Sunday, February 04, 2007

Swiss Go Kevorkian on the Mentally Ill

I knew I shouldn't have clicked on the link. There's no joy to be had when Europeans start talking about suicide. This time the Swiss want to expand their Living-is-just-too-much-of-a-bother Law to include people with mental problems. And I'm not involved in mental health, beyond trying to keep a grip on my own, but I believe the Swiss have picked the very worst type of mental illness as a test case: a 53-year old man with serious bipolar affective disorder. It seems like the nature of the disorder should disqualify it - i.e. would this man be asking to die next month? I'll be interested to see if ShrinkWrapped comments on this. Anyway, from the article:

Various organizations exist in Switzerland to help people who want to commit suicide, and assisting someone to die is not punishable under Swiss law as long as there is no "selfish motivation" for doing so...

.....Switzerland is one of a number of countries in Europe that allow assistance to terminally ill people who wish to die.

Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2001 and Belgium in 2002, while Britain and France allow terminally ill people to refuse treatment in favor of death.
As far as the caveat that there be no selfish motivation behind the assisted suicide, it's been argued that all motivation is selfish.

I had a couple af rogue neurons that told me there was a pithy quote from Thomas Hobbs concerning all human motivation being selfish, so I googled it and got this:
Will to Hobbes is just the last desire you have before you take action on it -- hence free will is an absurdity. All motivation is selfish, and ultimately tied to survival. The basic negative emotion is fear, the basic positive emotion is desire for power. Good and bad are purely subjective matters. And so he goes beyond Descartes: Not only are animals just machines, so are we. B. F. Skinner was an admirer of Hobbes.
So now, add that to this depressing subject, and I don't know about you, but I'm going to avoid Swiss doctors for awhile.


The Sanity Inspector said...

The Great Liberal Death Wish, as Malcolm Muggeridge called it, strikes again.