Friday, February 19, 2010

Euthanasia Loopiness

But after tracking the increasingly outrageous suggestions from advocates for assisted suicide and euthanasia, I feel that jail is not the place for people like Nitschke. They belong in a straitjacket. It is becoming increasingly clear that euthanasia advocacy is an illness characterised by an unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s actions, an inability to empathise with normal people, and a morbid desire to help others die. Like mad cow disease, it lies dormant for years. Its victims look normal, but eventually the spongy degeneration of the brain becomes evident.

Nitschke is a classical case. An intelligent man with a PhD in physics and a qualified doctor, he entered the public debate by decrying the cruelty of forcing the terminally ill to die in excruciating pain. Autonomous adults should have the right to die at a time and place of their choosing, surrounded by their loved one, he argued. It sounded vaguely plausible to the media and to his doddering but increasingly numerous groupies, it was a new gospel. But bit by bit, it became clear that his goal was death-on-demand, even for troubled teenagers. He seems incapable of grasping that most of us want teenagers to stick around for a few more years rather than kill themselves over a cruel Facebook post.

In England, the latest case of euthanasia madness is a 70-year-old veteran BBC broadcaster and gay rights campaigner, Ray Gosling. He confessed in the middle of a TV show that he had smothered an unnamed gay lover suffering from AIDS some 20 years ago.

“In a hospital one hot afternoon, the doctor said ‘There’s nothing we can do’, and he was in terrible, terrible pain. I said to the doctor ‘Leave me just for a bit’ and he went away. I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead. The doctor came back and I said ‘He’s gone’. Nothing more was ever said.”

Mr Gosling sobbed a bit, but was adamant that killing someone and concealing the murder was the right thing. “If there’s a heaven and he’s looking down, he’d be proud of me,” he told the BBC. He was oblivious to all the safeguards promised by euthanasia advocates. A right to smother someone, anywhere, anytime, without consulting doctors, without notifying the police, without proving your disinterestedness, and without even consulting the victim raises questions in most sane minds about the possibility of widespread collateral damage. Perhaps only BBC journalists would be allowed to do mercy killings, but some sane people might even object to that.

In the Netherlands euthanasia loopiness has become epidemic. It is legal there and every year about 2,500 acknowledged cases of doctor-administered death take place.

But amongst the numerous Dutch victims of spongy-brained euthanasia syndrome some are more affected than others. Recently a distinguished group called “Out of Free Will” has complained that there are too many restrictions on euthanasia in the Netherlands. Even in the mercy-killing heartland, people are required to have some sort of terminal illness. But the new lobby group wants the right for to anyone sane over the age of 70 to die with a professionally-trained expert’s assistance. They have already begun collecting signatures to lobby for improvements to the legislation.

Part of their scheme is a completely new profession: specialist suicide assistants. These people will need to pass a “Completed Life” training program and to join a professional association which will maintain standards of professional, transparent and safe conduct.

Read it all here.

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