Quotulatiousness

January 10, 2017

“The very concept of a moral absolute […] is alien to them”

Filed under: Cancon, Health, Law, Politics, Religion — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

David Warren calls for moral and ethical resistance against “assisted dying” being accepted in society:

Through the casual review of polls, over the years, I have become aware that the general public can itself be moved from approximately 80/20 to approximately 20/80 (four fingers and a thumb to four thumbs and a finger) by any specious argument, if it is repeated constantly, and the Left are able to impose a fait accompli through the courts. Among intellectuals, the swings may be wider and quicker. They are not pendular, however, for once various civilized taboo lines have been crossed, there is no inevitable return, and the only way back is through a field of carnage.

Today, unlike “yesterday” (i.e. a few short years ago) there is 80 percent support for what goes in Canada under the euphemism “assisted dying,” and everywhere under the older euphemism, “euthanasia.” As loyal Christians (or Jews, and many others) we must never surrender to public opinion of this kind. Yet we must recognize that it is pointless to argue with the great mass who, in Canada as in places like Nazi Germany, can so easily be persuaded that down is up, and that words now have new meanings. They simply haven’t the equipment to follow a thread longer than the short slogans in which progressives specialize. Not if their moral schooling was defective, leaving consciences deformed.

People can be “educated” or “catechized” or awakened only one by one, and with their own participation. There is always hope, for as Thomas Sowell says, though everyone is born ignorant, not everyone is born stupid. But in practice, they are retrieved from catastrophic error, only by catastrophe.

At this point in our societal degeneration, “the people” are obedient to what beloved Benedict XVI called the “dictatorship of relativism.” This is understandable because few were raised in anything else. The very concept of a moral absolute (e.g. “thou shalt do no murder”) is alien to them. At the gut level, they may still individually recoil against an evil, but only if they have watched, and found the spectacle “icky.”

April 8, 2014

Choosing when to die

Filed under: Europe, Health, Liberty — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:52

Colby Cosh discusses the latest Swiss innovation to come to the tabloid newspapers’ attention:

Five or six times I must have read the story about the relatively healthy little old English lady who killed herself rather than struggle on through the “digital age”, and I still cannot quite think what to make of it. Surely there is something noble about leaving life on what are as nearly as possible one’s own terms, with some strength left, after a full, long, largely happy existence.

Unlike a lot of self-described “environmentalists”, she clearly believed the Malthusian script and took the recommended action: “The environmentalist was also worried about the damage being wrought on the planet by overcrowding and pollution.” If she was that worried about poor old Mother Earth, one might wonder why she took so long to take her leave of it.

I suppose Dignitas does its best to make sure oldies aren’t being urged to suicide by impatient heirs, but surely there is only so much the staff can do, and it is in their interest to do as little as possible. It is certainly easy to imagine ethically dubious ways of encouraging the irritability of a cranky, inconvenient old person. Oo, hardly worth the trouble of gettin’ out of bed in the morning, is it, gran? Oh, dear, are your lungs givin’ you a hard time again? Tsk, must make you want to chuck it all in sometimes. If you are a person of British descent, you take in a certain amount of this glum, boggy attitude with every meal anyway. It comes naturally.

And there is my only real concern about institutionalizing the right to die … that it will encourage a certain haste: not among the elderly or afflicted, but among their caregivers, descendents, and prospective legatees. I think you should have the right to decide when to die, but it is a situation that offers the unscrupulous and unprincipled a quicker route to impose their desires on others.

But who is ready to have the government issue packets of Nembutal every five years with Canada Pension Plan cheques? Whatever solution we decide on for the convenience of the legitimately ailing or hopeless, I want the doctors — who, after all, belong to a profession that cannot seem to stop prescribing useless antibiotics for upper respiratory infections — to have as little to do with it as possible. Physicians are not saints, and they will follow the “easier for me” heuristic, like other primates, if non-negotiable aspects of their duty are thrown open to fiddling. “Do no harm” has been at the top of the list for 2,400 years, and, please, keep in mind, it took them 2,200 of those to give up therapeutic bloodletting.

Exactly.

