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FTR #124 Interview II with Wesley J. Smith

Lis­ten: Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

In addi­tion to review­ing mate­r­i­al from FTR-117, the broad­cast sets forth addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al from Smith’s book Forced Exit: The Slip­pery Slope From Assist­ed Sui­cide to Legal­ized Mur­der [3] (hard­cov­er edi­tion, Times Books, copy­right 1997). Par­tic­u­lar empha­sis is on Peter Singer, a bio-ethi­cist recent­ly appoint­ed to the fac­ul­ty of Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. A cham­pi­on of the “Right to Die Move­ment,” Singer’s views have been com­pared with those of social philoso­phers whose work paved the way for the Third Reich’s “Aktion T‑4” euthana­sia pro­gram. One of the main texts affect­ing the Ger­man euthana­sia move­ment was Bind­ing and Hoche’s On the Destruc­tion of Life Unwor­thy of Life. In Forced Exit, Smith com­pares the text of a legal deci­sion by Judge Stephen Rein­hardt with key pas­sages from the Bind­ing and Hoche text, a major influ­ence on Hitler’s social phi­los­o­phy. Oth­er high­lights of the pro­gram include: an analy­sis of the dif­fi­cul­ty physi­cians have in diag­nos­ing and treat­ing depres­sion (many “can­di­dates” for euthana­sia are clin­i­cal­ly depressed and, there­fore, treat­able); the dif­fi­cul­ty physi­cians have in accu­rate­ly diag­nos­ing ‘per­sis­tent veg­e­ta­tive states” (many so-called “brain-dead” patients are mis­di­ag­nosed and, in some cas­es, con­scious but unable to com­mu­ni­cate); and the eco­nom­ic imper­a­tives being imposed on physi­cians by for-prof­it HMOs.