Thursday, September 8, 2022

Euthanasia is not a hypothetical "Slippery Slope", but a Clear and Present Danger

Gordon Friesen reponds to an article by Dr Douglas Heinrichs titled: The Case for Medical Aid in Dying (Part 3). Friesen is a disabled man who has closely followed the euthanasia debate and is now President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

By Gordon Friesen

From the very beginning of the assisted suicide debate, the elephant in the room has always been the so-called "disability community", because this very diverse group contains large numbers of people who would logically be eligible for MAID; many of whom have followed the question closely; who understand first-hand the reality of medical suffering; and who are, in an overwhelming majority, opposed to the legalization of assisted death.

Quite simply: No one has been able to explain why a special exception to the protections of the criminal code should be made for people who want no such thing.

I use the word "protections" because that is what the homicide prohibitions really are (or rather were): no person might be killed or assisted to kill themselves by another, and no person might suffer from another's suicidal suggestion.

Removing those protections from any specific group, is like removing the life-preserver from selected boating enthusiasts. Their lives become more dangerous.

Now it is possible that a special and dangerous accommodation be made for people who understand the risk and claim it as a lucid privilege. However, in the present case, this also involves imposing that same risk, upon a much larger number of people against their will.

Clearly, this is an important contradiction that should be taken seriously. But nothing of the sort has been done.

To blithely claim that there can be effective safeguards is simply ridiculous. The life-preserver IS the boater's "safeguard". And that is what has been removed.

It is at once interesting and distressing to see how numerous persons have attempted to rationalize these facts in order to support their own fixed prejudice in favour of assisted death.

In order to avoid charges of Straw Man arguments, I will take as an example the specific words of Douglas W. Heinrichs, an American psychiatrist who wrote the article: The Case for Medical Aid in Dying (Part 3). that was published by the Psychiatric Times on September 6, 2022.

Tellingly, in his series of three articles, the disabled arguments were reserved for the "Slippery Slope" section, which is to say: fears of hypothetical difficulties which may or may not arise in the future.

Heinrichs is therefore implicitly stating that the disabled person does not experience direct harm from legalization; that their misgivings are currently imaginary. Heinrichs wrote:

"Spokespersons for the disability community have raised concerns that if MAID were extended to individuals based on pain, suffering, or dignity-depriving dysfunction, it could lead to a judgment that individuals with disabilities have lives not worth living and result in pressure for those individuals to request MAID."
On the contrary! Legalization of MAID does not "lead to" anything. The offer of assisted death to people living with severe medical conditions is a RESULT of a preexisting judgment ("that such individuals have lives not worth living"). For if the political majority did not think such lives were worthless, the option of assisted death would never have been created for them in the first place.

What MAID really does is create a conduit for the actualization of that prejudice. The harms, therefore, are not hypothetical, but real and immediate.

As for "pressure to request MAID", Heinrichs on several occasions uses phrases like "undue influence" and "excessive external pressure" to which the potential MAiD client should not be subject. But why the adjectives? Is there a pressure to die that is NOT excessive?

Clearly, for Dr. Heinrichs, there must exist a category of "reasonable" suicidal suggestion.

And that of course, is the whole point: from the moment that assisted death is legalized, one specific group of people is exposed to the dangers of suicidal suggestion. And that group is targeted, not because they want to be, but because a widely held atavistic prejudice declares that they SHOULD be.

Gordon Friesen, Montreal (français) (english site in development) (personal philosophical musings) 


Paul Gosselin said...

Your last paragraph highlights the issue that among the postmodern elites presently in power, particularly with the Davos pawns, there is an entrenched view that there are "too many people on Earth". They REALLY do believe this. The political and legal initiative to open the doors to MAiD in Canada is just one manifestation of this view. Remember that the baby steps to the Nazi Final Solution was the T4 program which targeted EXACTLY the same types of individuals as MAiD programs in the West.

So in Canada and elsewhere clearly we have elites in power who think along the same lines as the Nazis did. What will they do with that power?

Anonymous said...

HI Paul,

Not wishing to stray too far from our topic, but it is my belief that the "too many humans" crowd is fundamentally anti-life. They love to expand on extinct dinosaurs and take pleasure in advance at the thought of our meeting a similar fate.

Am I over-simplifying?

On one side we have pro-life and on the other we have pro-choice. But pro-choice of what? That would be death wouldn't it? Individual and collective?

Just a thought,


Claudio ponte said...

People need care and respect; love and affection are welcome and help immensely, but they cannot be demanded because they must be given free of charge. Mr. Trudeau and his peers do not have any of the above-mentioned virtues and gifts; they consider disabled people disposable and try to make them believe that they are, when it gives them the "right" to commit suicide. Death is not "right". It is the inevitable consequence of a life lived as long as God wills it here. The mystery of pain and suffering cannot be understood by reason, but only by faith, whose power allows us to anticipate the contemplation of the face of Christ. Those who don't know, think like Mr. Trudeau and his peers: life is worthless - that of the disabled shouldn't even exist.

Anonymous said...

HI Claudio,

Faith indeed.

Once the bloom is off unthinking youth, it is simply impossible to rise above the contradictions of life, other than by faith.

It also just happens to be our natural instinct, literally bred in the bone.

So guess what: I trust those intuitions immeasurably more than I trust the smug nihilists who would ask that I ignore them.

****you also wrote this:

"People need care and respect; love and affection are welcome and help immensely, but they cannot be demanded because they must be given free of charge"

What you say there is absolutely true. There is no social plan or coercive force that can make us "do the right thing". It is for us to choose.

Best Regards,