‘All social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering’
–William B. Smith, Verbal Engineering, 2002
Patricia Blewitt, the former Labour cabinet minister, now famous for more gaffs than a gap-toothed moose, has been spotted creeping around Westminster at a late hour by the ever vigilant Witch Doctor. Blewitt – who numbers amongst her affiliations patronage of the pro-terminator pressure-group Dignity in Dying – was busy urging her hon. Friends to gee-up and set about a Royal Commission on Assisted Dying; anything of a lesser stature simply would not do, she said. Her game – to sneak in a Royal Commission in the twilight hours of this Government, since she is due to stand down at the forthcoming election – was spotted by her hon. Pals and thrown out.
Be that as it may, Blewitt’s antics do remind us that the cause of killing is, so to speak, alive and well. The DPP’s recent guidelines on prosecuting assisted suicide, which amount to a licence to assist suicide, as long as the motive is not-for-profit compassion, have opened a back door to an illegal activity. And all the while, the death brigade continue to march, chanting slogans of dignity and choice.
The linguistic contortions the pro-death lobby are using to avoid calling a grave digging instrument a grave digging instrument are notable. They have sensed – correctly – there is something troubling in the words suicide and euthanasia, that does not help their cause; and so they cloak the reality in a layer of generalisms and euphemisms that hide what – if we do call a spade a spade – is intentional killing.
And so we have: Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society); Aid in Dying (formerly physician assisted suicide: which itself uses the physician’s cloak to sanitize suicide); Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society); The Caring Friends program (the former Hemlock Society’s operational arm); Palliative sedation (total, terminal sedation à la Barton). And then of course, there is Dignitas.
Now, the question we might ask is this: if assisted suicide and euthanasia are all about compassion, choice and dignity, why do they need to be cloaked in these ‘caring’ words? Could it be that the death brigade, mindful of its unpalatability, are wary of signalling their true intent – which is of course legalised intentional killing – and so have indulged in a little verbal engineering, the better to pave the way for social engineering?