Living and Dying with a Disability in Debtor Society: Why Context Matters in Assisted Suicide Debates

Brian Brock* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Economic rationalities are a central component of the malignant social positioning of people with all sorts of disability and mental health issues today. This paper traces the role of economic rationality in positioning some lives today as not really worth living. This widespread willingness of the general populace in western liberal democracies to map their political relations in economic terms is historically novel in the west, and is one of the more noteworthy marks the transition points into, and out of, Christendom. The paper examines the impact of the rise of the cultural settlement called Christendom for social outsiders, suggesting that they provide illuminating contrasts with some of the characteristic practices and moral assumptions of our contemporary western liberal democracies. The conclusion of the paper is that a society without a working account of mercy and forgiveness will find it difficult conceptually to explicate practices associated with valuing human lives which are considered non-contributors within accounts of political life grounded in economic rationalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-351
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Disability & Religion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • value of life
  • disability
  • euthanasia
  • Christian theology
  • eugenics


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