15 Feb, 11 | by Iain Brassington
I’ve set my RSS to receive updates from Secondhand Smoke, which is one of the blogs at First Things. It’s written by Wesley Smith, who is affiliated to the Discovery Institute, the creationist thinktank in Seattle: that gives you an indication of the sort of position he occupies – not just on bioethics, but also on global warming, socialised medicine and probably a lot else – so it’s no surprise that I disagree with a lot of what he posts.
I mention this now because I’m currently thinking about the way that euthanasia, and medical killing more generally, get represented in the media, and I’m interested in how the blogosphere handles it. My general hypothesis is that a lot of the coverage is distorting, and is so in a way that harms public debate, and causes unnecessary fear among vulnerable groups. (I mentioned my suspicion here a while ago. For the record, I don’t think that the anti-euthanasia lobby is uniquely open to criticism here, either: the defenders also sometimes seem to have a habit of focusing on isolation, indignity and so on as being inescapably the overwhelming and plainly undesirable characteristics of certain lives, particularly among the old and disabled, such that not considering death is seen as bizarre. Though I’m sympathetic to the legalisation of euthanasia, I think it’s possible to overplay a good moral hand.)