Rest in Peace Charlie Gard

Little Charlie Gard passed away last week.  He died in the hospital because his parents were not permitted to take him home to die in the peace of home.

What kind of evil is it that claims to be magnanimously keeping an individual’s best interests at the heart of its decisions, but won’t let that person be cared for by the people who love him most in all the world — his parents?  Won’t let that person seek alternative care elsewhere, even when it has been offered by more than one hospital and doctor, and generous strangers have donated over million dollars for his care?  Won’t let that child and his parents have the comfort of having clergy visit and pray with them?  Won’t let him, in the end, die at home?  All this in the name of doing what is good and right for that person.  We know best… your wishes, your family’s wishes, are irrelevant… we are the ones with power… you will submit…

Jenny Uebbing had this to say about Charlie and what happened to him and his family (a good summary of which can be found here):

But, but, he was going to die anyway. Extraordinary means! The Catechism says! Etc. Etc. Etc.

True. All true. And yet, his parents wanted to pursue further treatment. His mother and his father, the two human beings who, entrusted by the God with whom they co-created an immortal soul, were tasked with the immense, universe-altering task of making decisions on his behalf.

It’s called parenting.

And when the state steps over the bounds of parental interests – nay, tramples upon them – insisting that government knows best what is best for it’s citizens, (particularly when government is footing the medical bills as is the case with the socialized NHS) then we should all of us, no matter our religions or our socioeconomic statuses or our nationalities, be alarmed.

Charlie Gard was a victim of the the most heinous sort of public power struggle: a child whose humanity was reduced to a legal case and an avalanche of global publicity. And no man, not the President of the United States or the Pope himself, could do a thing to turn the tide in little Charlie’s favor once the momentum was surging against him.

The British courts and the Great Ormond Street Hospital, convinced of their own magnanimity and virtue, ruled again and again against the wishes of Charlie’s parents, frustrating at every turn their attempts to seek a second option, to try experimental treatments, to spend privately-raised funds to secure care for their child not available in their home country.

To no avail.

Charlie Gard, baptized earlier this week into the Catholic Church, went home to be with Jesus today. His innocent soul in a state of grace, we can be confident of his intimate proximity now to the sacred heart of Jesus and to the sorrowful heart of Mary. May his parents feel the comfort of knowing that they fought the good fight, and that they brought their child to the font of eternal life by baptizing him into Christ’s Church and surrendering him into heaven’s embrace as he passed from this life.

And may they find, through the powerful intercession of their little son, now whole and free from suffering, the grace to forgive his tormentors and executioners here on earth.

Charlie Gard, pray for us.

Courts create “a duty to die” for those deemed not worth saving

Wesley J. Smith writes about the difficult and heart-breaking Charlie Gard case and the potential ramifications of the UK court’s decisions.  The precedent being set in this case (and similar cases discussed by Smith, including ones in the USA) is chilling regardless of whether you think you’d make the same decisions as Charlie Gard’s parents.  Read the entire article at First Things.

… the parents of “Baby Terry”—also born after twenty-three weeks gestation—faced a similar ordeal. The ethics committee at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan weighed in on August 9, 1993, opining that to honor the parents’ desire to continue Baby Terry’s treatment “would be contrary to medical judgment and to moral and ethical beliefs of physicians caring for the patient” (my emphasis). In other words, when it came to choosing between the values of the parents—based in large part on their religious faith—and the values of doctors and hospital bioethicists, the state argued that only the latter matters.

On that basis alone, a judge found Terry’s parents unfit to make health-care decisions for Terry and stripped them of their parental rights. He awarded temporary custody to the maternal great-aunt, who had previously stated her willingness to obey the doctors. Before that could happen, the infant died in his mother’s arms, aged two-and-a-half months…

… Charlie’s, and many other similar cases I could recite, involving profoundly ill people of all ages, are examples of what is known in the bioethics trade as “futile care” or “medical futility”—or, as I call it, futile-care theory. FCT authorizes doctors to refuse or withdraw wanted life-sustaining medical treatment over the objections of family and patients when the doctors and/or a bioethics committee believe that the patient’s quality of life makes that life not worth living—or, lurking in the subtext, not worth the resources required to sustain it.

