The NSW Greens say people whose religious views are blocking voluntary euthanasia laws are making the lives of vulnerable people even more wretched and should butt out. “It’s time they recognised they are in the minority and got out of the way,” Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said in this article.
Here is a letter I have since sent to our relevant politicians to help better understand their views on morality and legislation. It is time to start asking the hard questions to our law makers. What philosophy or worldview are they basing their legislation on? This will impact our kids and generations to come. Don’t accept the status quo friends. Think, use our God-given minds, and let us hold our law makers accountable.
Isn’t it wonderful to live in a country where we have the right to express our opinions and views? In a post-modern society, this really can get somewhat complicated when everyone’s view is relativity true to themselves and we claim to honour that right for every single person. What I struggle with and would love your opinion on is how do you accept every person’s view of truth and legislate on that? Surely logic says someone will be discriminated against, right? I specifically ask this question now with reference to euthanasia.
This is not a question of tolerance. If you agree with someone, that is agreement, not tolerance. To tolerate something, you first must disagree with the concept of it. Then despite your inherent objection to it, you still tolerate it. An example would be that I disagree with your opinion on which football team you support but I am still friends with you because I tolerate your personal view on that topic. This is essential in a healthy community on matters of taste (what people have). On the other hand, matters of truth or value (who people are) cannot tolerate all views.
What I want to know is how you determine what should be legislated and what should not be legislated. If it comes down to your own personal convictions and beliefs, what makes your beliefs more acceptable for legislation than mine? If it comes down to majority rules, does that also mean it is ok if the majority says it is ok to kill your wife if she wants to divorce you (as is accepted in some countries today)? If it comes down to whether or not it hurts another person, including the individual, do you legislate to infringe on the right of a person to hurt themselves through reckless actions or lifestyle? Would you say your benchmark for knowing what to legislate and not legislate was relative or absolute? If it is relative, how do you maintain fair and consistent legislation that will not impose on any persons right? If it is absolute, what absolute standard do you use?
Based on your responses to the above questions, how do you then determine that giving a person the right to take their own life is morally acceptable? Please be careful to not justify an illogical response by appealing to the emotions. What philosophical worldview do you adhere to that allows you to seek to legislate the right for a person to kill themselves? This is a serious question. If you are driven by the evolutionary humanistic philosophy, how does euthanasia impact the survival of the fittest. To kill oneself is contrary to survival. A community that has decided that the weak must die for the sake of the wider community is more consistent to evolutionary philosophy. That is the basis for eugenics and seems to be what you are promoting. Is that a correct assumption? If so, who then becomes responsible for creating the guidelines for which weak in our community should die? What is to stop us repeating the horrors of Nazi Germany from WWII? These are questions that cannot be ignored and need to be answered before we begin moving our society in your proposed direction.
For the record, I believe in a natural moral law. This is something that is inherent and allows us to know the difference between right and wrong and individuals and as a community. This is not the Bible or the 10 commandments, although there might be some overlap there. It is common between communities and people around the world, regardless of cultures. It is in the deep underlying values rather than the superficial. It is absolute because it does not change and it is not created by man, we only discover it. It is given by an absolute, transcendent authority, outside of our physical realm, who sets the benchmark for that is right and wrong. I believe this is the morality that we must legislate to avoid self-destruction in the name of humanistic relativism.
How do you logically arrive at the point that allowing a person to kill themselves is dignifying? Is suicide dignifying? Just because someone might be terminally ill does not justify killing themselves. We are all in a constant state of dying. To take one’s life is not dignifying but rather selfish. Dignity is the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed. There is nothing honouring, worthy or esteemed about taking your own life or helping to take a life. It is a serious misuse of the word! If you believe in love, you will most likely believe that we are more than purely physical beings. We go through difficult times in life and most will agree that these times build character and help us grow. Why is this not applicable during the time of terminal illness? By terminating one’s own life could be to rob them and their family of a season of growth and strength.
Don’t you find it ironic that the new articles of your story on euthanasia also contain a compassionate appeal to those struggling with suicide? If a person has the right to take their own life, who are we to specify when they do it? Isn’t it a little judgemental and intolerant to remove a person’s right to take their life when they want to? As soon as you remove the intrinsic value of life, it is open season! I have lived in multiple countries where the value of life has been undermined and life has become cheap. This is exactly what we are doing if we give people the right to take their own life.
I am also very curious as to how prohibiting people from helping friends kill themselves becomes cruel as you were quoted as saying. What psychological impact does taking the life of a friend have on a person? Has anyone bothered to look into this long-term effect? A loving friend cares for a person, and ‘putting a person out of their misery’ like an animal is not caring for them. If they are dying, assist them and comfort them but do not take their life. Does this not sound insane to you (a state of mind that prevents normal perception or behaviour)?
In the case of unresponsive people, artificially prolonging life unnecessarily is not a good practice either. My understanding, based on the substance view, is that a some point machines need to be switched off. If the person is able to continue to live, they need to be supported with water and food and pain prevention drugs. If machines can assist in this, great! If the person is unable to survive without machines, at the right time and when the family is ready, they need to be allowed to die a natural death. Until a person’s heart stops beating, they are still a human being with intrinsic value. How would you define intrinsic value on a human life? What limits would you give it and how would you justify those limits?
I look forward to your response. These are questions I ask of all our politicians and law makers. We must proceed with wisdom and logical reasoning and morality. Philosophically, I cannot see how legislating relative morality can benefit our society long-term. What and how we legislate will be the legacy we leave for our children, either good or bad.