Society

Resisting Euthanasia’s Culture of Death

A tsunami of culture-of-death legislation is rolling across the increasingly unfruited plain that is modern-day Australia. Parliament by parliament, our elected representatives have massively expanded the “Overton Window”—the range of policies which the electorate can be persuaded to accept—in relation to issues concerning the ethics of the taking of life. The next stops are Queensland and New South Wales, where draft bills to introduce euthanasia—or to give it the name much preferred by its adherents, “voluntary assisted dying”—are shortly to be considered. We mustn’t use words like killing or suicide in this context, of course.

In New South Wales, the proposed euthanasia bill follows the passage of what Tony Abbott has described as “infanticide-on-demand” legislation in Macquarie Street in 2019. It also follows the passage of similar euthanasia legislation in South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria (naturally).

The author of the New South Wales bill is, inevitably, Alex Greenwich, the homosexual activist and independent (read Greens) member for the inner-city seat of Sydney. Greenwich claims to have support from across the political spectrum. Given that only two of nineteen Nationals chose to oppose the recent abortion legislation, and that the Nationals’ leader John Barilaro has indicated his support for the assisted-dying bill, one cannot hold out great hope that the bill will be defeated.

Following the passage of the federal same-sex-marriage legislation in 2017, it seems that politicians of all persuasions across the land have felt suddenly empowered to turn open the floodgates in relation to ethical matters thought previously to be well beyond the realms of the achievable. The (dubious) evidence of a number of polls is said to show that a comfortable majority of Australians support this legislation. The evidence from such polling has been used as a key tool by supporters of euthanasia legislation, including Greenwich, to persuade their parliamentary colleagues to come on board.

The ABC chirruped in 2019: “Euthanasia support strengthens to nearly 90pc, Vote Compass data shows”. Well, of course it did. I wonder how the questions were phrased.

Australians seem to be under a spell of double­think and display massive cognitive dissonance in relation to the frail aged. On the one hand, we wish to allow them to commit suicide, while at the same time allowing a disgraceful, embarrassing, low-care, low-dignity environment to persist in our aged “care” system, and not to punish the governments on whose watch this has occurred. Generally, we fret over mental health and the terrible suicide rate. Help lines and the organisations that man them radiate concern for those contemplating suicide. I suppose it therefore makes perfect sense not to mention the “s” word when speaking of assisted dying. (The “s” word has, indeed, been written out of various pieces of euthanasia legislation precisely to pretend that suicide and killing are not involved in “assisted dying”.)

According to Queensland Health, “Voluntary assisted dying allows a person who is suffering and dying from a life limiting condition to choose the timing and circumstances of their death.” Yes, the Queensland health bureaucracy is promoting suicide!

The politicians are protected in this process because they can hide behind a “conscience vote” whose outcome seems destined to be forgotten by the time of the following election. And, in the case of euthanasia—if not abortion, which everyone including its more honest supporters seems to recognise is an undeniably awful act—there is a widespread view that it saves old and sick people from pain, so it must be beneficial, and, after all, unlike aborted foetuses, the aged-suicidal get to have a say in their demise.

Whence comes the opposition to the euthanasia tsunami? Stalwart organisations such as Right to Life and the Australian Family Coalition have fought the good fight, yet often seem mainly to be talking to their own supporters, and not to be making sufficient impact upon the broader electorate to make politicians pause before waving the radical legislation through.

There used to be a bastion of intellectual endeavour in support of the pro-life cause and scholarship in bioethics, at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, which was supported by John Paul II, a philosopher focused on the culture of life, and Benedict XVI, a theologian focused on the dictatorship of relativism. The present incumbent in Rome—with a far weaker philosophical bent and far less focus on the culture of death—had the institute closed down in 2018. Other sources of concentrated scholarly endeavour in support of the culture of life and of traditional safeguards for our core institutions are rare indeed.

Most of the mainstream denominations are vigorous in their stated opposition to legislation that threatens the lives of the unborn and the frail aged. Yet, there are few now in the pews listening to the words of their pastors, if, indeed, these pastors choose to preach on life issues. Most surveys now show, as well, that there is little difference in the views of so-called Christians and the great secular unwashed in relation to moral issues that once upon a time showed sharp divisions. And at least some of the churches have been rendered mute in the face of their own failings in relation to sex abuse.

