As reported here at The College Conservative, the nation’s capital is considering allowing physicians to kill their patients if consent is given. Make no mistake: legalizing assisted suicide would be a disaster for all of us.
A nation, if it is to remain one, must share common values (or perhaps more precisely, a shared hierarchy of values). Our nation is no different. Values such as independence, self-sufficiency, and free speech are hallmarks of America. These values have shaped America and continue to play a large part in our national identity. A corollary of this, of course, is that a nation must share a collective rejection of other values. A culture that values, say, male dominance of the household will naturally reject female independence. All values are not created equal. This is true not only in the moral sense but even in a utilitarian sense. A culture whose overriding value is submitting to dictatorial authority, such as North Korea, is not only morally wrong but also severely backwards (witness the tremendous poverty and famine caused by its corrupt centrally-controlled government).
Perhaps the most basic value a culture must have if it is to succeed in survival is a respect for human life. The Radical Islamist rejection of the value of human life is thus not only morally repugnant but also virtually ensures that their culture will never succeed in perpetuating itself. While it may survive for a while, ultimately its rejection of this basic, primordial value dooms it to the ash heap of history.
Which is, to my mind, perhaps the biggest problem with legalizing murder with consent. Utilitarian “slippery slope” concerns are real, troubling, and dangerous. So are concerns for the safety of those elderly or sickly people who would follow the exhortation, as old as the Bible itself, to choose life. But make no mistake. Allowing the frail and ill to choose to cut off the continuation of their lives means that we as a society are saying that the decision to end life is morally unobjectionable. If we allow physicians to end their patients’ lives if consent is given, we are in effect declaring that there is no objective value in continuing life despite suffering, that there is no moral imperative to choose life. Allowing murder with consent is a declaration that we as a society do not set human life at the top of our hierarchy of values.