How Euthanasia and Same Sex Marriage show Conservatism has lost its Soul
With the Victorian Senate about to vote on a Voluntary Assisted Dying scheme which passed the lower house, the debate around this intimate issue has once again been reignited. And once again, conservatives (religious and otherwise, but mostly religious) are weighing in to urge a “no” vote.
What’s become apparent this time around, are the similarities with the Same Sex Marriage debate. The irony of conservatives demanding the government regulate the most intimate parts of a persons life are too significant to escape unremarked, and so it’s time to take a closer look at the basis of the opposition to these.
They’re pulling the same trick they always do, which is trying to impose their morals on to everyone, while simultaneously accusing the other side of doing the same. As if SSM means that you can’t have a traditional marriage any more and everyone has to get gay married, or that legalisation of euthanasia means that death will be mandated.
In actual fact, what both mean is that two marginalised groups will have the freedom to live life on their own terms.
It seems common sense — you should be able to marry who you want, and you should be able to end your excruciating suffering when you want. So why would people be opposed to either?
Both seem to be rooted in religious context. But neither Jesus or god said anything about same sex marriage or euthanasia. There are a couple passages that say for man to lie with man is an abomination. And there are a couple that say suicide is bad.
There are some passages about marriage, including ones which determine how much silver or how many goats you get for your daughter, or who you should impregnate if your wife is infertile. And there is a great passage in Judges 9:53, which says
“But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.’” So the young man pierced him through, and he died.”
I wish I could say that was a one-off, but again in 1 Samuel 31:4–5, it says
“Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me “ But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid So Saul took his sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.”
In other words, the bible actually says that euthanasia is just fine, as long as the suffering which is being alleviated is that of being killed by a woman or someone uncircumcised. FFS.
In any case, the bible also famously contains passages which say it’s ok to rape al the virgins in a village And God drowned all the children on Earth because he didn’t like the way it was going, , so the bible’s worth as a moral compass is questionable at best.
So leaving religion aside, we have a political philosophy freedom, liberty, and minimal government intervention in our personal choices, mandating that one can not do what one wishes with their body, even if that includes enduring excruciating pain. When I say that conservatism has lost its soul, I don’t mean it’s compassion, I mean it has lost sight of its essence.
It’s a simple issue of choice: The progressives want a choice, and conservatives are arguing for that to be taken away. And again, they have the gall to effectively gaslight us by saying that they are the ones advocating fro freedom. It’s astonishing.
And so they make a slippery slope argument. As some prominent ex-frontbenchers have done in parliament: If you allow gay couples to marry, what is to stop people from marrying animals? Consent, Corey. Consent.
And with euthanasia, it’s the same question, with the same answer. What is to stop those who are not terminally ill from ending their lives? Consent. The model being debated in Victorian Parliamebt, much like every other bill which has been proposed, has incrediblay detailed safguards in place to protect the vulnerable. To be eligible for access, you must have decision-making capacity, must be diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition that is incurable, is advanced, progressive and will cause death, and is expected to cause death within weeks or months, not exceeding 12 months; and is causing suffering to the person that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable. Furthermore, a person is NOT eligible if they are diagnosed with a mental illness or disability. The request must then pass through a team of qualified medical professionals, can be revoked at any time, and after the final approval is given there is still a 10 days waiting period. Anyone who has read all 133 pages and 25,000 words can see that it is a very carefully constructed bill.
And so they throw their last straw out: freedom. Opponents of SSM want the freedom to be able to discriminate, and claim that is more important than the freedom to marry the one you love. And opponents of VE argue that they want the freedom to live without
And the answer comes back to an alternative proposed by people who aren’t gay “can’t they just have civil unions?” And from people who aren’t suffering: “Can’t we just give them good palliative care?” No. In both cases, the substitute is not enough.
But to disrupt these norms is be a bully, to actively seek to erode the fabric of society. For people who rail against “snowflakes”, these ones seem preciously fragile themselves.
So in both cases, we have something demonstrably right, which the majority of voters are in favour of, which had been corrupted by religious conservatives to deny people basic human rights to have the freedom to live on their own terms. This mandated imposition of a supposedly religious moral framework on to others is fundamentally immoral itself.
Don’t want a gay marriage? Don’t get one. Don’t want a euthanasia? Don’t get one. But don’t take that right away from others.
Of course life is sacred. And of course love is special. Let’s give both the dignity they deserve.