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Maxim Institute: real issues

Maxim Institute: real issues.

Contents:

* Euthanasia bill denies value of life Compassion and pity are confused in the key arguments put forward.

* Fewer parents, more state control in education Schools have trouble recruiting parent board members while the state assumes more control.

* Gambling debate a Civil Society lesson No gambling is responsible; it is better to prevent something than deal with its consequences.

* Seven Principles of Public Policy - Christchurch presentation Register now to hear Larry Reed on Thursday 20 March.

Euthanasia bill denies value of life

Euthanasia has roared back onto the political agenda when NZ First MP Peter Brown's Bill was drawn from the ballot. A Massey study shows that over 70 percent of those surveyed favoured doctor-assisted suicide, but under strict conditions. Advocates of euthanasia (suicide or assisted suicide) have two basic arguments: 1. 'Compassion' - it is not right to prolong the life of somebody who is in great pain and wants to die. To do so is to be callous and uncaring. It is better to allow people to die with dignity. 2. 'The right to die' - it is my absolute right to determine for myself what I do with my life and when I can end it. This argument is also an attempt to give credibility to the idea of 'death with dignity'.

These arguments are fatally flawed. Although both start with the belief that human beings have intrinsic value, the very notion of euthanasia denies this basic belief. At its root, euthanasia rejects the sacredness of human life and exchanges it for a 'quality of life' definition. Life is only of value when it has 'quality'. Consequently, the entire notion of human value - which has informed western culture for centuries - is turned on its head. Are we useful because we are valued, or valued because we are useful?

We don't accept the right to die argument for our young people. When they have suicidal thoughts, we desperately try to turn them around. We are spending millions trying to reduce youth suicide statistics. What would this law say to young people?

If the euthanasia bill is passed, our understanding of compassion will be reduced to pity. But there is a huge difference between the two: in a hospice, for example, a person is made as comfortable as possible in spite of his or her pain, and the loved ones share the journey. Difficult though it is, this is genuine compassion. Euthanasia demands that we diminish this experience of compassion to pity via the expedient solution of suicide or assisted suicide.

To read a longer article on Euthanasia by Greg Fleming click on: http://www.maxim.org.nz/ri/euthanasia1.html

Fewer parents, more state control in education

Like many other volunteer organisations, parent-teacher associations (PTAs) are struggling to attract members. They've been around a long time (the first was established in Hokitika in 1906) and have served their communities faithfully. But just this week it was reported that nationally PTAs are facing dwindling support from parents as professional commitments take priority. In Auckland, at least one school has not had any nominations for the roles of chairman, treasurer, and secretary.

New Zealand PTA president Margaret Mooney says:

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