Against the outstanding, yet unsuccessful, pro-life groups, we have an array of celebrities driving the debates and watching the dominoes fall. For decades, Australia’s own Dr Death, Philip Nitschke, carried the baton. Now we have the ABC’s Andrew Denton, who has been scurrying all over the nation proselytising in support of the aged-suicidal. They have the usual high-profile voices internationally to support them, like those of Hugh Grant, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Hawking. Their arguments are cleverly designed to pull at the heartstrings. Just like the same-sex-marriage argument—if it can be called that—that “love is love”. The task of resistance, then, involves hard work and is not for the faint-hearted.

Into this swamp, and into the culture of death, rides one of Australia’s foremost bio-ethicists and life-issues scholars, the retired South Australian Catholic priest and academic John Fleming. In his late seventies now, Fleming continues to fight the good fight. His battles against abortion and euthanasia have spanned many decades of robust scholarship and activism, in academia and in the print and broadcast media in Adelaide, where he was the Foundation Director of the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute. Most recently, he has been forced to witness his own state’s parliament finally caving in following a long-term push by the advocates of death. It took them something like seventeen attempts, but they got there in the end. (And they were cheered on by another Liberal-in-name-only government and its Attorney-General, Vicki Chapman. This would be the same Liberal Party most recently in the news for hosing Christians out of the party’s branches.)

Father Fleming’s To Kill or Not to Kill: Euthanasia in a Society with a Cultural Death Wish is one mighty attempt to push back against the culture and against the politicians who are pushing the anti-life agenda. And not a moment too soon.

Fleming has written what amounts to an exegesis on the wrongs of those who would wish on us mercy killing and all of its close relatives—abortion up-to-birth on demand, homosexual marriage, transgendered rights, and anything else that the neo-pagan, cultural Marxist, postmodern world can throw at us. Fleming’s work is built on the method of textual analysis, and he has done his research to a monumental standard.

To Kill or Not to Kill is a heavy tome, weighing in at over five hundred pages, summoning sources from the worlds of politics, bioethics, philosophy, history and culture, and dealing with matters of life and death, against seemingly insurmountable opposition among the elite classes. The book considers matters of moral theology, metaphysics and bioethics. But it also examines Australian political processes and the arguments swilling around therein. As well as its heavy rhetorical hitting and heavy philosophical lifting, it betrays a lightness of touch that makes it accessible to the general reader who doesn’t happen to be a scholar or have a postgraduate qualification in philosophy. Fleming has done the hard work so we don’t have to. And his messaging is clear, in spite of the highly complex moral issues and fine distinctions to which euthanasia gives rise.

This is a book of immense scholarship, broad interdisciplinary research, political awareness and razor-sharp focus, leavened with a practitioner’s worldly wisdom and political nous. Fleming’s conviction, above all, is that good arguments matter in critical debates, even in this age of superficial soundbites, cliches and focus-group-driven politics. Probably no one is Australia could have done a better job in pulling together all the disparate strands—legal, medical, philosophical, religious and political—than John Fleming.

Fleming skewers quite a few canards. There is a clue to one of them in the title. Euthanasia enthusiasts avoid using the word kill at all costs. There are many kinds of lies, and one of the ideologue’s favourites is to deflect the truth with euphemisms. Another is to create straw men and false dichotomies. People like Andrew Denton—whose words and activism Fleming examines with forensic enthusiasm—are constantly setting up a nightmare scenario for the dying that only exists in his imagination. In the dystopian present painted by euthanasia advocates as lacking care and lacking choice for the dying, several key realities are missed. Like the fact that patients, doctors and families have resources (in the form of painkillers) and the choices related to these resources that may even—legally—hasten death. Fleming is at pains to call a halt to the lies and exaggerations that are fed into the debate from the pro-euthanasia side.

