Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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“Right to die”: The deceptive slogan of the world’s worst friends

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

The expression “right to die” keeps coming up in headlines today, but the newspapers aren’t biased or nuthin’ ... nosirree!

But that has always been one that has confused me. How can such a thing exist? What does it mean to have a “right” to do something you can’t avoid doing anyway? Isn’t it just a meaningless tautology? It’s one of the most blatantly dishonest of all the Death Culture’s slogans. What they mean, of course, is a “right to commit suicide or be killed,” but that’s a much tougher sell.

Shouldn’t Mr. Nicklinson be helped to feel happier about his life? To not want to die and to cope better with his situation? How is it helping him by saying, “Yes, we agree. Your life is worthless.”

I do indeed feel terribly badly for him, but not because the court has refused to allow his wife to kill him. To murder him, in fact. I feel badly because he is surrounded by people who refuse to help him be less depressed, as he obviously is. I’ve been depressed, often and badly and recently.

All through the last year I have been cared for very closely by the people in my life. What would have happened to me, say when I was in the middle of painful and terrifying cancer treatments if they had been the kind of people Mr. Nicklinson is surrounded by? What if, in those bad moments, my friends had said, “Gosh yes, you’re right. You ought to give up and just die of cancer. We’ll be happy to help.” I would be in worse despair because I would then know that my friends didn’t love me and want the best for me.

My heart really does go out to this poor man, and it’s not because he’s disabled. Lots of people are disabled, even severely disabled, and love life and aren’t depressed. But they have to have the right kind of help.

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