Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

Fighting for the Wrong Right: Your Right to Die

For The Record #117
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

For The Record #124
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

With the first patient recent­ly killed under Wash­ing­ton State’s new right-to-die law, For The Record takes time to review the inci­sive mate­r­i­al pre­sent­ed by author Wes­ley J. Smith and pre­sent­ed in these 1998 inter­views, record­ed in Novem­ber and Decem­ber of that year, respec­tive­ly.

As the econ­o­my con­tin­ues to floun­der and with exor­bi­tant cost of health insur­ance at the epi­cen­ter of Amer­i­can civic  debate, peo­ple should not be dis­mis­sive of the notion that the solu­tion to the prob­lem of the unin­sured tak­ing the turn it did in Nazi Ger­many. In that con­text, we mus­n’t lose sight of the fact that the eugen­ics laws which were the foun­da­tion  of Nazi exter­mi­na­tion grew direct­ly out of main­stream West­ern and U.S. eugen­ics think­ing and  leg­is­la­tion. it is not some­thing alien to our cul­ture.

The co-author (with Ralph Nad­er) of sev­er­al books about con­sumer advo­ca­cy, Wes­ley J. Smith has writ­ten Forced Exit: The Slip­pery Slope From Assist­ed Sui­cide to Legal­ized Mur­der (Times Books, copy­right 1997), a vol­ume that Mr. Emory believes is one of the most impor­tant books ever writ­ten.

FTR #117 broad­cast presents an overview of Mr. Smith’s book. Begin­ning with the “work” of the late ser­i­al killer Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the inter­view high­lights the fun­da­men­tal changes in med­ical the­o­ry and prac­tice that are lead­ing Amer­i­ca down a path dis­turbing­ly sim­i­lar (in cer­tain respects) to the path Ger­many fol­lowed in the 1930s. (Dur­ing that peri­od, Ger­many adopt­ed the T‑4 euthana­sia pro­gram which mur­dered “dis­pos­able” per­sons in cold blood.)

Med­ical ethics in this coun­try are already evolv­ing in a man­ner not unlike that in Ger­many, in which the physician’s pri­ma­ry respon­si­bil­i­ty was seen as to soci­ety rather than to the patient. The pro­gram dis­cuss­es oth­er chill­ing changes in med­ical prac­tice includ­ing the enabling of death by dehy­dra­tion of peo­ple with cog­ni­tive dis­abil­i­ties, a par­tic­u­lar­ly bru­tal form of ter­mi­na­tion. In addi­tion, the broad­cast expos­es the fal­la­cy that “guide­lines” will pre­vent abuse, cit­ing (among oth­er prece­dents) the fail­ure of those guide­lines in the Nether­lands, which allows euthana­sia.

Oth­er points of analy­sis in FTR #117 include: the fun­da­men­tal change that for-prof­it HMOs have wrought in Amer­i­can med­i­cine and how those changes affect the issue of euthana­sia; the inabil­i­ty of most Amer­i­can med­ical per­son­nel to accu­rate­ly diag­nose both per­ma­nent brain dam­age and depres­sion in patients and that failure’s impli­ca­tions for the issue of euthana­sia; how euthana­sia can be used as a vehi­cle of social oppres­sion and how the hos­pice move­ment, pal­lia­tive care and inde­pen­dent liv­ing move­ment for dis­abled peo­ple, can alle­vi­ate the prob­lems that euthana­sia advo­cates say only death can solve.

Record­ed a lit­tle less than a month after #117, FTR #124 picks up where the ear­li­er broad­cast left off. In addi­tion to review­ing mate­r­i­al from FTR-117, the broad­cast sets forth addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al from Smith’s book.

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 FTR #124 include: review of 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 review of the eco­nom­ic imper­a­tives being imposed on physi­cians by for-prof­it HMOs.


One comment for “Fighting for the Wrong Right: Your Right to Die”

  1. Ger­man drug man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Bay­er and Boehringer Ingel­heim Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals are “cor­po­rate part­ners” with a pow­er­ful cor­po­rate HMO lob­by­ing group that has been strong­ly push­ing to pass PAS, called the Cal­i­for­nia Asso­ci­a­tion Of Physi­cian Groups.

    Posted by JohnG | June 4, 2015, 8:15 pm

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