 

ANOTHER feature of the book is Fleming’s painstaking work in situating the emergence of support for euthanasia in the broader cultural climate of the times. He is not alone to have written on the decline of religious belief and the takeover of the public square by what amounts to a secularist religion determined to banish Christian (in particular) ethics. Yet he sees not merely parallels but causative links between the appearance of euthanasia and the parking of God, which has similarly seen the collapse of marriage, the rise of mainstreamed homosexuality and the creeping crisis of fatherlessness. When people cease believing in God, as Chesterton famously opined, they do not believe in nothing but become capable of believing in anything. Added to this epoch-defining development has been the emergence of postmodernism as both a decisive philosophy of the age and a practical “my truth and your truth” belief system of most people, especially of those under forty years of age. We have suffered, too, from an activist judiciary that sees its role as changing society when the legislature doesn’t.

The commanding heights of our world are now occupied comfortably by those who wish to tear down the remnants of a once great culture. And most of all, the underpinning values system of our Western culture—Judeo-Christian morality, Greek philosophy and Roman law—have been brought low by internal enemies whose targets have been marked for destruction.

John Fleming understands all of this. Perhaps the key message of the book is that euthanasia, for all of its intrinsic evil, is also a battle in a bigger war. In many ways, the book is about the war and not just the battle. Some readers may have wished for more detail on the euthanasia battle itself, but the other battles in the war are also critical, and each sheds light on the development of the euthanasia engagements. In any case, there is still plenty in the book on euthanasia and euthanasia politics to be going on with.

Two case studies stand out. One is a case study in slippery slopes, regarded by some as one of the less worthy arguments among the rhetorical sciences. When you look at the experience of euthanasia in Belgium over the last two decades, however, as Fleming does, you get a picture of what almost inevitably happens when you open the door to “assisted dying”. We move, as if seamlessly, from “I decide” to “my relatives and the doctor decide” in no time flat. Tragically, we also move towards allowing the young to be assisted to commit suicide. Oh yes, slippery slopes are very real.

Fleming’s second case study is of the South Australian Parliament’s mid-2010s debates on euthanasia. (Since then, that same Parliament has capitulated.) It was here that Andrew Denton’s advocacy came to the fore and proved persuasive to many. As in so many cases where prominent people champion a cause, there is some deeply held personal motivation. Hence the politician parents of gay children who claim to have been mistreated in life end up advocating same-sex marriage. Denton’s father had a sad and painful death. His celebrity son has parlayed this into a cause celebre, and many relevant facts, distinctions and realities get lost on the journey. One such reality is the very decent care that characterises palliative care, dismissed as inadequate by the euthanasia ideologues.

Fleming’s study is of John Paul II’s notion of a culture of death, but with antecedents long and broad explained in detail and with understanding and deftness. In this way, this is a book of back-stories, and it stacks up with other works in this genre. Hence, we see the links to the nihilism of Nietzsche, the religious beliefs—yes, for Fleming, they are religious—of the modern village atheists and secularists (like Richard Dawkins and Brian Morris), the once (and perhaps still) fashionable belief in eugenics, the connections to “scientific” racism, the rise of secularism as a new religion, the affliction of scientism that has allowed so many truths to be crushed and non-truths to be erected in their place, the bastardisation of democratic process through judicial activism, and the re-emergence of the insidious god of neo-Malthusianism and population control in the guise of sustainability and green politics.

What some readers may see as lengthy detours turn out to be necessary (and informative) stopping points on the way to a full explanation of something that many of us have, until recently, seen as grotesque. “How we got here” might also have been an apt subtitle for the book.

Fleming’s detailed and fascinating history of eugenics is especially revealing, and worth the price of the book on its own. What is striking is the astonishing continuity of eugenics thinking, its pernicious reach and its current incarnation. This is truly arresting material, and it shows, as Fleming does elsewhere in the book (including in the Denton chapter) the power of euphemism, also known as lying about realities and intentions. A number of the other excursions in the book are just as rewarding. As the American historian William Tighe notes in his foreword to the book:

Only by linking together these themes can it be discerned that the strife over euthanasia is not the result of a spontaneous upwelling of a desire, whether well-founded or ill-informed, to alleviate suffering, but of a calculated attempt to overthrow the ethical religious foundations on which Western civilisation was built … and to substitute for them a modern humanist … utilitarian one …

No, none of us have noticed people taking to the streets to demand mercy killing for the sick and the old. Euthanasia is merely another manifestation of the evil that men do, in the name of an ideology that doesn’t look much like anything that we have had to endure before our own lifetimes.

