“Chip” and admirer
The death penalty by lethal injection is “barbaric” and an “atrocity.”
− Editorial, The Lancet
Death of a patient “very near” a persistent vegetative state was “peaceful,” though it occurred after deprivation of water and food for eight days.
− Editorial, The Lancet
Suspected murderer of pregnant Marine and her eight-month fetus thought to be heading for Mexico, which will not extradite him if he faces the death penalty.
− News report
“Why is this man still breathing?”
− Psychology student, after seeing video of brutal child rapist
Read the opinions expressed above. Which reflect your views? Which reflect true compassion? By way of explanation, Lancet is one of Britain’s leading medical journals, while the psychology student is the mother of a young child.
I use the term “dislocated” rather than “misplaced,” to indicate that when something is dislocated, it is not merely in the wrong place; it also is severely impaired in its function. When compassion is dislocated, it is not only directed at the wrong targets; it is also deprived of its normal function. The evil are showered with undeserved compassion, while the innocent, who really deserve and need compassion, are robbed of it.
And there is a great deal of pain. With a dislocated joint, the pain is experienced by the person with the dislocation. But with dislocated compassion, that person feels no pain at all. On the contrary, he feels good without doing good – the essence of narcissism. He says, in effect, “Look at me! I’m better than you. I’m so compassionate that I feel sorry for the most vicious, the most brutal, the most sadistic among us. What a guy!” No, the pain is experienced by the victims who have suffered, and will suffer, at the hands of the criminals and terrorists whom our “hero” allows to continue their evil deeds.
Compassion, one of the most precious virtues, is distorted into a vice that enables the cruelty of criminals and terrorists.
Let us examine the news items more closely. The Lancet, a top medical journal, has become an organ for the propagation of leftist, anti-capitalist, anti-American views. It declares that execution of convicted murderers by lethal injection is “barbaric” and an “atrocity.” But at the same time, it supports abortion and euthanasia.
In the incident mentioned above, the editors note with approval the death by dehydration and starvation over eight days of a patient who was “very near” a persistent vegetative state. The patient apparently was minimally conscious of her surroundings. But what, precisely, is Lancet saying?
1. Lethal injection, the way we put beloved dogs and cats to sleep, is “barbaric” for convicted murderers. But dehydration and starvation over several days is “peaceful” for medical patients. These two beliefs are mutually contradictory. They reflect excessive compassion for convicted murderers, but lack of compassion for the innocent, the elderly, and the disabled.
2. What if we proposed dehydration and starvation as a punishment for murderers? The editors of Lancet – and “liberals” like them – would scream that we were horribly cruel. To them, what is too cruel for murderers is quite all right for the disabled. What sort of value system tolerates such beliefs?
3. We need not meet specific legal or medical criteria for euthanasia. It is sufficient that the patient be “very near” the condition in question. But how near is that? Is “pretty near” near enough to croak the patient? How about “fairly near”? On the contrary, if a doctor drove off in a car that was “very near” his car in the hospital parking lot, “progressives” would be very upset. Because of their leftist ideology, they value property more than human life. Like Marx, they see everything in economic terms. They, even more than capitalists, know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
The editors of medical journals are teachers of physicians. Would you want to be under the care of physicians who were trained to think like that? Would you want your life to be in the hands of people who see nothing wrong with a socialized medical system that delays or denies care on a daily basis? Would you want to be under the control of those who favor euthanasia of those “very near” the condition in question, while at the same time they propose using patients as organ donors without the patients’ consent?
I’d rather be left in the street. That way I might recover spontaneously.
Not to be outdone, the New England Journal of Medicine editorializes that physicians should have nothing to do with executions of murderers. The editors warn physicians to recall the Hippocratic Oath, which mentions the death penalty…oh wait, it doesn’t mention the death penalty. However, the Oath does forbid abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, all of which the Journal favors. “Liberal” beliefs need not be consistent – they need only be “liberal.”
What can we say about people who swore to care for the sick, but instead devote their energies to worrying about convicted murderers, while consigning the disabled to slow deaths? What can we say about Mexico, a nation whose prison system is marked by brutality for the poor and special favors for the rich? What can we say about a nation that is almost a narco-state, but presumes to lecture us on humane treatment of murderers? What can we say about people who find excuses for murder and child abuse, but who condemn capital punishment as a “barbaric atrocity”?
● Someone must fear being put to death, either murderers or the disabled. It says a lot about us when the leading cause of death for convicted murderers is old age, while at the same time we advocate euthanasia for the disabled − if they are no longer economically productive, or if they have organs we covet.
● Someone must live in fear, either molesters or children. When we teach young kids “stranger danger,” it’s a sign that we have too much concern for the rights of molesters, and not enough for the rights of innocent children.
● Someone must live behind bars, either criminals or law-abiding people. When window bars appear on many homes, it is a sign that we have too much compassion for criminals, and not enough for victims.
● Compassion is finite. No one has enough for all the 7.2 billion people on earth, as well as uncounted animals. We must spend it wisely.
● If we lavish our compassion on victims of police brutality (real or imagined), we will have none left for the officers who are punched, kicked, spat on, cut, shot, or run over, while they patrol so we can sleep safely in our beds.
● If we squander our compassion on terrorists who explode bombs in busses and pizzerias, we will have none left for those who fight the terrorists.
● If we throw away our compassion on Al Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo, we will have none left for our own troops, who often live under worse conditions.
● If we misdirect our compassion at convicted murderers, claiming lethal injection is “terribly painful,” we will have none left for the severely disabled like Terri Schiavo, as they are starved and dehydrated to death over days and weeks.
● If we misuse our compassion on convicted murderers and prevent them from being executed, we will have none left for the guards and inmates they will murder in prison, or for the citizens and police officers they will murder if they are paroled or escape. And these tragedies inevitably will happen.
● If we spend our compassion on repeat offenders and don’t enforce three-strikes laws, we will have none left for their new victims.
● If we waste our compassion on child molesters, we will have none left for the children they will inevitably molest and murder. And those who have no sympathy for children are heartless indeed, and undeserving of compassion themselves.
When I was a medical student, I was taught to reduce dislocations of joints. This procedure takes skill and often some force, and it can be quite painful. But without it, the part remains crippled and nonfunctional. This is true for dislocated joints, and it is just as true for dislocated compassion. But if we expend the effort and feel the pain, we will again be functional, compassionate human beings, fit to be entrusted with the well-being of our fellow creatures.
Even if “all life is precious,” is it all equally precious, or must we sometimes make choices?
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