Alfie Evans and the War Between Parents and the State

Here is an excellent piece from the excellent on-line journal Quillette, covering the heartbreaking Alfie Evans case, in which his caring and sensible parents were denied the right to make final decisions on the life and death of their beloved child.

This sort of detail on the case is hard to find elsewhere, and the nuance must be understood before judging the outcome.

My own conclusion is that as long as parents are sane and caring, their wishes should be given moral and legal precedence over the dictates even of a caring law and State.

Better this doomed little boy should have died in the arms of his own loving parents as they desperately tried everything possible to comfort him and – maybe? perhaps? possibly? hopefully? – to fend off the inevitable, than to die in a hospital bed five days after the docs unplugged him from life-support, with the doors of his room padlocked legally against his own Mom and Dad.

The main fact to be noted is that the Court alone decided that Alfie’s life was not worth living. Alfie’s parents did not do this.  Some parents may have done. But Alfie’s parents did not. So the Court exercised what is called “substitute judgement“, which is a legal technique for subordinating the judgement of others, in this case Alfie’s parents – and thereby barred his own Mom and Dad from removing him to another facility (in this case, a hospital in Italy that had offered to care for Alfie  free of charge).

The technique of substitute judgement has terrible precedents in the history of the world. It is always the final step in converting a living human subject into a disposable, non-human object, that may be enslaved, beaten, or killed at will. It has been used extensively in every slave-regime that has ever existed, and is the most widely used technique today for denying the right to life of all unborn human beings.

That is why I have argued in many places that all the modern democracies are in fact slave-regimes of a new kind, because they rely on substitute judgement to deny the humanity of the unborn, thereby to make abortion legally acceptable. And they are forced to do so in order to sustain the ideology of egalitarian democracy. You can sustain a liberal democracy without an abortion right; but not an egalitarian one.

The argument runs thus: women bear the unequal biological burden of bearing and nurturing their children, and therefore can never be equal in liberty to the male citizens of a democracy unless they have a right to kill their own unwanted children in the womb. You see the thinking: If I have this baby, I will become unequal.

By using substitute judgement, the unborn child can be defined as non-human, aborted legally without conscience, and thereby removed as a barrier to a woman’s equality





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