Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Warnock and the 'duty' to die

Baroness Warnock, who will no doubt go down in history as a major architect of the culture of death, has reiterated her belief that some sections of the population have a duty to die rather than be a burden on society. She writes:
If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

This is utilitarianism at its most callous and its most extreme. If people with dementia have no value in Baroness Warnock's eyes on the grounds of costing money and time to care for, where precisely would she draw the line? Should all people with disabilities or long-term illnesses (physical and mental) that require medical assistance and care have a duty to commit suicide? What about people who cannot find work and are reliant, through no fault of their own, on government assistance? How far would Baroness Warnock like to take her ideology? Perhaps the citizens of this country should have to fill in an assessment every year, similar to their tax returns, on their social and economic usefulness to society, to be considered by a panel of experts who could then pass judgment on them.

The kind of society Warnock is helping to build has, as we all know, been tried before. As one of the commentators at the end of the Telegraph article pointed out, Warnock's comments bear a chilling resemblance to SS general Ernst Kaltenbrunner's remarks about the mentally ill, the elderly, and the disabled in 1930's Germany being "useless eaters".

As the saying goes: "He who does not learn the lessons of the past will be condemned to relive it."