Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Less Fear in Town - Just What the Doctor Ordered

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Less Fear in Town - Just What the Doctor Ordered

Article excerpt

I DO not understand how planes stay up in the sky. It does not stop me flying; I figure wiser minds than mine know how to keep us airborne.

I have no appreciation of how antibiotics work. But a tablet sounds vastly more preferable to the use of leeches to expel toxins, so I'll put faith in my doctor.

It is this same trust in the superior intelligence of others that allows me to support the concept of recycled water. I don't have to understand the process, I just have to accept that no government would knowingly allow a populace to be harmed. Let someone else earn the degree in rocket science, I just want water to come out my taps.

However, not everyone is as sanguine as myself. Others, especially here in Toowoomba it seems, are fearful of that which they don't understand, and keen to pick at that fear until it festers. Not sure if they are still burning witches, but I'm pretty confident they wouldn't ever use planes.

Take this week's visit to town by Philip Nitschke, for example.

Here is a doctor who is challenging authority by daring to discuss something which we, as a society, should be keen to openly debate - the right to die with dignity.

Yet opposition to the doctor's visit and fears for the safety of others resulted in last-minute venue changes for the public meeting, making this the only place in Australia to withdraw a booking.

It makes me a little embarrassed about this town that I love, but also confused. I have lived here more than 30 years, and just about everyone I have ever met during that time (with a few notable exceptions) has been smart enough, open-minded enough, liberal enough. No Luddites that I know of. So who is it pushing the spoke through my perception of fellow residents?

Dr Nitschke calls them the "religious right".

By that, I presume he means those people who see God as a vengeful, awful, stern sort of omnipotence. The sort of God who would not accept any debate as to his divine right over life and death, and who, despite having blessed us with the intellect to make choices, denies us the right to use it. …

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