by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist
The idea of euthanasia seems to be a difficult one for some people, especially for those in government.
Taking one’s own life has religious relevance, as most religions have the idea that God gave life and it is His to take away. With the decline in religious faith that aspect of euthanasia is fading. I don’t know where the Muslims sit on the question of euthanasia, or suicide, as the idea of suicide bombing and losing one’s life in order to kill infidels seems to be alive and well with Islamic extremists.
In 1995 the Northern Territory government in Australia passed a very well-thought-out piece of legislation allowing assisted suicide in cases of terminal illness. There were very strict controls and permissions approvals required and the legislation was in place for months before the Federal Government of Australia under Prime Minister John Howard used its over-riding authority to squash the legislation. But not before four terminally ill people from other states availed themselves of the chance to peacefully end their lives.
Surveys have shown that the majority of Australian voters are in agreement with the idea of euthanasia in some situations. And yet the government chooses to deny people this very basic choice of when and how to die.
Self-ownership, the idea that one owns one’s life and is free to live it as one chooses (providing he does not violate the same rights of others), is the most ethical and moral of philosophies. I would say it is the only truly ethical and moral way to live and to allow others to live. And the natural extension of this is to be able to choose and how and when to die.
The desire to live, to stay alive, to survive and endure is very strong. The vast majority of us want to live as fully and as long as possible, and taking our own lives is an act of despair brought about sometimes by a psychological condition, or sometimes by physical or health condition which brings the sufferer to a point where he or she no longer wants to live. Life for them is no longer worth living.
Often family members or doctors assist with the departure of a loved one. I know people who have done this out of kindness and love and respect, a brave act of true love. It is also a sane and sensible, but covert, act of civil-disobedience against a legislated victimless crime.
Withholding medication is legal; assisting dying with medication or other means is illegal. If I am capable of taking my own life it’s okay. If I need assistance from a loved one or a professional it renders the assistor liable to prosecution.
There are countries in the world where euthanasia is legal and practiced and some people travel to these places to end their lives peacefully. But this is expensive and it may be very stressful and difficult for the dying person if he or she is incapacitated. And most people would prefer to die at home.
Self-ownership is honoured often in the breach in most countries. While most civilised countries espouse the idea of the right to live as one pleases, this is violated by such requirements as military conscription (slavery), taxation (theft), property confiscations (theft again), legal tender laws (coercion), recreational drug prohibitions, state-issued currency (fraud) … the list can go on and on; and in there with all the restrictions and constraints on true self-ownership is prohibition on euthanasia — the right to choose ones time and place to die.
Somehow the government has got to thinking it owns part of each of us, that we are not to be allowed to live our lives as we choose, that we should not be allowed to have full Self Ownership, that it, The State, is our master and knows what is best for part of each of us. Perhaps the ethics of true self-ownership, how each of us may choose to live and to die will be debated in its essence one day.
- Welcome from Neville Kennard
- Think Tanks Don't Work
- "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
- The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
- Corporate Welfare
- Citizenship for Sale?
- I Don't Vote
- Voting: Right or Privilege?
- Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
- Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
- Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
- Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
- Government Likes War
- Collusion is Our Right
- Why Not the Drug Olympics?
- Unconventional Wisdom
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- Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
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- The Tannehills
- Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
- Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
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- The Tyranny of the Majority
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- Self-Ownership - the very idea!
- Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
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- My Journey to Anarchy:
From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
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- Neville Kennard Obituary