May 22, 2015
In his book of the same title, the philosopher Soren Kierkegard discussed the despair that lies at the root of much of our society today. He writes of “inauthentic despair”, a despair born out of ignorance of self and of the infinite. I believe this lies at the heart of today’s debate on physician assisted suicide. That and a loss of faith. Faith gives meaning to life.
Pain is a fact of life. We can’t get around it. We are born in pain and at many times in life we live in pain. We endure in the knowledge that it will eventually pass.
The movement for personal autonomy has resulted in greater freedoms while reducing responsibility. Get pregnant? Abort it. Get high? No worries. Marriage isn’t working out too well? Get a divorce. Easy peasey.
But the emotional and physical wreckage engendered by these decisions is substantial, not only for the individual but for society. Responsibility and respect are in short supply. Human dignity is under assault.
George Orwell wrote of despair in his work. So did Aldous Huxley, especially in Brave New World. They foresaw the crushing of the soul and dehumanization of us all. The lies that we tell ourselves and others and that are imposed upon us from above.
Such is S.B. 128. Another lie. The Hemlock Society rebranded itself in the best Madison Avenue fashion with the assistance of George Soros’ money to “Compassion & Choices”. They seek to violate the first principle of the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm.” It is the ultimate in hypocrisy as their base are the same people most adamantly opposed to the death penalty.
We want government to stay out of our lives but now government is intruding into the most difficult and private of decisions. The authors of S.B. 128 want to compel physicians to offer suicide assistance.
How many science fiction movies have Granny being carted off to the recycling center or state imposed termination of life when one’s usefulness is done? These are our worst nightmares. And yet this is what is proposed. It is a slippery slope. What becomes legal becomes socially acceptable becomes moral.
S.B. 128 removes the dignity of the vulnerable at life’s end. Instead of offering our age or experience as example to others, we are to be considered a burden on our families and friends. That is the ultimate indignity.
In this mirror world argument “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength” as Orwell wrote. Don’t believe the hype.
As human beings we are called to compassion. This is the argument that is being used by Soros and his allies. But we are called to dignity, which they have twisted into a meaning far removed from our inherent nobility as autonomous individuals.
This is not about compassion. This is about tearing down the ethical underpinnings that have served the global culture for 3,000 years. This is Marx’s new man. This is Huxley’s dystopia.
And so when the insurance company tells you that they won’t pay for chemotherapy but will pay for a suicide cocktail or when your children decide they want to inherit before all of the money is gone don’t be surprised. It is already happening in places where physician assisted suicide has been legalized. It has been well documented. This is Huxley’s death conditioning.
When interviewing the few survivors of suicide attempts from the Golden Gate Bridge the common theme was regret for the decision to jump. Palliative care is well developed, reasonable, and humane. There simply is no very good reason to check out early. We and our loved ones grow through the lessons at the end of life. These are some of the hardest lessons, but they are central to our humanity.
The philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche have been proven empirically wrong through the destruction of the Axis in World War II and of Communism in the early 1990’s. We are being asked to re-embrace what has been proven wrong instead of acting to become our better selves.