July 9th 2011

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Timely review of Australia's defence posture

DEFENCE I: 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy

DEFENCE II: Contemplating the RAN's next 100 years

CANBERRA OBSERVED: The enduring legacy of Rudd's autocratic style

CLIMATE CHANGE: Lack of sunspots points to global cooling

WATER: Two inquiries lambast Murray-Darling Basin plan

ENERGY I: The cost of trashing base-load power generation

ENERGY II: Renewable energy drive "economically counter-productive": Spanish study

WAR ON TERROR: Terror threat undiminished after Bashir verdict

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Vietnamese clash with Beijing over South China Sea

UNITED STATES: Mitt Romney’s White House bid under attack

UNITED KINGDOM: Children now given instructions on suicide

UNITED NATIONS: Anti-Israel bias sets back women's rights

ISLAM: More examples of creeping sharia

SOCIETY: Link between teen sex and subsequent divorce

POPULATION: UN in denial over "demographic winter"

BOOK REVIEW Never far from disaster

BOOK REVIEW Counter-cultural book for our times

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Children now given instructions on suicide

by Hal G.P. Colebatch

News Weekly, July 9, 2011

As both a science-fiction author and teacher of political science, I have read a good deal of dystopian literature and political horror-stories about the future as nightmare, not to mention accounts of holocausts which have existed not in imagination but reality.

What they have in common is a vision of a society in which neither individual human life, nor individual conscience or belief, has any value.

I have previously described today’s Britain as showing features of “soft totalitarianism”. Recent news items suggest something a good deal nastier may be on the way unless there is a widespread moral regeneration.

One of the most shocking developments has been a video shown to 14-year-old British children featuring Australian assisted suicide campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke, whose extremist attitudes have been condemned even by other pro-euthanasia groups.

Nitschke is shown on the video demonstrating a machine that delivers lethal injections. The film is already being shown to pupils as young as 14 in schools across the country. A program is also being made by the BBC.

There is footage of Nitschke giving workshops on assisted suicide methods. Also appearing in the program is one Michael Irwin, a former doctor and euthanasia campaigner who was struck off the medical register six years ago for attempting to assist a suicide.

The video being shown on the BBC — an institution now dominated by the hard left — is said to encourage assisted suicide. It actually films a man killing himself at the Dignitas suicide clinic in Switzerland. Writer Terry Pratchett, an outspoken advocate of euthanasia, presents the documentary, which has, understandably, achieved a great deal of publicity.

Producer and director Thomasina Gibson said of the video: “If you are going to treat teenagers as young adults, you have to give them all sides of the argument and let them debate it and make their own minds up.”

Of course, the fact that the program is being shown at all, with the connivance of the government education system, will have the effect of suggesting assisted suicide is socially and morally acceptable, even if, as the makers promise, opponents of assisted suicide will also be given a forum.

One need only consider for a moment the effect of a public broadcaster allowing debate — before an audience of children or adults — between leading experts as to whether or not murder is acceptable to see how simply depraved the whole concept is.

The long-term political purpose of this seems quite obvious: to prepare the population to accept the euthanasia of the old and expensive.

Phyllis Bowman, coordinator of the British campaign group Right to Life Charitable Trust (RTLCT), is quoted as pointing out other aspects of the matter. She said: “When Dr Nitschke gives his workshops, he doesn’t know whether people have mental health problems or difficulties which would prevent them making an informed choice.

“We believe it’s irresponsible to put information on how to end your own life into the ether without knowing who it is going to. Nitschke’s extreme views are being foisted on young people at one of the most impressionable periods of their lives.”

She also intends to take the matter up with the government, whose Conservative ministers, when it comes to social issues, appear in general to be sock-puppets for their junior coalition partners, the far-left Liberal Democrats. It will be interesting to see what the response will be.

The director of another anti-suicide program, psychologist Dr Arthur Cassidy, is quoted as saying: “I have very deep reservations about this video because it has the potential for young people to think about ending their lives.

“There is a wealth of evidence that media — films, DVDs and videos — have encouraged a form of experimentation in suicide. And a film like this may well encourage young people to think they are a burden, that they don’t fit in or encourage them to feel vulnerable in another way.

“If they are discussing euthanasia, it could also lead to a cluster of suicides.”

A spokesman for the UK’s Department for Education has been quoted as saying: “The Government sets the curriculum, but we leave it to teachers to use their common sense and professional judgment on what is best for their set of pupils.”

It is hard to know exactly what this means, but anyone who trusts in the common sense and judgment of at least some school-teachers regarding life-or-death propaganda is at best taking a very big risk indeed, as some activities by the British teachers’ unions have amply proven.

Meanwhile, in another not unconnected front of the British culture war, a 64-year-old electrician Colin Atkinson faces the sack for displaying an eight-inch-long Christian palm-cross on the dashboard of his company van.

This was in spite of — or should that be because of? — the fact that his boss at the publicly-funded Wakefield and District Housing Association displays a large picture of the Latin American communist revolutionary Che Guevara in his office.

Former soldier Atkinson said: “The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical, but I will stand up for my faith.”

The association, which claims that it “aims to influence the embedding of diversity” has provided stalls at gay pride events, held “diversity days” for “travellers” (gypsies), and hosted a “gender reassignment event” entitled “A World That Includes Transpeople”.

Well, it is obvious enough whom it does not include. Without going into Mr Atkinson’s personal circumstances it would seem obvious that for a 64-year-old man to lose his job in Britain today could be personally catastrophic.

This may be another chance for the Tory sock-puppets to surprise everyone by showing some backbone.

In another part of the mosaic which adds up to a picture of a degenerating society, the National Cancer Intelligence Research Network found that some doctors look at a patient’s age in their notes and decide on a treatment plan before they have met them.

A report by the King’s Fund, a charitable foundation and think-tank, warned that all elderly cancer patients in Britain were being diagnosed later than those in other European countries and were less likely to be referred for operations.

Previous estimates claim that 15,000 elderly die prematurely every year because National Health Service (NHS) cancer care is not as good as that provided in Europe and the United States.

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir commented: “To throw legalised euthanasia into this toxic, ageist mix would be a disaster.”

Hal G.P. Colebatch, PhD, is a Perth author and lawyer. 

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