Other stuff, mostly in Britain

Well, I’ve nothing much prepared for today, so let’s get a bit more bashing of Britain out of our blood, shall we. Then perhaps we can move on. I’m quite pleased, by the way, that yesterday’s article drawing on Solzhenitsyn was our most read post in over a month, and I think the most read ever, in the UK. Still lot’s of good and decent folks there, just not in authority. Let’s start with why the mayor of Londonistan thinks Trump should not visit

There some good stuff in that, as for visiting London, well I tend at this point (admittedly still in pretty hot blood) think instead of visiting England, Trump should appoint a commission to look into the lack of civil rights in the country.

Peter Hitchens is not right yet about emigrating, but the trend is not favorable, and I would seriously consider it if I planned on having kids. Who wants to watch the government starve your sick kid to death.

The Council of Ealing (it’s in west London, BTW) has passed an ordinance prohibiting prayer vigils within a hundred meters (328 ft, for normal people) of a human abattoir abortion provider. There is no record at all of the people, mostly Catholics, interfering at all with those going to and from the so-called clinic. From the Catholic Herald.

They accused Ealing Council of violating basic rights to free speech, prayer, and free assembly

A group of mothers has lodged a High Court challenge against a so-called “buffer zone” outside an abortion clinic today.

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was helped by a pro-life vigil, filed the challenge to Ealing Council’s decision to enforce a Public Space Protection Order mandating a 100m (328 ft) exclusion zone around an abortion clinic.

Ms Dulgheriu was joined at the press conference by other mothers who had been supported by vigils. “Without sufficient justification, Ealing council has decided to criminalise otherwise lawful behaviour…to criminalise charitable activity that is needed by some of the most vulnerable women in our society,” she said.

Situation normal for the UK these days.

And a bit more on Alfie, more even-tempered than I can manage, but just as accurate, from Sohrab Ahmari writing in Commentary.

[…]The cases are silly, but the chilling effect on free speech in Britain is all too serious—and real.

That brings us back to Alfie. As the case has progressed, the political, religious, and class fault lines running through it have become ever more visible. Alfie’s parents are working class and Catholic. Judging by the social-media outpouring, many of their supporters hail from a similar class firmament: the type who voted for Brexit, who read the Sun and the Daily Mail, who are puzzled by all this talk about gender and newfangled pronouns, and who quietly cheer Donald Trump across the pond.

On the other side stands an administrative elite that has had it with “these people”—with their voting habits, their sentimentality and patriotism, their common sense on Islam and integration, and, well, their failure to understand that it is up to experts, not parents, to discern the “best interests” of a toddler like Alfie. The members of this elite worry a lot these days about the health of liberal-democratic order. An entire cottage industry has sprung up, churning out books and policy briefs on how to preserve democracy against populists and uncouth, excitable majorities. But fair-minded observers of the Alfie Evans debacle can decide for themselves which camp poses the greater threat to freedom in Britain.

Never in all my life did I think I would see such words published about Britain, let alone agree with them completely. Sad days, my friends.

In other news, I understand that the White House correspondents hosted a very ugly bash the White House Press Secretary dinner Saturday night. Inventive group, these cretins, always finding more ways to alienate themselves from the people of America. Rather like the London elites, in fact.

 

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Solzhenitsyn and Alfie Evans

Well, it’s been a bit over a day since Alfie went home, and perhaps we can start to draw some lessons. For me, personally, it has been a long time since I have been called both ignorant and stupid, within two sentences. I found it rather funny, in truth, since I know what I believe and why. It has been built up over many years and does not change with the wind. And besides I understand that some Britons believe the state to be god, and the NHS its religion, so I’m an apostate. I’ve learned better, as has anybody that has studied American history.

Over Christmas in 2013, Jessica undertook to analyze in part Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Commencement Address at Harvard in 1978. Applying it to Alfie’s ordeal is illuminating, I think. As Jess indicated, many expected it to be a paean to the west from a man who escaped from the Soviet system. It was anything but. He deplored the Soviet system, but he saw very clearly the flaws in the west, those cracks have widened considerably since 1978, and now threaten to tear us asunder.

In her post entitled The Exhausted West?, she quoted this:

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counterbalanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.

It’s a theme we hit hard and often here, libertinism opposed to liberty with its duties.

The West was, he said, ‘spiritually exhausted’. The ‘human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music.’

