NPR has that urban civilized vibe…

NPR has that urban civilized vibe… July 8, 2014

…that is perfect for marketing horrible ideas as though you are a backward swamp-dwelling ape if you disagree: Case in point, an urbane, civilized apologia for how suicide can really strengthen families.

Another bulletin from the Land Where Consent is the Sole Criterion of the Good.

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  • Marthe Lépine

    I may be wrong – or I hope I am wrong – but it seems to me that with all that talk about an aging population, which of course is the consequence of contraception and abortion, but that part of the picture is always kept hidden, some people think that it will be to expensive to look after all these older people, therefore there is a push to implant in people’s minds the idea that it would be better to exterminate seniors instead of “wasting” money on them. Thus, ideas about euthanasia and suicide (assisted or not) are being spread so that people, as they age, will become worried about becoming a “burden” to their families, and society in general, then will start feeling guilty for being still around, and, eventually, might become convinced that it is the right thing to do to let someone kill them. For those who do not believe in God or in eternal live, it might even make sense. We need to pray for Divine Mercy!
    And another point: We have probably all heard at some point that what distinguishes human beings from animals is the gift of reason. But, ironically, it now seems that humans are using that gift in order to plan the extinction of their species… Without even being aware of it!

    • AquinasMan

      Not to toot my horn on this, but this was my first impression a few years back — that society would soon pressure seniors to “off” themselves “for the grandkids”, because, you know, they’re going to be paying for all the Baby Boomers who are bleeding the estate dry in assisted living. Worse, I could see it pitched as a “patriotic duty” to buy a fast-pass out of the world, in order to un-burden future generations. Heck, it’ll market itself.

  • orual’s kindred

    Some of the comments in the article mention the ‘kindness’ we afford to pets. I would hope that pets are ‘put to sleep’ because nothing else can be done for them. While we are permitted to make that kind of decision, I don’t see how it should be lauded as some sort of compassionate ideal, even outside the context of Christ-centered stewardship. I don’t see how people who uphold the right to die could be commended for destroying a living creature that cannot object, argue, or launch a campaign. I don’t think any pet has ever demanded for its right to die. Am I to assume that pet owners can claim to ‘know in their hearts’ that it’s right?

    • Irksome1

      I would reply that a pet exists for the purpose of amusing its owners. When the pet can no longer fulfill that function, it is appropriate to get rid of it in one way or another. People, on the other hand, do not exist for the purpose of amusing their friends and relatives, nor do they exist for their own purposes, but for God’s.

      • orual’s kindred

        Perhaps, but then I’m not sure that a pet is only just a pet. They don’t have the same rights as people do, but to view them solely as such strikes me as utilitarian. (And even then, I would think some ways of ‘getting rid’ of a pet is less reprehensible than others.)

        • Irksome1

          What, exactly, is wrong with utilitarianism as applied to animals?

          • orual’s kindred

            Animals are not things (as in objects). And perhaps my view may have to do with a flawed understanding of utilitarianism on my part, which, while in theory may be practiced with good aims and directed towards good ends, I find far too often in application to be the treatment of living creatures as objects for the sake of selfish wants. My view may also have to do with my sadness that animals experience the consequences of living in a fallen world while being innocent of sin. However, it seems to me that animals should be treated at least somewhat better than objects, and that they should not simply be gotten rid of when they are an inconvenience.

    • AquinasMan

      Interesting take. I would respond that there is no redemptive aspect to the suffering of pets. Any suffering of an animal is in vain, because it brings them no closer to God (since they can’t desire God.) It’s humane to put down a dog when they are suffering without remedy, because we have been empowered by God to be their stewards.

      I would say that pets are objectively utilitarian. I own two dogs and love them both. But they’re not people. They’re companions with limited lifespans, as ordained by the Creator. And I agree they’re not to be cast off frivolously, or abused because they’re not human beings. But we’re not entrusted to get pets to heaven. We’re entrusted to get our loved ones to heaven.

      • orual’s kindred

        With regards to pets being objectively utilitarian, as I mentioned below, even if granting that to be true, I think pets are more than ‘just pets’, but living creatures entrusted to our care, and as such are deserving of more than the treatment that utilitarian practices tend to take the form of in application.Neither do I contest that it may be humane to ease pets toward as easy a death
        as possible, if they are beyond help. I just don’t regard ‘putting them down’ as an
        ideal, and certainly not as something to be applied to our fellow human being. I think we have a responsibility to take proper care of
        creation, and ‘choose life’ should at least be a guiding principle with how we treat our pets as well.

