April 24, 2024

Left out on euthanasia

Some years ago, I received an unexpected phone call from a Melbourne magazine which described itself as the voice of the Australian Left. One of the editors wanted me to write an article about euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke. “He’s ****ing the proletariat over, comrade,” was his interpretation of Dr Nitschke’s mission. I obliged and was later rewarded with an invitation to the magazine’s Christmas party. I had an interesting chat there with an enthusiastic fan of Stalin’s philosophical works (“much misunderstood”), thus dispelling any misgivings I might have had about the magazine’s left-wing credentials.

Nowadays, “left-wing” almost certainly indicates support for euthanasia. That’s why I was gratified to read that the defeat of a euthanasia bill in Portugal last week was due to the opposition of the Communist Party. Its leader, João Oliveira, told the Portuguese parliament that:

“Faced with the problems of human suffering, illness, disability or incapacity, the solution is not to remove responsibility from society by promoting the early death of people in these circumstances, but to promote social progress in order to ensure conditions for a decent life.” 

That’s what I thought left-wing politics was all about: protecting the disadvantaged. Have left-wingers in the Anglosphere lost their way?

Michael Cook
That’s what left-wing politics is supposed to be about: protecting the disadvantaged