Euthanasia is undignified and wrong


From an anonymous contributor

Euthanasia is wrong. However, many Australians have a mechanistic view of human life, and therefore are in favour of euthanasia. If an old geezer is suffering a lot and would rather speed up his inevitable appointment with the grim reaper, then why not help him along? After all, he’s just gonna die anyway. What reason does he have to hang around?

Our opponents are in favour of euthanasia/physician assisted suicide. They are keen to make it as easy as possible for sick, sad and/or old people to die quicker. (If they want. No pressure, grandma. None at all.)

Meanwhile in the Northern Territory, some are annoyed that NT Government no longer possesses the authority to legalise euthanasia/physician assisted suicide, as it did for a short while back in the 90s. That right was taken away by an Act of Federal Government. The NT Government recently called on the Federal Government to change the law to let them start killing off codgers again. Or anyone over 18 who qualifies, apparently. The Senate declined this time, but euthanasia supporters are not giving up.

One term which gets used a lot is ‘dying with dignity’. On the surface it sounds very reasonable. Who wouldn’t want more dignity?

The phrase ‘dying with dignity’ is alliterative, and therefore catchy. (Kind of like ‘killing off codgers’.) It’s supposed to stay in your memory, even though the meaning of ‘dignity’ is somewhat unclear. We at least know that it’s something to be desired. So the phrase ‘dying with dignity’ is a both a bit unclear but also clever and emotive.

Before I really started looking into this, I didn’t think that image of a senior citizen being hooked up to some machine and being poisoned to death seemed very dignified. It seemed sad, cold, and bureaucratic. It also seemed likely, if euthanasia were to become legal and socially acceptable, that the elderly would feel more pressure to die in order to relieve the burden on their families. How is that dignified?

What is dignity, anyway? My first edition Macquarie Dictionary, from the early 80s back before the Mac Dick lost some of its credibility, gives these definitions: 1. nobility of manner or style; stateliness; gravity. 2. nobleness or elevation of mind; worthiness. 3. honourable place; elevated rank. 4. relative standing; rank.

Enduring suffering despite a terminal illness seems pretty darned dignified to me. You wouldn’t want to do it, but you’ve got to hand it to those that do.

Enduring suffering can be dignified. But can escaping suffering by killing yourself also be dignified? If one thinks, ‘Death is not just going to take me! I shall choose when to die!’ then one might also think that it is dignified to be poisoned on a bed because you don’t want to live anymore.

When it comes to supposedly ‘dignified’ deaths, one which comes to my mind is the death of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI. After defending the last remnant of an erstwhile proud, rich and vast empire during a long siege, Turkish invader Mehmet II finally breached the walls of Constantinople with the largest cannon that had ever been cast. The Turks swarmed in and it was down to street fighting. The emperor supposedly flung off his imperial purple robe, drew his sword, and, now unidentified, charged into the melee never to be seen again.

Istanbul was Constantinople.

It sounds dignified. And maybe that thought cheered Constantine and he hacked into Ottoman janissaries. The end result was still a crumpled, bloodied, unidentified corpse, an imperial purple robe trampled in the dust by invaders, a fallen city, and a lost empire.

Now it’s Istanbul. Not Constantinople.

The big difference between Constantine’s suicidal charge and physician assisted suicide is that an assisted-suicide patient wants to give up, whereas Constantine fought till the end. Imagine the difference if Constantine, seeing the invading army entering his city, had swallowed poison in a cosy room up in his palace, with his purple robe hung neatly in a corner. What would our image be of him them?

Dignity depends on your point of view and the circumstances. A lot of it is superficial, maybe all of it. Take the Queen. She has a lot of dignity, but isn’t she also just a germ-laden bag of meat, blood and guts with a tiara? Isn’t she just some chick with a made-up title putting on airs? What is physician assisted suicide? Is it a noble act, an affront to pain, freely chosen? Or is it an affront to the sanctity and dignity of human life?

It’s too subjective. Therefore, let’s not ask whether euthanasia is dignified. Let’s ask whether it is right.

