Today I’ve been working on a number of things and stopped to browse through my feed reader when I came across Richard Fernandez’s post, “A marvelous opportunity” (emphasis added)
The Times Online describes an chance too good to pass up: to live and let die.
The founder of the Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas was criticised yesterday after revealing plans to help a healthy woman to die alongside her terminally ill husband.
Ludwig Minelli described suicide as a “marvellous opportunity” that should not be restricted to the terminally ill or people with severe disabilities. Critics said that the plans highlighted the risks of proposals to legalise assisted suicides in Britain for people in the final stages of a terminal illness.
The Dignitas clinic in Zurich claims to have assisted in the deaths of more than 100 Britons. The Zurich University Clinic found that more than a fifth of people who had died at Dignitas did not have a terminal condition.
We are sitting here calmly contemplating whether the Oh-so-civilized-Swiss ought to engage in reviving a sanitized, antiseptic version of suttee.
Mind you, not the messy, going-down-in-flames Hindu version that was banned by the pre-politically correct Brits in 1829, but instead a spa-like version – perhaps a Really Last Weekend at Marienbad (and yes, I know that the movie was named Last Year at Marienbad, and that Marienbad is in the Czech Republic not in Switzerland). I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the “assisted suicide” takes place in a setting as lovely as that of the Marienbad movie, complete with couture outfits for the widow, or, instead, like Sol’s “assisted suicide” in Soylent Green in front of a huge film screen. Whatever location you like, Dignitas will come and kill you at the location of your choice – the “death on wheels” service.
I was surprised that Dignitas charges £3,000. One would expect a street hit man to charge less.
But then again, there’s Swiss efficiency for you,
Swiss law specifies that the agencies that help arrange the deaths do it for “honourable reasons” and cannot profit from the death, aside from charging basic fees.
After all, the Swiss have absolutely no compunction about people killing themselves and will even help them. When The Husband and I went to Zurich, a lovely and clean city, junkies were shooting heroin in their veins right in the middle of the city park. It was at once a revolting and pitying sight. When I asked one of the locals who worked at our hotel (housed in a lovely building in the old part of town) what was going on, I was told that the government gave them needles and everything they needed.
Bad enough, but what I find really disturbing in the article Richard links to is this part,
Mr Minelli said that anyone who has “mental capacity” should be allowed to have an assisted suicide, claiming that it would save money for the NHS.
Dignitas, which a couple of years ago couldn’t pay its lease, is eligible for NHS payments? Or, does Minelli mean that killing healthy people will help the NHS not incur in as many expenses?
Swiss prosecutors are investigating Minelli, who, as Richard points out, stands to make money from these suicides. The heirs of the couple in question stand to make money, too. But so does the governmental entities involved; as Minelli so crassly put it, “it would save money for the NHS”. Richard,
The phrase “a marvelous opportunity” can apply to death or to making money. Drink this, sir. It’s a marvelous opportunity. And in any case the real commentary on our civilization is that if there’s a crime being committed, in modern eyes the crime will be in making a profit, not in the death. That reminds me of a bad joke about bandidos. “Most of the time I kill people for money,” said the bandido to someone he knew, “but you’re since my friend, I’ll kill you for nothing.”
I have lived long enough to realize that mankind’s death wish needs little to surface. The hard part is to make life worthwhile, to respect life, to live life as the gift it is.
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Post edited to add a paragraph that was omitted by error