Let’s Eliminate Suffering (And Those Who Suffer)

It's for their, and our, own good.

By William M Briggs Published on August 21, 2017

Editor’s Note: The following is a satirical reaction to Iceland’s effort to eliminate all babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

The news is “Iceland Has Nearly Eliminated Down Syndrome — Through Abortion“.

Iceland — through the use of abortion­ — apparently is on the brink of completely eradicating the disorder from their society or at least killing off all the unborn children with the condition.

Turns out, “Icelandic law permits abortion after 16 weeks (4 months) only if the fetus is deformed,” and having Down Syndrome counts as “deformed.”

Said Helga Sol Olafsdottir, a Landspitali University Hospital counselor, “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.”

Many “things” are being ended in Iceland.

Hey, Shorty, Look up

I approve of this trend of ending useless things. Which is why elsewhere I wrote, “I’m hoping they can do the same for short people. They’re always underfoot.”

Why should I suffer these ignominies?

Let’s face the cold, brutal truth. Short people are an annoyance. I tried playing basketball with one once, but had no fun (there being no challenge) and ended up having to scrape the guy off my shoes. Plus, given my celebrity, I’m often forced into taking “selfies” with my groupies, many of whom are short. The amount of bending over I have to do is wreaking havoc on my back.

Why should I suffer these ignominies?

If you can’t go through life easily, without suffering, something is wrong. And that something wrong is short people. Short people and those who need glasses.

Can’t you see?

Answer this next question honestly: Do you really want to fly with a pilot who wears glasses? His optical correctives might slip off at any moment and you could fly right into a mountain. What kind of society allows such unnecessary risks? Don’t we care about people?

It is indisputable that people who need glasses are less fit than those with perfect vision, like me. These semi-blinds are forced to live suboptimal lives as they stumble from obstacle to obstacle, knocking into the furniture and tipping over vases. This causes insurance costs to rise.

What’s far worse is that these optically defective folks often seek out one another and breed. Well, they have no choice, since the perfect-sighted prefer to stick with their own. And we all know what this indiscriminate breeding leads to. More people who need glasses.

Just consider: Wouldn’t it have been better for these people if they were never born? They would never suffer. And would not cause the rest of us any grief, either. These are logical truths.

Logic can be brutal

In case you think I am being facetious, it really is a logical truth that if a person will suffer a medical malady if he is born, preventing his birth means he will not suffer the effects of the malady. And we won’t have to suffer watching him suffer.

This is the very logic Iceland’s Olafsdottir is using to end “things.” It goes without saying — though I will say it — that Down Syndrome is a medical malady that causes its victims to suffer (let us call it politely) cognitive deficiency. Therefore, diagnosing this Down Syndrome as early as we can, and then killing those diagnosed, will alleviate their suffering.

This is the very logic Iceland’s Olafsdottir is using to end “things.”

Society will also benefit in not having to deal with their suffering. The time we have to spend on dealing with their suffering would be better applied to ensuring progress for the rest of mankind. Not killing these people is therefore causing suffering in those who do not have the malady.

Suffering cannot be countenanced. What is worse than suffering?

What I am suggesting, then, is applying these rigorous logical arguments to all maladies. Like short-heightedness and short-sightedness.

We should not suffer suffering

My great friend Jerry Coyne says that sometimes our medical testing fails and we can’t diagnose maladies that cause suffering until after people are born. This is why he asked, “Should one be allowed to euthanize severely deformed or doomed newborns?”

His question is rhetorical. The answer (and his answer) is obviously yes.

He says killing people who “are doomed to a life that cannot by any reasonable light afford happiness” are “merciful action[s]”.

This is true if suffering is something that mustn’t be allowed.

It mustn’t be allowed at the end of life, either. This is why doctors are right to abandon their millennia old ideas of healing and instead embrace killing those who lives entail suffering. And who knows how to kill better than a doctor?

Eliminating suffering is a must. This is why short people, those poor souls, have got to go. Never again will they have to stretch in vain for the item on the high shelf. Never again will wretched people strain their meager eyes at menus in darkened restaurants. The future is clear. The future demands that we forbid suffering.

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  • Michael Dowd

    Get short? Of course, what with their Napoleonic complexes and all.

  • MikeW

    Also bald people. They suffer needlessly, especially in social situations when they don’t realize how unattractive they are.

    • Charles Burge

      Why stop there? Surely we could just eliminate all of the ugly people. Wouldn’t the human race be so much better if we all looked like movie stars?

      • Spetzer86

        Maybe apply the same logic as some HR groups do for employee retention? Every year the bottom 10% of movie stars no longer make the cut and get post-birth aborted? That way the movie start pool is gradually improved.

  • kevin jorgensen

    So in the past, the fate of the deformed or less capable was elimination from the gene pool. Darwin would have politely called this an application of his rule of natural selection. Only those most capable of survival will live to reproduce and thereby improve the performance of the species in its environment. We know the Greeks took infants who they deemed to be unfit out and left them in the wild where presumably they perished from exposure or were the next meal of some wild animal or both. It’s only in the past 150 years that our science has enabled us to choose to maintain the lives of those who were less capable and enable many to live productive lives among their peers. Evidence Stephen Hawking (although his afflictions didn’t present until later in life, the suggestion is that if we could detect the presence of what would become an affliction, we would terminate the fetus). And it’s ironic that progress in that same science is now being used to simply eliminate these people from the gene pool before birth. The cost of our compassion must have been too great. One would be inclined to conclude that our definition of what is compassion is quite subjective and perhaps is more a reflexive concern (how that malformed person impacts us) than it is an act designed to benefit others.

