Something terrible is happening in the land of wooden shoes, windmills, Rembrandt (search) and wonderful breakfasts.

A Dutch hospital is euthanizing — killing — newborn babies who don't measure up to an arbitrary standard set by the hospital. The hospital at first requested guidelines for so-called "mercy killings" of newborns. It then revealed it has been engaging in the practice without any guidelines at all. Three years after the Dutch parliament passed a law allowing doctors to actively kill patients they deemed terminally ill, in great pain and with no prospects for recovery, it has come to this. At least with the elderly sick, they had to be consulted about their wishes. Newborns receive no such privilege.

I'm not surprised.

Once a single category of life is declassified as having no intrinsic value and a right to life, it is a very short step to declassify other categories when they are considered inconvenient, or burdensome.

Holland is a perfect example of what happens when there is no governing moral standard. The Dutch have decriminalized most drugs and people smoke dope openly in venues set aside for the practice. Prostitutes display their wares like mannequins in department store windows. And now we have at least one hospital murdering already born babies because someone has decreed them unworthy of life.

If ever there was a slippery slope to be studied, this is it.

The Dutch are now grappling with their open border policy. They have admitted thousands of radical Islamists who have not assimilated and are threatening the stability of the nation. A Dutch filmmaker (search) was murdered last month by a radical who didn't like a film he made criticizing Islam's treatment of women.

And now we have the killing of newborns. All of this in a country where the Nazis murdered Ann Frank just because she was Jewish and therefore less than human.

Does history repeat? In Holland, apparently it does.

And that's Column One for this week.

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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.