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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.