Human Exceptionalism

When Killing Yourself Isn’t Suicide

Rita Marker, the head of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and I have a piece in today’s NRO about how euthanasia proponents engage in post modernistic abuse of lnaguage to further their ideological agenda. (Human cloning advocates use the same disengenuous tactic to further their agenda.) Here is an excerpt:

“In one sense, the opening of this new [lexicon] front in the assisted-suicide debate reveals that the movement, thought to be unstoppable when Oregon passed the nation’s first assisted-suicide law, understands that it has failed to convince America that suicide should be part of medicine’s armamentarium. In the more than ten years since the passage of the Oregon law, state after state has considered legalizing assisted suicide. Each time, there was early support for the measure. Yet, in each instance, when the official vote was taken, support had evaporated and the proposal went down in defeat. This left assisted-suicide proponents, particularly Compassion & Choices (C & C) (formerly the Hemlock Society), which spearheaded most of these legislative proposals, searching for some way to improve their position.

“So C & C commissioned research and polling. They found that people have a negative impression of the term ‘assisted suicide,’ but, if euphemistic slogans like ‘death with dignity’ or ‘end of life choices’ were used to describe the same action, response was relatively positive. Likewise, poll respondents were more apt to approve letting doctors ‘end a patient’s life’ than they were to approve giving doctors the right to ‘assist the patient to commit suicide.’ According to one polling firm, the apparent conflict was a ‘consequence of mentioning, or not mentioning, the word ‘suicide.’”

As I always say, beware a movement that seeks to hide its agenda behind euphemisms. If for political reasons it can’t be described plainly and accurately, it probably isn’t worth doing.

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