Pete, mate. It’s alright. Don’t worry. I’m here. Sheeesh!
Peter FitzSimons seemed a little worried about me in his latest Sydney Morning Herald column so I thought I better let him know I haven’t disappeared. See:
So where are you now, you fierce opponents of euthanasia and the right-to-die?
He also had this to say:
How many of you, honestly, can look at the triumphant – you heard me – passing of the 104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall in Switzerland on Thursday and say that he got it wrong, that society is on a slippery slope, et cetera?
Which leads the glib side of me to question when Pete will do us all a favour and have his own triumphal moment.
Flippant jokes aside, FitzSimons’ column did get me thinking, particularly in light of the two recent tragic events that have come from Western Australia.
The first was the euthanasia (albeit in Switzerland) of WA scientist, David Goodall, so enthusiastically embraced by Australia’s most well-known wannabe pirate. And the second was the apparent murder/suicide that resulted in the deaths of seven people from WA’s Margaret River region.
According to the moral world-view of Peter FitzSimons, both of these tragedies are equivalent. In the grand cosmic scheme of Atheistic Things, the end results for David Goodall and Peter Miles are exactly the same: absolute nothingness.
Or, in other words, both men’s actions have the same moral meaning and results. This is not so much an injustice, but the inference of a theory that logically concludes that there is no such thing as justice all.
And, as much as atheists may deny this, that is absolutely the implication of a universe without a perfect being with the ability to perfectly judge the actions of men.
If there is no judge, there can be no punishment or reward for breaking or keeping the rules. And if that is the case, then are no real rules at all. It flows, then, that the concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, moral and immoral are meaningless.
Men might have rules. But regardless of whether they are complied with internally through some individual ethical worldview or enforced externally through some societal mechanism, when it comes to the crunch there is no objective judgement, let alone one that lasts.
There can only be a brief life of self-judgement or the enforced judgement of others which, by the way, has no legitimate foundation other than might is right.
In the big picture, these man-made rules are futile and fade to nothing against the moral meaninglessness of the universe.
Given this, Peter FitzSimons is unable to articulate with any clarity why David Goodall is different to Peter Miles.
Sure. He might be able to claim that Goodall’s euthanasia was voluntary and only impacted on himself whereas Miles’ murder/suicide took the lives of others without their consent. He might also argue that Goodall’s death was legal whereas Miles’ ending was not.
The answer, according to strict atheistic logic, is so what?
In an atheistic world, there is simply no reason to judge Peter Miles’ actions as evil. He, for all intents and purposes, is able to kill his wife, daughter and grandchildren without consequence, just as wild bears do. Against the back drop of a godless universe, the concept that ‘consent’ is required for something to be moral is nothing more than a made up idea of some puffed-up men who, ironically, can only claim that their idea has merit by forcing it upon others – whether they like it or not.
And in a world where you like to ridicule the idea of a slippery slope it is very dangerous to get all legalistic about these tragedies. If the only thing that separates Goodall from Miles is an act of parliament passed by a bunch of people who believe they have the power to legislate right and wrong, then I give you one slippery slope, complete with detergent and a torrent of water.
But there’s more to this story. And this is really the shocking part.
Because while Peter FitzSimons might seem to be closer in mind to Goodall than Miles, his beliefs are in fact more in line with the alleged mass-murderer from Margaret River than the now-euthanised scientist.
Much has been made in recent days of David Goodall’s belief that the world is overpopulated and doomed by climate change, as detailed by Philip Nitschke on ABC radio late last week:
ABC presenter: What was your last conversation with David?
Philip Nitschke: Actually it was interesting. It was about global warming and his thoughts, and ah, we were discussing whether or not the world was over-populated. He was of the strong opinion it was and that we’d reached the planet-carrying capacity.
His position was that there was going to be a disaster that would seriously reduce the human race numbers. And then he added that one way to help out would be to allow people like [Goodall] who want to die to have that choice a little easier than what [he] had to go through…
Whatever you might think of Goodall’s last act, his logic cannot be denied. He believed that there are too many people on this planet and that it would benefit the rest of us if he took decisive action to reduce that number.
So he did.
You could quibble that taking 104 years to get to this point was a tad selfish but David Goodall’s last act accorded with the views of a man who believes the human race needed a vast reduction numbers.
Now it is well known that Peter FitzSimons also holds these views. For years he’s banged the climate-change drum and attacked the Vatican like some modern day prophet, claiming disaster is not only imminent but upon us.
And yet he is still here among us.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that Peter thinks the world has too many people other than himself. It is others he would rather see dead.
And in this sense, his outlook is far closer to that of the alleged Margaret River murderer than the old man who took his own life in Switzerland.
This, by the way, is the same Peter Fitzsimons who claims there is no slippery slope and that the states should bring in the euthanasia laws that he so happily champions…
…laws that are based on an ‘ethical’ understanding that it is fine to end a life and that the government has the legitimate power to determine how this will be done, by who and to who.
As they say in the classics, never trust a wannabe pirate with your life.