August 19, 2006

Shall we play "Connect the Many Many Dots?" – This week, a popular BBC radio announcer told the public that she had entered into a “suicide pact” with friends should she be incapacitated by illness.

Jenni Murray, the presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, a feminist and euthanasia advocate, said that she does not want to be “trapped” into caring for her mother who is ill with Parkinson’s disease.

Murray, a member of the Order of the British Empire and a patron of the Family Planning Association, is airing her views tonight on a BBC television program called “Don’t Get Me Started.” Publicity material for the show says that Murray “plans to end her own life when she becomes a burden to those around her.” She discusses methods, including smothering with a pillow or injecting with drugs, with two friends,

The network said: "Jenni is angry that, having fought so hard to become liberated and independent, women are now being trapped into caring for dependent parents."

Murray complains that the law against assisted suicide is supported by a “religious minority” who hold to an outdated moral view that human life is inherently valuable and that children have a legitimate obligation to care for elderly parents.

The program highlights the growth, especially in Britain, of the idea of an “obligation to die.” Most leading thinkers in the bioethics field endorse euthanasia and assisted suicide and often argue that elderly and ill patients have the obligation to end their lives to relieve pressure on families and the health care system....(Thanks to
Gerald Augustinus.)

What's starting to obsess me is the way people like this refuse to think through where their ideas are leading. Let's just for a minute put aside all questions of what's truly right and wrong. Here is a person who has, obviously, discarded part of the Judeo-Christian morality that was held by past generations. Let's say she's tossed 10% of her inheritance overboard. And it would probably be safe to assume that her parents tossed out 10% of what they inherited, and that the grandparents probably did some tossing too--she's obviously diverged a long way from what someone in the year 1900 would have believed.

SO, my question: Has she given any thought to the likelihood that her children will toss overboard another 10%? And her grandchildren likewise? Any thought as to where this may be leading? Whether the process has an end?...

This is on my mind because of a recent conversation Charlene and I had with some liberal friends (Actually Charlene arguing with them, while I didn't even try to get a word in). In particular with one woman of our generation, who had obviously discarded her 10%, if not a lot more, and gone off to college and decided it was fine to sleep with lots of different boys. And now, her daughter has come home from college and declared that it's OK to sleep with lots of boys and girls. And how did this woman react? She's bewildered! She's hurt! She's confused! "How could this happen? I don't understand it. How could they let this happen?"

She's not a stupid person. She just. Won't. Think. I'm sure that, if pressed, she would say that her position is right, just because it's obvious. And her daughter's position is wrong, just because that's obvious. Where the "right and wrong" come from doesn't need to be pondered. Whether they might be "non-renewable resources" is a question that doesn't get asked.

My question here doesn't just apply to sexual morality. You could ignore sex and still have dozens of examples of my question. How about tossing out 10% of ones parent's willingness to fight for their country and their civilization? If each generation chucks another 10%, where does that lead????

Maybe there are some good liberal answers to these questions. I sure haven't seen them....

To be a liberal (or a libertarian) is to not think.

Posted by John Weidner at August 19, 2006 9:48 AM
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