It is possible to see 1945 as the watershed of the twentieth century. The fall of Nazi Germany, the capitulation of Japan, the first use of atomic weapons, the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, and the beginning of the Cold War all happened during that epic twelve months. Within the context of so many earthshaking events, the 1945 British General Election of 1945 is easy to overlook. However, those who follow and see great significance in the deaths of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans should not make this mistake.
The match-up that year was epic. On the conservative side sat the nation’s prime minister, a man still recognizable worldwide, credited by some as the man who saved Western civilization from Nazi tyranny—Winston S. Churchill. His opponent was the leader of the Labour Party, Clement Atlee. Small, bald, and thin, Mr. Atlee was unprepossessing of speech, appearance, and demeanor. “Let me say this about Clement Atlee,” Churchill is reputed to have said to Harry Truman, “there is a lot less there than meets the eye.”
Yet Atlee and Labour won the election with 393 seats to Conservative’s 197.
This hardly seems believable. Great Britain had just won the greatest war in its history after having very nearly been defeated. Even his opponents admit the fact that the reason Great Britain still exists is largely credited to Churchill’s leadership.
How can this have happened? Several historians have the theory that Churchill’s downfall can be traced to a speech he gave on June 4, 1945. It included the paragraph:
No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently-worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance. And this would nip opinion in the bud; it would stop criticism as it reared its head, and it would gather all the power to the supreme party and the party leaders, rising like stately pinnacles above their vast bureaucracies of Civil servants, no longer servants and no longer civil.
By using the word Gestapo, many concluded that Churchill was comparing Atlee to Hitler and Labour to the Nazis. On the face of it, any such comparison seemed laughable—and many did laugh. Mr. Atlee looked more like a bank teller than a dictator. The Labour Party was socialist—admittedly and proudly so. However, theirs was the socialism of the hardworking and impoverished, not of the chanting and ranting hoards that can be seen goose-stepping and holding their arms aloft in films of the Nuremburg rallies.
Against this background, it was easy to paint Churchill as someone who was cynically using the horrors of the recent war to cling to political power. The nation appeared to be saying, “He was a great war leader, but we just can’t trust him with peace.”
So Labour won. Very shortly, the Socialists did what socialists do. Over the next few years, the iron and steel industries were nationalized, as was the supply of electricity and natural gas. Much large-scale transportation came under the control of the government. The National Health Service was created. Taxes for the wealthy, especially on inheritances became confiscatory. Wages for manual laborers increased and labor unions became virtually all-powerful in the factories, especially those in nationalized industries. Large amounts of government housing were constructed but building private homes on private land meant getting the approvals of a bewildering array of planning boards. “Temporary” powers taken by the government during the emergency of World War II were retained. Food rationing, for example, abandoned in the U.S. within a year after the war, remained in effect in Great Britain until July 4, 1954.
Of course, socialism did what socialism does everywhere that it is tried. Unemployment rose. The innovative spirit declined. A strike in a key area could paralyze the economic life of the nation until the workers’ demands were met. The quality of healthcare stagnated. Once socialism had come to dominate the nation’s economic life, Conservative governments, including one led by Churchill from 1951 to 1955, were unwilling or unable to stop its course.
This kinder and gentler socialism lacked the terror tactics of the Nazis and communists, and so it was looked on by the globalists as the wave of the future. The term “economic freedom” stopped meaning that you could do what you want with the money that you had earned and began to mean that you were now free from the necessity of taking care of yourself.
For over seventy years, the National Health Service has rationed out healthcare to the citizens of Great Britain. It can be argued that these systems do a reasonable job handling “normal” cases. For instance, if one has the flu, one can go to the nearby clinic and get the same treatment that hundreds of thousands of other people get for the same disease. They can handle the normal accidents of life capably. Broken arms or legs happen often enough that they can be factored into the cost projections of the bureaucrats that run the programs. Assuming that one ages in the normal way and has only those maladies that normally affect the aging, like arthritis, heart disease, or the more normal cancers, that person will likely receive adequate care under such a centralized system.
However, such centralized bureaucracies fall apart with abnormal cases. Extreme cases cannot be factored into a cost/benefit curve. Experimental medicines tend to be expensive because they carry the costs of the research that create them. Since they are experimental, their benefits are uncertain. There is no way to figure out if those experiments will show any return for the high costs that they entail.
