Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dr Nitschke and Euthanasia

Australia’s leading euthanasia campaigner, Dr Philip Nitschke was in Lismore last week to give a public talk to about 40 people where he demonstrated the online version of his book The Peaceful Pill eHandbook.

Held at the Lismore Turf Club, Dr Nitschke also known as the worst doctor in Australia because most of his patients die, was able to get a few nervous laughs from his elderly audience as he told anecdotes and presented videos and slides as part of his presentation.

The public talk was followed by a workshop that was restricted to members of Exit International aged 50 years and over. “The people who come to the workshops really want to know the details. They are the people who have decided they want to do something and want to know how you can get Nembutal (an illegal barbiturate) out of Mexico,” Dr Nitschke said.

Not only are these old folks talking about committing suicide but also how to import drugs illegally into Australia.

The printed version of the Peaceful Pill book was banned in Australia in 2007 and Dr Nitschke has been travelling around Australia, New Zealand and the UK for the past year promoting the online version.

The meeting was organised with the assistance of Exit’s local convener Jude McCauley. “Seventy-five per cent of people who get the information never act on it, but it is comforting to know that they can act if needed. It makes them feel empowered... they don’t want to suffer or live a life with no dignity at all. They want a choice on how to end their life.”

“Feel empowered”?? More like an inability to submit to a higher authority. “Don't want to suffer”?? What's wrong with picking up your cross and following in your saviours footsteps? “A life with no dignity at all”?? Pride! Pride! Pride!

Thankfully we have seen legislation turned down in Australia to legalise euthanasia. No state has shown any enthusiasm, neither has the federal government. I commend our politicians for their common sense. Only the Greens who are a bunch of hippie loving pot smoking tree hugging, combi drivers are interested in allowing old folks to kill themselves.

The truth is that there is no such thing as a "right to die." A right is a moral claim, and we have no claim on death—death has a claim on us.

Some people see the "right to die" as a parallel to the right to life, but this is based on faulty reasoning. The right to life is based on life being a gift we can neither destroy nor discard, whereas the "right to die" is based on the idea that life is a thing we possess and may discard when it no longer meets our satisfaction.

Nitschke is starting to look old perhaps it is time he organised his own exit and let the old folks die in peace.

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