A couple of important points need to be made: We are not talking about an intervention without a potential physiological benefit to the patient—a medical determination. Rather, FCT constitutes a value judgment. As bioethicist Dr. Stuart Youngner once put it, “futility determinations will inevitably involve value judgments about: 1) whether low probability chances are worth taking; and 2) whether certain lives are of a quality worth living.”

Worse, FCT empowers strangers to make medicine’s most important and intimate health-care decisionsDeciding whether to accept or reject life-sustaining care is one of the most difficult medical choices. Under FCT, a patient’s decision—whether it be the desire of an infant patient’s guardians or written in an adult patient’s advance directive—matters less than institutional and professional opinions.

Given all that, Charlie Gard’s heartbreaking situation is not surprising. However, until Charlie’s case, the patient or family has always had the option of finding alternative care. The hospital refusing Ryan’s dialysis did not seek to prevent his transfer. Neither did the hospital in the Baby Joseph controversy.

This is where Charlie Gard’s case is breaking new and even more authoritarian ground. Not only are doctors and judges forcing Charlie off life-support; they are also declaring that their ethics rule over Charlie’s life, even if the parents—Chris and Connie Gard—find alternative care. As far as I know, this is unprecedented in futile-care controversies.

Chris and Connie have raised more than $1 million through crowdfunding to pay for Charlie to be flown to the United States for an experimental treatment that has shown some potential in other mitochondrial conditions. If that course proves impossible, they just want to take their baby home so he can die there instead of in a pediatric ICU. But the hospital administration refuses to permit Charlie to be discharged! And the courts have agreed, based on a determination of what doctors and lawyers believe to be Charlie’s “best interests.”

The only silver lining in this tragedy is that a very sick baby’s life still has the power to move hearts. Not only have Chris and Connie received tremendous popular support internationally, but they are also being backed by two of the most visible leaders in the world: Pope Francis and Donald Trump.

The refusal to allow Charlie’s parents to remove their baby boy from the hospital is an act of bioethical aggression that will extend futile-care controversies, creating a duty to die at the time and place of doctors’ choosing. And that raises a crucial liberty question: Whose baby is Charlie Gard? His parents’? Or are sick babies—and others facing futile-care impositions—ultimately owned by the hospital and the state?

The UK medical center fought in court to disallow the parents to take Charlie elsewhere for care when at one point he was offered care in the USA, and Congress offered them citizenship to do so, AND they raised $1.5 million for his care.  The UK medical establishment and courts wouldn’t even let the parents take Charlie home to die in the peace of his home if death were going to be the only option allowed to him. In these difficult cases, it can be very hard to know what is the right thing to do.  BUT having the medical center and court overrule the family’s (or individual’s) choices and force someone to die?  And die in the hospital too?  It is sickening.  And terrifying.

Are Christians the Real Enemies?

Well of course they are according to liberals!

I ran across an interesting article in The Catholic Thing that objects to a particular premise put forth by Vatican journalists: liberalism run a muck isn’t what’s so dangerous; it’s those darn conservative Christians in America and the fact that Catholics and Evangelicals seem to be forming an alliance.  Way to go finding the real enemies of freedom and human rights.

Are Americans from Mars?

Percival Lowell was a member of the distinguished Boston Lowell family, graduate of Harvard, founder of the Lowell Observatory, the most prominent American astronomer – some say – until Carl Sagan. He also believed, on the basis of what he thought careful scientific observation, that there were canals on Mars, and wrote several books about what might have driven Martians to such a vast undertaking.

Unfortunately, his “observations” were an optical illusion (as several scientists already knew in Lowell’s day). Recent Mars probes have discovered no signs of the civilization Lowell thought once existed there.

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian hand-picked by Pope Francis to be editor on the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, have recently made quite controversial observations about America in “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism.”

They are, with good reason, destined to suffer the fate of poor Percival Lowell.

***

In dozens of other instances, they draw lines among widely disparate facts with even less justification than the old believers in Martian canals.

Their main fear is that the collaboration of Catholics and Evangelicals in fighting the culture war is really a bid to create a theocracy in America. You usually hear a charge like that from Planned Parenthood or gay-rights groups or fringe academics. Not from the Vatican.

