Charlie Gard is Dying, Like the West
Charlie Gard is a real baby who is dying. He has been baptized into Christ, and that gives us every hope that his eternal fate is secure. His parents are grieving, and merit our respect. When the awful moment comes that they must lose him, they deserve both privacy and our prayers.
Anne Frank was a real girl with her own hopes and dreams. They were suddenly cut short by wicked men acting on crass, irrational ideas. But what the Nazis did to her served as a powerful symbol of the evil that they wrought on millions of other innocents, particularly Jews. Reading, retelling, and remembering her story, to illustrate the cruelties of the Holocaust and the foulness of antisemitism, honors her memory.
What happened to Charlie Gard and his parents is all too real. His story is a microcosm, a little world, in which we can see more clearly what’s poisoning the planet.
Charlie’s fate is also a symbol. Not in the sense of an allegory, where the “sign” means nothing in itself. Where it’s just a marker for something else that’s real and important — like a fish as a code for Christ scrawled in a catacomb. No, what happened to Charlie and his parents is all too real. His story is a microcosm, a little world, in which we can see more clearly what’s poisoning the planet.
To deny that, to refuse to learn the “big” lessons from this little, heartbreaking story, would be to render Charlie’s suffering almost meaningless. Imagine if the person who’d found Anne Frank’s girlish diary had thrown it in the fire.
Euthanasia in England
Last week, I would have written, “If Charlie Gard dies. …” Now I have to write “When.” That is not an accident. When Charlie Gard dies, it won’t just be because of some “act of God.” Not even because of negligence. It will be an act of passive euthanasia on the part of the British government. Its health officials and courts denied Charlie’s parents their most fundamental right — to try every treatment within their means to secure his recovery. To decide what is best for him. To fight for the child whom God and nature entrusted to their care.
Why did they make this decision? As I wrote last week:
“Life unworthy of life” is almost exactly the phrase that British authorities used when (with European courts’ collusion) they ruled that Charlie Gard must die. That his parents couldn’t use the private funds they had raised to try to save his life. And why? Because he would still be handicapped. So the State thinks him better off dead. And the State decides these things.
I’m not sure which motive is more fundamental here: The eugenicist’s urge to kill the handicapped, or the tyrant’s glee at usurping parental rights. But why choose between them? Those impulses go together. They are part of a broader, civilizational revolt against Nature.
Creation is the Enemy
Here’s just a short list of the topics on which Progressives reject the claims of Nature.
- Parents’ rights, as in the case of Charlie Gard. Of persecuted homeschoolers in Germany. Of parents in Canada who lost custody of their “trans” child for refusing dangerous hormone treatments.
- Individual rights, such as freedom of association. Harvard just voted to expel students who choose to gather, off campus, in clubs that the school doesn’t approve.
- Citizens’ rights. We are not permitted to weigh the actual consequences, already obvious, of admitting millions of intolerant Muslims into rich, childless Western welfare states. Or letting countless unskilled workers pour into the United States. If EU citizens talk about such things too loudly, they might well be prosecuted. In the Catholic church, our own leaders will denounce us as xenophobic Manicheans, or as Herod murdering the infants of Bethlehem.
- Voters’ rights. Fundamental policy decisions in the European Union are being made by secret committees of appointed bureaucrats. Enormously important issues in America from abortion to same-sex marriage are decided by unelected judges, with no real recourse for voters. Meanwhile, armies of appointed bureaucrats have taken over most of the task of governance from the Congress.
These attacks on natural rights and sane, real relationships don’t come from a vacuum. In each case, the left denies the claims of natural law for a reason: They stand in the way of living out fantasies that make elites feel better about themselves. Since life has no other meaning, feeling good about yourself is the most fundamental right.
Which motive is more fundamental: The eugenicist’s urge to kill the handicapped, or the tyrant’s glee at usurping parental rights?
The ancient Gnostics understood this psychological maneuver perfectly well. They looked at fallen Creation and saw it as an affront against the freedom of the sovereign, God-like Self. So they declared that Creation is evil. The product of a wicked or a bumbling lesser god. A god who didn’t know what he was doing, any more than Darwinian evolution is supposed to.
The Body is a Prison
For Gnostics, the body does not serve the spirit as its temple. No, it traps it like a prison. So we have the right to redecorate our cells any way we want — or finally, when the suffering outweighs the pleasure, to hang ourselves and be done with it. In fact, when we see that others (like Charlie Gard) are suffering, we can go the extra mile and put them out of their misery.
Moderns who believe that the source of life, even human life, is a series of blind, pointless accidents have every reason to hate Creation. To see it as a series of blind and arbitrary obstacles to pleasure and cruel occasions of suffering. Creation has no structure, and suffering has no meaning. The cosmic nonsense generator that created the universe and emitted mankind as a by-product just dumped us here. We’re like cast members of a closed-down reality TV series who were stranded on a desert island and promptly forgotten. We owe those producers nothing. Certainly not our obedience. We might as well have some fun before we starve.
Meat Puppets Doomed to Die
So why should we feel bound by what seems “natural”? In fact, if all this were true, we ought to see arguments from nature and natural law as repugnant, even wicked. They’re just claims made on us by the callous, mindless force that dumped us in these prisons as hapless meat-puppets doomed to die.
People who believe these things have no business running society. They shouldn’t even be doctors, much less the heads of hospitals or national health services. Nor should they dominate the humanities and social science faculties of our colleges. Nor should they be running the Pontifical Council for Life.
Little Charlie Gard will be with Jesus soon. We’ll still be here. His fate is a symbol of the evils we need to fight. Our elites know the West is dying, is almost dead. They know that a cure exists — the return to Nature and Nature’s God. And they’re desperate to keep us from getting it.