If my life has no objective value, then why should anyone else care for it, asks Vincent Nichols.
By Vincent Nichols
We have seen a significant defeat in Parliament for proposals to legalise assisted suicides, and learnt of the joint suicides at the Dignitas apartment in Switzerland of the eminent conductor Sir Edward Downes, and his wife, Lady Downes. While there are many ethical, medical and legal issues surrounding assisted suicide, at its heart lies the notion that we have an absolute moral entitlement to have whatever kind of death we choose. This is surely the triumph of the philosophy that proclaims individual rights above all other considerations and the relativist insistence that what is good is a matter of personal judgment.
The consequences of this attitude lie at the root of the weakening of social structures, including the decline of the family as the core unit, the rise of anti-social behaviour, the pursuit of profit at all cost and the increasing intolerance of non-materialist, philosophical or ethical views. It can be summarised as the age of convenience; the pursuit of what we want despite its cost and impact on others.