Further, the authors opine, the participants in this “surprising ecumenism” indulge in a “Manichean” view of Good vs. Evil that sees America as the Promised Land and her enemies as enemies of God whom it’s only right to destroy, literally, with our armed forces.

Taking this as the heart of the Evangelical-Catholic alliance is so delusional that a Catholic must feel embarrassed that a journal supposedly reviewed and authorized by the Vatican would run such slanderous nonsense. The authors would have done better to get out and see some of America rather than, it seems, spending so much time with left-wing sociologists of religion.

There is something like an emerging theocracy in the United States, with a Manichean vision. But it’s the theocracy of sexual absolutism that cannot tolerate pluralism or dissent. The Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, evangelical bakers, anyone who stands up to the contraception-abortion-“gay-marriage” (and now) “transgender” juggernaut risks legal jeopardy and accusations of being a “hate group.” (Spadaro and Figueroa echo this claim, saying the Evangelical-Catholic alliance represents a xenophobic, Islamophobic, purist vision that is really an “ecumenism of hate.”)

Fighting the sexual theocracy is imperative, for believers and non-believers alike who care about liberty and the common good in a pluralist society. The courts have – so far – found for defenders of religious liberty, largely Catholics and Evangelicals. But that such cases even have to be brought tells us who is really trying to impose a kind of totalitarianism on America. Most traditional Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, and others would be happy, at this point, to be just left alone.

All this is invisible to Spadaro and Figueroa, or is dismissed as a cover for something sinister. They know not the heart of American Evangelicalism, which is generally closer to the thoughtfulness of a Russell Moore than to blind Fundamentalism (which is why we use two different terms for the two groupings). Their labeling American Catholic conservatives as “integralists” is another slander and a sloppy misapplication of a term from one period of European history to something else entirely. They could easily have learned this.

The authors claim that Pope Francis has outlined an alternative to “militant” Christianity. But their obsession with “dialogue” over these matters is a plausible strategy only to people who have never had to confront the sharp edge of the culture war. And believe they can go on avoiding it forever. They can’t.

Pope Francis added to the international controversy last week. If his frequent dialogue partner, Eugenio Scalfari – editor of the socialist La Reppublica – is to be believed (personally, I find about 25 percent of what he “reports” vaguely credible), Francis spoke just before the G-20 meeting in Hamburg of the “distorted vision of the world” of America and Russia, China and North Korea, Russia and Syria, especially on immigration matters.

The pope’s including us among such malefactors agitated many Americans. If he meant that he disagrees with President Trump, perhaps he should have said as much.

He went on to say, in Scalfari’s perhaps garbled telling, that a “federated Europe” is necessary or Europe will count for nothing in the world. This is curious for several reasons. In other contexts, the pope seems to have given up on Europe – and expects renewal from the “peripheries.” Further, the European Union is already “federated,” perhaps too much so.

I was at a conference in Portugal two weeks ago where repeated German calls for “ever closer ties” among European nations worried everyone except the Germans themselves. It’s a commonplace in such meetings to lament the EU’s lack of political accountability and arrogance – and Germany’s looming financial power.

In the last analysis, Europe counts for little, because it is in demographic collapse, is spiritually and culturally adrift, doesn’t have the means to defend itself, and seems to think its only reason for being is to be “open” to other cultures.

America has multiple grave problems, but still enjoys active religious engagement in the public square, is groping towards political and cultural renewal, and – not incidentally – still accepts over 1,000,000 legal immigrants every year.

Perhaps it would be worth noting such things, sometime, in Rome.

“Fighting the sexual theocracy is imperative, for believers and non-believers alike who care about liberty and the common good in a pluralist society.”  Exactly. (Although, some argue that a pluralistic society is doomed at this point…)

This author understands why some interesting alliances are being formed here in the States.  Yes, between Catholics and Protestants, but also between these Christians and the atheist “skeptic community.”  This is a good explanation why many conservatives support people like Milo Yiannopoulos despite the fact that his lifestyle is considered very sinful and and much of his presentation style is pretty much the antithesis of polite Christian discourse.  He may be a grave sinner, but he’s fighting our fight.  Strange times call for strange alliances.

