Human Exceptionalism

Suicide Push Not “Liberty on the March”

The Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices spends millions a year–much from the culturally subversive George Soros–pushing the legalization of doctor-prescribed death. It is an ideological quest that divides the American people pretty much down the middle.

Regardless of polling numbers–which can vary based on how the questions are asked–legalizing assisted suicide is definitely not a high agenda item on the American public’s “things to do” in public policy list.  Most people just aren’t that into it, even if they might abstractly support legalization in a poll.

That’s why I got a chuckle out of the organization’s most recent annual report depicting their constant agitating for legalizing assisted suicide as “liberty on the march”– illustrated by a cartoon of a huge Statute of Liberty followed by thousands of people. But I don’t know of any demonstration in favor of assisted suicide that attracted more than a hundred or so.

Rather, than being grass roots, the assisted suicide movement is primarily driven by well-tailored and well paid elites.

Contrast that with social and cultural issues that have truly engaged large segments of the population–civil rights, same sex marriage, or an end to abortion–all have seen huge demonstrations of adherents demanding change. 

C & C is also distinctly anti-Catholic Church, seeing it as the greatest roadblock to legalized assisted suicide. From the report:

Government has no place dictating religious doctrine, just as religious leaders have no place dictating the decisions of dying Americans.

No, religious leaders are not “dictating,” any more than I am in my public work opposing assisted suicide.

In a free country, everyone has the right to weigh in on matters of public import, including supporters of C & C, me, disability rights activists, families of the dying, medical professional organizations, and “religious leaders.” That’s truly “liberty on the march.”  

One final point: If “legalizing assisted suicide is truly a fundamental liberty issue, how can it be limited to a small cohort?  If suffering = a right to be made dead, than all suffering people have a right to the remedy. That is the real debate we should be having.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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