In the United States, these costs are borne by insurance companies. If an insurances company elects not to cover those costs, the individual can call in the government—through the courts—to force the insurance company to follow the terms of the written contract. If the insurance company’s reluctance can be shown to have unduly harmed the individual, the costs to the company can far exceed the costs that would have been incurred had the company paid for the treatment in the normal way. This system is more expensive, but it is far more protective of the individual.
However, under a socialized system—like in Great Britain—the government IS the insurance company. Therefore, an appeal to the courts becomes an act of futility. There is no written contract—the coverage is provided under the terms of a law that the courts will interpret. Since the court is actually a part of the government, the costs to the government will enter into the calculation. If the government judges find in favor of the government bureaucrats, there is no appeal. All the individual can do is accept the inevitable and prepare for the consequences—which in these cases can well be death.
That is the situation in which the parents of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans found themselves. Charlie Gard had mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Alfie Evans suffered from a “degenerative neurological condition.” Both cases are extremely rare and the medical establishment in Great Britain declined to treat them. The authorities judged that their cases were beyond any chance of stabilization and/or recovery. The only thing to do was to make them as comfortable as possible and await the inevitable.
Of course, in the bureaucratic world, there are always two sets of reasons for a decision. There is the given reason and then the real reason. In the case of both boys, the given reason was some variation of the “death with dignity” refrain. They were both going to die, the value of their lives was negligible, and the proper thing to do was to end their suffering with as little pain as possible.
The real reasons involve a high degree of speculation since they are shrouded in secrecy. In this case, the most likely reason is not hard to deduce. So-called “end of life care” is vastly less expensive than any attempt to cure the disease. Morphine is cheap. In these cases, the biggest argument against its use, the chance of addiction, is not a factor. The nurses administer enough of the drug to make the patient “comfortable” and then wait for the time that the drug-induced sleep becomes permanent. The hospital calls in counselors to assuage the pain of the loved ones and assure them that they are “doing the right thing.”
In both cases, the parents did not want comfort, they wanted treatment. They were able to find competent authorities who were not shackled to the National Health Service in other countries—in Charlie’s case in the United States, in Alfie’s case in Rome. In both cases, however, the British officials said that the children could not be moved.
The given reason makes no sense. If these two cases were really beyond hope, what could presumably competent doctors be afraid to lose in letting them be treated elsewhere? Again, the real reasons suggest something different. The more sinister is that the bureaucracies went into self-preservation mode. If either of these boys had been saved by doctors outside of Great Britain, what effect would that have on public trust in the National Health Service’s decisions? Would other parents demand expensive and uncertain treatment for their children? Would those whose conditions had been labeled chronic demand re-evaluation? Would the loved ones of the medically expensive elderly be less willing to accept euthanasia-by-another-name? The costs of these cases could skyrocket out of all proportion.
The less sinister, but still troubling, possibility is that the state of British medicine under the NHS has not kept pace with that of the rest of the world. Great medical breakthroughs do not often come out of countries with socialized medical systems. Research is expensive. Drug companies are unwilling to undertake it themselves unless there is the prospect of a profit. By denying the positive effects of a market system, socialists—whether they intend to or not—tend to ossify any technological or scientific process in its current state. Has that happened in Great Britain? Have their very best medical minds emigrated to countries in which their talents will be rewarded economically? What would be the public reaction if people started to believe in this idea? Great Britain would become a kind of medical ghetto whose services would only be relied on by those with no other choice.
Thus, Churchill’s Gestapo reference can be seen at work in the National Health Service. Their outward appearances and methods are different, but a common ideology ties them together. The Gestapo wore black uniforms. The NHS wears lab coats or whatever the bureaucrats wear in Great Britain these days. The Gestapo relied on fear. The NHS relies on rules, red tape, indifference and obfuscation. However, the message is the same: life inconvenient to the state must end.
Ultimately, Churchill was right. The only way for Socialism to function is through a Gestapo. Today’s socialists may think that they are above such things, but they are not. All that one needs to do is look at their behavior in the most Socialist places in the United States—college campuses. There the Gestapos wear torn blue jeans and t-shirts with silk screened messages, but the message is the same. If you are inconvenient, better get out of the way of whatever they call progress.