Catholics and Protestants can’t afford to fight each other right now.  When we aren’t under attack by the regressive left, Islamic invasion (er… immigration) and jihad, and the overall pressure of cultures that cannot coexist with ours trying to live in our lands, then we can debate doctrinal differences.

Because Islam

Terrorism, Islam, and Immigration:

Whenever a new terrorist attack is reported, I’m reminded of that LifeLock commercial about a bank robbery. After a group of masked robbers smash into the bank, the uniformed officer on duty explains to frightened customers that he’s not a security guard, only a security monitor. He notifies people if there’s a robbery, but he doesn’t do anything to stop it.

Over in Europe, people are beginning to understand that their local and federal governments aren’t going to do anything about the terrorist problem. Oh, sure, the authorities will investigate the latest attack, identify the perpetrator, and, if they’re lucky, break up the cell to which he belonged. But on the most basic level, nothing changes, nothing is ever done.

What are the basics that are being ignored?

Well, in the first place, it would be helpful to recognize that these acts of terror are committed by Muslims, not by Methodists or Mormons. Moreover, the higher the concentration of Muslims in a given society, the more likely that terrorist attacks will occur. In Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic which have strict immigration laws and few Muslims, there have been no major terror attacks. In Germany, Belgium, France, and England, which have liberal immigration laws and large Muslim populations, terror attacks have become an almost weekly occurrence.

One of the primary ways to prevent terrorist attacks is to put a halt to Muslim immigration or else to curtail it sharply. But Europe’s governing class is committed to open borders. They’re also committed to the narrative that all cultures are created equal. So if Muslims are acting up, it can’t, by their reckoning, have anything to do with Islamic culture; it must be because of racial hatred or intolerance on the part of the natives. Like the security monitor in the LifeLock commercial, European authorities witness the invasion of their territory, but they don’t do anything to stop it. Indeed, many deny that terrorism has any connection to immigration.

***

There’s a lesson to be learned here, but for Europeans the lesson comes late in the game. Once the Muslim population of a country grows beyond a certain point, it becomes very difficult to control the terror problem. Yes, of course, not every Muslim is a terrorist. But it’s become something like a mathematical certainty that a certain percentage are. Thus, as the Muslim population grows, so does the number of terrorists and potential terrorists. You can belatedly close the borders, but if you wait too long the damage will already have been done. It’s not a matter of closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, but of closing it after the war horses and Trojan horses have gotten inside.

It’s a different matter for the U.S. In America it’s not too late to tighten up the borders, to curtail Muslim immigration, and to develop sophisticated vetting procedures. It’s not too late to put Muslim communities on notice that they need to do more to purge the terrorists from their midst, and to eliminate from their culture those elements that foster radicalization. None of this will happen, of course, without a radical change of mind—a realization that we are not just fighting ISIS or lone wolves, but that we are also engaged in a do-or-die culture war with people who are determined, either by violence or by stealth, to replace our culture with theirs.

Across the Atlantic, the substitution of one culture for another is well under way, and the Europeans don’t quite know what to do about it. It’s difficult to know what to do when the enemy is already within your borders and when he is practically indistinguishable from the non-violent practitioners of his faith. Because of years of inaction, many parts of Europe are now in a place where all the options are terrible to contemplate.

The lesson for us is that we can’t afford to let the Muslim immigration problem grow to the point where—as in large parts of Europe—it is nearly impossible to deal with the consequences. Because, beyond a certain point, no amount of concrete barriers and bomb-sniffing dogs will be able to stem the terrorist tide.

Will the British finally wake up?

I was surprised to read that maybe, just maybe the British may have had enough of “tolerance.”  I was not surprised to read that America’s liberals are as hypocritical and insane as ever, refusing to learn the obvious lessons the recent terror attacks are teaching.

London Undone by Terror

An ocean away, another seven caskets tell the story of a war the West is desperate to end. For the British, who’ve watched the tide of terrorism swell to three attacks in as many months, the time for sensitivity is over. There’s been “too much tolerance” of Islamic extremism, Prime Minister Theresa May warned, as police searched for clues to another ISIS-inspired rampage. Just days after families put 22 loved ones to rest after the Manchester Arena bombing, three men slammed their van into a crowd of people while others hacked through a local market with foot-long machetes.

