What’s Wrong with the World

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Update: Gracious Hospital starts feeding Alfie

I admit to being surprised: Alfie Evans's father now confirms that the hospital, after leaving Alfie for over 24 hours without food, has graciously started allowing him food as well as water and some oxygen.

How long he will live remains to be seen, but kudos to his parents for their tireless advocacy, which resulted in his getting at least some basic needs met.

Comments (2)

Alfie's father has read a very strange note calling upon supporters to stand down, written in language quite unlike his own.


It is fairly clear that he did not write it, and some are, not implausibly, calling it a hostage note. In fact, there is much that the hospital could have threatened--withdrawing Alfie's food and water again, for example. A friend wrote this on Facebook. I copy with permission but without attribution:


After fighting desperately for the life and welfare of their son against a cruel UK bureaucracy that very much wants the child dead, the parents of Alfie Evans abruptly declare that they want to make nice with that bureaucracy, and desire no more advocacy for their child. Why?

Well, read the father's statement. It's a hostage note.

What has happened is this: the bureaucracy — of the Alder Hey hospital and the British judiciary both — is aggrieved, not because they are bent upon killing a child, but because they are receiving negative publicly because they are bent upon killing a child. This is why they have enlisted the local police to threaten arrest and prosecution for any British subject (we can't say "citizen" any longer, so let's revert to the old and accurate usage) saying unkind things about them; and this is why they have issued anonymous quotes in press threatening to keep the little boy at the hospital until death unless there is a "sea change" in the father's attitude toward them.

Well. Message received.

Knowing that the powers of the state are utterly determined to see their little boy die as a demonstration of their sovereignty, the parents of Alfie Evans are resigned to seeking the bare minimum: that he be allowed to die at home. The United Kingdom's bureaucrats, feeling deeply sorry for themselves — after all, they're only doing what's best if only you'd see it — aren't just going to give them that out of decency, or compassion, or any sense that parents are the proper carers for children.

No. They're going to force a humiliation. They're going to demand a kowtow. They're going to make these parents scrape. They want to see them beg.

Then, believe the mother and father of little Alfie Evans, they will send their precious boy home to die.

But they're wrong. They still don't understand the game, nor the depravity of the forces against their child. Alfie Evans, having survived after the withdrawal of ventilation, having survived after the denial of food for over a day — those of you with small children will appreciate the petty monstrousness of that — has by merely existing spited these gathered powers more than any unkind social-media postings against them.

He may be sent home. But the odds are against him. Because, wonder the bureaucrats of the National Health Service and Her Majesty's judiciary, what if he is sent home and the very worst thing happens?

What if he lives?

Your friend's closing question gets to the heart of what I was attempting to express above. The powers that be in the UK are terrified of what it will mean for them if Alfie Evans actually survives their attempt to kill him. You're right, Lydia, that at bottom it is about the jealousy and lust of power that is practically the defining feature of the modern state. But maintaining the docility with which ordinary people relate to it depends crucially on the state's (downright Czarist) pretensions not only of benevolence , but also of omniscience.

(Remember that almost parodically creepy poster they distributed for a while upon installing its CCTV cameras all over London? "Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes," it read.)

Alfie Evans thriving under the care of anyone other than the state discredits it on both fronts.

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