Southern Religion

Martin Amis goes ‘Soylent Green’

Conservative Catholic site Pew Sitter warned, “UK Author Calls for ‘euthanasia booths’ on street corners.” That author is Martin Amis, who is getting his nose bloodied primarily because the son of “the finest British comic novelist of the second half of the 20th century” showed his ageism.

Writer Joan Brady responded, when Amis called the elderly “an invasion of terrible immigrants, stinking out the restaurants and cafes and shops:”

That’s what racists say about anybody with a different skin color or an alien headdress: “They stink.”

Amis explains that his words had satiric intent, although that doesn’t excuse him. Nor does it help that he confesses that he is soon to be old himself. But it is enlightening to know that he lost “his stepfather, Lord Kilmarnock, the former SDP peer and writer, in March aged 81, and his friend Dame Iris Murdoch,” a novelist who died in 1999 at the aged of 79, two years after her husband revealed that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. His stepfather “died very horribly … ”

Knowing those things, we can at least begin to understand why he told the Guardian:

What we need to recognize is that certain lives fall into the negative, where pain hugely dwarfs those remaining pleasures that you may be left with. Geriatric science has been allowed to take over and, really, decency roars for some sort of correction.

None of that will quiet the voices at Pew Sitter, who regard both both euthanasia and abortion as different forms of murder.

Amis is apparently one of those who seek no dialog on that:

I increasingly feel that religion is so deep in our constitution and in our minds and that is something we should just peel off. Of course euthanasia is open to abuse, in that the typical grey death will be that of an old relative whose family gets rid of for one reason or another, and they’ll say ‘he asked me to do it’, or ‘he wanted to die.’ That’s what we will have to look out for. Nonetheless, it is something we have to make some progress on.

His point of departure from conservative Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Southern Baptist and like views is a commonplace one:

Frankly, I can’t think of any reason for prolonging life once the mind goes. You are without dignity then.

While that stand is logically arguable, his careless invocation of “euthanasia booths” burdens any rational debate with the unappetizing husk of “Soylent Green:”


January 26, 2010 - Posted by | Health, Medical Care, Religion | ,

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