‘The Babylon Bee’ takes aim at Canada’s MAiD madness
“Canadian doctor loses license for not wearing mask while euthanizing patient,” reads the headline.
Another reports, “Canadian dentist now offers euthanasia as an alternative to filling cavities.”
And: “New Canadian surgery game just makes you murder the patient.”
Straight News or Fake News? That might be hard to know, given the rapid and staggering pace at which the federal government has pushed ahead with its euthanasia policy. Indeed, the headlines come from the popular humor-satire site The Babylon Bee, which has lashed out at the Trudeau administration’s promotion of “medical assistance in dying” and the moral absurdity of euthanasia itself.
It is perhaps fitting that the runaway MAiD has become the target of jokes on a foreign satirical site. A little over a month ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to condemn the emerging trend of offering euthanasia to veterans suffering from PTSD, even as his administration set the stage for offering euthanasia solely for psychological reasons.
A staff writer at The Babylon Bee, which is headquartered in Jupiter, Fla., told The BC Catholic that this tension created by government hypocrisy is just one of many places the staff writers at The Bee find her inspiration.
“If a satirical idea pops into your head, a little discrepancy will trigger it,” said Sam, who asked that his last name not be published. “When you sense hypocrisy, your satirical senses begin to perk up. There’s a kind of short circuit that happens in your brain when it’s trying to reach for something that isn’t there.”
Satire doesn’t have to be funny to be effective, he said, citing Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” one of the best-known examples of ongoing satire in English, in which Swift suggests that hunger in Ireland could be solved by eating babies .
But for The Bee, which bills itself as a humorous site, a good joke should be grounded in truth. Sam sums up the philosophy of the bee in a quote from GK Chesterton: “Humor can get in under the door while seriousness still fumbles with the handle.”
Satire can be understated or based on exaggeration, and The Bee’s posts are based on the latter, Sam said.
An article he contributed to entitled “Canadian Life Alert Euthanizes You Just Euthanizes You When You Push The Button” provides a good demonstration. The article details how Canadians using the Life Alert bracelet – which can summon medical assistance at the touch of a button – can be killed simply by pressing the button.
The article takes the idea of ”death with dignity” to an uncomfortable extreme, and hits a particular nerve when the program’s fictional announcer says, “Old people don’t want us making such a fuss about them breaking their hips. Now they can go from an unworthy fall straight to a dignified death!”
The reason The Bee’s jokes resonate is because “they reach a repressed part of you,” Sam said, in this case offering a subtle, or maybe not-so-subtle, way to offer a moral critique of an issue , which many consider taboo .
In another article, titled “Canada Health Care System Introduces Punch Card That Gets You Free Suicide On Your 10th Visit,” the humor works because of its absurdity, Sam said.
“It’s fun making a punch card for things that shouldn’t have a punch card,” Sam said, laughing. This article is of particular interest to him because it targets the Prime Minister himself, quoting the Prime Minister in one of Sam’s favorite lines: “’Canadians are team players,’ said Trudeau. “It is important for every citizen to ensure that they are not wasting taxpayers’ money on living a life that is not worth living. And now with this punch card, they know that with every hospital visit, they’re one step closer to the end!’”
“Euthanasia can make sense if you have a mechanistic worldview,” Sam said, referring to pro-euthanasia advocates’ emphasis on potential cost savings for the medical system.
The decision to take on a particularly Canadian theme was rooted in the shared Christian values shared by The Babylon Bee staff.
“We all knew we had to talk about euthanasia,” Sam said. “We believe that human beings have inherent value because they are created in the image and likeness of God. Euthanasia is untenable for us because it is an affront to God.”
The problem leads to complex feelings for the satirist.
“I feel for the Canadians,” he said. “I’d rather we were all out of work than it going on.”
That’s because The Bee’s ultimate goal is bigger than trending on social media.
“I don’t think we can fix the world if we tell the right joke—the Lord is the one we should put our hope in,” he said. “As much as we believe the next joke is a moral obligation, it’s not what I’m pinning my hopes on, which mitigates some of the intensity, at least for me.
“I care about people who repent of their sins and come unto Christ. I row my boat on it.”