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Lipstick On Suicide

Pig putting on lipstick

No matter how much lipstick you smear on a pig, it's still going to be a pig. And no matter how much Bill C-384 you smear on suicide, it will always remain suicide.

But first, a few facts about Bill C-384. It's on www.parl.gc.ca, is sponsored by Francine Lalonde (MP for the Bloc Québécois), and basically says if the patient is in severe pain (physical or mental) and wants to commit suicide, the "medical practitioner" can kill this patient. The rest of the Bill is just details to make sure this patient really wants to commit suicide (i.e. the patient must be 18 years of age or over, "apparently lucid", the request must be in writing, etc.).

We could argue about minor imperfections in this Bill. For example, Section "222.7.a.i.A" says a patient can refuse "appropriate treatment" for his mental pain, and still ask to be killed. So according to the current wording, your doctor could legally kill you because the Montreal Canadians hockey team has no prospect of winning the Stanley Cup, and that causes you severe mental pain, even though there is an appropriate treatment available to cure you (stop drinking beer and get a life).

Instead, I'll try to concentrate on the essential. As usual, everything depends on unwritten assumptions. Let's put out in the open the unwritten assumption of Bill C-384:

An eggbeater doesn't have value in itself, but is a pure instrument designed to beat eggs. If eggs disappear, the eggbeater doesn't have any reason to exist anymore, and we can eliminate it.

It's the same thing for men. A man is a purely material instrument which exists to feel physical pleasure. If his possibilities of having physical pleasure are reduced, or if he hinders somebody else's pleasure, a man no longer has a reason to exist, and must be eliminated, by himself or by someone else, wilfully or otherwise.

No matter your opinions on Bill C-384, the fact remains that we will all die. No matter your beliefs, the fact remains we are either purely material beings, or not. And if we are purely material beings, then there is no such thing as "human dignity". If we are purely material beings, then we are just bunches of molecules temporarily assembled by a purposeless evolution, or as Dogbert puts it: "Organic pain-collectors racing toward oblivion".

The expression "dying with dignity" is a contradiction in terms. If we are purely material beings, there is no dignity, either in dying or in living.

But if we have a spiritual soul, then Someone had to give it to us, and that Someone should decide when our earthly life ends, not us.

Originally published in Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, 2009-Nov-11.

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