Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old infant whose plight captured the attention of the world, has died, his life support having been withdrawn by order of a British court and the National Health Service bureaucracy. The official cause of death will be complications of a terrible genetic abnormality called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Charlie’s actual cause of death was the result of the judgment of a soulless, heartless medical and legal regime that has taken upon itself matters of life and death for human beings under its control.

The theory and practice of state sponsored infanticide

The theory behind “allowing Charlie to die,” to use the antiseptic phrase employed by the NHS bureaucracy, is that parents like Chris Gard and Connie Yates are too emotionally involved to make life or death decisions on behalf of their children. Only panels of dispassionate doctors and medical ethicists can make such decisions. Sarah Palin was ridiculed for calling such an arrangement “death panels.” However, Charlies Gard is dead because of the ruling of a panel, is he not?

Also, Charlie’s parents were not religious fanatics who were denying their child care because of some misunderstanding of the dictates of the Bible. Nor were they seeking the services of a quack.

The treatment they sought for their child was a respected specialist in the sorts of conditions that Charlie suffered from at Columbia University. Charlie's mum and dad were not even asking the British tax payer to foot the bill. They had raised the money privately from their generous countrymen and women.

In the end, the issue was not about Charlie’s quality of life or the likelihood that the treatment would have been of benefit. The real problem was the fact that under state run healthcare, peoples’ lives are no longer their own.

As the Liverpool pathway regime proved a few years ago, patients can be “allowed to die” at the discretion of the state for no other reason that it is inconvenient to keep them alive. If Charlie had been allowed treatment in a timely fashion and he had lived, then that control would have been shattered. Everyone with a sick parent or child that the NHS refused to treat would be headed to GoFundMe to raise money for treatment.

That cannot be allowed.

What happens now?

Charlie’s death happens at an interesting time in American politics. The debate over what to do with an American health care system that has become broken by Obamacare has proven to be intractable. Some suggest that the Gordian knot of single payer health care should be severed and implemented.

The theory of Single Payer is beguiling. People will be able to go to the doctor and get any treatment they need without having to worry about paying for it, in exchange, of course, for a hefty tax bill. However, the practice of single payer is Charlie Gard, whose tiny soul is with the angels, but whose legacy constitutes a warning against the Faustian bargain of state sponsored “health care.”