After Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced a merit-based immigration bill, the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, President Donald Trump stated at…
Editor’s note: The following contains some unpleasant details in the opening definition of a barbaric practice. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to the genital “circumcision” performed on young…
The North Korean nuclear threat has continued to escalate in recent weeks, beginning with Kim Jong-Un’s threat to destroy the U.S. territory of Guam, the launching of a missile over Japan, and claiming to have tested a hydrogen bomb, tremors of which were felt in China and South Korea.
In early August, President Trump responded by stating that an attack by North Korea would be met with “fire and fury.” Last week, the president issued a statement clarifying that “all options are on the table.”
On Monday of this week, Nikki Haley spoke at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting saying that “[Kim Jong-Un’s] abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war.” She continued, “War is never something the Unites States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited…24 years of half measures and failed talks is enough.”
Critics claim that such statements by both President Trump and Ambassador Haley appear brash, impulsive or harsh. Such critics, however, ignore the longevity of the issue. Since 1993, the U.N. Security Council has issued nine sanctions attempting to negotiate with North Korea and to thwart their nuclear program economically. Yet, over the past two decades not only has North Korea violated these sanctions but they have continued to build their own nuclear arsenal and test their nuclear weapons with brazen confidence while signaling their intent to use it.
Some in the media think of Kim Jong-Un as a silly little boy threatening to blow up the playground with his baking soda and vinegar volcano project. They hope, “Maybe he just needs a little fresh air. Maybe he just needs friends. Maybe this will all go away when we wake up tomorrow.”
Others characterize Kim Jong-Un as a crazy man. However, former Deputy Director of the CIA, Michael Morrell thinks differently: “People are wrong when they say he’s crazy. He’s not crazy. He’s very rational in his own world. He is smart, he is decisive, his is persistent, but he’s also an attention-seeker. He’s also paranoid…and…extraordinarily violent.”
Our post-modern culture labels the aggressors as victims and the responders as aggressors. It has blurred the lines between right and wrong, innocent and guilty, victim and victimized. Our universities spend time trying to “understand” Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini. Our courts speak of mass-murderers as “troubled” people who forgot to take their medicine. We dismiss terrorists when they issue threats and minimize their actions and violence. Our chronic avoidance of real threats can have dangerous consequences.
Peace advocates see disarmament and negotiation as the only way to solve problems. Though well-meaning, peace advocates do not recognize the truth of Reagan’s axiom, “Peace Through Strength,” or the wisdom of Winston Churchill’s statement, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”
Many people assume that only a war kills innocent people. However, “false peace” or a peace that solves no problems can be just as dangerous. Consider, for example, how the “Peace Movement” of the 1960’s destabilized and disrupted the Vietnam war to ensure a victory for the communists. The movement, which played upon the sentiments of Americans to stop the war, ultimately led to the American retreat from Vietnam. As a result of this “false peace,” the communists slaughtered nearly 3 million innocent Cambodians and Vietnamese when they gained power.
In contrast to false “peace” movements, the “Just War Theory,” espoused by medieval luminaries such as St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas, refers to situations in which the use of military force is justifiable. The conditions include the following:
1) The war must be a response to an action of direct aggression
2) The war must be in the protection of the innocent
3) The war must be declared by a legitimate authority
4) The war must be fought with the right intent
5) The peaceful conclusion of the war must be non-vindictive.
Professor Jean Bethke Elshtain Professor of Social and Political Ethics at University of Chicago notes: “St. Augustine claimed that war may be resorted to in order to preserve or achieve peace—and not just any peace, but a just peace that leaves the world better off than it was prior to the resort of force.”
We should not apologize for or dismiss the threats made by Kim Jong-Un. In addition to enforcing the sanctions, we need to revive the information strategies used to topple the Soviet Union. We need to implement political warfare and information campaigns to raise doubt among the North Korean military leaders about the regime in order to fray the loyalty within their ranks. Yet, if the situation requires military action we need to know that a just war protects more innocent people than a false peace.
