By Mark P. Mostert, Ph.D.
The work philosophers do is often shrouded in mystery. Tucked away in the dank halls of academia, they spend their dull lives writing books that very few ever read – or care about. Their social life consists of debating obscure concepts with their drab colleagues and attending equally rancid conventions where their intellectual exercises in thinking a great deal about very little are amplified a hundredfold.
That’s the stereotype, anyway.
Think again. Pro-deather philosophers are laying the groundwork to finally collapse opposition to death on demand. One way is to merge radical approaches to the end of life with issues around organ donation.
Enter Julian Savulescu, Oxford’s radical don who has been making pro-death pronouncements for years under the guise of academic “bioethical” scholarship and who leads a bioethical stream of thought kicking around novel ideas about how to separate patients from their organs more efficiently.
Because donor organs are currently only removed from patients once the patient has been declared dead, evidenced by irreversible stoppage of the heart. This process takes at least several minutes and is a major problem because organs begin to deteriorate the moment the heart ceases pumping blood around the body.
Savulescu’s radical solution? Take organs before the donor patient has been declared dead.
Savulescu clothes this ghoulish idea in a civic-minded do-good-because-you-owe-it-to-your-fellow-man hyperbole to twist broader public opinion to accept harvesting organs from the living as a good thing.
Here’s Savulescu’s basic rationale:
- The patient is going to die anyway.
- We’ll put “safeguards” in place so the system is not abused.
- Just think how many people can be helped if we do this.
- Think how many people will not be helped if we don’t.
- And, yes, of course, we’ll do our best to convince people on their deathbeds that this is for the larger good.
- And oh, by the way, we’ll give you anesthetic before we kill you and take your organs. You won’t feel a thing.
Yes, folks, make us think that removing all donatable organs from living people is cool – except for the poor patients, of course, who die not from any illness but because their organs have disappeared into a cooler for someone else.
The pro-death philosophers don’t confine themselves to pushing their agenda to the organ-donation issue. Others want people dead because they cost too much money to keep alive.
Enter Dr. Raanan Gillon, a highly regarded medical “ethicist” who has held some of the most prestigious positions in British academia and medical practice.
Several weeks ago, Gillon penned an editorial in the U.K.’s British Medical Journal titled the “Sanctity of Life Law Has Gone Too Far.” Gillon was responding to a court decision where a judge refused to allow the removal of feeding tubes in a woman in a minimally conscious state. He made his stand very clear:
The logical implications of this judgment threaten to skew the delivery of severely resource limited health-care services towards providing non-beneficial or minimally beneficial life-prolonging treatments including artificial nutrition and hydration to thousands of severely demented patients whose families and friends believe they would not have wanted such treatment. The opportunity cost will probably be reduced provision of indisputably beneficial treatments to people who do want them.
Translation: Health-care resources are severely limited and shouldn’t be wasted on those who can’t benefit from these resources, especially if the family says that the patient wouldn’t have wanted these treatments to be kept alive. These resources should be spent on people who want and who can benefit from such treatments.
While the problems with this argument are self-evident, Gillon’s positions, as those of Savulescu, carry weight because of their status as philosophers and as academics.
If these matters were confined to the benign debates among the high-minded, we’d all be better off. Instead, they sow the seeds of destruction that are soon taken up by the pro-death lobby, other “experts,” and radical activists. Their writings migrate from dusty journals to op-ed pieces and media appearances where they influence the public mind and slowly chip away at the idea that life should be preserved.
The final outcome is that these ideas finally end up confronting families at the bedsides of their loved ones in hospital and rehabilitation rooms where the acolytes of the pro-death professors may well insist that your loved one is better off dead than alive.
Beware the pro-death philosophers.
Dr. Mark Mostert serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.