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The Forum > Article Comments > Canberrans want good deaths > Comments

Canberrans want good deaths : Comments

By David Swanton, published 5/7/2024

Why are dementia and like conditions such a big issue? Dementia is now the greatest burden of disease in the over-65s, the most significant cause of death in women and the second leading cause of death for all Australians.

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I think Dementia needs a new title.

Demented is not a nice description for a person with a brain disease.

We also observe the political abuse of the demented; Joe Biden springs to mind.
In this case, decisions based on diseased thinking, lead the West into very dark places: Probably a good euphemism for the living condition of the disease effected.

Looking at the Biden example starkly before us now, obviously the problem of dementia, if left to politicians, the plight of the demented is politically exploitable…back to Canberra Ho Ho. They’ll no doubt find a way to turn another’s pain into a vote!

Is all this cynical? Well its meant to be.
Posted by diver dan, Friday, 5 July 2024 9:08:43 AM
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“We are looking forward to educating Canberrans …”.

The arrogance of some people! Always wanting to tell other people what they should be doing and thinking. Brainwashing, tinpot dictators that they are.

I am all for VAD for people who want it.

But, when I hear ‘dementia’ the alarm bells ring. Dementia is the most mis-diagnosed disease out. It is also exploited by people making money out of it: including expectant heirs of old old people they want out of the way.

However, this bloke is windbagging about “Canberrans” only; and who cares about them!
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 5 July 2024 9:45:29 AM
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David, you wrote: “No suffering person should be excluded from VAD. . . all people should be able to determine what is right for their own bodies.”

Going on the above quote, you now want there to be no limits at all on who can gain access to being killed upon request.

You wrote, “no suffering person should be excluded from VAD”, without giving any caveats whatsoever as to what that “suffering” may be.

Given your evident very high commitment to personal autonomy presumably you would leave it to each individual to decide what level of suffering was unacceptable. Like Philip Nitschke, would you want it to be made available to, “the depressed, the elderly bereaved, and the troubled teen”? After all, they are suffering.

But again, in view of what you have written, of course you would. You went on to write, “all people should be able to determine what is right for their own bodies”.

Clearly you are saying here that you don’t even require someone to be suffering at all in order for them to be killed upon request. The only thing that is required is that the person themselves determines that death is right for them.

Incredible.
Posted by JP, Friday, 5 July 2024 10:23:50 AM
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ttbn
I’m sorry that you seem to be opposing me educating people on voluntary assisted dying (VAD).

Please correct me if I have misunderstood your point.

Education is important; it is about training the mind to think.

I’m not telling individual people what they must do, rather I’m arguing that people (with appropriate decision making capacity) should have the right to make decisions about their own lives and choose VAD if appropriate.
In Australia, this right is being denied by politicians. They have been legislating so that all people cannot make decisions about their own lives.

Given that I am the Exit ACT leader, it is entirely appropriate that I comment on the VAD needs of Canberrans.
In particular, I was commenting on the recent ACT voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law.
I’m sorry, but I’m wondering why you don’t accept that I should do that?
Rather than attacking me, it is more appropriate to address the issues in my article.

People in Canberra, and also in Australia, are concerned about suffering from dementia and not having access to VAD.
Why shouldn’t dementia sufferers be able to draft advance care directives or have a VAD power of attorney so that their wishes can be respected?
Your comments on dementia don’t address the issue of individual autonomy.
We should respect all people, Canberrans or otherwise.
Why do you choose to not respect some groups?

You should be able to construct sound arguments in favour or whatever position you hold, including VAD. I would appreciate hearing your argument.

thanks, David
Posted by David Swanton, Sunday, 7 July 2024 6:44:07 PM
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JP
Individual autonomy should be paramount.

I suspect that nobody would like you, me, doctors, or churches, telling them whether they can have an abortion, overrule their choice of sexual partner or reject their choice of voluntary assisted dying (if they have appropriate decision making capacity).

I would recommend that you read the comprehensive Exit ACT submission at https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/2354456/VAD-Submission-029-Exit-ACT-and-Ethical-Rights.pdf to understand how individual autonomy, in particular the human rights model, should be applied to VAD.

If you reject my call for individual autonomy for individuals with decision making capacity, I would argue that there is no rational alternative.
If it is not each person making decisions about their lives, who should it be?

I am wondering why you think that every person should not be allowed to make decisions about their own body and life?

Can you develop an acceptable and rational alternative to people (with appropriate decision making capacity) making decisions about their own lives?

Rather than making dismissive comments, I would like to think that you could construct sound arguments in favour of your position on any matter. 'Incredible' is not an argument.

I would be interested in your argument.

Thanks

David
Posted by David Swanton, Sunday, 7 July 2024 6:46:28 PM
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David

Thank-you for responding – so few authors engage with the commenters.

Firstly, in your reply, I can see – by reading between the lines - that it is indeed the case that you think that anyone, whether they are suffering in any respect or not, should be assisted to be killed upon their request.

What I don’t understand is, why didn’t you explicitly make that point in your original article?

Are you concerned that parents would not support you if they knew you would want their teenager (let’s say an 18-year-old) to be assisted to be killed if the teens first love broke up with them and the teen then repeatedly said, “I want to die”? At least Nitschke had the nerve to put in writing that he supported the assisted killing of “troubled teens”. (Although he was often very reluctant to publicly admit later that he had done so!)

I know you repeatedly use the phrase, at least in your reply to me, “with appropriate decision making capacity” to provide a suggestion of some degree of limitation to absolute personal autonomy. However, you did not provide any definition to the phrase.

Would you say that a healthy 18-year-old would have appropriate decision-making capacity? Presumably you would. Please say clearly just what it is that you want.

Secondly, you are not simply saying that almost anyone should be allowed to commit suicide. You are saying that society has not only to accept suicide but that we must assist it to happen. It is one thing for someone to want to kill themselves, and if they are determined to do so, there is often little that can be done to stop them. It is quite a different thing to say we have a responsibility to accept and enable their suicide.
Posted by JP, Monday, 8 July 2024 10:37:49 AM
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