they don’t…they’ll undoubtedly like to save a few bucks from canceling such [according to you] ‘problematic’ therapeutic services.

  14. Ken,

    I am somewhat confused by your response. First you claimed that soldiers routinely shoot to miss but now you are claiming that with training they do not shoot to miss. However, solders have always been trained. If your claim is merely that people without training make poor soldiers then this is a completely uncontroversial and even banal statement. Actually your claim that I said that training is unnecessary is rather funny since the word appears numerous times in my post.

    As to the critics you yourself gave the link. I am also aware that the therapy profession is a big and lucrative business, but this fact is hardly a proof of its effectiveness. Police departments also use psychics and polygraph operators as well.

    Given the incredible amount of snark in your response I can only assume that I’ve hit a sore spot.

  15. Ken,

    It took surprisingly little effort to find a devastating criticism of Grossman’s book. See

    http://www.journal.dnd.ca/vo9/no2/16-engen-eng.asp

    Did you look for such a criticism or just assume that it did not exist? Please note that it is from a very credible source.

  16. Hans,

    Appealing to Godwin? I assume you never argue from history. By the way, appealing to the Godwin fallacy has become a fallacy itself.

  17. The Groningen Protocol was written in the Netherlands as the result of the analysis of death after 22 cases of Spina bififida in ten years. Any comparison with killing japanese is way way out of line.

  18. I have seen many pictures of the unthinkable brutality and bestiality of Japanese soldiers against Chinese during their occupation, which is the root of the anti-Japanese sentiment in China. There was not an iota of love, mercy, agony, sympathy, and consideration when the soldiers committed the atrocious massacre, but hatred, blood, and cruelty.

    Life is indeed fragile and can be terminated with a bullet in a matter of seconds.

    However, I don’t believe for a moment that it’s an easy decision for any parents. To let go of a terminal ill child.

    I need to make a living will.

  19. Briggs

    February 21, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Hans,

    The debating tactic which you have used I like to call the “Christopher-Hitches angry bluff”, wherein the responder grrrs out an “I will not have it said…” but where he never provides any reason except his emotion.

    It’s surprisingly effective, though. People figure a guy that upset must be right. Doesn’t fool anybody with a head on their shoulders, though.

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