“It is time to say enough is enough,” May said of the lax attitude that’s given radical Muslims a foothold on their soil. “Right now, through weak policies, we have allowed the fundamentalists to spoil it for the majority,” intelligence sources explained. After three bloody months, British officials are putting every option on the table — including burka bans and new citizenship rules. As far as May is concerned, political correctness is a luxury the U.K. can no longer afford.

Three thousand miles away, that’s a point Donald Trump has been trying to drive home since the earliest days of his candidacy. After eight years of letting foreigners stream into our country — with the barest of background checks — U.S. leaders have watched ISIS’s infiltration of Europe with an anxious eye. In his first week on the job, President Trump rolled out an executive order designed to keep what’s happening in England from coming here. Liberals came unglued, accusing the new administration of religious profiling — or worse. Now, months into a vicious court battle that’s stopped the president from keeping America safe, the Left’s protests seem more ridiculous than ever. While the London police rush to put up concrete barriers across its most beloved landmarks, the world has a choice: it can learn from Britain’s mistakes — or repeat them.

We know where this White House stands. “In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe,” the president tweeted. “We need the courts to give us back our rights.” While the Supreme Court decides whether to take the case against the president’s “travel ban,” President Trump is already asking for a tougher version. And there’s good reason for it, as Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) pointed out over the weekend. “You’ve got some [terror] groups that are looking at a big play like taking down an airliner. You’ve got others who need very little support, very little planning, and can do incredible damage, which is actually in many ways almost more of terrorism because you go anywhere, do anything, you wonder what could happen at any moment. It could happen here.”

Perhaps the most maddening part of the liberals’ effort is that they’re trying to tie Trump’s hands, when he has the benefit of intelligence that most people don’t — including the judges deciding this case. As someone who worked in counterterrorism and law enforcement, I understand that there’s a reason the president is entrusted with screening protocols, especially when they’re in the interest of national security. As David French wrote in National Review, there’s nothing extreme about that.

“We know that terrorists are trying to infiltrate the ranks of refugees and other visitors. We know that immigrants from Somalia, for example, have launched jihadist attacks here at home and have sought to leave the U.S. to join ISIS. Indeed, given the terrible recent track record of completed and attempted terror attacks by Muslim immigrants, it’s clear that our current approach is inadequate to control the threat. Unless we want to simply accept Muslim immigrant terror as a fact of American life, a short-term ban on entry from problematic countries combined with a systematic review of our security procedures is both reasonable and prudent.”

“The stakes are indisputably high,” White House officials warned in its brief to the Supreme Court. “The court of appeals concluded that the president acted in bad faith with religious animus when, after consulting with three members of his cabinet, he placed a brief pause on entry from six countries that present heightened risks of terrorism.” Is the Left going to take responsibility if its lawsuit succeeds and people are killed on American soil because no one could look into these foreigners’ backgrounds? Will they hide behind black robes when Britain’s terror lands at our shores, ushered in by eight years of Obama’s indifference?

Meanwhile, liberal hypocrites like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are daring to criticize President Trump for not doing enough on terrorism. That’s ironic, since Schumer’s party is the one standing in the way of the White House’s security overhaul! “Rigorous vetting and tightening up wherever we have to is essential in this new world,” he argued. Of course, this is the same man who in January decried Trump’s stricter immigration policy, insisting, “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty.” Better the Statue of Liberty, British mourners would say, than thousands more grieving families who will never see their loved ones again because their government was more concerned about being politically correct than protecting their citizens.

Paris Climate Agreement: a scam we’re lucky to escape

President Trump just outed the US from the Paris Climate Agreement: cue outraged hysteria.

After days of drama and suspense, President Trump announced Thursday that his administration will exit the Paris climate agreement.

“So we’re getting out,” Trump said. “The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”

Trump’s decision fulfills a campaign promise and satisfies strong Republican opposition to the global climate deal but also isolates the U.S. and is certain to bring condemnation from world leaders and critics in the scientific community.

But even people who think “climate change” is a “real problem” don’t think that the Agreement would have done much of anything to fix the “problem.”  It just would have further crippled the US economy.

