Thursday, February 19, 2009

Love and Respect x 2: The Propaganda that More Killing is Better

John West has been all over the media in the last week or so, peddling his book about how he helped his parents kill themselves. He’s trying mightily to convince us that he’s a good and loving son because he didn’t have enough backbone to refuse to be an accessory to willful death - twice.

Or, as he puts it, he helped them kick the bucket because, as he says, “I loved and respected my parents.”

Ergo, helping parents die is what good, loving children do. Especially if they respect their parents. Doing it again is love and respect x 2.

These, and other dangerous pro-death party lines were evident in West’s extensive on-line chat with the Washington Post.

Chilling. Not only in what West said, but in the perceptions of the chatters with whom he engaged. Let me just say that most people in the chat seemed dimly uninformed.

Here’s a chatter on the old stereotype that animals and humans are basically the same:

Anywhere, USA: My poor mother had to be off life support for 10 days before she passed, my dog had to endure a few moments before she was able to go to the big dog park in the sky. I believe I will go to my Vet if I get sick, my dog got better treatment and it was with dignity.

Baroness Warnock would be proud.

Others conjured up the usual (and almost entirely ignorant) nightmares of machines and pain.

And of course, West himself raised the pro-death favorite euphemism comparing people to plants:

My mother . . . had no interest in turning into a vegetable, and so she chose to end her life sooner rather than later.

And, just in case you don’t think the underlying motive in this unspeakable squalor isn’t about reducing people to a cold dollar amount, read this little interchange from the chat:

Springfield, Va.: Your point about medical science keeping us "dying longer" is interesting. . . . I have also heard many times if there was a meter running showing the cost incurred keeping someone alive who is going to die anyway, people would make the decision to suspend medical care much faster. Do you think this is true?

John West: I think it might be true. A "meter" is an objective way to show people the truth of what's going on.

But I digress.

John West can write all the books about killing he wants. Good luck to him as he smarmily enjoys his 15 minutes of fame.

But, let me raise two points:

First, I’d encourage the California Bar to tell us what needs to be done with a lawyer who openly admits to committing crimes.

Second, lawyer West’s feigned ignorance about the LAW in Oregon and Washington, and the death machine that is now most of Europe, is not ignorance at all – it’s holding forth in an authoritative way (he’s a lawyer and author, don’t you know? Must be right, right?) to mislead you.

Here are two examples of West’s outrageous and willful disinformation:

The John West Spin I: 

There's a LOT of legal oversight in Oregon and now Washington State, as in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland, where it's currently allowed.

Really? Then how come every year thousands of hospital patients in the Netherlands are euthanized without them ever having requested it, talked about it, or anything else?

The John West Spin II: 

The laws in Oregon (and now Washington State) require 2 physician (sic) to agree that you're facing death from a terminal illness within 6 months, and you're in extreme pain, and that you're mentally competent to make the decision to take life-ending drugs.

Yes, and …… ???? 

That’s only half the story.

Here’s the other half: Once the lethal drugs are prescribed, that’s the end of any oversight at all.

West implies that physicians are there at the end: making it all oh-so-proper and transparent, you see!


Nope, assisted suicides in Oregon and Washington can happen anywhere, anytime, away from everyone, assisted by somebody else – anyone else.

Even if that somebody else is after your stuff. Even if that somebody "helps" you take the fatal dose without your asking. Even if that somebody is really tired of taking care of you.

Get the picture?

Makes me wonder, although we’ll never know:

West admits that he was there when his parents died.

How can we know, seeing that there was no oversight, what the circumstances were with Loving John and his parents shuttered away behind closed doors?



Megan said...

I was innocently watching a crime drama on television the other night, when the issue of euthanizing the terminally ill and disabled casually slipped into the watered down moral at the close of the program. They posed the question of whether the heavy burden of caring for their ailing loved ones really might justify murder. When you become aware of the underlying message of support for euthansia pervading the media, it becomes hard to enjoy a simply tv show.

Dr. Mark Mostert said...

Thanks for stopping by, Megan. Yes, enjoyment gets impeded. Even worse, these subtle messages turn more and more people to "death is good, living not good."

Claire said...

I am learning a great deal from your posts. I, like many others, was slowly falling into the mindset that somehow, "mercy killing" is an acceptable thing to do (albeit,I felt, under very rare circumstances). I am beginning to see the influence of the slow process of desensitization. I am the mother of a severely disabled child. I recently wrote a post on the issue of death and disability..more poetic than academic though...and I am thankful for the positive influence you have had on my thinking.

Dr. Mark Mostert said...

Claire, thanks. You are exactly right - desensitization is, well, deadly.... We need more people to understand this because the pro-death forces are gearing up for battle in several states. They'll get everyone to think assisted suicide is ok, and then go for the holy grail: the legalization and social acceptance of euthanasia.
Please spread the word.