The origin of this decadence lay, Solzhenitsyn suggested, in the anthropocentric views of man’s destiny which came in with the secular thinking of the Enlightenment. Man was at the centre of all things, and the ends for which he was meant were material ones:

As an aside, I believe and Melanie Phillips wrote convincingly that:

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

“Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.

Returning to Jessica’s point.

Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our day there is a free and constant flow. Mere freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones. 

All very very true, and phrased better than I could have then or can now. In her next post, Light from the East?, she continued the thinking with this:

in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility.

When America’s Founding Fathers separated Church and State they did not do so because they were atheists or thought Christianity wrong, they did so because they did not want one Church to dominate in their society; they do, indeed, seem to have assumed that man would be bound by the responsibilities which the Christian faith laid upon him; realists, they did not think man would always live up to these, but they did not see freedom as license; can we now say that of ourselves and our leaders? What is it which binds us? […]

Solzhenitsyn’s critique is a Christian one:

There is a disaster, however, that has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.

Of such consciousness man is the touchstone, in judging everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes that were not noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our day we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity, which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility.

I doubt that I am the only one to see this applying to the NHS certainly, but also to the lawyers, and judges of the British legal system. My question for them is this, “What besides self-pride, drove you to remove Alfie’s parent’s God-given responsibility for their son, even to prevent them from choosing another caregiver, futile though it may well have been. What were they so afraid of that they were willing to risk a storm from Europe, especially Italy and Poland,  and the United States? I think it was exactly that exacerbated by the fact that the Italian hospital is supported by the Vatican. How shameful if Christians could help this little boy when the minor god-emperors of the NHS could not. Remember this is the health care system that was hubristic enough to proclaim themselves, at the 2012 Olympic games, as the best in the world. While providing 2d world, at best, care to their inmates.

For a true understanding of man’s real destiny, God is essential:

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature.

But if we refuse to recognise this, or think it of no importance, then we shan’t see any reasons for exercising any self-restraint save for that imposed by the law – and if the law is the only guide we have, then we have become a society without a spirit of self-sacrifice or restraint:

People in the West have acquired considerable skill in using, interpreting, and manipulating law. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law, and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required. Nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice, and selfless risk: it would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames. 

And that is the root of the decadence in our societies, and why they will not last as they are. How they will change, is not in sight, perhaps they will reform, under duress, as they have before, perhaps our societies will be subsumed in Islam, perhaps something else, but what cannot continue, won’t. And that is the lesson Alfie has for us.

 

Rest in Peace

BBC – Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler at the centre of a High Court legal battle, has died, nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn.

The boy from Merseyside, who had a degenerative brain condition, died at 02:30 BST, his father Tom Evans said.

On Facebook he wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings… absolutely heartbroken.”

Here’s the father’s message from instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiGlA1lDS4Y/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=658&rd=therightscoop.com#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2464.6000000066124%7D

Here’s more:

Alfie Evans’ parents have paid heartbreaking tributes to their little boy after he passed away this morning – five days after his life support was switched off against their wishes following a legal battle.

The 23-month-old, who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool died at 2.30am, Kate James and Thomas Evans said on Facebook.

The youngster was at the centre of a legal battle over his treatment that touched hearts around the world.

Mum Kate James posted on Facebook: “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thankyou everyone for all your support.”

Dad Tom wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30. Absolutely heartbroken. I LOVE YOU MY GUY.”

He posted crying emojis and a broken heart next to the message.

From: BREAKING: Little Alfie Evans is now in Heaven…

Pretty much pre-ordained, and yet the world will mourn this little warrior, and while we will seldom speak of him, he will inform our battle for life going forward, and some day, we will once again win that battle.

Meantime, I saw a Tweet this morning that summarized my thought on this.

God give him rest, and comfort his parents, as they too remain in our thoughts

The Culture of Death

I’m sure you all remember Alfie Evans. I’ve blogged about him here, here, and here. Many others have as well, including Ace, Where he led yesterday’s Morning Report, The Federalist, and Commentary, all yesterday. That’s pretty broad spectrum of American conservatism and a huge readership. It is very much like the story of Charlie Gard, which we also covered.

