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Flogging the Euthanasia Dead Horse Again

September 19, 2010

Flogging the Euthanasia Dead Horse Again


Every so often we get an amoral minority espousing their personal amoral minority views as if they are sacrosanct. Meanwhile the people from mainstream society are scratching their heads wondering why there is suddenly social crisis at all. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cyclic argument for legalizing euthanasia. People have a right to espouse what they believe but there does come a point when some people expose their own autocratic attitudes. This is a far cry from a popular ground swell that some may claim to hold.


Yet once more that dead horse of euthanasia is dragged out of the depths and dusted off for new emotionally driven sales pitch. “Emotional” being the operative word because there does not seem to be much in the way of rational though and long term thinking in the way that it sold. Instead looking two moves ahead to where a push for euthanasia will take, or even looking to the past to see where has led us before, we are given soap opera version of its benefits. Recent advocates like Exit Australia
(now calling itself Exit International) are quick to claim that this time it will be different because it Voluntary Euthanasia and thereby choice driven and progressive. We are told that we have the shining example of Holland’s euthanasia program as a proven test model. What is missing from their talking points and PR is any admission that the program in Holland has now descended into Involuntary Euthanasia. They also wish to distance themselves from any association with the Nazi euthanasia program.


In recent times two incidents have entered the media in an attempt to reignite the debate over the issue. The most recent was on September 19th 2010 when Sydney Morning Herald published an article by Paul Daley called Society’s greatest taboo demands real debate. In this piece he claims that since the death of his parents he has changed his mind about euthanasia from being narrowly against to being in favour. We do not have to read very far before we work out that his epiphany is based upon an emotional journey rather than any new rational argument. We are also left with the strange story that his own mother willed herself to die and to stretch rationality further he then claims that is essentially Voluntary Euthanasia. “…Those who knew mum well believe that not only did she lose the will to live – she actively willed herself to die.”


Yet if bazaar logic has infected Paul Daley’s article then Exit International (Australia) is suffering from a chronic infestation of bazaar logic. The second most recent media sensation was meant to be the television advertising campaign by Exit International where we would be watching an emaciated actor pleading for the laws on euthanasia to be changed because of that magical word “Choice“. “…I’ve made my final choice,” says the actor/patient, “I just need the government to listen.” Rather than becoming a story of success for Exit International (Australia) the ad has been banned from television on the grounds that it could encourage suicide. Exit alleges that the Ad was approved by Commercials Advice CAD at pre-production and post-production stages for airing on TV. However CAD has decided that the ad breaches s2.17.5 of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice ‘Suicide: Realistic depiction of methods of suicide, or promotion or encouragement of suicide’. Exit was at pains to obscure any connection between suicide and Voluntary Euthanasia calling it a left of field argument. Yet on the very same web page we have advertisements for,
“Exit’s Safe Suicide Workshop tour this October – November.” Vancouver – Thurs 7 October, Toronto – Wed 13 October New York, NY – Wed 20 October, Orlando, FL – Sat 23 October, San Francisco – Fri 5 November.

Perhaps they should have covered their tracks better before they gave a knee jerk reaction to having their propaganda canned by CAD.


The whole debate seems to have a sense of de ja vu about it where emotion is being used as the weapon of choice by the pro Euthanasia camp. Several years ago a French woman called Chantal Sebire became an international story when her disfigured face was splashed around the world along with her plea to be euthanized. What was rarely reported was the fact Chantal had refused treatment for her facial tumours and even more remarkably was not suffering from a terminal illness. In the background was an army of pro euthanasia activists who organizing media releases and interviews. If any says that this indicates a conspiracy to exploit Chantal for the sake of a partisan then I am inclined to agree. She was later found dead with traces of commonly used euthanasia drugs found in her blood. The drugs were not available in French pharmacies so someone had to supply her with them.


This small deviation may seem odd but not when you consider that often when an activist organization is trying to pull upon heartstrings they only doing so in order to bypass rational thinking.

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