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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.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
  68. Neville Kennard in 1979 proposes new alliances to end penalty rates
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