‘Crazy Claims About Death Panels’ Sadly Not Crazy At All

Are you familiar with the phrase, “the banality of evil”?  The opening paragraph in the Wikipedia article on the subject summarizes the concept quite well:

The banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt and incorporated in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.  It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

Again and again, we have seen great evils inflicted by governments upon their people.  And we want to find monsters, because that’s who we want to believe would alone be capable of such monstrous evil.  But again and again, we find ordinary people – faceless bureaucrats performing faceless functions – had carried out what we later realize were monstrous deeds with a blithe acceptance of the premises of their government’s policies.

One of the reasons that these policies – later correctly described as “evil” – were allowed to begin, develop, build momentum, and ultimately turn monstrous is because too many people dismissed the possibility that such evil could ever happen.  “Our government would never do such a thing.”

Only it did.  It’s happened too many times before, and it will happen again.

With that introduction, let us look at the ubiquitously mocked term, “death panels.”  Nothing like that could ever actually happen.  Right?

Wrong.  If you go to Europe, it’s happening right now.  And the same sort of quasi-socialist liberals who want to create government health care here were created it there.

Hazel Fenton, an 80-year-old grandmother who was placed under a controversial care plan and left to “starve to death” after doctors identified her as being terminally ill, only recovered after the intervention of her daughter.

By Richard Savill
Published: 10:30PM BST 11 Oct 2009

Terminally ill grandmother 'left to starve' by doctors

Hazel Fenton pictured with her daughter Christine Ball Photo: ANDREW HASSON

Mrs Fenton, from East Sussex, is still alive and “happy” nine months after doctors declared she would only survive for days, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding, her daughter, Christine Ball, said.

“Without my persistence and pressure I know my mother would be dead now,” she added.

Mrs Fenton, a former private school house mother, had been placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) scheme, which was originally developed as a way to care for cancer patients towards the end of their lives.

However, there has been recent criticism that not only cancer patients but others with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under the NHS scheme.

Last month six prominent British doctors and health care professionals wrote to The Daily Telegraph, expressing concern that some patients were being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance introduced in England, medical staff can withdraw fluid and drugs from dying patents and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away. But this approach can also mask signs of improvement, it has been argued.

Miss Ball, who had been looking after her mother before she was admitted to the Conquest hospital, Hastings, East Sussex, on Jan 11, said she had to fight hospital staff for weeks before her mother was taken off the plan and given artificial feeding.

Miss Ball, 42, a carer, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, said: “My mother was going to be left to starve and dehydrate to death. It really is a subterfuge for legalised euthanasia of the elderly on the NHS. ”

Mrs Fenton was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. Although Mrs Ball acknowledged that her mother was very ill she was “astonished” when a junior doctor told her she was going to be placed on the plan to “make her more comfortable” in her last days.

On Jan 19, Mrs Fenton’s 80th birthday, Mrs Ball said her mother had lost “an awful lot of weight” but was feeling better, and told her she “didn’t want to die”.

But it took another four days to persuade doctors to give her artificial feeding, Miss Ball said.

Mrs Ball said the fight to save her mother had been made harder by the Mental Capacity Act. “I was told that we had no rights, and food and hydration were classed as treatment, which meant they had the right to withhold feeding. It gave a doctor the power to play god with my mother’s life,” she said.

Mrs Fenton is now being looked after in a nursing home near her daughter’s home.

A spokesman for East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Patients’ needs are assessed before they are placed on the [plan]. Daily reviews are undertaken by clinicians whenever possible.”

At the same scripted event in which White House aides handed out white coats to create a propaganda moment, Barack Obama recently said:

“We have now been debating this issue of health insurance reform for months,” Obama said.  “We have listened to every charge and every counter-charge — from the crazy claims about death panels to misleading warnings about a government takeover of our health care system.”

Death panels.  Crazy, right?  Nothing like that could ever happen here.

Unless it occurs to you to stop and THINK, and ask yourself why you would think that corrupt House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Charlie Rangel – or the Democrats who refuse to hold him accountable for his crimes – would be so much better than British liberals.

Provide your case that they are only evil over there in Britain, but our big government liberals here are ontologically good, and simply incapable of creating a system that would grow and degenerate until it tries to starve human beings to death.

There are all kinds of things going on in the United Kingdom and in Continental Europe that will very quickly be going on here, too, because too many of us just shut our minds off to the banality of evil that we have already seen time and time again.

And it’s already going on here.  Right now.  Under the very sort of medical system that Barack Obama wants to impose across the nation.

Take the story of Barbara Wagner, who was condemned to die by her state government medical system.  They denied her the drugs she needed to save her life, but agreed to pay for her to be euthanized.  Some faceless liberal bureaucrats “who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal” decided that Barbara Wagner’s life was not worth saving, but only worth taking.

The banality of evil.  Coming soon to a hospital or a doctor’s office near you.

And right now, Democrats are trying to expand the banality of evil.

The Wall Street Journal exposed that ObamaCare will cut essential cardiology and oncology care in order to lower the cost of the health system:

In President Obama’s Washington, medical specialists are slightly more popular than the H1N1 virus. Compared to bread-and-butter primary care doctors, specialists cost more to train and make more use of expensive procedures and technology—and therefore cost the government more money. Even so, the quiet war Democrats are waging on specialists is astonishing.

From Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’s health-care bill to changes the Administration is pushing in Medicare, Democrats are systematically attacking specific medical fields like cardiology and oncology. With almost no scrutiny, they’re trying to engineer a “cheaper” system so that government can afford to buy health care for all—even if the price is fewer and less innovative ways of extending and improving lives.

And the results of such measures and others will be a holocaust of the elderly.  With all measures undertaken in the spirit of bureaucratic efficiency:

The Congressional majority wants to pay for its $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health bills with new taxes and a $500 billion cut to Medicare. This cut will come just as baby boomers turn 65 and increase Medicare enrollment by 30%. Less money and more patients will necessitate rationing. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 1% of Medicare cuts will come from eliminating fraud, waste and abuse.

The assault against seniors began with the stimulus package in February.  Slipped into the bill was substantial funding for comparative effectiveness research, which is generally code for limiting care based on the patient’s age.  Economists are familiar with the formula, where the cost of a treatment is divided by the number of years (called QALYs, or quality-adjusted life years) that the patient is likely to benefit. In Britain, the formula leads to denying treatments for older patients who have fewer years to benefit from care than younger patients.

It is also highly relevant that Medicare denies treatment at a rate of more than double any private insurer’s average right now.  Is government care the thing you should most trust, or the thing you should most fear?

When Barack Obama mocks “the crazy claims about death panels,” it is ultimately up to you have to ask yourself just how much you implicitly trust the government to take care of you even when it is in the bureaucrats’ economic interests to allow you to die.  And it is up to you to decide if history is incapable of repeating itself.

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