Fleming’s analysis explains both where the evil ideas that underpin euthanasia have come from, and why so many people believe in them. This all amounts to what the Australian Christian Lobby has termed a “paradigm shift”. This has all happened on our culpable watch. In Fleming’s term, borrowing from Lenin, we have been useful idiots.

Will the book have an impact? Or will Fleming’s efforts fall upon deaf ears? He notes:

Expertly manipulated by those who have embraced secularism as their default “religion or belief”, the wider society sleepwalks to the precipice of a new and malignant cultural imperialism which, when fully achieved, may awaken them from their slumber but too late to do much about it.

Winning the arguments and showing up the blunders and lies of one’s opponents counts for a lot, even when one is facing a low-information electorate seemingly swayed by those who appeal to easy memes, superficial rhetoric and lowest-common-denominator notions such as “love” (in the same-sex-marriage debates), “choice” (in the abortion wars) and “dignity” (in relation to euthanasia).

This powerful book holds the purveyors of half-truths, loaded and misleading messaging and facile arguments to account. It takes a baseball bat to the lies told and the evil ideas behind them. Fleming wins the arguments by a handy distance. And they are arguments that are not just an Australian problem. As the Belgian case demonstrates and as much of Fleming’s material reveals, the threats to all Western nations from the euthanasia push and from its de-Christianising, secularist backing agenda are real and growing. This makes the book essential reading for a broad, international audience.

A book of this weight on a topic of both urgent and far longer-term importance is, alas, unlikely to be used as a resource by morally befuddled politicians who prefer their briefings to be in dot points and take their soundings from the latest gust of popular wind. Whatever else the pro-euthanasia crowd have by way of argument and moral heft, they certainly have political momentum, in a nation where each state simply seems now to follow the others on just about every conceivable area of policy.

Is the book too late, then? Those who battle the odds in relation to life issues see their work as a lifelong endeavour. They have to. The war simply never ends. Witness the abortion wars in the United States. There are so many fronts on which to fight this war—legislative, judicial, in Washington, in the fifty states, in the universities, on the streets, in the bookshops. There is never final victory, only ever setbacks or progress. So, no, it is never too late to state and to restate the truth on matters this important. While there is always the risk—perhaps even the inevitability—of euthanasia legislation, once introduced, only ever being made worse, there is also the opportunity to push back hard even after the initial legislation is passed.

This book deserves a massive readership. Opponents of John Fleming or of the philosophy of life that he espouses will make it their business to ensure that it fails. Don’t let the purveyors of what Fleming tellingly terms “inhuman utopianism” win.

To Kill or Not to Kill: Euthanasia in a Society with a Cultural Death Wish
by John Fleming

Austin Macauley, 2021, 560 pages, about $45

Paul Collits is a freelance writer and former academic who lives in rural New South Wales.

 

23 comments
  • Daffy

    With governments around Australia, including that under the watch of a, to all appearance, Christian Prime Minister showing deep contempt for the individual as a locus of decision about their own health choices, one wonders at the angle of the slippery slope.

    We are in a period it would seem where an existential hedonism dominates (sorry to mix two philosophical branches). Life at whatever cost has seized the popular imagination, it seems. Or perhaps just the imagination of the chattering classes, the well to do and the media. Governments and their officials play to this choir and parade a dreadful indifference to broad public health (including, one hopes, the right to not be driven to mental illness by government), a critical reading of statistics, an even vague scepticism of ‘models’ and their limitations and a flexible and generous approach to therapeutic alternatives.

    Life at whatever cost for ‘me’, and to hell in a handbag for the less well off, the young, those who rely on the company of others to preserve their equanimity

    With this characterizing our national ethos (a sort of crippled hedonism), I can see the slippery slope being paved with greased clay. Especially so that the organised churches have held the torches for the governments’ song book.

  • gary@erko

    Abortion and euthanasia are founded on the belief that the very essence of life can be subject to temporal government decree and popular vote. The legitimacy of the concept of “a planned family”, equally with abortion, is founded on the paradigm that permission must be granted by someone before a person is allowed to come into existance or not. Euthanasia is like stopping a Bach fugue partway through the coda. It spoils the form of the whole piece. Whatever happened to the honour and dignity of dying with your boots on, bravely facing death in whatever guise it arrives.

