Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Terminal Nonjudgmentalism is Epidemic: Time fetes the Death on Demand Fanatic Philip Nitschke

I shouldn't be surprised by anything the MSM does today in boosting social outlaws into cultural icons. For example, when Jack Kevorkian was at the top of his deadly game--even offering extracted kidneys from a disabled assisted suicide victim for transplant in a news conference--Time invited him as an honored guest to its gala 75th anniversary party where Tom Cruise ran up to shake his hand.

Now in "Foolproofing Suicide with Euthanasia Test Kits," Time gives the Down Under "Dr. Death," Philip Nitschke the star treatment. Nitschke has called for the right of troubled teens to get access to suicide pills. He advised an Australian woman named Nancy Crick on how to commit suicide--and in the public advocacy leading up to the deed, told the press she had terminal cancer. After she committed suicide in the presence of assisted suicide advocates--not Nitschke since he didn't want to risk legal consequences--those in attendance applauded when she took her poison. When Crick's autopsy showed that she was not terminal, Nitschke shrugged, said he knew it all along, and supported anybody's right to commit assisted suicide for any reason whatsoever. Nitschke also developed the so-called peaceful pill, a concoction of household goods that can make you dead. He holds how-to-commit suicide seminars all over the world.

That should rate him unequivocal condemnation. But Time swoons at his newest gambit: an assisted suicide test kit to make sure your poison makes you die. From the story:

Now, in an effort to provide certainty to those contemplating suicide, one of the world's leading euthanasia advocates plans to sell barbiturate testing kits to confirm that deadly drug cocktails are, in fact, deadly. "People who are seriously ill don't want to experiment," says Dr. Philip Nitschke, the physician known as 'Dr. Death' for his efforts to legalize euthanasia in his native Australia. "They want to know they have the right concentration of drugs so that if they take them in the suggested way it will provide them with a peaceful death."

The kits, which will debut in Britain in May and retail for $50, include a syringe that allows users to extract half a milliliter of barbiturate solution without breaking the sanitary seal. "Clearly sterility doesn't matter given that death is the desired outcome," Nitschke says. But the solution deteriorates slower in a sterile environment, allowing those with painful conditions to "lock it away in the back of the cupboard in case things gets too bad."
One point of the story is to say that if we legalized assisted suicide, Nitchke's valuable work wouldn't be necessary:
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, believes that Nitschke has gone too far, but says his behavior is a function of a system that fails to address the needs of people living in pain. "The answer is not DIY kits or books, but a fully safeguarded law that protects the vulnerable and gives terminally ill adults the choice of an assisted death. Regrettably, without such a law, activism like this is likely to continue."
Baloney. Assisted suicide is illegal now and all manner of people are being offed at suicide clinics in Switzerland. We in the USA have traveling suicide clinics known as the Final Exit Network, whose fanatic members certainly don't limit their suicide "counseling" to the terminally ill. And if you legalized assisted suicide, say, for the terminally ill, the clinics would still "serve" the despairing disabled and the elderly tired of living. And once the law allowed this cohort to be served, there would still be the mentally ill--who already have a constitutional right in Switzerland to assisted suicide. And also, healthy spouses who want to go with their dying partner.

Oh, Wesley! Now you go too far. No I don't. It is already being planned

The head of a controversial assisted-suicide group in Switzerland says he will seek legal permission to help a Canadian woman and other healthy people like her kill themselves, raising startling new issues in the emotional debate over euthanasia. Betty Coumbias, an elderly Vancouver resident, has indicated she wants to die alongside her husband, George, who suffers from severe heart disease...

Mrs. Coumbias explains in the documentary, The Suicide Tourist, why she would take her own life despite being generally healthy. "From the day we got married, [my husband] was all my life," she tells Mr. Minelli. "I love my two daughters, but I love him more, and I don't think I can face life without him, and since we read about Dignitas, we felt what would be better than to die together, you know, to die in each other's arms?"

We are in a moral free fall into an abyss which has no bottom. And to borrow a famous quote from Chris Matthews about another matter, the MSM is getting a thrill up its collective leg.



At April 14, 2009 , Blogger Don Nelson said...

Thanks for saying we are free falling in the abyss and not just on the slippery slope. There hasn't been any slope to slip on in a long time. I don't think people like the reporters at TIME would be able to find the moral language to condemn this even if they could possibly recognize how wrong it is. I think they lost it a long time ago. To be human and be alive is the most wonderful thing. I would hope that the man in the story would value his wife's life without him enough to tell her not to do it.

At April 14, 2009 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

Don: I think you are onto something. They don't have the language because they have lost the capacity for critical thinking. They have lost the capacity for critical thinking because they bought into post modernism. They bought into post modernism because it allows narratives--meaining just about anythin--to be true. Focusing on mere narratives permits an anything goes society and no moralizing. They don't want moralizing because they believe societal standards about personal conduct is oppression. This results in real oppression of the weak and vulnerable. They are willing to accept oppression of the weak by redefining some of us as being less than human. They do that because they can't imagine why anyone with limited capacities or capabilities would want to live.
They can't imagine why anyone would want to live because, bottom line, they have rejected human exceptionalism. They have rejected human exceptionalism because they have become nihilistic. They have become nihilistic because they think we are only meat. They think we are only meat because they have lost a sense of awe and wonder. They have lost a sense of awe and wonder because it might mean there is something bigger than themselves to which they might owe duties. And the last thing they want is not to be the center of the universe.

It is a moral death spiral.

At April 14, 2009 , Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

Wesley, can you explain the legal status of these testing kits using barbiturates in the UK? Aren't those prescription drugs? How can people get them legally "for $50" to test them as suicide kits? Don't they have to have them prescribed?

At April 14, 2009 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

Lydia: You don't get the drugs for $50. You get a test kit to make sure the drugs you have are potent.

At April 15, 2009 , Blogger College Goyl said...

Knowing that my mother didn't love me enough to stay alive...I'd be in therapy for decades.

At April 15, 2009 , Blogger Rebekah H. said...

Post linked to by: TheResourceProject.ca

"Suttee wishes in Canada, Applauding murder, Kevorkian pirates parts, Don't want to accidentally live, oh boy. (Secondhand Smoke)"


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