By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC

The notorious euthanasia/assisted suicide advocate, Jack Kevorkian, died naturally and peacefully in his hospital bed last week at the age of 83, music playing at his bedside. As many have noted, his death had a certain irony. Despite being in declining health, he never took the out that he offered to other people.

Kevorkian stridently advocated policies and views that are beyond anathema to everything for which the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network stands. He acted lethally on these beliefs, assisting the suicides of about 130 people and murdering Thomas Youk by a lethal injection, a crime for which he served nearly 10 years in prison. The question thus arises: What can one say after such a person’s passing? It seems to me that we should hope he finds the ultimate forgiveness we all need and the eternal peace for which many hope and pray.

But that doesn’t mean we cannot also look at what he did—and the kind of society he sought to forge—with a clear and unsentimental eye. And this is the hard truth: Kevorkian was not motivated by a tender heart offering death only to those for whom it offered the only respite. Rather, he was a harsh utilitarian and nihilistic radical individualist who believed in using mercy killing for the benefit of greater society.

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