Human Exceptionalism

“Assisted Suicide”: By Any Other Name

The Economist gets it. In an article on the fuss generated by assisted suicide advocates–who want to call assisted suicide anything but what it is, e.g., suicide, (a matter about which I have previously posted)–reads, in part, as follows: (No link: Subscription Required)

“Now, however, advocates are objecting to the word ‘suicide.’ Suicide, they point out, implies a decision to cut short a life that would otherwise continue, whereas terminal patients are simply hastening a death that is already near.” What total nonsense: If one is “hastening death,” one is, by definition, acting to “cut short a life.”

The reason for such twisting of accurate and descriptive language into pretzels is entirely political: “A Gallup poll in May showed that 69% of Americans support assisted death, but the number drops if the label suicide’ is actually applied.”

It’s all cynical manipulation of language, of course, as The Economist clearly gets in the story’s conclusion: “Meanwhile advocates of the [Oregon] act are pushing interested groups, such as journalists, to step back from ‘suicide’ and adopt cheerier formulations such as ‘choice and control at the end of life.’ It would have George Orwell rotating longitudinally in his subterranean post-life enclosure.”

Indeed. Beware of a movement that feels the need to hide what it actually advocates through the utilization of gooey euphemisms.

HT: Jen Saunders

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