At Large

Euthanasia, PG-13

Children given instructions on suicide.

By 4.18.11

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As both a science-fiction author and teacher of political science, I have read a good deal of dystopian literature and political horror-stories about the future as nightmare, not to mention the holocausts which have existed not in imagination but reality.

What they have in common is a vision of a society in which individual human life has no value. Nor, of course, does individual conscience or belief.

I have previously described Britain today as showing features of "soft totalitarianism." Recent news items suggest something a good deal nastier may be on the way unless there is a widespread moral regeneration.

One of the most shocking developments has been a video shown to 14-year-old children featuring assisted suicide campaigner Dr. Philip Nitschke, whose extremist attitudes have been condemned even by other pro-euthanasia groups.

Nitschke is shown on the video demonstrating a machine that delivers lethal injections. The film is already being shown to pupils as young as 14 in schools across the country. A program is also being made by the BBC.

There is footage of Nitschke giving workshops on assisted suicide methods. Also appearing in the program is one Michael Irwin, a former doctor and euthanasia campaigner who was struck off the medical register six years ago for attempting to assist a suicide.

The video, being shown as the BBC -- now dominated by the hard left -- is said to encourage assisted suicide. It actually films a man killing himself at the suicide Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Writer Terry Pratchett, an outspoken advocate of euthanasia, presents the documentary, which is due to be broadcast on BBC2 this summer.

Producer and director Thomasina Gibson said of the video: "If you are going to treat teenagers as young adults you have to give them all sides of the argument and let them debate it and make their own minds up."

Of course, the fact the that the program is being shown at all, with the connivance of the government education system, will have the effect of suggesting assisted suicide is socially and morally acceptable, even if, as the makers claim, opponents of assisted suicide will also be given a forum. One need only consider for a moment the effect of a debate between leading experts put out by a public broadcaster as to whether or not murder is acceptable -- before an audience of children or adults -- to see how simply depraved the whole concept is.

The long-term political purpose of this seems quite obvious: to prepare the population to accept the euthanasia of the old and expensive.

Phyllis Bowman of the anti-euthanasia campaign group Right to Life is quoted as pointing out other aspects of the matter:

"When Dr Nitschke gives his workshops he doesn't know whether people have mental health problems or difficulties which would prevent them making an informed choice.

"We believe it's irresponsible to put information on how to end your own life into the ether without knowing who it is going to. Nitschke's extreme views are being foisted on young people at one of the most impressionable periods of their lives."

She also intends to take the matter up with the government, whose Tory leadership, when it comes to social issues, appear to be basically sock-puppets for the far-left Liberal-Democrats. It will be interesting to see what the response will be.

The director of another anti-suicide program, psychologist Dr. Arthur Cassidy, is quoted as saying:

"I have very deep reservations about this video because it has the potential for young people to think about ending their lives.

"There is a wealth of evidence that media -- films, DVDs and videos -- have encouraged a form of experimentation in suicide. And a film like this may well encourage young people to think they are a burden, that they don't fit in or encourage them to feel vulnerable in another way.

"If they are discussing euthanasia it could also lead to a cluster of suicides."

A spokesman for the Department for Education has been quoted as saying: "The Government sets the curriculum but we leave it to teachers to use their common sense and professional judgment on what is best for their set of pupils." It is hard to know exactly what this means, but anyone who trusts the common sense and judgment of at least some school-teachers regarding life-or-death propaganda is at best taking a very big risk indeed.

Meanwhile, in another, not unconnected, front of the British culture war, a 64-year-old electrician, Colin Atkinson, faces the sack for displaying an 8-inch-long Christian palm cross on the dashboard of his company van. This was in spite of -- or should that be because of? -- the fact that his boss at the publicly-funded Wakefield and District Housing Association displays a large picture of Che Guevara in his office.

Former soldier Atkinson said: "The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical, but I will stand up for my faith." The association, which claims that it "aims to influence the embedding of diversity" has provided stalls at gay pride events, held "diversity days" for "travellers" (gypsies), and hosted a "gender reassignment event," titled "A World That Includes Transpeople." It is fairly obvious who it does not include. Without going into Mr. Atkinson's personal circumstances it would seem obvious that for a 64-year-old man to lose his job in Britain today could be personally catastrophic.

This may be another chance for the Tory sock-puppets to surprise everyone by showing some backbone.

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About the Author

Hal G.P. Colebatch, a lawyer and author, has lectured in International Law and International Relations at Notre Dame University and Edith Cowan University in Western Australia and worked on the staff of two Australian Federal Ministers.