Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Act dead. Act accordingly

So it started with a debate on Twitter over supporting a bill on voluntary euthanasia, continued over here by Mark Hubbard.
It continued here at NOT PC, when I used the debate to get you to read John McCaskey’s fantastic piece about Rand Paul and “bleeding heart libertarians.”
David Seymour quickly followed up with a reply, which he used to get you to donate to the ACT Party.
And it continues here today with Suzuki Samurai saying but me no buts…

Act dead. Act accordingly
Guest post by Suzuki Samurai

Is voluntary euthanasia too much of a horse-frightener for Act? Or is it simply a litmus test.

Seymour claims there are “150,000-200,000 New Zealanders who are most in favour of a freer society...” Surely that would include the right to choose the time and manner of one’s own death? Wouldn't it?

Surely that would be a bottom line for any “freer” lover!

Fact is, law recognising the right of voluntary euthanasia law could possibly be one of the most widely-supported views even among the not-so-liberty-minded; in fact, I don't recall ever meeting anyone outside a church who doesn't support it. Christ, even some god peddlers have the decency to ignore the Book on this one. Surveys say so too.

Surely, the chicken-shit ACT board must be pragmatic enough to see votes in it, if not (hush the word) a principle?

If people can't expect ACT get behind this legislation for more liberty & and human dignity, what in the hell can they expect? Not even six months after the election and it's back to square one...sorry, I mean: one square.


  1. Jesus, the hysteria...

    Fact: there is no law on the table to 'get behind'. What's being demanded is that Seymour should champion such a law.

    To do so means basically making that your main focus for the next couple of years as such a thing works its way through select committees, public submissions & public debate. There'd be all kinds of opposition, if not demonstrations. It's not a small job. There's at least 2000 years of western cultural norm sitting there under the hood. (Think homosexual law reform)

    And there's no votes in it. Do you wonder why Andrew Little will not touch it? All work, little gain, politically.

    ACT did not get any serious support at the last election, and Seymour is there because Epsom voted tactically for National. So there's virtually nil support for classical lib/libertarian values.

    Such a law will only come in via one of the big parties. If you wanted to seriously make that happen you'd prob start with Maryann Street & build apolitical cross party support. Over a few years.

    Full discl -- I support voluntary euthanasia, & I've never met David Seymour.

  2. @Sam: Yes, all true enough, except for some added context: that ACT are about to have their first party conference with the new leader in his new hamstrung situation. (Hamstrung both by his party's past and its reliance on National.) So it's entirely appropriate for them (and us) to be considering how they might go about attracting the attention of those 100-150,000 David was talking about...

  3. No, more than Peter says, Sam. My problem is becoming Seymour can't seem to risk even putting on record his personal views on social policy issues such as euthanasia, and I'm assuming drug legalisation, etc.

    Forget libertarian: is he a classical liberal committed to individualism or a big state conservative: he won't say.

    Yes, via his 'flourishing' comments, he advocates 'small state', but I'm starting to suspect he is only doing so in a conservative sense: that is, small state economically, but big state 'morally'. The latter is every bit as bad as being stuck in a command economy: look at life in theocracies.

    And again *for me* forget all the politics. I don't see many issues more important than euthanasia. If you're dying in appalling circumstances, there is nothing more important, and you don't have time for political niceties. At any one time there will certainly be tens, if not hundreds, in such a position - including the feisty old lady, cancer sufferer, featured on Seven Sharp last night, who was indignant she not be able to end her life peacefully. (I recommend going to watch that piece on demand : TV 1, Seven Sharp, February 16).

    Or as I was trying to explain to the christian in comments of my original post, who was trying to argue euthanasia as being narcissistic (FFS), I view politicians who can read or view the plight of people in such a dire position - again Faye Clark in my original piece - then do nothing about it, akin to someone who doesn't stop when first on the scene of a car accident, to provide, if nothing else, comfort.

    What the hell is parliament for if not the lot of individuals? I have no time for political game playing and this dreadful pragmatism all the partisans are advocating for ACT, in ACT or any party. Politics is shit, frankly. Especially partisan, party based politics. A pox on it.

    Anyway, back to work for me. But nice if Seymour might actually state his personal beliefs without having to focus group them first at some stage, or put them past the prime minister.

  4. Have you ever seen anyone try and get a bill through Parliament on the right to die? They falter on the practicality of preventing abuse.

    Members of Parliament often change their mind several times in the course of the debate on the bill, based on new information about either abuse or people not been able to die with dignity.

  5. To, to simply quote another of my posts regarding the unethical position of New Zealand's Medical Association:

    '... Such issues are manageable, proven by those jurisdictions where dying with dignity is legal, the populations of which are not inconsiderable: namely, euthanasia where it is legal in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, but also countries/counties where assisted suicide is legal: Switzerland, Germany, Colombia, Japan, plus the US states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana. Although even this remains wholly beside the point, which is that such issues are to be managed, yes, but just as road deaths do not justify banning driving cars, these points in no way change the important principle that it remains a basic individual right to die in a manner we desire, and it is the right of those doctors who mercifully agree with this, to provide such a service. '

  6. Sorry, that was from this post Jim, one of a series of two from correspondence with Dr Mark Peterson, head of NZMA:


  7. Addendum to my first post to Jim: the hospice association of Montana were against assisted dying when Montana brought it in, but after five years were so impressed with how the law was operating swung in behind it.

    There is no excuse not to have assisted dying law.

  8. @Peter, sure question away, but saying this is a 'litmus test' for their commitment to a free society, and failure to take up the issue means 'they're dead' -- that's questioning?

    Guess one can choose between being reasonable or stomp-your-feet, find a target & rant. There's satisfaction in rant.

    So reasonable question then, would taking up the cause of voluntary euthanasia garner support among those 150-200k? My answer -- nope. Could be wrong, but these kind of issues seem to get alot of public sympathy that does not translate to electoral support.

    Related: will Willi Jackson vote ACT given his like of charter schools? Prob not.

  9. Sam P

    Hopefully you've read of Faye Clark's hellish position in my initial post: you don't feel her plight is a valid reason to, quote, 'target and rant'?

  10. @Mark, it's good to get angry at that situation. 'Rant' in my mind was that of the esteemed Samurai.


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