Image credit: Zeferlee/BigStock
Originally published on Patriot Post, September 7, 2017
The “Right to Die” movement, a growing trend in the U.S. and around the world, has been labeled as “compassionate,” but poses great societal risks, namely the compromising of the doctor-patient relationship and endangering the rights of the disabled. Right to Die encompasses both Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) and euthanasia. Euthanasia refers to a doctor performing a lethal injection and Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) refers to a doctor aiding the patient’s death by giving the means or information to enable the patient’s suicide. This for example, may include providing drugs and information regarding the lethal dose. Currently, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Montana, Colorado, Washington, DC and Canada have legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS).
While proponents of “Right to Die” frame the issue as merely a medical “right,” akin to a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, the American Medical Association stands against it on ethical and philosophical grounds: “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”
Liz Carr, a British actress, comedian, disability rights activist and writer of Assisted Suicide: The Musical echoes these concerns about the difficulty to control PAS and its societal risks. She observes that while the law is initially intended for the terminally ill, other groups claim a “right” to it and “in the name of rights and equality it [euthanasia] ends up being extended.” Carr also voices concerns for the disabled community stating, “I fear we’ve so devalued certain groups of people – ill people, disabled people, older people – that I don’t think it’s in their best interests to enshrine in law the right of doctors to kill certain people.” The Right to Die quickly becomes the Right to Kill.
Donald W. Landry, M.D., PhD, Physician-in-Chief at New York Presbyterian/Columbia agrees saying, “A brave, new world in which physicians routinely take up the cause of death is a world of grave moral hazard…Imagine that instead of leading you to choose a preferred treatment, he [the doctor] is advancing another, more final solution as best for you. This is not the world in which you want to live.” In this brave new world, how do we discern the motives of the doctor? Do they want what is best for the patient, or what saves the government and insurance companies money?
This is no longer an abstract scenario. A recent report from Canada mentioned that euthanasia could “save” the government $139 million per year. The insurance company of Californian Stephanie Packer, a 34-year-old wife and mother of four, denied coverage for chemotherapy but covered suicide pills, which cost $1.20.
Additionally, we don’t have to look beyond Charlie Gard to see that socialized medicine presents itself as “free” but in reality, strips freedom from the key decision makers in the life of the patient. Administrators, judges, and government officials make the decisions rather than family of the patient. Socialism roots itself in atheistic philosophy whereby government (funded by the taxes), not God, provides for the needs of people. In this “efficient” system, the government “saves money” by destroying those who require the most care.
But what about those suffering patients who really do want to die? Diane Severin, M.D. a radiation oncology physician practicing in Canada states:
“The first time a patient asked to be euthanized, which has increased since its legalization in Canada, my initial response was ‘I don’t believe in that.’ But that made for a difficult discussion. My patient wasn’t asking what I believed in. He was asking about himself. Going forward, I tried to find out what my patients were afraid of…I discovered that they feared pain and suffering. After describing the resources of our palliative care team, who could provide pain and symptom help, not one patient pushed beyond that initial inquiry. People really do want to live.”
Not only do people want to live, but they long for loyalty, self-sacrifice, purpose and meaning. Atul Gawande, M.D., surgeon and author of New York Times bestseller, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, refers to the philosophy of loyalty espoused by early 20th century Harvard philosopher, Josiah Royce. Gawande summarizes it stating, “The individualist puts self-interest first, seeing his own pain, pleasure and existence as his greatest concern.” However, the human being needs loyalty. Gawande notes, “the cause can be large (family, country, principle) or small (a building project, the care of a pet). The important thing is that, in ascribing value to the cause and seeing it as worth making sacrifices for, we give our lives meaning.”
In addition to posing risks to medical ethics, conscience rights of doctors, and endangering the disabled and infirmed, the Right to Die movement conceals socialist government “efficiency” and insurance profits behind words like “dignity” and “compassion.” By trading the values of faith and courage for individualism and avoidance of pain, we have lost, as a culture, a sense of loyalty and self-sacrifice. While the “Right to Die” movement appears to be the choice for the liberated individualist, it only stands as a symptom of godless, socialist secularization which strips meaning from life and dignity from people. Euthanasia and assisted suicide will not cease to be an issue until we address not only our fear of death and lack of purpose, but the larger problem of the atheistic secularization of society. For, only in understanding from whence we have come, will we know how to move forward.
Image Credit: weyo/BigStock
Originally published on Patriot Post, August 31, 2017