        As to the suffering of animals, my thoughts on that involves some speculation, and I write out some of them here only because the topic was mentioned. No need to read further, but in any case

        WARNING! DISCLAIMER! What follows are the comments of a not-very-learned laywoman with a keyboard:

        If God in His wisdom allows suffering in vain for animals, then His will be done. I wonder though, if that statement–God allowing suffering in vain–taken at face value, is all there is to be said about it. I wonder if instead that irrational creatures cannot desire God in such a way that rational creatures can. And as such there is no redemptive aspect in their suffering as there is human beings.

        I think we agree that people suffer as a consequence of Original Sin. Why do animals suffer as well?

        Again, if God in His wisdom allows suffering in vain for animals, then His will be done. However, since the consequences of sin have harmed our relationships with our fellow Man, I wonder if it did not harm our relationship with the rest of creation as well. Certainly we are not now entrusted to bring animals (pets or not) to Heaven. What if, though, unfallen Man could have been the instruments by which Our Lord could have raised the rest of creation beyond that of the strictly natural? I don’t think humanity, having prevailed over that first temptation of the enemy, would have been sitting around doing nothing. Our illusions of gods/supermen/immortals are, I think, but shadows of what we have lost, and are nothing to what God promises us in the Resurrection. Even in this life, all these things shall be added onto you means more than getting nice things.

        Well, that was a lot of speculation, and I’ll leave it at that for now 🙂

        • This is fantastic. I only ask why you think this: “Certainly we are not now entrusted to bring animals (pets or not) to Heaven”?

          Why not?

          • orual’s kindred

            Thank you! Your kindness makes me blush 🙂 As for your question, since animals are not rational creatures, I would think that for us to assist animals to Heaven now, they first need to attain personhood, that they in their Earthly lives may freely choose to be with God in Heaven and we may assist them towards that goal as we assist our fellow Man. In the state we are in now, we have neither the capacity nor the means to rightfully bring this about. I think looking after creation as we are called to do can help lay the foundations, but I don’t know if it goes further than that. After the Resurrection, who knows what we will be able to do?

            Nonetheless, if there is a theologically sound basis to say that we may now begin that work, I’ll happily admit my mistake and amend my statement!

  • neoconned

    I couldn’t finish the article, it actually made me nauseous. I see no bravery, I see despair, selfishness, hopelessness. May God have mercy on the woman and especially on her family.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    NPR is slowly becoming a parody of itself. It’s like they watched SNL’s version of them and took it as a “how to” guide rather than a joke.

  • capaxdei

    Posted on their “Health” blog. Because it’s only ironic if we intend it to be ironic.

  • Ken Crawford

    “This story is in no way an endorsement of suicide.”

    Is there any way ANYONE who read that article could reasonably argue that the whole piece was not an endorsement of suicide?

  • Michaelus

    That was one of the most horrible things I have ever read. This poor women – Director of Women’s Studies at Cornell – spent her life advocating for all sorts of insane and perverse things. She was one of the early creators of the idea that there are multiple sexes and she also supported the odd delusion that a man can marry a man. And her work culminated in the supreme act of rejection of all life.

    Yet if I say that immersing yourself in sin leads to depression and death people think I am being mean.

  • Michaelus

    PS it is interesting to note that although the Bem’s experimented with their children and intentionally tried to prevent them from developing “gender specific” personalities their daughter is an actress and their son is a top mathematician.

  • ck

    I keep telling Rod Dreher that he would better spend his time watching the MLB network, or the problematic ESPN, than in listening to NPR.

  • Fr. John R

    Yesterday, I heard about 10 minutes of an interview with the Bern’s daughter on NPR’s Diane Rheem Show. I had to turn it off. My first thought was the development of same sex marriage. This may sound like a conspiracy but we may be on a new push from public radio mind set for legalizing assisted suicide.
    For several years public radio served us the beauty and blessedness of gay marriage. We heard the music, the kind, pleading voices and the joy of the reporter for the happiness being witnessed. When the report turned to the view of those opposed to same sex marriage, the person was a bumbling man or woman off the street trying to find their arguments in the Bible. It worked. The public bought the package being sold to them that same sex marriage is just natural.
    I fear we will have a new push for assisted suicide with the same type of reporting. We need to be ready and out there in front to defend the truth and not let others dominate the issue.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      It’s called normalization, and I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory at all. The same thing is happening with polygamy. Present it as normal and good and people without a strong anchor of reasons not to support it will start to think of it as normal and good.

