An evil that looks like love
Don’t believe the tender voices pushing for assisted dying
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Akira Kurosawa’s 1990 film Dreams is based on eight actual dreams, of which I remember only the one called “Blizzard.”
It depicts four mountaineers in Japan caught in a blinding whiteout. Three succumb, the fourth is met by a mysterious woman in white who gently drapes her shawl over his folded body while singing softly: “The snow is warm … the ice is hot.” Sinking into sleep, the man suddenly shakes off the witch, who ascends into a violent tangle of skirts and long black hair. He continues on his journey, soon finding his campsite.
There is little in the imagination of man more terrifying than the angel who turns out to be a demon, what the Bible calls the masquerading “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
This is the way of evil in our day, the library drag queen winsomely reading stories to toddlers, cherry red rouge smeared on his stubbled face. The mothers smile: “See there? They’re nice people.” But there will be a violent tangle at the bitter end.
Abortion proponents came humbly once. They only wanted it “legal, safe, and rare”; now you must “Shout your abortion.” Sexual deviators only wanted to “coexist”; now the johnny-come-lately squatters under your roof would evict you from your own house.
Next stop on the Beelzebub Express: assisted dying. It too comes gentle and reasonable at the first.
Three times in my life I was so sick that if a button had been available that I could press to end it all, I may well have done it. That would have been premature. I got better, and am glad to be alive. Good thing I didn’t live in modern Canada, where Justin Trudeau’s government is happy to abet you in your fleeting, half-mad wishes.
They care, you see. “The snow is warm … the ice is hot,” they sing. Why should the aged cancer patient suffer? (Did you know that Nazi genocide had its beginnings in a public health initiative?) Except now it’s not just octogenarians; the 2016 “medical assistance in dying” (MAID) extends its motherly arms to teenagers with mental illness. It’s easier on the coffers too, of course. Soon permission to die will become responsibility to die.
Isaac in Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979) is suicidal but pulls himself back from the ledge by making a list of things to live for: Groucho Marx, Willie Mays, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, Louis Armstrong, Potato Head Blues. … Contrast that to the now disappeared Simons Canadian fashion house ad titled “All Is Beauty,” featuring a young woman named Jennyfer a few days before her actual death. She also cites the beautiful things of life—bubbles, the ocean, music—but arrives at the opposite conclusion: Choose death.
No one reaches a conclusion like that without considerable help—patient indoctrination in how beautiful death is, and how noble to end your own life for the greater good of society. I hear women my age, who in the past would have longed for grandchildren, now praising their adult daughters for their socially conscious decision to forgo childbearing because of climate change.
Here is the testimony of Kevin, survivor of a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge: “The millisecond my hands left the rail and my legs cleared it, I had an instantaneous regret for my actions. I fell nearly 250 feet, 25 stories, closing in on 80 miles per hour nearing the speed of terminal velocity in four seconds. In those four seconds I said to myself, ‘What have I just done, I don’t want to die, God please save me.’ And then I hit the water.”
Subtle are the witch’s lovely hands in Kurosawa’s Dreams. While the beleaguered wayfarer sinks deep into her siren song and rests inside her folds, they seem to move with tenderness upon his form. ’Tis only when he slightly stirs and tries to rise again that you observe her hands stiffen and push him to keep him down. The tyranny of evil looks like love until you mount resistance. Underneath the velvet glove there lurks the iron fist.
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