    Arguing from the viewpoint of religious sanctity of life gets laughed at by too many. Arguments in the public arena for life being in essence beyond the ownership of an individual, a community, or the vaguaries of legislation and politics, requires borrowings from other traditions and analogies.

    l’chaim

  • ryan.inc

    The greatest strength and the greatest weakness all Christian Churches (if even in name only these days) is their education systems. But the leadership of those Churches have en masse surrendered their systems to secularist, post-Modernist, neo-Marxists (‘woke’ is so much easier to use!) educationalists and bureaucrats. These cultural turncoats turn out either more fellow travelers or the multitude of the uninterested. The resources for a fighback are there in a sense, but there is neither the wit nor the will. I am somewhat pessimistic in that things will have to get a lot worse before cause and effect stings the great unwashed into action; but as has been questioned above, will it be too late? I don’t know but the cost will be high either way.

  • maxpart27

    Obviously none of you have witnessed a beloved aunt lying on the floor of an aged care residence, unable to feed herself, or dress herself, or speak; less intelligence than an earthworm. A woman who was invariably impeccably dressed in her previous life. Her response to society thinking she should be treated this way would have been one of absolute horror. Keep your beliefs to yourself and do not inflict them on fellow man; or woman.

  • pgang

    maxpart27, keep your own beliefs to yourself why don’t you.
    It seems to me that culture of legalised murder sits comfortably alongside socialism’s underlying philosophy of death. With socialism now the dominant Western political mindset, policies of death are inevitable.

  • STD

    That’s the problem with socialists and Marxists their very good at telling and denying other people the right too their freedom of speech- hypocrites.

  • Stephen Due

    There is a dreadful irony today in the fate of many of those dying in hospitals during the ‘pandemic’. Throughout the West these institutions, which were originally Christian charitable enterprises dedicated to loving care and healing of the sick, have progressively been turned into factories that offer chemical and mechanical fixes to citizens with malfunctioning body parts. Thousands of elderly patients, trapped in hospitals, have died alone, deprived of the loving attention and comfort of family members. They have died hooked up to machines, in nightmarish isolation, their only human contact robot-like attendants in ‘hazmat’ suits. ‘Hazmat’ stands for hazardous materials. That was the best our society, supposedly committed to providing a ‘good death’ for all, had to offer. What it illustrates is the moral failure of a culture committed to a deceptive sentimentalism in place of principled ethics,
    Nowhere is this moral failure more evident than in medicine and health care. The task of the doctor in a Christian culture is healing – a concept that is no longer understood in its full sense, because the biblical context is absent. In today’s culture, dominated by atheistic materialism, hospitals and GP clinics are in danger of becoming little more than shop-fronts for the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.
    I wish doctors would stand up against Big Pharma and the government regulators who are taking control of the doctor-patient relationship. The recent intervention of the TGA in the treatment of Covid patients is just one example. My hope is that doctors will act to restore and protect their professional autonomy. As a society we need doctors committed to principled, independent medical practice. It’s time to revisit the Hippocratic Oath.

  • ChrisPer

    Go for the throat, maxpart27!
    I am curious; do you feel the slightest sense of moral satisfaction when you speak of your aunt’s death? Does her death serve to help you be a better person than your neighbour?
    The pro-euthanasia position is based on a very abstract moral position. However it provides very concrete moral status benefits in the self-image of its advocates.
    The death of a person breaks the accommodations by which families live together and neighbours refrain from exploiting each other. When you are widowed you discover who will try to buy your property for cheap, who will try for the grandmothers jewellery just because its valuable, and who will try for an easy screw.
    The euthanasia question adds the opportunity to proactively create those situations for gain – and that gains may just be the activists smug self-righteousnes that makes them feel SO superior to their neighbours.

  • Bernie Masters

    If you hold right wing or conservative views, then you are highly likely to understand and support the concept of ‘property rights’ or ‘private property rights’. Yet our lives which are being lived within our individual bodies are the most important property rights that any individual can own or lay claim to. On this basis, assisted suicide is the ultimate reflection of one’s control over and respect for the private property right that is our own individual lives.

