Switzerland and assissted suicide

in the news i sometimes hear of people from the uk going over to switzerland for an assissted suicide. i understand this ethical dilemma little, if i were to hazard a guess as to why the uk, and basically the majority of the world doesn’t (yet) permit this law then i would think the answer lies somewhere in a chrisitian heritage…or in some belief about human dignity descended from christianity. Anyway, why switzerland? What is it about that culture, their history which permits them this law?

The mountainous terrain of Switzerland has created a very insular culture. There are studies of pre-modern cultures which have been found living in the mountains there. But look at the official languages. German. OK, that makes sense given the location. French. Sure, again “location, location, location”, I get it. Italian. Sure, again, look at a freaking map. But, #4? I don’t know what it is in English but I’d translate it as “Retro-Roman”(? – I could have misheard, I never saw it written in German so it could be something crazy). These dudes just sorta chilled in the mountains. Sure, the Roman Empire fell but, eh, not really a big deal. They just kept rockin’ it. Not like those French, Italian, Spanish, and other romance language speakers. You know, places where they had contact with the outside world and eventually figured out they weren’t still speaking latin. The Swiss didn’t have this problem because fuck you. You know?

Plus, let’s backtrack to those languages. The Helvetic experience with empire was pretty short-lived. Some bangin’ use of pole-arms, adopted very early. That is why they still guard the Pope. But even then they figured that they were better off renting their services as soldiers rather than using their soldiering ability to conquer places. Which makes sense. You’ve got France, a big player. The Holy Roman Empire and then later Austria-Hungary – a bit of a joke now, sure, but back in the day you didn’t want to fuck with that. And Italy. Most of that was either the HRE or AH until recently and that which wasn’t those was the fucking papal states. And messing with the Pope is generally a piss-poor PR move, even if you are Protestant.

So the geography, in terms of actual physical terrain as well as political terrain, fosters a very strong “live-and-let-live” attitude. So, if somebody wants to die in the privacy of their own village, well, why not? That is how they roll.

That is also why hitting on Swiss chicks is a fucking nightmare. But that is a different story.

Nice post. Thanks.