Death Without End: Euthanasia in Belgium

It is dark, both the physical environment and the psychology, and the music complements the desolation. I’m talking about the 2012 documentary End Credits which examines the state of the practice of euthanasia in Belgium ten years after its legalization. The movie provides a glimpse into the lives of two people, Adelin, a lonely eighty-three year old man subsisting in a care facility, and Eva, aged twenty-three, suffering from depression and determined to die. It is a gold mine for those panning for societal artifacts evidencing the replacement of Christianity with the Religion of Progress.

Many of the tenets of Progressive belief are portrayed and will be familiar to the attentive viewer. For instance, the question of personal sovereignty, expressed as “choice”, is dwelt upon incessantly. The caregivers and relatives are adamant concerning the patient’s right to choose death. Their reaction to the suffering of their patients illustrates how a Quality of Life ethic colors one’s decisions. In the Progressive worldview, where there are no resources with which to redeem suffering, the practice of “compassion” in the Christian sense—that is, to suffer with the sufferer—is pointless. Progressive society replaces compassion with killing.

The fervency of their conviction concerning choice, which seems fanatical to those uninitiated into the Religion of Progress, reminds us that the concept is not confined to something as trivial as “the ability to select freely from a list of attractive options” in the way, for example, Adelin would be said to have choice when he is informed that he may select pill, syrup or injection to accomplish his demise. It is much more cosmic than that. It entails having the power to re-fashion the universe according to your preference—to live in the reality of your choosing and to require others to acknowledge your reality. Accordingly, a Progressive man’s desire to be a woman is actualized by choice. By the Progressive mother’s act of choosing, her child’s life is given value. Eva’s choice to be killed magically affirms the appropriateness of the act. In the Progressive universe, we are all gods, we determine the particulars of our lives, including the length of our days, and we accomplish this through ‘choice’.

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Another mark of the Religion of Progress is revealed in the assumed competency of the doctors to pronounce authoritatively on life and death issues although their credentials for this occupation remain unestablished. They vote six to three “that Adelin is not ready for euthanasia,” and give Eva’s life a big six-to-one thumbs down, assured that their endorsements are decisive in the court of moral arbitration. This kowtowing to “experts” reflects the faith’s belief in the divine essence of human reason—the fount of knowledge and therefore, of morality. Academic accreditation stands in for wisdom and virtue.

Self-righteousing is a primary occupation for the Progressives, as it is for all non-Christian denominations. The doctors and caregivers exalt their own non-judgementalism and dispassion (we are “professionals”). Like inverted Mother Teresas, they glorify their heroic suffering in the face of the cloying demands of the un-redeemably sick and the vacillations of these in following the straight path of euthanasia.

An unbeliever witnessing the spectacle of these angels of death hovering over Adelin, prodding him to take their good medicine, and of Eva’s dead body lying there forlorn while her doctor fills out the official documents on her kitchen table—scenes that must enrage a normal person—might conclude that End Credits was contra euthanasia. Perhaps after a decade of killing, the subversion of the medical profession, the slackening safeguards and the burgeoning list of qualifying scenarios, of “involuntary euthanasia”—of the general cheapening of human life—the Belgians had seen the light, they might think. Ethicist Margaret Somerville previewed the movie and recommended that the Quebec National Assembly consider it in their deliberations, and reject euthanasia.

But then she was informed that the filmmaker, Doctor Cosyns, was a pro-euthanasia activist and avid practitioner! How could this be? Well, it appears that viewers in Belgium, conditioned as they are to the Culture of Death, are intended to see Eva, the one who pursues euthanasia and who indeed agreed to co-star in the movie to promote the practice, as the hero of the film, bravely taking responsibility for her impairment, and to revile Adelin, the old man clinging to his worthless existence. Certainly the caregivers and professionals in the movie tend towards this verdict.

Elsewhere, Somerville tells how a graduating year medical student was enraged that she would not accede to his insistence that euthanasia was needed to reduce healthcare costs in an aging population! His complaint reflects the spirit of Professor Vermeersch in the movie, raging on about the folly of respecting the wish of Adelin, an “incompetent person”, not to be killed, and denouncing the ethics committee’s rejection of Eva’s request for death, which results in valuable organs being unavailable for redeployment.
This is the movie’s tragic revelation—how the Religion of Progress changes people. A society ruled by the Religion of Progress is one where man’s love has grown cold. The dispassionate “professional” relationships between the doctors and the patients attest to this, as does the pragmatic detachment of relatives.

Nurse Conny is well meaning and her face envisions empathy, but when Adelin bemoans the uselessness of his life, Conny does not say, “Oh Adeline, it’s not that bad,” because her worldview believes it is that bad and that the proper course is euthanasia. You want to scream, “Tell him his life is precious! That there is a God who cares, who gives life meaning! At least, be his friend!” But nurse Conny, entrenched in Belgium’s Culture of Death and divorced from any connection with the Eternal, like all the others, can only nod and assure him sorrowfully that, yes, his life is worthless.

Non-Progressives will probably experience an urge to take a bath after watching, much as a visitor to Auschwitz.
In such a culture, choosing death is the norm, not just the final “good” death that the Progressive seeks for himself, but the little deaths along the way, like abortion and euthanasia, and the barren, decease-ridden Progressive lifestyles. Eva, whose name means “life”, pursues death, and her advocacy will contribute to the death of many others in the future. Such are the choices the followers of the Religion of Progress choose—must choose.

America is changing rapidly; the Religion of Progress is becoming our religion. Increasingly, it is directing our court decisions, our education, and our relations. The President’s projection of its rainbow banner on the White House trumpets its ascension, like a victory mosque. We read the signs of its arrival in the graceless political correctness that poisons our discourses, in the identity politics that divides us, and in the rampant gender-bending ideologies that destroy our children and families. But especially we see it in our declining evaluation of human life.

Most believe that everything will pretty much stay the same when the Judeo-Christian consensus is replaced by the Religion of Progress. They believe we can abolish marriage, authorize doctors to kill, banish God to the dark confines of private delusion and worship Progress, and yet retain the dignity and freedoms that the Christian worldview and institutions protect. They believe we will still be the gentle people we were, living under a benevolent government as we have—still a Culture of Life where humanity can flourish—when our god is Choice. End Credits dispels this illusion.

Would that more would watch the film and meditate over its excesses. Truly, it is a dark prophecy for our own country.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

James Tennant is a committed urbanite living in the Great White North, computer technologist, writer, artist, culture warrior, author of two books, 225 and Necropolis.

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