Monday night the Alder Hay hospital disconnected Alfie’s feeding tube and respirator, fully expecting him to die at their hand, against the wishes of his parents, the Pope, and a hospital in Italy that was willing to continue his treatment, after Italy granted him citizenship, and has a military medical aircraft standing by. All to no avail, so far. The cultists of death in the NHS and the British courts conspired, so far unavailingly to kill him. I note that capital punishment and euthanasia are both illegal in the UK, except of course for the Stalinist NHS.

Yesterday afternoon, my dear friend, and the blogs, Kathleen, blogged on it at Catholicism Pure and Simple. I commented with this:

As you know, we are majority pro-life, and Charlie Gard raised a stink here, amongst us. If the NHS continues its plan to execute this baby, I think there is likely to be a fair amount of blowback. Abortion is bad enough, this is a travesty, and never have I heard such disparagement of Britain as I have in the last day or so. Not a good look for a country that is our friend, not just an ally. Looks really bad when your sick kids end up as Italian citizens or with American green cards, simply to try to save their lives, and futilely, because of your government’s inability to treat people fairly.

Personally, I go from incoherent rage to profound sorrow, and back again. But I’m old, I guess. I expect better from Britain. What a cretinous action.

Kathleen replied:

What is happening to the U.K. (rather its leaders and laws more than its general population that is coming out in greater force now) that they can refuse the parents of little Alfie the right to take their beloved son to Italy to prolong his life? It is sickening, shameful, and I would even add, EVIL! It is another sign of the growing ideology of the Culture of Death in our country.

I know the prognosis of Alfie’s condition is practically without hope, and even the Italian medics admitted that…. but even if it is only the smallest and faintest of glimmers of hope that he could ever possibly recover, should he not be given it? Don’t the parents have the right to cling to this hope?

I completely agree with her. She added in a postscript that another commenter, themselves in the Liverpool area, where this macabre dance of death is taking place had been following the story as well, and that they had provided two very good links. They are, and here they are:

http://www.torchofthefaith.com/news.php

https://www.facebook.com/groups/alfiesarmy/?ref=direct

The Torch of the Faith, linked above has the best coverage of this situation that I have seen.

The last I read on Tuesday evening, Alfie was managing to breathe on his own and had gotten at least some water, over a period of 24 hours, which astounded the dark gods of the NHS. Of course, they never considered that perhaps they were simply wrong. The parents have provisional permission to at least take Alfie home, to die, the murderous court thinks. I think God may have other plans. Time will tell. God doesn’t tell us ahead of time.

I think only once before have I asked you to pray with me, as I’m going to today. That was after my dearest friend Jessica had received last rites from her church, in her suffering with brain cancer. Three days later she was free of cancer. It can happen and sometimes does. So once again, let us pray.

O FATHER of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need; We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant, Alfie, for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer.

Slaughtering the Innocent

I suspect many of you remember Charlie Gard, I certainly do. He was a baby with a disease that doctors in Italy and the United States thought maybe they could help, but the British NHS absolutely refused to let him go, essentially killing him. I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In this post, we referred to a National Review article that mentioned another case was lurking out there. This is that case.

I heard about this from a British friend, who wrote an article about it on her blog, which is here. I’ll let Caroline describe it.

To recap, Alfie doesn’t have a diagnosis of terminal illness, in fact he doesn’t have a diagnosis at all, but that hasn’t stopped Alder-Hey hospital which is treating him, from coming to the conclusion that he would be better off dead.

In their legal submission Alder Hey claims that Alfie is insensate and unaware of any kind of stimulation or sensation. You need only to look at some of the videos on his Facebook page, to see that this is not the case. In one extremely poignant photo, baby Alfie is seen opening his eyes when his mummy picks him up for a cuddle. In another you can see Alfie clearly responding to his father’s voice and even stretching.

The reason why Alfie is in what appears to be a comatose state is because he is drugged up to the eyeballs on 4 different anti-convulsant medications in order to prevent the seizures which he was experiencing, which could cause brain damage. These drugs not only sedate Alfie, but also depress his breathing, making Alfie more reliant on his ventilator. The cumulative effect of all of them together increases their side-effects.

Alfie’s family have a number of questions surrounding his care, one of them being why he has been intubated for so long without ever being offered the option of a tracheostomy? Intubation is never intended as a long term option – it is uncomfortable and the tube which Alfie has fitted has been identified as being too large for a child of his age and size. One of the reasons why Alfie needs sedative drugs is order to suppress the gagging and discomfort which accompanies intubation.

