Rest in Peace: The band, Joy Division, took their name from the prostitute wing of a Nazi death camp mentioned in the 1955 novel, The House of Dolls. The singer, who suffered epilepsy, took his life in 1980 at the age of just 23 following a battle with depression. He is still dearly missed by his friends, his family and his many, many fans.
To recap, then: we are all terrified of both suffering and death. Both are parts of our human experience that we wish to avoid and, to this end, doctors and nurses in the United Kingdom take seriously their vocation to bring medical relief to the suffering and to make death as painless as is medically and ethically possible.
And to recap once more, the attraction of 'assisted dying' or rather, 'assisted suicide', or even voluntary euthanasia, if we are to refuse modern Newspeak, is that we can obtain a measure of control over suffering and our fear of death by at least asserting control over our destiny then we feel more comfortable about death because we can convince ourselves we can master it. We have considered some of the moral and spiritual consequences of the propaganda that surrounds the issue of voluntary euthanasia.
But what does a society that permits 'assisted dying' look like? Well, surely it would look like a society that bears no resemblence to its forgotten Christian past, in days in which the sanctity of human life was defended by both Church and State, for, in those days before the emergence of the 'brave new world', it was deemed that the spiritual or eternal consequences of suicide were to be avoided and that courage, compassion, love, patience in suffering and virtue were to be promoted. Human dignity was to be defended not because it was arbitrary or in the eye of the beholder, but because human dignity was something objective - not something that illness, disease, or suffering could erase from a person. And, for those who believed in the Church and in God, despite trial and physical pain, people believed, rightly that their reward would be in their souls.
Of course, an age that abandons traditional Christian beliefs too necessarily abandons the hope that came with them and, in fact, it is only because we live in a more atheistic age that British society finds itself assailed by a concerted media-driven propaganda campaign to soften its attitudes on 'assisted suicide', since, were it a Christian society, such a message would be rejected forcibly by the public and, presumably, the majority of the politicians who emerged from that society.
But we do not live in that age anymore and we cannot, apparently, 'go back' and if euthanisia is to be born in the United Kingdom, it could well be that it happens because abortion was born first. For what links abortion and euthanasia is the choice of death over life. In abortion, a doctor and a patient choose death for an unborn patient. In euthanasia, were it come to pass, a doctor and a patient choose death for the patient. Both choices are not choices of hope and life, but choices of despair and death and it is despair that dominates societies which have and continue to embrace sin and reject God. It is noteworthy, too, that the growing popularity of the movement for assisted suicide comes after the United Kingdom has accepted and grown accustomed to abortion and other social evils such as divorce and the breakdown of the institution of the family.
Without recourse even to the teaching of the Church, we can say that natural law, which is open to those who follow their conscience in the light of reason, would dictate that divorce, abortion and family breakdown are bad for individuals and all of society, promoting division over unity, death over life, despair over hope. When a society has embraced such social evils as the above, then it is, one could say, natural that despair would reign in that society since the natural bonds that bind together families, communities and individuals break down to such an extent, that unhappiness is the result. Many women, for example, regret their abortions and a number suffer anxiety, guilt, alcoholism and unhappiness as a result - some even taking their own lives eventually.
The natural happiness of a good conscience which arises out of what Greek philosophers would describe as the virtuous life decreases so much in a society that death itself appears better than life because life has become miserable, ravaged by pain, guilt, depression, fear and despair. The United Kingdom is now in its anti-depressant age and many citizens are dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs (as well as illegal drugs) just to 'make it through the night'. After all, you only get one life and is there really any more than this?
It is only in this kind of society, where not only is God and the Law of God erased from public life, but the natural law is discarded, that a drive for voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide can flourish for once the party is over and the hangover kicks in and the superficial pleasures of the World which brought relief and escape are over, what other form of escape from our condition do we have, but death itself? British society is being brought to its knees, but the population no longer look to God or the Church for the answer, since the answer is unpalatable, salutary and displeasing. And so, sorrowfully, the population begins to look to the State or to others with influence, such as the world of celebrity and the media, for answers.
Dignity in Dying, which was once called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, would, fifty years ago, have been considered as a bunch of cranks whose agenda was transparently evil because they proposed suicide as the answer to social ills.
The organisation had to change its name because, like the Eugenics Society that became the Galton Institute, the Voluntary Euthansia Society became tainted by the Nazi tyranny which embraced both eugenics and volutary euthansia until they stopped asking the 'unfit' it they'd actually like to be killed and just did it anyway. In the 21st century, however, the agenda of Dignity in Dying, which is essentially the same agenda as it was in 1935, is hovering over the United Kingdom and receiving an unhealthy measure of interest. A sufferer of 'locked in syndrome' called Tony Niklinson maintains that his life is "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable", according to The Times (Tuesday 13 March, 2012) and so is campaigning for the right to ask a doctor to kill him without the doctor facing prosecution. Could the phrase 'hard cases create bad law' be any more apt for this discussion? Since, if the State allows 'mercy killing' (another Newspeak phrase among the vast range of Newspeak phrases) in this case, then to whom can the State turn down an application to be voluntarily killed by a third party?
