Nazi humanism is dead, but its spirit lives on in Holland, with Belgium also offering comfortable accommodation.
The spirit animates Dutch legislators and doctors, who enthusiastically join forces to kill not only terminally ill patients but now also perfectly healthy people. Naturally, just like the Nazis, they claim the best possible motives.
In October, 1939, Hitler signed his ‘euthanasia decree’, saying in part that: “Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, so that patients who, after a most critical diagnosis, on the basis of human judgement [menschlichem Ermessen], are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death.”
Replace the German names with those of Holland’s health and justice ministers, and the same statement could have been written, verbatim, by Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister.
The Nazis rapidly expanded their ‘human judgement’ to include people who weren’t ‘considered incurable’ in any normal medical practice. Just about any disability was deemed sufficient, particularly for those groups the Nazis didn’t like very much.
That was to be expected: any evil ‘human’ law presupposes arbitrary expansion ad infinitum, for voluntarism is the essence of humanism. You understand that I’m using the word in its true meaning, rather than its modern perversion that somehow got to mean human goodness.
In fact, humanism is a deadly superstition whose adherents worship anthropocentrism, man’s centrality to a universe created by Darwin, exhaustively explained by Marx and ruled by Freud. The antonym of humanism isn’t brutality (which is more nearly its synonym), but theism or, specifically in the Western context, Judaeo-Christianity.
A man is the sole master of his life, teaches humanism. That means he’s within his right to end his life whenever he wishes, for whatever reason. And if he’s either hesitant or ill-qualified to make that decision for himself, his intellectual and institutional superiors can make it for him.
Once such superior beings get into full swing, there’s no stopping them. Hence the Nazis used the euthanasia decree to kill healthy people as well. It’s reassuring to see how faithfully the Dutch are treading the same path.
The law being drafted at present and guaranteed to pass will legalise assisted suicide for even perfectly healthy people, provided they feel they have ‘completed life’. This represents yet another pioneering effort in a country that was the first to legalise euthanasia in 2002.
The Dutch have been taking liberties with the definition of incurable disease right from the beginning. For example, a young girl who suffered sex abuse and as a result became depressed and anorexic, was recently passed by doctors as fit for euthanasia.
But at least until now doctors have had to agree that a patient suffers from an incurable medical condition with no hope of improvement. On that basis, they’d draft a euthanasia request for an ethics commission to make the final decision, typically within a week, an expeditiousness seldom shown in other bureaucratic procedures.
About 7,000 people a year are being dispatched at present, with the number constantly growing. Yet even this already impressive achievement seems wanting to the Dutch. The process is much too slow and not sufficiently all-encompassing for their taste.
Hence Holland’s health and justice ministers have submitted to parliament their draft law. The ministers honestly admit they haven’t worked out the details, but the general thrust is to them indisputable: people who “have a well-considered opinion that their life is complete, must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them.”
This represents yet another step on the road to perdition the Dutch tread with particular relish. Observing Amsterdam’s profusion of opium dens and beautiful seventeenth-century windows adorned with ugly semi-nude whores, I always feel approaches to the city should carry proud signs “Twinned with Sodom and Gomorrah”.
Before too long those imaginary signs will have to be augmented by “…and Auschwitz”. For make no mistake about it: the very next step on the same road will be that the final solution… sorry, I mean decision, shouldn’t be left to the people’s “well-considered opinion”. Other, infinitely better-qualified, individuals will be deciding on their behalf.
One can only guess how far the aforementioned road will lead. However, if I were a Dutch Jew or Gypsy, I’d begin to feel a mild discomfort, if not yet mortal fear.
Some will no doubt feel that I’m pushing the parallel between Nazi and Dutch euthanasia too far. I’m not going to argue the point because, as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t worth arguing about.
What’s absolutely critical to understand is that both spring from the same source: Enlightenment humanism with its wanton destruction of the moral and transcendent underpinnings of our civilisation.
The two exercises in euthanasia are thus the kind of parallel lines that may well defy Euclid and vindicate Lobachevsky by converging.