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March 24, 2005
Dutch Defend Euthanasia But Hide It From Muslims?

The Washington Times editorial board met with the Dutch ambassador to the US, Boudewijn van Eenennaam, who discussed a wide range of issues with the board. The Times headlines his defense of euthanasia, but van Eenennaam also discusses the problem of assimilation the Dutch now have with their significant Muslim population:

"Almost without us noticing, we had schools in Rotterdam and The Hague that were 80 percent and 90 percent Muslim," he said. Today, in a nation of 16 million, there are 1.6 million Muslims, many of whom are second- and third-generation Dutch citizens whose parents and grandparents were guest workers who arrived to stay.

The mistake, he said, was that the Muslim immigrants had been welcomed to the Netherlands with almost no conditions. There was no requirement that they learn the Dutch language or assimilate into the European culture.

"We were too tolerant. ... There is strong support that Islam in the Netherlands will have to adapt to the Netherlands," he said. The native Dutch must accommodate the newcomers as well. "I do think the Dutch population should be open a little more."

He noted that a government video showing topless women on a beach and homosexuals embraced in a kiss, meant to demonstrate the reality of life in an open and permissive culture, had been edited to avoid offending prospective Muslim immigrants.

The last paragraph in that excerpt brings up a lot of questions about the Netherlands and its approach to immigration. First, it's important to understand why European countries have had to market themselves to immigrants. Their birth rates have declined so steadily that their social programs have reached a breaking point. There aren't enough younger workers to fund the promised benefits their older populations expect to see, and the political calamity that would result from a default will create a complete meltdown of Dutch society. Immigration is one key component to resolving this -- but not the only one, to which I'll return in a moment.

So how do the Dutch attract immigrants, especially those who will work cheap? They create government videos depicting Dutch reality: open homosexuality and nudity, which fairly represents Dutch openness towards sexuality in general. Nothing wrong with that, although I think it's hilarious that a government chooses to promote itself that way. However, when that doesn't get the response needed to keep their economy afloat, what does the Netherlands do? They edit the tape -- and then market themselves to the one group of people that their sexual laissez-faire almost guarantees to offend.

That kind of self-destructive decisionmaking makes me question whether the Dutch really believe in their open society, or if they simply are too lazy to defend any set of beliefs beyond their nanny-state benefits. Euthanasia provides another example of this, because a state that faces increasing pressure to fund the cradle-to-grave socialism that the Dutch (and the rest of Europe) have promised have an swfully big incentive to move the more costly of its citizens towards the end stage of that spectrum as quickly as possible:

In a luncheon interview yesterday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, Mr. van Eenennaam emphasized that he takes no position on how U.S. courts and medical authorities should deal with Mrs. Schiavo's illness. The disagreement between her husband and her parents, he said, presents unusual difficulties.

Under Dutch euthanasia law, the advice of medical experts in similar cases "weighs very heavily in the final decision."

Critics of the Dutch law have raised alarms over a new drive by Dutch medical authorities to authorize euthanasia in cases in which a patient hasn't given his consent, and in cases of mental suffering not based on physical ailments.

So far, the Dutch have resisted going that far, but who are the government to tell someone who is in such unbearable psychological pain that they can't kill themselves? And why wouldn't the insistence of medical physicians that a patient cannot ever be helped by their care eventually trump that person's irrational insistence on staying alive? As resources become more scarce and more physicians feel comfortable insisting on these changes, don't be surprised to see the Dutch parliament and courts start carving out mechanisms for these in the near future.

Interestingly, the one group that will probably object to euthanasia at all will be the Muslims the Dutch imported to solve their worker crises. The Netherlands will rightly but incompletely blame this on a failure of assimilation, one they started the first time they edited their videos to attract workers antagonistic to Western culture. The complete truth will be that the expansion of euthanasia shows the decadent nature of European socialism, one which the Muslims oppose and which they will use to eventually overtake Western culture on the Continent unless Europe wakes up from its socialist slumber and starts retooling their economy for dynamic capitalism. Once it does that, the need for cheap Muslim labor will drop and the Muslim incursion will marginalize itself.

Perhaps then, the Dutch will quit focusing their medical efforts on how to kill people as kindly as possible and start focusing on how best to preserve life.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 24, 2005 6:02 AM

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» The Schiavo situation from Posse Incitatus
Of all the takes on the Terri Schiavo debacle, the best we've read is that offered by Tim Blair, who aptly summarizes the left's views on the situation:You might have stolen two elections, pResident Hitlerburton W. Chimpowitz, but a woman [Read More]

Tracked on March 24, 2005 8:56 AM

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