  • andrew2

    Thank you Paul for pointing out this book. The chapter titles make it look like a thorough overview of many of the issues facing us today.

    I’m particularly interesting in reading the chapters on the Eugenics movement. While we can point to Marxists being the champions on these issues, it is much more likely that it is the Oligarchs that keep these issues being pushed through Parliament until they succeed. I assume this because to the Oligarchs, humans remain merely sources of labour, and humans that do not prove to be good sources of labour are an inefficient surplus.

    I also find his Chapter heading of “Remake the Culture” very interesting. The only solution I have come up with is a strategic retreat. The Book of Revelation might call it a call from God to his people to come out of Babylon. It involves a serious revisit of how Jesus interacted with the World. How he worked but was never employed. How he was given money but was never paid for services. How he dwelt in houses but never owned one. This issue of existing around Babylon but not in Babylon within the Catholic Church may involve priests stepping away from being a “witness at law” to marriage and sticking solely to Holy Matrimony. It might consist of Catholics being married in the eyes of God but not in the eyes of the law. It might consist of refusing to perform a burial rites for the euthanaised. It might consist of parents facilitating moral relationships for their children by creating opportunities for them to meet potential wives and husbands (where did the Church Hall dances go?).

    There is a lot more that needs to be done than fight the language battle.

  • davyddwilliams

    Once abortion became culturally accepted, it was inevitable that the putting down of the aged would soon follow. The rationalisation is the same in both instances; “After all, they’re mot really human are they?”
    It is also the inevitable consequence of the loss of faith. The Church, meant to be a light to the world has, in this post modern era, become a mirror of the world. Faith has been reduced to a sort of vague philosophical world view, whose adherents profess a belief while not intending to obey.
    On the other hand, one can understand a godless world’s obsession with legalising the killing of the aged; it’s good economics. Providing for “care” of the aged is a huge cost to the taxpayer and does not have the same priority for funding as more deserving projects such as injecting rooms for heroin addicts, funding sex change operations for those suffering from gender dysphoria, or spending $80 billion on obsolete submarines in an attempt to hold on to a seat in Parliament!

  • davyddwilliams

    Erratum : Line 2 For “mot” read “not”.

  • Katzenjammer

    Bernie Masters, that’s an argument in favour of suicide by a person’s own hand. The purpose of euthanasia legislation is so medical specialists or close family won’t be charged with murder or manslaughter for killing someone.

  • lhackett01

    Paul, you and others have the right to hold and express opinions. However, like maxpart27, I have witnessed a situation where euthanasia would have alleviated much suffering; mental suffering.

    My father was dying of congestive heart failure. His poor body was leaking fluid from every pore. He was 102 years of age. He had been physically active until hospitalised, walking about four kilometres every day for exercise. He remained mentally alert until his death.

    He knew he was dying and was not in physical pain because of the morphine that being administered. However, he objected to the prolonging of his life in hospital and pleaded with his doctors and nurses to end his mental anguish. He said every day that he did not want to wake the next morning. He pleaded with his family to lobby for his death. When members of his family realized that Dad’s wishes and suffering were more important than their own ideological beliefs, they did so. They spoke to the doctor on duty at the time. The doctor said it was a doctor’s oath to do no harm. We pointed out that prolonging Dad’s life was doing him harm; immense mental harm.

    That night, Dad’s morphine drip was increased and Dad died peacefully in his sleep.

    I believe all people should have the right to select death over suffering when there is no hope or possibility of cure.

  • elandeco24

    I had a feeling the word “straw” appearing at the start of this article may be a catalyst for me. I subscribed to Quadrant because I thought I’d found a counterbalance to the annoying drivel one reads from the “woke” / “left” etc. (you all know what I mean). But the spiteful, belligerent nature of this piece and many of the comments leads me to ask – is this the last straw? Should I not renew my subscription? The bias, ignorance, hyperbole and intolerance on display here suggests to me that Quadrant may, as I’m beginning to suspect, simply be a propaganda vehicle for the Church and stubborn, small-minded reactionaries and not, as I’d hoped, a voice of reason, balance and those uncommon commodities: intelligence, common sense and good manners. I hope the majority of readers find this article and most of the comments to be exaggerated and unhelpful (if not bloody annoying). No need to say anything about the substantive issue. Many of us who have experienced the impending death of a loved one will be all too aware of just how difficult and important the issues really are.

