Those of us who understand that hastening death corrupts medicine and abandons the vulnerable have no choice but to continue resisting the toxic tide for as long as we can, understanding that caring rather than killing is the way to show true compassion to all suicidal people.
The West is tearing itself apart. The symptoms are evident in our bitterly divided politics and the attempts to punish those with heterodox views. But they are particularly evident in the ongoing collapse of the sanctity of human life ethic, which holds that each of our lives are immeasurably precious regardless of our personal circumstances.
Alas, the sanctity of life ethic has been abandoned in whole or in part throughout the West. Instead, many now adhere to the “quality of life” ethic, which holds that the value of one’s life is relative to one’s abilities, capacities, and state of health.
Unlike the sanctity of life ethic, the quality of life ethic does not abhor the taking of innocent human life. Rather, it perceives killing as an acceptable means of ameliorating human suffering, particularly if the afflicted person wants to die.
These attitudes have led to radical legal changes throughout the West. Alas, the culture of death is on a roll. Just this year, several countries legalized euthanasia, expanded existing euthanasia laws, or prepared to open that lethal door in the near future.
- Germany: Last February, Germany’s highest court conjured from the country’s constitution a positive right to commit suicide—at any time and for any reason—and created an ancillary right for anyone who is willing to assist. “The individual’s decision to end their own life, based on how they personally define quality of life and a meaningful existence,” the court ruled, “eludes any evaluation on the basis of general values, religious dogmas, societal norms for dealing with life and death, or consideration of objective rationality.”
- Austria: An Austrian court issued a similar decision in December, ruling that committing suicide is a right of “self-determination,” and that said right includes receiving help from another person. As of this writing, it is unclear whether the government will appeal.