The answer is, of course, that if the level of human suffering and degradation is subjective according to the sufferer, then a loophole in the law allowing the killing of Tony Nicklinson opens up the avenue for many people with various conditions to come forward to be killed in the future since they deem their lives not worthy of being called 'life'. Nicklinson claims he 'does not want to dribble into old age'. Well, who of us would? And faced with 'end of life issues' such as dementia, incontinence, dribbling, chronic pain and incapacity and being dependent on the care of others, Nicklinson's reasons for desiring assisted suicide could be attributable to any of us. Many in old age or who suffer terminal illness face this very reality. The point is that when the State and the medical associations (and the media) and thus all of society endorse Tony's view that his life is 'unfit' to be called life, by killing him, then we have implicitly made the statement that it is not just Tony's view, but it is the view of the State and society. If somebody's reason for being killed by a doctor was summed up in the belief that they do not want to 'be a burden' then as soon as we permit their killing, we have made the declaration that, far from being a loveable person requiring our compassionate care, that the person was indeed 'a burden' on society or was, in some sense, 'unfit to live'.
As soon as we allow for the idea that there are some people who are 'unfit to live', who are 'a burden on others' or who no longer have dignity, but that their only source of dignity is death itself, then we create the framework for a society that believes that death is the answer to the host of mental and physical illnesses present in society at large. Once a State and society has endorsed this idea for a given length of time, it would not be in the slightest bit surprising if that State and that society promoted voluntary euthanasia as an answer to all of those problems. Before very long, you create a society in which anyone can be killed voluntarily on their own assessment of their situation and it does not take a great leap of the imagination to suggest that the movement from individual, subjective assessment of one's own need for death as the escape from illness, disease, or dependence on the State and others for care becomes so commonly assessed as reqnhsuiring death as a 'solution' that the State itself deems death to be the 'solution' to the problem itself and considers itself more able to make the decision about your life, or your death, than you.
But ,'Surely', I hear you cry, 'In the United Kingdom, this could never happen, because not only is assisted suicide still illegal, bar for a couple of High Court cases, but also the framework of law and apparatus to be prepared for the legal, judicially decided killing of those incapable of 'seeing their own need' for the State's intervention in this matter is not yet in place? We're not anywhere near Nazi Germany!' Well, Germany isn't that far away from us and the apparatus is in place. So is the law. The law is called the Mental Incapacity Act and the apparatus is called The Court of Protection, which operates, not terribly surprisingly, in secret. Now, do I have your attention? The apparatus for a 'final' if more subtle 'solution' for the 'unproductive' and 'unfit' in the United Kingdom is in place, but it relies first upon the British population accepting and swallowing the propaganda first and, just as the BBC was used to spread the sexual revolution and the wrecked families and little unborn corpses it left in its wake, the over-turning of the idea that suicide isn't really a 'good thing' is, once again being promoted by the televisual arm of the State.
In all honesty, it is plausible that the Galton Institute which was known as British Eugenics Society, which incidentally has deep links with the relevant Royal Societies (Happy Diamond Jubilee, Your Majesty!) is also on good terms with Dignity in Dying, which was known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. What with the abortion clinics started by various members of the British Eugenics Society being well and truly models of commercial and eugenic success in the United Kingdom, one almost wonders if the Dignity in Dying members believe that abortion clinics could actually double up as euthansia clinics. Why build new clinics to kill NHS patients when clinics that kill NHS patients already exist?
Bigger bins would be needed, naturally, though I suppose incineration would be the most environmentally safe way to cull the masses. After all, we don't want more landfill do we? That's 'dignity in dying' and its eugenics too, since the Galton Institute are interested in eliminating the diseased, the imperfect, the 'inferior', the disabled, the weak and 'unfit' before birth using the pretext of 'genetics' via the use of pre-natal scans and, in IVF, pre-implantation diagnosis. After birth, should the imperfect have the audacity to escape the womb, the Dignity in Dying lobby are there to promote the 'end of life' plan once the 'unfit' are born into a society that finds their existence intolerable. That's how you create a eugenic utopia, an apparently 'better world', otherwise known by people who are not pathological fanatics of serial killing, as a State-led dystopia. But there is a better World and in that better World, the 'world without end' dwells the souls of those who fought for our World to reflect the joy, the love and the abundant kindness and mercy of Heaven. Do not let the morbid, deathly, misanthoropic, inhuman State into which we are born sing you to sleep. Defend the sanctity of your life, defend the sanctity of all human life, at all possible cost...