By Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE,
Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, International and a leader of Not Dead Yet UK
The idea of a ‘rational’ suicide is, to Philip Nitschke, mere ‘common sense’. It is a seductive idea – as so many of his pronouncements can be to an unreflective audience – it contains dangerous elisions that serve his purposes and try to bury serious, thoughtful objections. His recent comments follow Belgium’s decision to euthanize one of its prisoners, a serial rapist/murderer.
Counting suicide as a rational act is shallow and self-serving; if people buy the idea from him, then he stands to sell more of his death-kits, take the media limelight for those who kill themselves following his advice, sell more places at his death seminars and sell membership subscriptions to his organisation – make no mistake, Nitschke enjoys his notoriety built from the despair of others, but he makes money too, on their backs already strained to the point of terminal desolation.