The dangerous ideology of ‘rational suicide’

Philip Nitschke (left) and David Goodall (MercatorNet)

The death of a 104-year-old Australian scientist in a suicide clinic in Switzerland is a tragedy, not a triumph of self-affirmation, writes Michael Cook. Source: MercatorNet.

Last Wednesday, a 104-year-old Australian scientist gave a press conference to world media in a crowded auditorium in Switzerland. Sitting in a wheelchair and flanked by euthanasia campaigners, Dr David Goodall declared that "Everyone over middle age should have the right unquestioned to end their lives as and when they choose.”

The next day he was dead.

Dr Goodall, a distinguished ecologist, was not terminally ill. He was just tired of living. He was frail and his hearing and sight were poor, but he was lucid and not in any pain.

So, as a long-time member of Philip Nitschke’s Exit International organisation, Dr Goodall was turned into a poster boy for legalising suicide on demand – so-called “rational suicide” – in Australia and elsewhere.

“I greatly regret having reached that age,” Dr Goodall said upon reaching his 104th birthday. “I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented. My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights including the right of assisted suicide.”

Seeking an early release had been on Dr Goodall’s mind for years and he had already attempted to commit suicide.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this sad episode.

Pro-euthanasia organisations are eager to exploit the loneliness and isolation of the elderly. Dr Nitschke was at the front and centre of organising Dr Goodall’s departure from Australia. And a credulous media seems too incompetent to look beyond the cheerful burblings of press releases. Headlines like “The beautiful way 104-year-old Dr David Goodall chose to spend his last day on earth” were the result of shallow thinking and unquestioning acceptance of Dr Nitschke’s enthusiastic promotion.

The goal of pro-euthanasia organisations is nothing less than a universal right to suicide. Most of the public’s support for euthanasia and assisted suicide comes from people who think that no one should be allowed to die a lingering death in torment. But Dr Goodall and his mentor Dr Nitschke were advocating something completely different: a state-supported right to die at any age, for any reason.

– Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.


The dangerous ideology of ‘rational suicide’ (MercatorNet)


Calvary won’t offer voluntary euthanasia, even if it’s made legal (Canberra Times

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