Is the proposed change to assisted dying legislation really about denying choice? Looking afresh at the harm principle

‘harm principle’ the philosopher John Stuart

Esther Rantzen is one of a number of well-known and well-regarded celebrities who have publicly declared their support for a change in the law on assisted dying. When a celebrity makes a pronouncement, many people stop and take notice even if the celebrity is not making any new arguments. Celebrity is persuasive. Esther Rantzen says that she appreciates all the arguments against assisted dying. Nevertheless, she thinks that people should be given a choice about how and when they want to die. In particular, she wants to spare her family from the painful memories of a bad death. She observes that, after all, we give dogs a painless death. Given the current prohibition on assisted dying under English law she has decided that if her treatment for stage four lung cancer does not improve her condition she may just ‘buzz off to Zurich.’

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The family – the basic building block of society (part two)

demographic decline

In the first part I wrote about the situation of families that do have children. However, have you thought recently about how old the population looks when you go out onto the street? This is not just because people are living longer. Where are the prams, pushchairs and babies? Pope Francis has talked about how we are moving towards a “demographic winter”.

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“Now, I’m a Union Man”? – Catholic social teaching and trade unions

Stikes

The band “The Strawbs”, perhaps most famous for “Now, I’m a Union Man”, was formed at St. Mary’s before it was a university (they were originally called “The Strawberry Hill Boys”). The lyrics of that song, don’t really accord with Catholic social teaching on unions (“I say what I think, that the company stinks”…”With a hell of a shout, it’s ‘Out brothers, out!’ And the rise of the factory’s fall”…“And I always get my way If I strike for higher pay”…), but it is a good song and forms an interesting preface to an article on Catholic social teaching and trade unions.

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