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November 19, 2004

A Foot in the Door for the Itinerant Salesman

Wesley Smith's piece on NRO a few days ago is worth the time of anybody concerned about euthanasia — particularly those who lean toward supporting it in some cases:

But beneath the weirdness, the shenanigans of Nitschke and his suicide groupies should serve as a warning to the rest of us about the potential consequences of legalizing assisted suicide. United States advocates like to pretend that legalized facilitated death will always be limited to the actively dying when nothing else can be done to alleviate suffering. But this is highly unlikely. Once one accepts the noxious notion that killing is an acceptable answer to the problem of human suffering, how can it possibly be limited to the terminally ill?...

In fact, this is precisely what has happened in the Netherlands. After more than 30 years of permitted euthanasia, the category of the Dutch killable has expanded steadily; it now includes the depressed, the chronically ill, and the disabled, including infants who are born with birth defects. And now, the Dutch parliament seems set on lowering the age of consent to be killed to twelve years old.

Westerners, particularly Americans, have a tendency to approach problems with a practical view toward facilitating people's happiness. We're rule-benders and latitude-givers. That attitude is wonderful — Christian — but only if we maintain firm footing on first principles when we put it into action.

Posted by Justin Katz at November 19, 2004 11:36 AM

You know, for such a small, insignificant country, the Dutch sure do cause a heck of a lot of trouble.

Posted by: c matt at November 19, 2004 3:07 PM

That is the main problem I have with most libertarians - they want to expand individual freedom, but they generally are indifferent at best to those first principles.

Posted by: Mike S. at November 21, 2004 5:20 PM