  • tether

    This is really more about convenience than suffering. If someone or their circumstances becomes an inconvenience then others want to eliminate them. Without regards for the others well being or rights. Just like some want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with their view on things. If you don’t agree with them then you are either phobic, a hater, a racist, hypocrite, etc.
    If they can’t convince you to think the way they do then you are obviously suffering from some sort of defect and should be eliminated.

  • Charles Burge

    In all seriousness, I think Joni Eareckson Tada put it really well when she said that the notion of “better off dead than disabled” is a vicious and evil lie.

  • Pigdowndog

    “Let’s Eliminate Suffering (And Those Who Suffer)”
    Sensational headline but not quite truthful.
    Iceland does indeed give expectant mothers the choice of aborting the foetus if it shows Down’s syndrome but it doesn’t insist on it.
    America, Denmark and several other European countries have the same policy.
    It’s called pro-choice

    • It’s called killing.

      • Pigdowndog

        It’s called abortion. A perfectly legal process under the supervision of competent medics.
        It’s also the right of the woman involved to choose as it’s her body.
        Her body, her choice.

        • Jay W. Richards

          No. The individual human life is *in* her body. There are two human beings involved. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would find this sort of argument at all convincing, and would make it thinking it would convince anyone else who’s thinking clearly.

          • Pigdowndog

            It’s a foetus wth the potential of becoming a human baby.
            It isn’t a sentient being, it’s a collection of cells. It doesn’t have the power of thought.
            It hasn’t memories. It’s completely dependent on the mother’s womb.
            It’s up to the medical profession to adjudicate when an abortion is not viable as they’re the experts.

            Is an acorn an oak tree?
            It’s not only the pro-life mob that can “think clearly”. Arrogant!
            A woman has the right to choose.

          • Charles Burge

            This is flat-out science denial. Ironic in a way, since that’s the club that leftists so often wield against others. There is convincing scientific evidence that unborn babies can recognize the difference between a foreign language vs the language spoken by their parents. That shows both a thought process and memories.

          • Pigdowndog

            “This is flat-out science denial.”
            Science tells me that a “baby” in the womb starts to hear at 25-26 weeks which is after the viability of an abortion.
            Before that it’s still a group of developing cells with the potential of becoming a fully formed baby.
            The test for “language recognition” was done on new born babies who were exposed to various sounds late in pregnancy.
            So no “science denial” from me and the irony shifts exponentially when someone with your supernatural beliefs make such a statement.

          • Jay W. Richards

            This is silly. You were once a human fetus. Doctors don’t determine reality. Using euphemisms doesn’t change the reality. I’m wondering, could you even accurately summarize the actual pro-life argument?

          • Pigdowndog

            “This is silly.”
            So anyone that doesn’t conform to your view is silly are they? Arrogant!

            “You were once a human fetus.”
            Can’t argue with that fact.

            “Doctors don’t determine reality.”
            No, but they are the knowledgable individuals when it comes to medical matters.

            “Using euphemisms doesn’t change the reality.”
            Where have I used a euphemism?

            “I’m wondering, could you even accurately summarize the actual pro-life argument?”
            Judging by your avatar (I”m assuming it’s a photograph of you) you look like a relatively successful middle class person who doesn’t have to worry how the next electricity bill is going to be paid.
            It might come s a shock to you but there are millions that are not so fortunate.
            What if they can’t afford another mouth to feed
            The usual comeback to that is “they shouldn’t have any more children then”.
            That’s not how human nature works especially if they are bound up in the chains of Catholicism and its hateful dogma.
            Just look to South America where unwanted kids are thrown on the streets to fend for themselves.
            Condemned for life by an organisation dripping in gold.
            When it can be established that the foetus has a life debilitating condition then why not give that mother the right over her own body and save her a lifetime of poverty and hardship?
            Why condemn someone to that future if there’s the safe means to put a stop to it?
            Why force desperate women to go to a back street abortionist where clinical standards are a stranger?
            If a woman is unfortunate enough to be told that her unborn child is not as perfect as she had hoped then if she makes the decision to keep that child despite its disability then great!
            Good for her.
            But it’s HER decision not someone who gets their worldview from an ancient book of nonsense.
            I prefer my information from the experts and not the pulpit thanks.

            It’s all very well pontificating from the ivory tower of privilege but try looking down now and again to see the less fortunate.

        • Of course, it is not her body. And, anyway, women do not have the right to do with their bodies whatever they please; men, neither.

          • Pigdowndog

            “Of course, it is not her body.”
            Just how do you arrive at that conclusion?
            The days of slavery in civilised society are over.

          • Because the other body is her child.

          • Pigdowndog

            Not when it’s deemed a foetus by the medical profession.
            No-one is arguing that a fully formed near term baby should be aborted apart from exceptional circumstances.
            The woman’s body as yours and mine, are to do with lawfully as we please.
            No-one else’s business.

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