Soylent Green is a 1973 science fiction film with a famous euthanasia scene. An old man, Sol, decides he does not want to live anymore, so he heads to the local euthanasia centre. The centre is some kind of government service. It looks like Centrelink, though the lighting and palette is cheerier, and the staff is friendlier. No tattooed women in polo shirts here.

This may not be far from what advocates imagine publicly-acceptable euthanasia might look like in real life. If you want to die, you go to a place and fill in a form. No questions asked. No queues even. A nice-looking girl opens the door for you and welcomes you in with a smile. There are friendly, supportive people to help you once you’re inside. Nobody hassles you and there are no pesky Christians with placards outside trying to get you to reconsider your decision (they are probably out of sight, 500 meters away). Everything is made as comfortable as possible for you. Your last wishes are respected. You die with a smile, and all the cleaning up is done by people who are not grieving family members.

Even so, this scene seems chilling. A key moment is the close-up of the hand pressing the button. It bluntly reminds us that this whole ceremony is all just a show. Despite the euthanasia depicted being about as ‘dignified’ as it can seem, it still feels wrong. The superficiality of the ceremony reinforces the feeling of wrongness. The ironic juxtaposition of the joyful, beautiful music with the murder of a human being by bureaucrats is frankly nauseating. Any ‘dignity’ is an illusion.

Ah, but he was gonna die anyway. He was an old man. He was suffering. He freely made his choice. Why you gotta make a big thing about it?

You might remember the comedy team The Chaser. For a while they were The Shit. Then something happened and they were just shit. They made a joke about the Make-a-Wish foundation, who go around offering a little lightness to terminally ill children to ease their burdens. The Chaser thought they would be edgy, so they finished their skit by remarking that the children were “just going to die anyway.”

Government-funded nihilists.

People really hated this skit. Many said it was cruel to make that kind of joke at the expense of terminally ill children. It was, but there’s more to it than that. The Chaser’s joke revealed something that no one usually wants to think or talk about: that we are all ‘just going to die anyway’ and our lives seem pointless.

Whether they admit it or not, many people are terrified of the futility of their lives and the certainty of their deaths. Our opponents are especially fearful, because they are quite often atheists. Beyond this material world there is nothing to sustain an atheist. “Therefore give us a basic wage and arts grants and the dole and a cushy public service job and free health care and unlimited, consequence-free sex, and abortions, and free contraceptives, and drugs, and nice food; let us never feel guilty for any of it, and let us while away our ultimately meaningless days in comfort and pleasure,” they imply. Or more succinctly, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

This is also why atheists often seem angry. Anger is often a mask for fear.

“Guys, how can I put this… Basically, life’s a bitch and then you die.”

Before he became known as Buddha and he was a prince in a luxurious palace spending his days eating and drinking in comfort and pleasure, Siddhartha Gautama saw three things at a crossroads on three separate days. He saw a sick man, then he saw an old man, and then he saw a dead man. He thus realized that one may not escape illness, aging and death. From this realization originated the so-called ‘first noble truth’ of Buddhism: all life is suffering. Sometimes the first noble truth is translated something like, ‘this world is incapable of satisfying us’. The ultimate unsatisfactoriness of this world is a primary reason why there is so much depression and narcotics use in our rich, abundant country.

Jesus Christ’s view is similar. He tells his followers not to try to satisfy themselves with ordinary bread, in other words the impermanent things of this world. After eating it you will always eventually be hungry again. You will never be permanently satisfied. To do that, he said that one ought to feast on the Bread of Life instead.

By killing himself, a man may be able to shorten his suffering. But can he avoid his fear of dying? Can he take away the fear, suffering and bereavement of his loved ones? Besides, if that’s his attitude to hardship, why bother doing anything in life? Isn’t it all just a waste of time at the end of it?

Well, that world view sucks. It’s not right. Maybe you see it differently. I wonder, though. Say euthanasia and physician assisted suicide becomes legal in every state and territory in the country, and after a generation or so people are over their hang ups about it. People think about it the way they think of abortion, now — that it’s just a ‘health’ matter (to quote the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk). Say you get depressed. If you ring up Beyond Blue, are they going to start talking about euthanasia ‘as an option’?