  • elandeco24

    (Yes, yes … “straw” is in the article summary…)

  • STD

    @Bernie Masters, so by your reckoning Bernie ,euthanasia on demand.
    When your gillick competent son or grandson has his heart broken by his first girlfriend and decides at that point, that life as he knew it is not worth living ,he should have the full autonomy of your individual property rights.
    And I might add, just like the trans gender way of thinking, the state will prevent and make it illegal for the intervention ( your wise counsel)in cases of self harm. Presumably because you would be trespassing on those rights.
    Ok, I’ll go with that ,if it’s alright with you? Next.

  • STD

    @Katzenjammer, agreed, the reason for the legislation is that some members of the medical profession were / are practising in breach of the law. I can remember one particular lady who was bumped off in one hit. A colleague in passing made the comment that Mrs so and so is going tonight- I was shocked at the realisation of what I heard. This was in January (a few years back)The reason, the husband wanted to go overseas in April- the more I see of human nature the more I like animals.

  • STD

    @elandeco24. Quadrant is an opinion piece for both the tolerable and intolerable

  • STD

    @ maxpart27, my instinct would have been to help this lady , by doing those things for her. In my opinion euthanasia is ethically lazy.

  • Katzenjammer

    lhackett01, that’s not an unknown practice. It didn’t require legislation in your case, did it.

  • padraic

    Thank you Paul for a timely article about a book that I will buy and your comments with which I agree. To think that such a serious issue could be decided by weak-kneed politicians looking into the activists’ headlights and caving in to them beggars belief and as you rightly point out is a sign of the decline of Western Civilization. What has been destroyed is the relationship between the doctor and the patient based on the “Do no harm” ethical and secular underpinning of the profession for millenia. Doctors can ease the pain of death as some comments have indicated but not cause it. That used to be called murder and if a person took their own life it was self killing. It’s all very well for MPs in their legalistic debating chamber away from the health professional coalface to tell doctors and other health professionals what to do. The once excellent relationship between Medicine and Law has broken down. You see that nightly on TV ads where a Law firm solicits examples of medical misadventure so they can sue someone. You never see a similar ad wanting to sue another Law firm for legal misadventure. The democratic systems. based on legislation, that have been in place for centuries to register health professionals and control their ethical behaviour have also been captured by Human Rights Commissions, Such extra Parliamentary and unelected semi-judicial bodies are an increasing threat to democracy by making MPs answerable to them rather than the voting public. I also deplore the rationale for assisted suicide which seems to be the personal feelings of the children of older parents and relatives. It’s all about them. The old people rarely get a look in with their feelings. We live in a society where “feelings” are used to control people. You see it on the ABC and elsewhere where on the nightly News we are warned to avert our gaze or ring this number if what we are about to see causes us “mental health” symptoms, yet later on you can view a movie or a talk show that contains violence etc beyond belief. We are becoming a nation of delicate wimps, so the idea to facing up to the reality of natural death is beyond them. Of course, the other reasons, alluded to in the article and some comments, like saving money to fund aged care facilities, aged-care facilities gouging tenants, saving the planet, animus towards old people, wanting the inheritance quicker, etc are never mentioned, as they hide behind the skirts of “compassion”.

  • Bwana Neusi

    The most powerful word in this debate is the word “In” as a prefix to voluntary. The experience shown in the “European” experiment should be a warning to us all.
    The slippery slope invites subtle changes to legislation like the banking “Bail out to Bale in” It isn’t too far a stretch of the imagination to incorporate “Mental capacity” which can be manipulated on a sliding scale to take away the individuals choice.
    Compassion and dignity aside, we see the UN Agenda thirty espouse a sustainable global population of one billion. Couple that with two realities, we are living longer and the cost to society continues to grow exponentially as a smaller and smaller workforce supports a larger and larger retiree cohort.
    To paraphrase, First they came for the Superannuants’, pension because they could pay for themselves. then they looked for the next level of low hanging fruit, until their decision to implement a “Use by date” could be couched in politically appropriate double speak.
    As Paul Collitis so aptly put it “Love is Love” after all.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.