      • MarylandBill

        And lets remember the final stage of normalization is to portray the dissenters as being unreasonable or bigots.

    • cececole

      It actually is more like a conspiracy theory than you might think….I wish I had saved the online article I read recently about how SSM became normalized. There was a path laid out over a decade ago in a book for the normalization of gay marriage using “Madison Avenue” techniques. The article detailed how well the strategy had worked. I believe “After the Ball” was the book they were talking about, though not the original article I read.

  • Shawna Mathieu

    I couldn’t finish the article, it made me cry.
    My mom died last year. She had Alzheimers. She had a major stroke a few months after that diagnosis, leaving her paralyzed and bedridden. She seriously tried to tell my dad it would be OK if he left her, she didn’t want to be a burden.
    That’s what society tells people like my mom – you’re just a hassle to deal with. You’re no longer worthwhile. You won’t ever get better, so why bother trying? Go out peacefully and spare your family. That’s what this poor woman and her family thought.
    That’s not what we did. My dad became her caretaker. He fed her, cleaned her up, moved her so she wouldn’t get bedsores. He got her a headset so she could still talk to me weekly. He got a laptop so we could run Skype and she could see her grandson.
    What amazed me was what she was ABLE to do. When I had my son, I was a typical clueless parenting newbie. My mom might not have always remembered who the president was, but she remembered all the tips and tricks she used when I was a baby. She always had an answer for me when I asked her a question, and it always worked.
    I had severe PPD after my son was born. I didn’t tell my mom because I thought she had enough on her plate to deal with, she didn’t need my problems, too. I ended up hospitalized. When I talked to my parents after being admitted, my mom said, so I could understand her, “Why didn’t you tell me the depression was getting so bad? If you’d told me about it, together we could have come up with something.” A woman who society says is no longer useful was trying to help ME with my problems.
    The family in this article never got that. They really never gave their mom a chance. They wrote her off. They never told her she still mattered, that she was still worthwhile. She needed counseling, she didn’t need accessories.

  • AquinasMan

    One of the unintended consequences of such a decision to commit suicide with a looming, difficult illness, is no that it robs the loved ones of some sort of fringe “grieving” benefit, but that it robs them of the opportunity to care for the suffering Christ in their midst.

    My mother has had Alzheimer’s for about four years, becoming severe in the last 12 months. My father, who is her primary caretaker, was at first stoic about it, then as it became more severe, he became periodically angry at God. I told him to really let God know how he feels — that he feels abandoned. Tell Him with every bit of what you feel. That was several months ago. Today, he is still her primary caretaker. But he has become more serene about the difficulties. And he told me the other day, “God is testing me.” But he didn’t say it with resent. He said it with a sense of “passing” the test. As if this were not as much a burden, but a sign of God’s love for him, as well. In a sense, he realizes he’s no longer caring for his “wife” as he knew her, but a soul who needs his care. And that’s enough for him.

    For my own part, the time I spend with my mother every week is time I dare not miss. She may not be a shadow of her former intelligence and personality, but I see a soul who doesn’t know me anymore, but knows that I love her. I can’t fathom the tragically misguided desire to kill oneself or to stand attendant to such a defeated outcome.

    Peace to all who have been visited by this terrible disease.

  • dart

    I’m offended by our attitudes in general, especially by
    the title of the article. The very nature of the title provokes the reader to an offensive mode. And when you’re reading the article you’re more likely to feel anger….anger at those reporting this, anger at the families involved, anger at the situations. Many times, anger is good. Anger is what can drive us to do great things. But I believe that in this case, the anger is being misdirected. We’re wasting our time being angry at NPR instead of the circumstances surrounding why a family is put into this position anyway. This is happening regardless of
    how a news organization decides to report it. Why are we quick to take the easy road to lambast news organizations forgoing behind the headlines and reporting on people’s lives? Are for-profit news organizations not guilty of pushing certain views and reporting sensationalist headlines with a result to only increase viewership? (We could be lamenting the entire culture of news and issues reporting. I think that we can improve the experience by being thoughtful in our conversations – verbally and written, in-person and online.) Moving on to the content of the article, I think it highlights the fact there are things that we can do better as a body of believers or as communities (no matter what creed or lack thereof that we profess) to provide resources to families who are coping with very difficult issues. The cold hard fact of the article is that we cope better when we have time to accept and prepare for a loss. How can we better help each other prepare. How do we keep this type of suicide from becoming normal, especially when our lives are extended (not necessarily improved quality of life) through medical technology and medicine? That’s what we should be having the conversation about.