Opinion

Assisted suicide fine if you think life has no value

Sound Off is a public forum. Articles are selected from letters to the editor or may be written specifically for this feature. Today, Federal Way resident Angie Vogt takes issue with Initiative 1000 — the assisted suicide measure that will appear on Washington’s November general election ballot.

Nihilism: A philosophy that argues that life has no objective meaning or purpose, that no action is any more moral or immoral than another action.

Years ago, I participated in a think tank discussion about various philosophies of life. One scholar in my group made the case that the philosophy of life embraced by a society will determine its level of happiness and its ability to prosper, more than any other factor, such as a society’s economic system, legal structure, etc.

He humorously suggested that the best way to defeat a war enemy is to parachute some nihilist philosophy students into enemy territory and begin infusing their world with a sense of hopelessness that nihilism is known for.

Eventually the enemy would kill itself out of sheer despair.

The nihilists in our midst are groups who call themselves “Death with Dignity” advocates. They’ve parachuted into our state recently and have brought with them hundreds of thousands of dollars in special interest money to advance their philosophy of “life has no meaning.”

Their flag is Initiative 1000, the assisted suicide law that only one other state has passed in the last 10 years.

They’ve targeted Washington state as their best hope for resuscitating their dying movement.

For nihilists, the ultimate evil is suffering, so the pains of childbirth are not made more meaningful by the gift of life and the mystery of motherhood.

The effort and hard work toward getting a college degree is not a meaningful process that shapes and forms the human soul, but it’s a means to an end that is only meaningful if it’s fun.

For a nihilist, there is no honor in caring for vulnerable family members, as they are merely a hindrance to our lifestyle.

Human relationships hold no more value than what a cost-benefit analysis will allow for.

For a nihilist, freedom is about being unencumbered by the messiness of human relationships. Since life has no objective meaning, then relationships are only meaningful when we decide they are.

Grandma was nice when she made me cookies, but now she’s pretty useless there in her wheelchair.

She must be miserable, so let’s just put her down, out of her misery, and get back to living life.

For nihilists, you hear a lot about “quality of life,” which is their way of determining whether somebody’s life is worth living.

They think they are being compassionate when they advocate for assisted suicide because life, ultimately, is only meaningful when it makes sense to them.

They think they are alleviating grandma’s suffering by putting her down. What they are actually doing is quelling their own fears of inadequacy and hopelessness.

When somebody is suffering from a terminal illness, rather than treat the pain with medicines that require continual monitoring (called palliative care) and rather than allow the process to ennoble them to a higher calling of service, they insist that the compassionate thing is to just end the whole ordeal.

This is actually despair, not compassion.

Compassion means “to suffer with” or to walk with somebody in his or her suffering. When we do this, we distinguish ourselves from animals that kill the vulnerable.

Every man, woman and child for himself, they would have us believe.

We ennoble ourselves by living for the higher purpose of human companionship and relationship, at the expense of personal comfort. In our humanity, we actually sacrifice something of ourselves for the benefit of someone else.

“Sacrifice” actually means “to set apart for a holy purpose.” Holiness is only meaningful to people who believe life is worth living because it is a gift from a higher power.

This concept is anathema to nihilists.

In their world, grandma’s “right to die” becomes her obligation to stop being such a burden to others.

I-1000 does not require notification of family members and has no penalties for inaccurate reporting, but in fact keeps reports of deaths secret, which forbids any independent investigations of reported abuse or fraud.

The Washington State Medical Association and Hospice providers oppose I-1000.

I leave you with a curious irony. Several weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment, in the form of lethal injection, was cruel and unusual punishment.

It ruled this in a case against a man convicted of a violent crime. One psychiatrist evaluated the convicted killer to be mentally retarded with an IQ of 59, while another had evaluated him to be of normal cognitive competence, but with a clear diagnosis of an anti-social personality disorder.

If the convict requested death from a doctor, would that really change the value of his life?

Reprinted from the Federal Way Mirror.

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