Manchester: it’s about culture

I wasn’t consistently interested in politics until a year or so ago when things started to get a lot more interesting and to give hints of something other than the stale status quo, possibly even of hints of hope.  Politics had seemed a hopeless mess, but now what we’re witnessing on a national and international level (for many places) isn’t just about politics; it’s about culture.  Sounds like the oft quoted “politics is downstream from culture” really does apply.  It is culture, history, people and their stories and times that are fascinating. The reason I care so much now about current events and politics is because it’s about the survival of a culture and people and of what’s left of Western Civilization — or perhaps about its death, hopefully followed by the reemergence of something to replace it.

We are cursed to live in interesting times and to perhaps witness the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, a turning point.  These are times that would be griping to read about from a more distant perspective, but difficult to live through.  Life, if you’re paying attention, is more interesting than any novel.  And more scary.

There have been lots of PC hand wringing, calls of “solidarity!” and “not all Muslims!” hashtags in response to the recent Manchester terror attack. There have also been quite a few not-PC, and thus more true, responses. One by John Paul Meenan focuses right in on the cultural problem.

There’s only one real way to resist Islamic terrorism: is the apathetic West up to the task?

Yes, we must respond, and this is a ‘war’ of sorts, the first principle of which, as Sun Tzu says, is ‘know thy enemy.’ One aspect of that, in turn, is seeing ourselves as our enemies might see us… There is a method to the madness of ISIS, and they choose their targets with aforethought. To such ‘men’ who have their women dress, if dress is the right word, in what amount to full-body shrouds, one can see how someone like Grande and her troops of teenage imitators would make them froth and foam at the mouth.

Ah, yes, the clash of cultures, which our politicians and their followers, which includes most people, just do not get. At the heart of any society is its religion, whether that religion be supernatural or not, what God or gods they worship, what founds their laws and customs, where they put their time and energy, how they raise their children and govern their families, towns, societies. Islam has a very different idea of how all of this is to be done than what was once the Christian land of ‘Britain,’ but the hollowness of an increasingly agnostic and apathetic British culture, along with the rest of the West, is weak and prone against the onslaught of a resurgent Islam.

When these tragedies strike at the heart of our own culture…, I wonder why? Not in the sense of why Islam spreads its religion and gains converts by violence, for that has been the case since its founding by Mohammed, but, rather, that Islam has already, in a deep and real sense, won the war, without the necessity of such violence…

Furthermore, sheer demographic numbers, by births and immigration, ensure that Britain, along with many other European countries, will be more or less Islamic enclaves within a generation or two, and under such a regime, there will not be many, if any, concerts like Ariana Grande’s. I suppose the a priori violence signifies some level of impatience, so that they might hurry things along, or frustration, or just to prove who’s really in charge. As ISIS has already implied by their social media response, there is more of this to come.

No one knows how many potential terrorists there are in Britain, which has over 3 million Muslims, with more or less untrammeled immigration still continuing. Most of these are law-abiding citizens, one may presume, but some, even if it be a small number, are not only prone to such mayhem but actively planning further bloodshed, and it does not take many to bring a numerically more dominant culture to its knees.

Yes, we must resist, and do what we can by police and military intervention, but how do you stop people who are willing to kill and die in the process, seeing this is a glorious ‘worship offered to God’? How many police officers, gates, cameras, barriers, security? Do we hole up in reinforced walled communities, fearful to go out the door? To face such an enemy requires primarily a resistance that is cultural, which ultimately means religious, something we have by and large lost.

As we reflect and pray, Brits and all the rest of us have a lot of soul searching to do, to ask who we are, what it really means to be ‘British,’ or ‘Canadian’ or ‘American.’  For if we know not who we are, how can we know who is the enemy?

And this is why so many people are searching for identity, why there are so many resurgences of populism, civic nationalism, the alt-right, people focusing on racial identity.  Everyone is searching to find their “tribe” and to ensure its survival.  On some level, people realize that this is about the survival of a way of life, maybe even the survival of their own lives.  Some non-religious people are waking up to the fact that actually Christianity wasn’t such a bad thing and did make the good of Western Civilization possible.  When the barbarians are at the gate, maybe it’s time to get religion.  Unfortunately, it’s probably going to have to get a lot worse before most Westerners wake up.