I’ve managed to buy and sell a few homes due to constant military moves. While plenty of people will try to talk metrics on homes, whether it’s price per square foot or something like that, the reality of whether it was “worth it” is whether you made more money selling the home than what is cost you. Oddly enough, how much a home is worth is actually pretty simple: it’s worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. If someone offers to buy your house for $250,000, and has the money to do it, it doesn’t matter whether the house is actually WORTH that much. To that person, it’s worth $250K.
In Britain, we’re asking the same question now about human life: how much is Alfie Evans life worth? It’s becoming less about cost (although I’m sure that’s an issue) and much more about power. On one hand, to Alfie’s parents, his life is worth every possible shot that human medicine can offer. No matter how distant a shot, it’s worth the chance that he will improve and give them more time on earth.
In the case of British medicine, that isn’t the case. Rather than tell the parents there is nothing more they can do, and then try to help them in some other way, Alfie’s doctors have decided it is in their best interests to let him die. Instead of saying “We can do no more, please take your son home and attempt to enjoy the remaining time with him,” Alfie’s life has become a power play, where the state must win. To hell with an individual right to life, the state will decide, and you’ll accept the decision. It’s worth it to the system that Alfie must die, because the power to control life is worth a small child’s life.
To anyone who respects human life and dignity, this is appalling. But it’s part of that nasty trend that human life is supposed to be for the “common good” or “society,” not an end unto itself. Think about it.
- We started with contraception, because instead of trying to understand a rhythm to our bodies and accept life that we create, it’s better to pump us full of hormones and bypass that whole process, even if it harms us later down the road.
- Then we became increasingly OK with herding our aging family members off to old-folk homes, where they can die without us having to watch them. Never mind that this used to be limited to folks that had advanced medical problems…now it is increasingly commonplace due to convenience (similar to contraception).
- Now we’re using government health care to slowly creep at the edges. Now a 23 month old baby and an elderly relative are both easy to write off and accept them dying, since they aren’t useful anymore.
It’s not going to stop unless we stand up and embrace our humanity. Human dignity calls us to love human life in all its forms. Period. Even when they are disabled, hurt, suffer from mental ailments, or suffer from degenerative diseases. Pope Francis said it best:
“The only author of life, from its beginning to its natural end, is God,” he said. “It is our duty to do all that is possible to safeguard life.”
We call ourselves special as humans, and it is mainly because we are the only animal that can truly reason. We find meaning in our lives beyond physical pleasures, and we occupy a special place in the world, being made in God’s image. Yet we are acting as mere brutish animals when we readily cast aside our most vulnerable members. Why are we allowing a genetic problem, a disease, aging, or any number of issues destroy our humanity? Having these does not make us less human. If anything, these conditions call on us to become more human and less like animals.
The night that Rebecca died, I remember seeing the anesthesiologist crying. She had tried for hours, in concert with other doctors and nurses, to save Rebecca. In the end, she lost, and despite being one of the best in her field, she couldn’t bring back my little girl. But she sure as hell tried. She refused to quit, just like the doctor that continued compressions for hours until he told me that her heart simply wouldn’t respond to anything. While the doctors had lost Rebecca, they all walked away knowing that they had done everything in their power to help her. They walked away as human beings, with their humanity intact.
Whatever the news media may show, the British doctors that are increasingly OK giving up on other humans are slowly losing their own humanity. For their sake, we should all be crying, because at what point do humans simply become animals, whose worth is dependent on how much someone will pay? We are attempting to bypass God, who said He would pay an ultimate sacrifice for our lives, and instead replace that worth with algorithms, budget numbers, and power plays.
Is our humanity worth more than we are paying for it?