Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Euthanasia Debate I: Email to Dr. Mark Peterson, Chair NZ Medical Association.

Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, has been running a series of workshops mooting changing the way doctors certify deaths so as to highlight those cases of voluntary hidden euthanasia that indubitably occur, because:

… as elderly patients are nursed to death, physicians or relatives could mercifully, but illegally, hasten their death and escape without conviction, Judge Neil MacLean said.

It’s par for the course in these brute bureaucratic days that ‘mercifully’ segues so immediately into illegally, then from that to a criminal conviction (for being merciful); and needless to say, if procedure for certifying were changed in accordance with Judge MacLean’s unmerciful wishes, even those ‘merciful’ voluntary euthanasia’s that currently occur via compassionate doctors, will stop. We will then be in a truly hellish situation. I would wish for Judge MacLean to know his efforts in this area are as unwanted as they are barbaric in the outcomes he desires; indeed coroners are quickly joining that brigade of big nosed busy bodies I wish would bugger off ... 


So why, by the twenty first century, are we still denied the right of euthanasia?

I have dealt many times on this blog with the callousness of a political system – the opposite of the minarchy I advocate - where such an important individual right as to die by choice with dignity in the arms of  loved ones, is left up to a conscience vote by our political masters in the Fortress of Legislation. It’s inappropriate because my death is nothing to do with these 120 total strangers, many of them just straight strange, period, worse, many of them mysticism bound Christian conservatives with an eye to a monstrous God rather than flesh and blood, thinking human beings, and not a single member of whom represents many, or any, of my own beliefs. However, leaving that aside, there is a further problem for the New Zealand euthanasia campaign in the form of a medical professional; he appears in this article, plus I’ve seen him interviewed previously, many times, and unfortunately given his position, he inevitably crops up as the mainstream media’s first go-to: that man is anti-euthanasia advocate Dr Mark Peterson, who for all our sins happens to also be Chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association.  Quoting him from this piece:

New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) chairman Dr Mark Peterson is an anti-euthanasia advocate who believes it should never be legalised.

If it was legalised for the terminally ill, Peterson feared it could be extended to the chronically ill and then potentially to those suffering mental health conditions "and you have to wonder where it would stop".

Peterson believed euthanasia went against the historic Hippocratic oath.

My regular readers will understand the savagery with which I am currently stabbing my fingers into my keyboard. Below is an email I have just sent to Dr Peterson, via the NZ Medical Association email address.

* * *

Dear Dr Peterson

At the end of this email I have three questions in light of your outspoken anti-euthanasia advocacy, given that your chairmanship of the New Zealand Medical Association allows you a disproportionate influence in this debate over those of us who demand our basic right to die with dignity, including the right to die in the arms of our loved ones, rather than as our spouses and families stand on the pavement outside, or somewhere equally incongruous, while we try and kill ourselves, alone, with a plastic bag over our head, or other equally barbaric method, our last vision after a lifetime of sights, sounds and loving, being the pattern of the wallpaper. That sentence was obviously written to achieve a certain confrontational effect: I hope you were confronted, as I am affronted. Albeit nothing in it was written to sensationalise, as the imagery I used is drawn from various reports of the desperate lengths some have felt they had to go to in their choice to escape whatever the pain or situation was they felt such desperate measures were necessary. For example, the case of Rosie Mott as described in the publication Auckland - quote:

Rosie was suffering from an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis that gave her tremors, making it hard for her to feed herself, incontinence, and made it hard to walk.

She resolved to take her life in 2010.
Mansfield said Rosie needed someone who would listen to her, help her, and not betray her by reporting her to authorities.

He asked the court to consider what it must have been like for [Mr Evans] Mott to have to say goodbye to his wife and leave the house while she took her life, so he could not be charged in relation to the death.

I would ask you to put yourself in Mr Mott's shoes and understand what that must have felt like.

As a further preamble, I understand some of your objections, however, regarding your comment from this Saturday's Press, quote:

"New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) chairman Dr Mark Peterson is an anti-euthanasia advocate who believes it should never be legalised.

If it was legalised for the terminally ill, Peterson feared it could be extended to the chronically ill and then potentially to those suffering mental health conditions "and you have to wonder where it would stop".

As compared to my opening, that last statement is unproven, knee-jerk sensationalism, and I find it alarming reading such hyperhole from the Chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association. Such issues are manageable, proven by those jurisdictions where dying with dignity is legal, the populations of which are not inconsiderable: namely, euthanasia where it is legal in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, but also countries/counties where assisted suicide is legal: Switzerland, Germany, Colombia, Japan, plus the US states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana. Although even this remains wholly beside the point, which is that such issues are to be managed, yes, but just as road deaths do not justify banning driving cars, these points in no way change the important principle that it remains a basic individual right to die in a manner we desire, and it is the right of those doctors who mercifully agree with this, to provide such a service.

Your stated philosophical position is that you are anti-euthanasia because it is against the Hippocratic oath, to which I would add 'as you interpret it', because this interpretation does not appear to be held by all medical professionals. That is, given, as evidenced by this article there are many hundreds of doctors in New Zealand who are prepared, albeit illegally, to help people die with dignity - and they are doing so secretly all the time - and thus as doctors don't see the provision of such mercy as constrained by their Hippocratic oath. And given the quotation from Christchurch Hospital specialist Professor Mike Ardagh, who has a PhD in bioethics, that "active voluntary euthanasia was at times the right thing to do". And finally given that in the countries and counties mentioned above where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, many thousands - at the least - of doctors who ascribe to the same Hippocratic oath feel very comfortable with supplying voluntary euthanasia, or drugs to assist suicide, those services governed by the necessary safeguards, I come to my first question to you which is this:

Do you subscribe to any form of religious belief, and religious practice, that influences your interpretation of the Hippocratic oath, and thus your anti-euthanasia views? Given the importance of your position in this debate as the mainstream media's first 'go-to', I think it important this is put on record.

My second query is regards to the logic involved. Namely, your anti-euthanasia belief, and euthanasia and assisted suicide remaining illegal, dooms every individual in New Zealand who would wish for voluntary euthanasia, to dying in circumstances they would not wish, some scenarios of which will be horrific. Yet for those (many) of us who believe in the right to die with dignity, we have no desire, whatsoever, to force such practice on those who don't want this; that is, it is obviously voluntary. So lack of a law such as the one Maryan Street proposes forces a portion of the population into dying in possibly dire circumstances against their wishes; while the presence of such humane law is on the basis only of complete voluntarism, meaning there is no harm to anyone, vis a vis, everyone gets to live, and die, as they wish to. Given this, how do you morally justify your stance, which arrogantly proscribes your beliefs on others whose lives, and deaths, are no business of yours?

Thirdly, neither in this article, or numerous interviews and pieces I have seen or read of you in, have I seen an indemnity to the effect you are merely giving your own opinion: you seem to be speaking for the The New Zealand Medical Association. Is that correct? Is the official stand of NZMA one of anti-euthanasia? From this, has any polling been conducted amongst the members of the Association regarding their beliefs on legalising euthanasia? If so what are those results? If no polling has been conducted, why not, given the importance of this issue to many New Zealanders, myself included?

I await your reply with interest, and you may have noticed, more than a tad miffed.

Yours faithfully

Mark Hubbard

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