January 21, 2014

Euthanasia on TV and in real life

Filed under: Health, Liberty, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:10

It’s been many years since I watched an episode of Coronation Street, so I was a bit surprised to find that the show’s writers are “political”, at least on some issues:

Many a soap-opera storyline has created a news story in itself. So it was in the case of Hayley Cropper, a character on a British soap, Coronation Street. News of what happens to Hayley, in an episode to be shown tonight, created a furore when the press release for the story went out last Tuesday. The dilemma for the writers was how to kill off a character who had been a mainstay of the programme since 1998, when she was introduced as the first transsexual character. The answer, provided by producer Stuart Blackburn, was to have the character dying of pancreatic cancer, but finishing herself off with a cocktail of drugs in an on-screen suicide.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, the actor who plays Hayley, called for a discussion on legalising assisted suicide. She was backed by Sara Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, who praised the show’s ‘sensible and sensitive handling of assisted dying’. Lord Falconer, whose Assisted Dying Bill will be introduced in the House of Lords in the coming months, penned an article in the Sun. The Sun’s editorial called for a change in the law and the newspaper published the results of a poll indicating that 69 per cent of Britons support the legalisation of assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

[…]

It is difficult not to suspect – despite the even-handedness of the treatment of the issue (the character’s on-screen husband, Roy Cropper, opposes Hayley’s decision) – that the programme is part of the well-funded campaign to legalise assisted suicide. Stuart Blackburn had previously explored the same issue while at a rival soap, Emmerdale. (He perhaps risks becoming the Jack Kevorkian of the soap world.) Hesmondhalgh was forthright about her support for a change in the law in several interviews, and many journalists seem poised to call again for the legalisation of assisted suicide.

But it is entirely appropriate that a fictional plotline is used to promote legalising assisted suicide. The reason that so many people wish to have the ‘right to die’ is based on the morbid imagination of the ‘worried well’, traded on so effectively by right-to-die campaigners. ‘What if it happened to YOU…?’ is the plotline of Dignity in Dying and other organisations that campaign for legalised assisted suicide.

There are arguments on both sides of this issue (personally, I’m in favour of making it legal), but there are concerns that less-than-scrupulous family members might attempt to “hurry” an elderly or infirm parent or relative to a decision that wouldn’t really be voluntary.

It’s also an issue that came up this weekend, as one of my online acquaintances (we’d never met in person, but we both belonged to a special interest mailing list and had had several email discussions) committed suicide with his wife last week. Maarten and Irma apparently faced an unpleasant future in their declining years and mutually decided that their time had come. While euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, it does not seem that Maarten and Irma followed the letter of the law in their case:

Euthanasia in the Netherlands is regulated by the “Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act” from 2002. It states that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with criteria of due care. These criteria concern the patient’s request, the patient’s suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the presence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life. To demonstrate their compliance, the Act requires physicians to report euthanasia to a review committee.

The family is, understandably, not providing a lot of detail but said that they were found in bed, hand in hand and “together, peaceful and loving” but did not specify how they had died.

Becoming dependent on whomever or whatever, or seeing your partner slowly fading away, are situations we do not ever want to contemplate, therefore we have, in good health, clear of mind, together 150 years old, in our own bed, hand in hand, ended our lives.

At risk of sounding trite, I’m saddened that they chose to do this, but I respect their right to make that decision. It cannot have been an easy one. Rest in peace.

June 11, 2011

PTerry plans his own end, in his own time

Filed under: Britain, Liberty, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 12:02

Short of a miracle cure for Alzheimer’s, Terry Pratchett outlines how he plans to commit suicide:

Terry Pratchett, a 62-year-old British writer of comic fantasy novels who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, says he intends to commit suicide, sitting in a lawn chair outside his country home, listening to the classical church music of Thomas Tallis on his iPod, with a glass of brandy in one hand and a potion of life-ending pills in the other.

“Perhaps, a second brandy, if there is time,” the euthanasia and assisted-suicide advocate quips.

“And since this is England, I had better add, ‘If wet, in the library.’ ”

On Monday, Mr. Pratchett will play host to a real-life suicide when BBC2 television airs a controversial documentary in which he helps a 71-year-old man with motor neurone disease kill himself in Switzerland.

February 23, 2010

BBC accused of bias in euthanasia debate

Filed under: Britain, Health, Liberty, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 13:00

The BBC’s decision to broadcast Terry Pratchett’s speech on euthanasia tribunals is cited as evidence that the corporation is acting as an advocate on this highly emotional issue:

The Care Not Killing Alliance accused the BBC of flouting impartiality rules and adopting a “campaigning stance” in an attempt to step up pressure on the Government to legalise assisted suicide.

The decision to broadcast Sir Terry Pratchett’s speech advocating “euthanasia tribunals” in full earlier this month was an example of unbalanced reporting, the alliance claimed.

Lord Carlile, chairman of the alliance and the Government’s independent reviewer of terror legislation, has demanded a meeting with BBC bosses to seek answers over the “biased” coverage.

In a letter to Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC trust, the Liberal Democrat peer also raised questions over the corporation’s failure to inform police that a veteran presenter had confessed to killing his lover on one of its programmes.

H/T to Elizabeth for the link.

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