In the face of disillusion and depression, the last thing anyone needs is to be “assisted” to die


By Dave Andrusko

Anne, an 89-year-old Sussex woman who committed suicide at Dignitas  Photo: Sunday Times

Anne, an 89-year-old Sussex woman who committed suicide at Dignitas
Photo: Sunday Times

I don’t know who “Richard and Judy” are other than that they write a column for the Daily Express and are characterized (by the Daily Express) as “Britain’s best-loved TV couple.”

But I do know who “Anne” is. She is (in the words of another British publication, the Daily Mail), a retired art teacher who “ended her life at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland after becoming increasingly disillusioned with modern life.”

Wesley Smith wrote about her death last week, and her very unnecessary passing is worth multiple examinations, starting today. What prompted me to take another look right now was that “Richard and Judy” tell their readers near the end that while “I always supported the principle of assisted suicide,” her “exit from this world has made me seriously wonder if it can ever be properly controlled.”

Of course, it can’t, as we’ve demonstrated in dozens and dozens and dozens of posts at NRL News Today for many reasons. Here are two.

The logic of “assisting” someone to kill themselves is inherently expansionary and necessarily more and more inclusive. If you say a person must meet criteria “x, y, and z,” who is to say that x+ y is not sufficient, or just x or just y or just z?

You always hear that claiming there is an inevitable movement toward fewer and fewer limitations is the slippery slope use of slippery slope logic. The difficulty for those who say this is a simple, brute fact: that is exactly what’s happened, particularly, but by no means exclusively, in Belgium and the Netherlands.

And, of course, there are plenty of proponents who always were barely able to contain their desire for assisted suicide for any reason or no reason. Once openings have been created, they switch gears, adopting the “best defense is a good offense” strategy. It would be “discriminatory,” they insist, to deny the “right” to assisted suicide to [fill in the blank].

That’s how you wind up with children being “assisted” to die.

Richard and Judy observe that Anne

“had become frustrated with the trappings of modern life, such as fast-food, consumerism, and the amount of time people spend watching television.

“’They say ‘adapt or die,’ she said, having already made the decision to take the latter option by drinking a deadly dose of barbiturates. ‘I find myself swimming against the current, and you can’t do that. If you can’t join them, get off… all the old fashioned ways of doing things have gone.’”

In the previously mentioned Daily Mail story, we read

“In an interview before her death, the 89-year-old environmentalist, from Sussex, said she felt technology had taken the humanity out of social interaction.

“Anne, who asked to be referred to only by her first name, also said she was worried about the damage being inflicted on the planet through overcrowding and pollution.”

If you read the stories and opinion pieces about her, you could—actually should—come to the same conclusion they did: “it sounds very much to me as if the poor woman was suffering from a classic case of clinical depression – feelings of hopelessness, alienation, despair and suicidal thoughts.”

Kudos to Richard and Judy for laying out the evidence that amply supports their conclusion:

“[Anne’s] disturbing story could be the thin end of a very unpleasant wedge.”