...or it's a pity that the Nazis won that war that happened 75 years ago.
//We have here a peculiar inversion of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. In the novel, a self-diagnosis of insanity demonstrated sanity; in Van Den Bleeken’s case, though he was declared insane and therefore not responsible for his actions, his wish to kill himself is somehow seen as sensible and reasoned. This is despite the fact that he himself argues that he is too mentally ill ever to be freed from prison. Carine Brochier, a project manager with the Brussels-based European Institute of Bioethics, is surely right to say that if the original sentence was correct, Van Den Bleeken should not be allowed to die but should instead receive proper treatment.
Of course, some might think ‘good riddance’. It is very difficult to sympathise with Van Den Bleeken’s existential angst or his whining about his ‘inhumane’ treatment. He is a prisoner because he committed horrific crimes. His feelings were not pre-eminent when he was tried and sentenced; nor should they be now. The sisters of one of Van Den Bleeken’s victims, a woman he raped and killed while being temporarily out of prison in 1989, seemed appalled by the decision. ‘Let him rot in his cell’, the sisters told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. What does it say about the Belgian justice system when prisoners may singlehandedly overturn the will of parliament, which has decided that particular sentences fit particular crimes?
The motivation behind supporting Van Den Bleeken is ostensibly compassion, but the outcome of Belgium’s liberal experiment is death on demand – for anyone, and for any reason. Even if you’re clinically insane! Because once you admit that death is an appropriate treatment for some, how can you deny it to others? Jaqueline Herremans, president of Belgium’s right-to-die association and government-appointed member of Belgium’s euthanasia commission, said of Van Den Bleeken’s request: ‘Regardless, he’s a human being; a human being who has the right to demand euthanasia.’ So slippery is the slope, it seems, that euthanasia has become a right to be extended to all human beings.//
Interesting that the libertarians at Spiked are on the side of restraining the choice of suicide.