Well, why wouldn’t they?

One thing I have noticed about the euthanasia supporters is that a great deal of them are women who had to look after dying parents. They often have emotional arguments to back up their cases. “My mother was in such pain, it broke my heart to see her suffer! Why couldn’t she just have been freed from that pain?”

It seems as though these women are unhappy not because their elderly parents are in pain, but because the women themselves must endure the burden of their dying parent. That is the argument for abortion, after all — that a woman should not have to carry a child in her womb, as it is too much of a burden. How can we know what is really upsetting these women? Moreover, what man will call out a crying woman on this?

Our opponents don’t want euthanasia because it is good. They want it because they are afraid of suffering, of being burdened, and of death. They will dress it up with words like ‘dignity’, ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’, and they will cry and get angry and say ‘you can’t understand until you’ve experienced it’ until the time comes when our values change, as they have about other things. When euthanasia is made legal, the value of human life will have been cheapened yet again. Is this desirable?

But… so what, one might say. Have a look at some of the comments under that Youtube clip of Soylent Green. There are plenty of people who support euthanasia and find the scene positive or touching, despite the film’s apparently clear stance against it: “We should only HOPE that our own euthanasia would be this pleasant.” “Beautiful. If only euthanasia/suicide was that easy and comfortable in the real world.” “It’s so strange to me how most people find this scenario disturbing. I hope there are places like this when I reach a point in life when I decided to go. It seems very humane to me.”

It is hard to convince people who think that way that euthanasia is wrong. Therefore to finish up, I will ask two simple questions.

1.) Imagine two suffering cancer patients, both stage 4, both in their 20s, both told by their doctors that they have six months to live. The first refuses to give up, fights on, endures his suffering with courage and a smile, and is determined to live the rest of his life as best as he can. The other complains about how hard it is to get Phenobarbital in Australia, goes on TV to talk mournfully about how much he is suffering, tells us repeatedly that we can’t understand what he’s going through, and has Philip Nitschke’s private phone number. Which one would you rather hang out with?

2.) Imagine you’ve been hired by the Government to go to primary schools to explain and justify euthanasia to children who know nothing about it. It’s a fully legal ‘health’ matter, after all. How do you expect the children to respond when you tell them that their grandparents ought to be given poison by the Government if they don’t want to live anymore?

  • Repeal fake marriage

    I have never understood the frenzy to abort or euthanize. It is all just state authorised murder to me.

    • Jamie Blank

      They want to revive Aktion T4. They are, after all, nationalist socialists.

    • Bootstrapper

      The reason is neatly encapsulated in Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; Look at the fate of Old Major. The benefits of the “Socialist Paradise” are only available to those who are fit to work and create value – for society. And if you’re too old (or young, disabled etc.), then you’re a burden … to be gotten rid of.

    • Bucky Redux

      According to WHO, there are 40 to 50 Million abortions every year.
      Probably underestimated.

      Sobering figures.

      • sadsak

        That is in the U.S.A. alone.
        Nations are crying that their populations are ageing and there is no workforce to care for them, hence the mad agenda to import from other cultures to do the slusshy jobs . Yet our goverments pay for the lazy to have abortions because they didn’t use a two bob condom. Stop the world I want to get off.

        • Every City block in this country is crammed full of women in makework jobs delaying having children or deliberately letting themselves go barren because Millionaire Chad hasn’t noticed them yet.

          Anglin might have some outrageously hilarious viewpoints but he is right on the WQ. And men need to stop feeding the beast that is the bottomless pit of female grasping and vanity.

          Chivalry is for the woman who gives you children, no one else.

    • PaulMurrayCbr

      I take the biblical view of abortion: a man’s children are his, and if he decides to kill them or to – for instance – human sacrifice them to Jehovah, he has a right to do that. In all the meticulously detailed laws that God gave to the children of Israel, there’s not a whisper of a suggestion that infanticide is wrong.

