Posted by: secretperson | September 19, 2008

Baroness Warnock Proposes Death to Burdens on the State

Baroness Warnock, alledgedly Britain’s leading moral philosopher, has suggested people with dementia may be put down to stop them being a burden on the state.

In the first few paragraphs of the Telegraph report I thought what she was saying sounded alright and she was just suggesting people had the right to opt for euthanasia. I support people’s right to kill themselves if they want to, that should be their choice.

But it became quite clear that the Baroness meant more than this.

“If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

I’m absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there’s a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they’re a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

Now she is telling dementia sufferers they should top themselves because they are a burden on the NHS! Wasting the resources of the NHS? An excessive amount of red tape and middle management is wasting the resources of the NHS. Hypochondriacs waste the resources of the NHS. People making trivial 999 calls because they can’t find their keys are wasting the resources of the NHS. Ill people recieving treatment are what the NHS resources are for!

And of course, someone suffering from dementia is in no position to make a call on whether they feel they are a burden on their families. If someone is worried about becoming a burden they will have to appoint a representative to decide, probably a family member. That family member will then make the call once the demented person becomes incapacitated. As Baroness Warnock herself says:

I think that’s the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you’d be licensing people to put others down.

Well I certainly can’t agree with this absolute rubbish. I can’t believe Britain’s leading moral philosopher thinks ill people are a burden on the state. OK she just said demented people, but the logical extension is to anyone with a terminal illness. Then anyone over the retirement age (including the 84 year old Baroness herself). Will we see Harold Shipman reinvented as a paragon of virtue saving the state from the burden of the elderly?

I might exaggerate slightly, but the whole principle shocks me. The state is, or at least should be, nothing more than a tool for the co-operation of people. It is nothing without the people who make it up. It is not some arbitrary higher power with its own interests on whom one can be a burden. If the state isn’t there to help those in need (the burdens), what the hell is it there for?

Is she really trying to say:

Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori?



  1. An open suggestion to Baroness Warnock: It can be argued that you are a burden to society, to the health-care system and to those around you. I believe you should set the example and go first

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