The suicide of the West is becoming reality.
According to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Canada saw a sharp increase in government-assisted suicides last year, with an estimated 13,500 taking place in 2022.
This is a 35% increase from 2021, when 10,064 took their lives through the program. The number represented 3.3% of all deaths in Canada in 2021, which is deeply alarming.
“It has been reported that the province of Quebec saw a 51% surge in assisted suicides, with 3,663 such deaths being recorded in 2022 compared to 2,427 in 2021,” according to Life News. “7% of all deaths in Quebec in 2022 were therefore state-sanctioned assisted suicides.”
In 2020, 7,595 government-assisted suicides occurred in Canada.
The latest numbers are clearly not just a one-year outlier, but part of a booming trend.
Canada created its program, Medical Assistance in Dying, in 2016. The program initially applied only to adults with terminal illnesses, but it has grown drastically in size and scope.
In 2021, Medical Assistance in Dying expanded to include people with chronic illnesses. The program has become a convenient tool to push the poor and sick to kill themselves.
For instance, in 2019, 61-year-old Canadian Alan Nichols submitted a request to euthanize himself. His family tried to intervene, but within a month he was killed. The illness listed on his application: “hearing loss.”
At the end of 2022, lawmakers expanded the program yet again to include people with mental illness. It was set to go into effect in March, but has been delayed until 2024.
Even with that delay, there are other plans to expand the program.
Proponents of assisted suicide sell the idea as a policy of compassion and support for individual autonomy. Surely, we don’t want to see people suffer needlessly. Hence, you have a “right to die.”
Once such a right is declared, it’s hard to create limiting factors and only a manner of time before that “right” is extended to the young and the healthy.
However, multiple problems come with the West’s adoption of the right-to-die ethos.
Most Western countries now have a socialized or quasi-socialized system of medicine. The huge amount of government and private, corporate involvement creates perverse incentives to push the old and less productive members of society to kill themselves rather than seek treatment to prolong their lives.
Although health policy experts sell assisted suicide, they rarely speak directly in these terms—again, the focus is on the “right to die”—but the motive of cutting costs is a huge one. This has given pause even to some who lean left.
“As assisted suicide has become an established part of Canadian society, the complex moral issues surrounding the end of life have drifted out of sight,” New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote in The Atlantic. “Decisions tend to be made within a bureaucratic context, where utilitarian considerations can come to dominate the foreground.”
And who now controls who lives or dies? Increasingly in Canada, government agencies do.
It’s not hard to imagine that treatment will be doled out not just in a ruthless, technocratic, and utilitarian manner, but in a way that conforms with the ideological transformation of our institutions. If you have a low social credit score, the government may have even more incentive to let you die when you have health problems.
So, woke death panels.
It also must be said that there is something disturbing about the West—long known for its belief in the value of the individual and life itself—committing to ending life prematurely, en masse, in the name of autonomy. Hollywood, influencers, and celebrities glamorize assisted suicide like it is something wonderful to celebrate. The implications of this change in moral framework are conveniently glossed over.
In America, life expectancy is shortening and birth rates are falling. Young people are destroying themselves with drugs and—as assisted suicide becomes more common—the old, infirm, and the lonely take their lives prematurely.
The flip to mass assisted suicide is hardly the recipe for a vibrant, “progressive” civilization. What’s happening in Canada is a grave warning. Liberal programs—created in the name of compassion and autonomy—can become a systematized nightmare of collective civilizational suicide.
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