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Pressing against intellectual corruptionPressing against intellectual corruption

Pressing against intellectual corruption

We imagine corruption as something requiring fat, greasy-skinned men wearing expensive suits and long dark coats, and exchanging paper packets stuffed with hundred-dollar bills. The story in question concerns a purported "study" from the Royal Society of Canada that calls for the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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Topics: Justice, Health, Elites, Death
Pressing against intellectual corruption November 16, 2011  |  By Peter Stockland
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Perhaps because they are usually so trivial, we do not normally think of newspaper stories as being corrupt. Foolish, yes. Illiterate, frequently. Wrong, invariably. But corrupt?

We imagine corruption as something requiring fat, greasy-skinned men wearing expensive suits and long dark coats, and exchanging paper packets stuffed with hundred-dollar bills.

Yet the principal front page story on today's Globe and Mail is the stuff of genuine corruption—that is, of intellectual and moral putrefaction far worse and much more dangerous than mere sow-bellied greed could ever be.

The story in question concerns a purported "study" from the Royal Society of Canada that calls for the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The headline reflects the content of the story, which claims that politicians are afraid to discuss the issues because there is no electoral gain for them.

Now, that is demonstrably wrong. In fact, less than two years ago, Canada's House of Commons voted 228-59 against a bill that would have amended the Criminal Code to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide. The matter was debated and decided and the results are a matter of public record. Anyone who writes otherwise is sloppy, lazy, ignorant, or a liar.

More, Quebec's National Assembly is just concluding an exhaustive two-year public consultation on whether the province should use its powers of the administration of justice and delivery of health care to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide, in defiance of the federal Criminal Code. A report from the consultative committee is expected by mid-February, 2012. That, too, is a matter of public record.

Beyond that, the issue has been dealt with by a Senate committee that unequivocally rejected turning health care into medicalized killing. And the Supreme Court, in 1993, slammed the door on killing care in the infamous Sue Rodriguez case.

I reiterate: anyone who claims that the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide hasn't had a full public airing in Canada is either sloppy, lazy, ignorant or a liar in the grip of fanaticism.

Winston Churchill famously defined a fanatic as someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. That is certainly an apt description for those caught up in the mania of legalizing doctor-delivered killing. It is not just that they will not take 'no, no, no, and no' for an answer. It is that they insist each 'no' means the topic hasn't even been discussed.

That is a denial of reality symptomatic of either delusion or advanced intellectual corruption. I vote for the latter, and here's why.

The great sociologist Max Weber defined corruption as not simply situational acceptance of wrongdoing but its pervasive normalization into the very structures of society such that social and political life comes to seem impossible in its absence.

The elite clique now fanatically promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide in this country have demonstrably reached that stage of intellectual rot. In an ironic twist, given their obsession with hastening death, they will use the most incorrigible falsehoods to keep the debate alive.

For example, Quebec's public consultation on the issue was driven largely by claims from the body representing the province's doctors that 73 per cent of their members supported legalization. Yet when angry doctors within the association challenged the claim, they discovered it was based on survey to which only 23 per cent of members had responded. In fact, the real number of those accepting of euthanasia and assisted suicide was 14 per cent—and about half of those confused the already legal practice of palliative sedation with the criminal act of directly intending to kill a patient.

So the numbers were utterly discredited—proven to be wholly intellectually corrupt—and yet the elite clique running the doctors' association persisted in supporting legalization of killing patients.

A similar intellectual corruption infests Quebec's legal community, where a small group within the provicial bar association has aggressively promoted medicalized killing in the name of all lawyers—despite vehement protests from lawyers who say their profound opposition has simply been ignored.

Now we see the malaise spreading to the Royal Society, where an activist cabal is speaking in the name of the country's academics via this week's purportedly disinterested "study" on legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. In fact, one of the lead members of that "study" is Jocelyn Downie, a virulent and implacable proponent of medicalized killing.

We would not normally expect a vector for that malaise to be the Globe and Mail. Yet there it is with a story compliant and complicit in spreading the falsehood that, but for the cowardice of politicians, Canadians would turn their hospitals into killing grounds for the ill, the elderly, the afflicted. This Globe cover matters, because it is no trivial matter for a society when the intellectual corruption spreads that far.

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