Assisted dying

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Les Reid’s letter on assisted 
suicide (26 February) argues that life should be considered infinitely precious by those who believe we get only one life.

In other words, we should judge its value by quantity rather than quality.

I have observed the same error in the arguments of those who oppose assisted suicide.

The word “life” is treated as an abstract counter with one consistent emotive value, whereas in reality there are happy lives full of hope, unhappy lives with a degree of hope, and desperately miserable lives with no hope at all except for a quick release, and they cannot be equated by a single word.

Is this too complex for some to grasp?

Robert Canning

Bridge of Earn

Perthshire

Les Reid is the latest correspondent to respond to arguments that opponents of assisted suicide do not use.

I do believe that suicide is immoral, but, as always, immoral actions have wider negative consequences.

Studying the biblical approach to ethics has led me to give more weight to the longer term and indirect effects of a principle, in contrast to the “everyone should be able to do what they think best” emphasis of the dominant rights-based liberal philosophy.

Everyone wants a society governed by principles that maximise well-being and minimise suffering, but I don’t think that our amoral secular political/media elite are very good at working
out what those principles should be.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh