Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, Government — Rick Moran @ 10:05 am

In the futuristic movie Soylent Green, life is so bad due to overpopulation that people are encouraged to go to suicide centers where they can end their lives comfortably. The catch is that the dead bodies are then recylced into food - “Soylent” Green, Red, and other rainbow colors all to feed the hungry billions.

Suicide has an interesting history in the west where some societies actually thought it an honorable exit. Since most who took advantage of lax societal standards on taking one’s own life were in trouble with the government in one way or another and destined for execution, the alternative to how the government was going to kill you seemed a much less painful way to go.

But the troubling aspect of Soylent Green was that it was so horrifying a thought to believe that government would ever go so far as encouraging people to end their lives in order to save precious resources for the living. It could never happen in a million years, right? Just a dumb movie, eh?

Art imitates life:

The founder of the Swiss assistedsuicide 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.

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.

Did you get that? Suicide would “save money” for the national health care boondoggle in Great Britain. And that’s a reason to allow suicide for healthy people? 

By definition, someone who seriously contemplates suicide who is healthy otherwise is mentally ill. The short circuiting of the brain’s survival mechanism occurs in deep depressions brought on by disease. Clinically depressed people cannot choose suicide because they are not responsible.  A depression that so debilitates someone that they care not whether they live or die and thus allows them to see death as a way out of their psychic pain can be treated with the proper drugs and within a few months, the individual will look back on that dark period and wonder how they could have contemplated ending their own lives. With death having such a hard finality to it, it is up to government to protect, not encourage those whose mental condition prevents them from making a rational choice. 

Since our culture has forbidden suicide, the argument that “the Romans did it” doesn’t hold much water. What one society finds acceptable, another may outlaw. The Romans also allowed gladiator games for a time where participants fought to the death. Should be emulate them in that activity also? 

And yet, here’s this guy pushing people who aren’t terminally ill to take the needle and end it all. I would like to point out that assisted suicide opponents have been making this argument for years and been ridiculed for doing so - that helping terminally ill patients end their lives was only the first step down a slippery slope that would one day include healthy people being encouraged to end their lives and even government some day deciding who stays and who goes.

That last seems a bit of a stretch today. But back in the 1970’s when Soylent Green was playing in theaters, how weird was it to see healthy people going to a designated place to end their lives?  In short, anything can happen once you take a walk on a road where possibilities are only as remote as the limits we place upon ourselves.

What about that slippery slope now?


  1. You have given too much authority to Minelli, who is the founder of a clinic, not a government worker… he is being idiot on his own time, he is not speaking for any government.

    Two phrases that always start warning bells with me are “slippery slope” and “chilling effect”… each of them usually signal that someone just wants to stop the discussion. Each phrase treats the status quo as something that is important to preserve, without actually saying that. I have a distrust of that, whether it comes from liberals or conservatives… both groups are guilty of this.

    Our culture, which you say has “forbidden suicide”, is actually in the midst of a discussion about suicide.

    You invoke “Soylent Green” to give some zip to your slippery slope argument… oooh, I’m very afraid.

    If we are going to fantasize about ghastly situations, how about the case of the saintly grandmother in Oregon suffering from inoperable cancer… she’s in such pain that massive amounts of opiates can only limit it… she is moaning “I want to die, I want to die…” but her heartless grandson won’t allow the assisted suicide because he wants the money from her life insurance policy.

    Oh, the slippery slope of those anti-suicide policies, it moves me to tears.

    Comment by Postagoras — 4/3/2009 @ 10:52 am

  2. Rick,

    If you ever saw the movie “Logan’s Run” you will see the logical consequence of government getting involved and engineering society.

    Comment by Dale in NJ — 4/3/2009 @ 11:18 am

  3. It isn’t so much about rationality as it is about rationing. The Left has a legitimate point that health care rationing already occurs via HMO’s. But this is like their complaints about Bush’s deficits, which have been dwarfed by the Democratic spending orgy so quickly it has become a ludicrous comparison. Once the government fully takes over health care, rationing will be so balls to the wall memories of HMO’s will bring a tear to the eye.

    Assisted suicide is the logical extension of a system that can only provide so little care that in the end people die as they await their turn on the table. Your concerns about people with depression are warranted, of course, but this Brave New World has to break a few eggs and all. Not to go off on a tangent, but echoes of the Weimar Republic can be heard throughout the West now. The eugenics and euthanasia of that hyperinflated era may become contemporary “necessities.”

    Comment by jackson1234 — 4/3/2009 @ 12:19 pm

  4. Great blog!

    Comment by Christopher Hamilton — 4/3/2009 @ 12:49 pm

    In our system, the people who make regulations and laws are elected representatives. If you do not want government sponsored suicide clinics forcing citizens to commit suicide so the dead can be turned into colorful food substances, do not vote for legislators who want to enact a law allowing government suicide clinics that use the dead bodies to make colorful food substances.

    In the words of Glenn Beck, “We surround them, they do not surround us (holds back tears) ….

    Comment by bsjones — 4/3/2009 @ 1:02 pm

  6. Rick,
    I think you are right. This scenario is a bit of a stretch. For now…..

    Comment by bsjones — 4/3/2009 @ 1:05 pm

  7. Why do healthy people need help with suicide? I understand guns are hard to come by in Europe, but can’t they just jump of a bridge?

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 4/3/2009 @ 3:37 pm

  8. Soylent Green and Logan’s Run and some other films are great example of an all powerful government controling the lives of its citizens. Politicians always think they and they alone have the solutions and the masses are simply dumb and uninformed so they must show the way. Its not what governments stand for, but how much power we allow them to accumulate—the more power they get the more they will want. Its just the nature of the beast. The beast being government. The bigger the government the smaller and smaller the individual becomes, his rights become fewer as the government grows. Anyone who thinks differently on this is living in a fools world.

    Comment by Ron Russell — 4/3/2009 @ 8:35 pm

  9. Here is a link to one of the most liberal radio programs on NPR called “Fresh Air”:


    The link is to an interview with a liberal doctor who thinks the problem with medicine is TOO MUCH end of life care.

    Listen and hear the Liberal perspective on “end of life” medicine.

    WARNING: This show is so Liberal, Bill O’Reilly actually terminated his interview because of the Liberal bias the reporter insisted on forcing down O’Reilly’s throat.

    Comment by bsjones — 4/4/2009 @ 1:20 am

  10. Gerald Ford said that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take everything you’ve got. Who knows, nationalized healthcare may be a Stalinist tactic to cull the social security herd so the books can balance. With time and gradual conditioning, human life can become such an ordinary thing to waste. You’ll know it’s on when they come for the traditional Catholics, so only the Biden/Pelosi/Notre Dame pretenders remain.
    Values in politics come down to the most basic of questions: is life sacred or not? One side demands universal respect for life. The other prefers “life for me, but not for thee.”

    Comment by mark30339 — 4/4/2009 @ 8:39 am

  11. As a 77-year old who last year went through a horrendous series of surgeries.. ending up minus one leg.. I can tell you very clearly that is is NOT irrational to think about suicide. When I see MEDICARE being obliterated by health care for old folks.. there will be NOTHING left for my children. I can estimate that my various illnesses over the past five years have cost the helath care system well in excess of $300,000. We are coming to a time when suicide will become a reasonable alernative to those of us who care about the future for our children.

    Comment by bob schwalbaum — 4/8/2009 @ 1:11 pm

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