      • sadsak

        What utter baldidash. “Thou shall not kill”. “Love your neighbour as yourself” “love oneanother as I have loved you” etc. Etc.

      • Repeal fake marriage

        Evidence please.

      • Perhaps we should allow that as the only lawful method of abortion?

  • clemilf

    It is too complex and nuanced to be managed by gov- like marriage and reproduction

  • thegentlemantroll

    A tough philosophical one. I don’t know where I stand. To put forward the counter-arguments: I believe it is up to the individual to assign meaning to their own life. I couldn’t imagine ever encouraging anyone to kill themselves and I don’t think anyone would. Suicide is a personal choice, and mostly a stupid one if you ask me. But it’s not the same as abortion because the unborn baby has no free-will and ability to protest whatsoever. This is not to say I emphatically rubber-stamp euthanasia, I would be concerned about the possibility of coercion and the slippery slope to publicly-funded suicide-clinics for all.

    • thegentlemantroll

      Thinking this through further, I wouldn’t want it legalised before healthcare goes through major reform. This is the kind of thing that, like Lipo and abortion and cosmetic surgery and std’s and sex changes, the taxpayer shouldn’t foot the bill for.

    • James

      Coercion will definitely happen. No way to avoid it. It’ll become a “recommended treatment”.
      Whatever’s the worst that could happen will be what happens. If homocide becomes state sanctioned homocide will happen frequently. It’ll be done for convenience.
      It happens now by increasing morphine dosage but because it’s still murder it’s only right at the end. Even then it’s very questionable.
      My brother was taken off medication and put on a morphine driver when the crank going under the title of professor said he wouldn’t last the weekend. Monday a nurse arrived and took some tests, swore and called an ambulance to get him to hospital. Bit of medication and they got his system back in balance and his body started processing food properly again. It was 18 months later the cancer finally claimed him. In that time he lived a lot of life and saw another grandchild born. Life definitely worth living. That’s why I’m a bit passionate about the subject of convenience killing they’re calling voluntary euthanasia.

    • Jai_Normosone

      I’m with you on that score. It’s a tough topic to be dedicated to one side of the argument because it is easy to see the realities as well as the advantages of it.
      I can think of cases where it should be available and cases where it should not.
      I put it into the same category of, say, making legal the ability to carry concealable firearms in Australia…. People have the right to defend their own lives and those of their family rather than waiting a couple of days for the Police to turn up and write the report of what was done to you/them – but there is also the reality that some deadshits would not think twice about using said firearm if someone told them to move their heap-of-shit Falcodore out of the disabled parking spot that is less walking distance to the boozer.

  • Addelad

    It’s simplistic, but I oppose anything pushed by the ABC and its ilk. That includes Socialism, Islam, TDS, globalism, aborigines and euthanasia. On that basis alone the concept is one to despise.

  • James

    It’s homocide. Pure and simple. That’s what’s being argued for. Legalised Homocide.
    For a more familiar historical example it’s how the killing started in Germany.
    The slogan then was “Lives not worth living”. Not much different to “Dying with dignity”.
    Aktion T4 was the programs name. Started out with “checks and balances” but the process became a rubber stanp one like they usually do.

    Most of the push for legalised homocide here sounds to be coming from the hard left. It’s consistent with their demented push to invert everything to progress cultural revolution. They want to smash the old way to bring about the “new”. No thought whatsoever about the consequences of trashing the ways that made civilisation civil.

  • thegentlemantroll

    By the way, off-topic but our great conservative saviour is doing the lefts work for them again:

  • Bucky Redux

    I support euthanasia for all of the SBS and ABC staff, with immediate effect.

    • Jai_Normosone

      What about abortion?
      Shouldn’t they all be subject to 120th trimester abortions rather than euthanasia?

  • sadsak

    It is the next step now that abortion is normal. Then it will be the disabled, then mentally unstable,followed by bald people,what about the redheads. Lets homoginize the whole human race. Do not accept diversity make diversity fit y o u r agenda.