Slippery slopes n\’all that

Those of us who are freedom and liberty denying enough to object to assisted suicide have often tried to point out that there\’s something of a slippery slope here.

Yes, of course, upping the morphine dose to the point of respiratory failure for someone who will die in agony in a couple of days is quite probably an advance in human mercy.

But people like me, freedom and liberty denying as we are, tend to go on to point out that it won\’t stop there. In particular, that we\’ll end up with those with mental problems being offed: when, of course, one of the defining characteristics of mental problems is that those suffering them are not compos mentis and are therefore incapable of proper informed consent or decision making.

Here\’s one of the organisations that helps assisted suicides complaining about the way in which Switzerland is thinking of tightening up their laws on the matter:

Another group, Dignitas, said that if associations were banned from offering assisted suicide to people suffering from chronic illnesses or psychiatric problems, it could lead to \”solitary suicides on railway tracks or from high bridges.\”

We\’ve moved rather a long way down that slippery slope when instead of the argument being \”how do we set the rules so that we don\’t off nutters\” to \”we should off nutters because they\’ll make the trains dirty\”.

Jus\’ sayin\’

4 comments on “Slippery slopes n\’all that

  1. “one of the defining characteristics of mental problems is that those suffering them are not compos mentis and are therefore incapable of proper informed consent or decision making.”

    I think there’s a bit of a logical leaping going on there. It’s possible to suffer from psychiatric problems and still be capable of making your own decisions – or are you saying anyone under a psychiatrist must grant a power of attorney for all their affairs?

  2. Tim,

    As might perhaps be expected, agree with you completely. Would the state offing mental patients on account of the possibility of their remains fouling the railway network constitute illegal state aid, or worse (gasp!) – a subsidy?

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