Furthest Right

Dignity of Life Includes Dignity of Death

Looks like the Swiss are under fire for their support of assisted suicide:

The Swiss government has rejected calls to ban assisted suicide groups such as Dignitas but will propose new rules to restrict their work.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said last year the government wants to cut down on “suicide tourism,” where scores of foreigners travel to Switzerland every year to end their lives with the help of Dignitas and other groups. – AP

As a conservative, I support the sanctity of life. That means I don’t think we should take it, or let it exist, on a casual basis. We need to treat it with reverence; I don’t think you have to be religious, or not religious, to see this. The two positions are the same.

And here I differ from many conservatives, but interestingly, not the majority of voters:

  • Abortion. Keep it legal and make the record of abortions public. If your daughter goes off and gets knocked up by the football team, it’s slamming the bar door after the horse is long gone to forbid her from aborting that child. In the meantime, most abortions go to impoverished women or women under bad circumstances. Fight sexual liberation because it’s a disaster, but doing that indirectly through abortion is a cretinous idea. In the meantime, aborting babies destined to impoverished and unstable lives has reduced crime. Let’s keep working with Darwin here, and let natural selection — which is God’s plan, if you’re religious — do its lovely work.
  • Assisted suicide. When you have a terminal illness, and the path downward is nothing but misery, it’s time to check out with grace — as was common only fifty years ago, when the family doctor would hook you up with a one-time overdose of morphine and out you’d go. In the same way, people who are habitually depressed and upset about life should be able to exit it. There’s no sanctity of life in prolonging failed life or a slow dying process.
  • Death penalty. So Jim Bob done went off and made a rape or armed robbery? Send him away — by ensuring that he dies quickly. Don’t let him breed, and don’t let him languish in a prison that costs more each year than sending a kid to Harvard. Don’t let him have a lengthy appeals process. If you feel the justice system is evil and unfair, fix it. Don’t try to indirectly influence it by banning the death penalty or the passive aggressive method of that, making the cost of executions too high through prolonged appeals.

Conservatism shoots itself in the foot when it conjures up a liberal interpretation of the sanctity of life. A liberal would say that every life is sacred; a conservative would say that life itself is sacred, and that means that sometimes one must kill or die. Somehow modern neoliberal conservatism has gotten muddled.

In the meantime, I have to congratulate the Swiss on continuing to hold firm. We have seven billion people; our problem is not that we may lose a few and somehow collapse. Our problem may be that we cannot say yes to death at any time, and as a result, may drown in our own excess of good intentions.

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