July 22, 2009
Does Ted Kennedy deserve his extended cancer care?By James Lewis
Senator Ted Kennedy, who is now 76 years old and was diagnosed with brain cancer in May of last year, is telling the world that nationalized medical care is "the cause of his life." He wants to see it pass as soon as possible, before he departs this vale of tears.
The prospect of Kennedy's passing is viewed by the liberal press with anticipatory tears and mourning. But they are not asking the proper question by their own lights: That question -- which will be asked for you and me when we reach his age and state in life --- is this:
Is Senator Kennedy's life valuable enough to dedicate millions of dollars to extending it another month, another day, another year?
Because Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy agree with each other that they of all people are entitled to make that decision. Your decision to live or die will now be in their hands.
Ted Kennedy is now 76. Average life expectancy in the United States is 78.06. For a man who has already reached 76, life expectancy is somewhat longer than average (since people who die younger lower the national average); for a wealthy white man it may be somewhat longer statistically; but for a man with diagnosed brain cancer it is correspondingly less. As far as the actuarial tables of the Nanny State are concerned, Kennedy is due to leave this life some time soon. The socialist State is not sentimental, at least when it comes to the lives of ordinary people like you and me.
The socialist question -- and yes, it is being asked very openly in socialist countries all around the world, like Britain and Sweden -- must be whether extending Senator Kennedy's life by another day, another month or year is socially valuable enough to pay for what is no doubt a gigantic and growing medical bill. Kennedy is a US Senator, and all that money has been coughed up without complaint by the US taxpayer. Kennedy is already entitled to Federal health care, and it is no doubt the best available to anyone in the world.
Before he dies, Senator Kennedy wants to feel sure that you and I and our loved ones can put that personal decision about life or death safely in the hands of a Federal bureaucrat. It is "the cause of his life," we are told.
Now there are many people in this country who believe that Ted Kennedy has not spent his life very constructively. Mary Jo Kopechne's family might still want to trade his life for hers, if she could be brought back. Senator Kennedy has exercised more power over our immigration chaos than any other person in the last half century. 9/11 was committed by illegal entrants who slipped through our deliberately full-of-holes borders, using all manner of Kennedy-authored loopholes and enforcement gaps.
Others might point to the socialist habit of importing vast numbers of voters from Pakistan and Somalia into Western Europe, to make for cheap socialist votes in order to defeat and scapegoat native Europeans. Socialism by immigrant vote buying is happening in every single socialist country in Europe. It is what keeps socialist parties there in power. Kennedy has opened our borders for precisely that kind of takeover by masses of illegal immigrants.
So there might be a rational debate over the social utility of Senator Kennedy's life. We could all have a great national debate about it. Maybe we should do exactly that, to face the consequences of what the Left sees as so humane, so obviously benevolent, and so enlightened.
Consider what happens in the Netherlands to elderly people. The Netherlands legalized "assisted suicide" in 2002, no doubt in part for compassionate reasons. But also to save money. There is only one money kitty for medical care in the socialist Netherlands. When you get old, the question is asked, either explicitly or by implication:
Do you deserve to live another year compared to young refugees from Somalia, who can use the same euros to have many years of life?
There's only so much money available. The Netherlands radio service had a quiz show at one time, designed to "raise public awareness" about precisely that question. Who deserves to live, and who to die?
But nobody debates any more about who has the power to make that decision. In socialist Europe the State does. It's a done deal.
The Netherlands legally recognizes four categories of euthanasia. One of them is:
I don't know enough about Senator Kennedy's condition, but I would suppose that he has "a recurrent disease or ... a terminal progressive disease." That would be the case if his brain cancer is not curable. In the socialist Netherlands Kennedy would be a perfect candidate for passive euthanasia.
Has anyone raised this question with Senator Kennedy? I know it seems to be in bad taste to even mention it. But if ObamaCare passes in the coming weeks, you can be sure that that question will be raised for you and me, and our loved ones. And no, we will not have a choice.