Another effect of intubation is that of long term damage to the trachea, vocal chords and muscles required for breathing. It is considered best practice to perform a tracheostomy after 3 weeks of intubation in order to lessen these risks. A tracheostomy does less damage to the trachea, doesn’t required sedation and makes it much more likely that the patient could be weaned off the ventilator and in many cases, even allows for the patient to go home.

While it cannot be guaranteed that this would have been the outcome for Alfie , it calls into question Alder Hey’s submission that all options have been exhausted, because clearly this one has not been tried and as a result Alfie has potentially missed out on an extra year of babyhood and development.

Despite previously recommending a brain biopsy for Alfie, Alder Hey state that this procedure is too invasive.

Another hospital in Europe has agreed to take Alfie and perform a tracheostomy immediately.

On the subject of tubes Alfie also has a feeding tube fitted through his nose and down his throat, along with the ventilator tube. It’s quite a lot of equipment to be fitted into a baby’s tiny throat for an entire year, especially with the large uncomfortable tapes across his face.

As with the intubation, when internal feeding is required for a long time, normal practice is to fit a PEG feeding tube directly to the stomach, yet Alfie has not received one. The nasal tubes were not designed to be fitted long term and are insanitary. Last time Alfie’s feeding tube was changed it was blocked with deposits from meds and food. Alfie’s current tube has mould on a connecting piece and apparently the hospital hasn’t responded to repeated inquiries about changing it.

There’s quite a lot more and you really need to read it.

Again there is an Italian hospital that is willing to at least make him more comfortable by installing the proper tubes, and then they can perhaps do some real good. Also again it has been fully funded by a go fund me, so the British government is not on the hook for the cost.

Alder-Hey is, of course, the hospital that got itself in all sorts of trouble back around the turn of the century for improper handling, retention, and disposal of human tissue, including children’s organs. That led to the Human Tissue Act 2004, which may, but likely does not, have a connection with this case.

But what does have a connection with Charlie Gard is the hospital’s disdain for the child’s parents, and their insistence on effectively torturing him until he dies, and the sooner the better. Just before Christmas, there was a hearing (as Caroline mentioned) to remove the parents’ control and appoint a guardian. When this was done In Charlie’s case, the guardian appointed was Victoria Butler-Cole, the chairman of Compassion in Dying, a euthanasia charity. In this case, the judge, in a rare human decision, said there would be no decision until after the holidays.

What we have here, once again, is British institutional disdain, at best, of parent’s rights, to have a say in their child’s healthcare, like the baby is the property of the state. Well, that probably is what they believe but we, and many Britons, know better. It’s also curious that most of these cases seem to come up in families with normal heterosexual couples, who live together and love their baby. Wonder why that is.

Caroline again:

I can only speculate why this might be, perhaps it’s because his parents are both very young working-class blue collar types and some kind of snobbery is in play. Or maybe it’s because it’s thought that Alfie will be too much of a drain on the NHS in the long-term and perhaps if his parents could have been persuaded to accept that he ought to be taken off life-support, his organs could have been used for donation?

No matter what the motivation, this case, along with that of Charlie Gard seems to be all about the normalisation of euthanasia. Edmund Adamus came under fire in 2009 when he called the UK, the geo-political centre of the culture of death, but you have to wonder what is going on in a country where if your child is critically ill, regardless of how fantastic a parent you might have been, the state determines that only they, not you, are able to determine whether they should live or die.

Edited Wednesday 20th December 2017: The first version of this blog was published on Monday 18th December 2017, the day before the Directions Hearing in the High Court. At this hearing, an anonymity order was put in place which prohibited publication in the UK media of the names of the medical professionals involved in the case. Out of courtesy for this order, passed on Tuesday 19th December, I have therefore removed the names of the individuals, even though this blog is published on an international platform, for an international readership.

I was able to verify the involvement of one of the named individuals in another well-known case via a number of independent sources, which I already knew at the time of the case.

While I respect Caroline’s decision and will comply, frankly it is bullshit. If you are not man enough to take responsibility for what you do, you have no business making decisions for yourself, let alone anyone else, especially a helpless baby. It makes a damning story even worse, I think.

And so it time to pray again, that the British government may be prevented from killing another innocent (very innocent) Briton. May not work, but then again it may, and what else can we do.

The title I chose will come into focus Thursday, when we will look at King Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents because frankly, I see very little difference between the current British medical system, backed by the government, and King Herod.

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