We keep getting told that we are free. Yet, those in power seem to think our lives belong to them, and the bureaucracy often agrees.
There has been an outpouring of sadness and anger in the wake of the death of Alfie Evans.
Evans, a very ill toddler in the UK, was forcibly taken off of life-support and left to die after an order from the UK government-run healthcare system. Evans managed to survive longer than expected, and the Pope intervened on his behalf to ask for him to be brought to Italy for treatment he couldn’t get in the UK.
Italy even granted Alfie Evans Italian citizenship, and offered a free flight for him to go to Italy.
But then, the UK government-run healthcare system refused to allow him to go.
Then, a ‘judge’ also ruled that Alfie couldn’t go to Italy.
The UK government even put police in front of the hospital, effectively turning it into a prison and condemning Alfie to die without having a chance to try for life.
This is the line of defense making sure that little Alfie Evans does not leave the British hospital where he has been sentenced to die. pic.twitter.com/IOd1J6NYhp
— Thomas D. Williams (@tdwilliamsrome) April 26, 2018
Not long after, Alfie passed away.
This raises the following question:
If Alfie’s own parents weren’t allowed to remove him from the hospital for a free flight to get him treatment, how can the UK call itself a free country?
The actions of the government show that, for practical purposes, Alfie’s life belonged to the state, and they decided to take away any sense of hope and bring that life to an end.
Of course, if the life of a toddler belongs to the state rather than the parents, and if that state is allowed to restrict the free choice and freedom of movement of parents attempting to save their child, then that’s not a free country.
Keep in mind, something like this could happen in any country with a socialized healthcare system. (Note, universal healthcare coverage and socialized healthcare are not the same thing, as many countries ensure healthcare for all citizens regardless of income without having the government control healthcare delivery itself.)
And, while something similar could also happen in countries where the healthcare system is run by ruthless insurance companies, the use of government power to stop Alfie’s parents from taking him elsewhere for treatment adds a disturbing and sinister dimension to this story.
This is the danger of government power.
Government power can often seem distant and abstract, but in many cases those in power are scheming behind the scenes to deprive us of our freedom. It can seem like nothing is happening, when all of a sudden we wake up and realize how much freedom we have lost. In the UK, that deprivation of freedom has reached the point where a toddler’s chance at life can be decided by bureaucrats and judges, rather than by that child’s parents.
There’s no guarantee Alfie would have survived if he went to Italy for treatment, but he and his parents certainly deserved the opportunity to try. And given the fact that the flight would have been free and Italy had granted him citizenship, there is no good reason for Alfie to have been denied his chance at life.
But, had Alfie successfully received treatment in Italy, it would have exposed a failure of the UK healthcare system. So, we have to consider the possibility that Alfie was denied his chance because bureaucrats wanted to avoid embarrassment, and would rather assert their authority than let Alfie go to Italy.
In the wake of this sad and disturbing story, all of us – including here in Canada – need to truly question and rethink how much power the government has. The role of the government – and the power of bureaucrats – has expanded massively as times goes on, leaving individuals and families far less influential than we once were. A government that was supposed to protect our freedom from external attack has often become the very source of the attack on freedom, as a bureaucratic dictatorship descends upon us.
If freedom is to survive, we must empower individuals and families instead of placing blind faith in the government. As we see in the case of Alfie Evans and many other instances, a benevolent government that ‘takes care of us,’ can quickly become a malevolent government that ‘takes care of us’ in a very different and much worse way.
Photo – Twitter