Trade Tripper — Jemy Gatdula

One would think that the debate between collectivism and individual rights, as well as the even more significant dichotomy between totalitarianism and democracy, has been put to bed.

Unfortunately, in this era of The Walking Dead (more likely, the walking brain-dead), even really discredited ideas like socialism (and, bizarrely, eugenics) has come back with a vengeance.

It would be all well and good if such ideas were contained in the sterility of the classroom but unfortunately not.

And with lethal consequences.

Witness 10-month-old Charlie Gard, suffering from the extremely rare encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Typically fatal and with no medical remedy available (at least in the UK).

To save him, Charlie’s parents raised $1.6 million to avail of experimental treatment in the United States.

One would think that the decision regarding the care of children belong to their parents but the British doctors under the National Health System think they know better, demanding instead that Charlie die “with dignity.”

To make matters worse, the European Court of Human Rights agreed with the doctors.

To make it really even worse, so did the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life.

The UK doctors’ position would have been understandable if the Gards remained dependent on the NHS, for even under a socialist-oriented, welfare system, one can hardly lay unlimited claim on public taxes paid by fellow citizens, specially for a long shot experimental medical remedy.

“But that’s not at issue here. Thanks to an international grassroots fund-raising campaign the Gards have found donors. They’re willing to cover all the costs of flying Charlie to America and offering him this treatment that might save his life. But the British authorities, backed up by the European Union and now the Vatican, have ruled that Charlie’s parents cannot try to save him. Instead he will be left to die slowly of hunger and thirst (“Who’s Killing Charlie Gard? And Why Won’t the Vatican Help Him?” John Zmirak, 30 June 2017).”

The veiled unadmitted issue vociferously defended by the UK governmental/medical and EU bureaucrats is the power to decide for people, how to act, speak, and even what to believe, including matters of life and death.

In this case, if the Gards were able to get treatment for their baby independent of the NHS, that would be individual initiative and freedom trumping government power and the collectivist mind-set, leading possibly to that “inequality” dreaded by socialists.

Of course, the only real issues here should be the life of Charlie Gard and the parents’ rights over their child.

On the other hand, as Michael Brendan Dougherty points out, “here was a moment for the Vatican to stand up and announce what the Catholic faith teaches about human life and our duties to one another, and the God-given authority of parents over their children. And it was a moment in which such a statement would resound with an attentive audience. It was not to come.”

Instead, despite this obvious “barbaric abuse of judicial authority, the Catholic Church — the world’s greatest defender of the right to life, and long a moral bulwark against state intrusion into the rights of the family sphere — has decided that the courts in this case are basically right (“The Vatican’s Statement On UK Baby Condemned To Die Is Frightening,” Daniel Payne, 30 June 2017).”

Because rather than consider the one truly important thing, a baby’s life, the Academy chose to advance the progressive “inclusivity,” pro-choice agenda: “The Vatican has lately found itself assimilating to the bourgeois morality that makes European life spiritually desolate. The Church has trouble denouncing respectable sins and lately finds moral heroism unseemly or suspicious. The Vatican has recently added a pro-choice Anglican to the Pontifical Academy for Life, a move praised by the Pope’s apologists as a welcome sign of loosening up. xxx The Church has even found a way of blessing people in second marriages they used to call out as public adultery. That the Vatican’s men would serve as apologists for the erosion of parental authority by a state anxious to override the family in its quest to give us ‘death with dignity’ follows from the rest (“The Vatican’s Statement on the Charlie Gard Case Is a Disgrace,” Michael Brendan Dougherty, 30 June 2017).”

Thankfully, Pope Francis reversed the Academy’s misguided thinking.

Following US President Trump’s call to “help little Charlie Gard,” the Pope then tweeted that “to defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.”

Whatever happens to Charlie in the end, the foregoing illustrates the dangers of a progressive pro-choice, socialistic, government-knows-best mind-set encouraging dependence on a patriarchal government to bestow benefits and goods (including life).

Such are anathema to our own democratic, subsidiarity, pro-life, family oriented Constitution.

But in today’s “I’ll do whatever the hell I feel like!” social media narcissism, don’t be surprised if there become Charlie Gards here.

Jemy Gatdula is a Senior Fellow of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and a Philippine Judicial Academy law lecturer for constitutional philosophy and jurisprudence.

Twitter @jemygatdula