3 Jul, 13 | by Iain Brassington
Basingstoke/ New York: Plagrave Macmillan, 2013; 188+xx pp
Can there be anything new to say on the subject of assisted death of one form or another? One acquaintance of mine has suggested that there ought to be a five-year moratorium on papers about it, on the grounds that there almost certainly isn’t. At the very least, the presumption should be against publication – and it should be a strong presumption at that. I’ve got some sympathy, notwithstanding the amount of ink spilled by me on this very subject. Ahem.
Kevin Yuill, an academic at the University of Sunderland and occasional contributor to Spiked Online (edited by hack contrarian-by-numbers Brendan O’Neill (q.v.), who also provides a foreword and the cover blurb to this book), came to Manchester a few years ago to give a paper that purported to be a libertarian case against assisted dying. Now that looks new. Libertarians – intuitively – are for… well, fewer things being against the law. So for a libertarian to be arguing against legalisation of something, even when it’s consensual, could be an innovative move in libertarianism, or in assisted dying debates, or both at once. Now, I have to admit that his paper wasn’t well-received by the students. But a lot of time has passed since then, and it’s possible that the gaps in the argument have been filled, the weaknesses strengthened, and so on.
So then: how do things stand now? Is this the kind of book that should be allowed to break the embargo? more…