John Fleming’s Book Reviewed by Selena Ewing

John Fleming’s Book Reviewed by Selena Ewing

Selena Ewing reviewed one of the most astonishing and thought-inducing titles – To Kill or Not to Kill by John Fleming. Informing about the suitable audience that must get their hands on this book, Selena wrote; “If you want to join the public dialogue on any controversial medical topic, this is a very useful book.” The review proposed the availability of the main idea of John Fleming’s book in the form of memes so that we all can develop an understanding of this very important thesis presented in this book.


John Fleming is an academic of repute. He did his PhD in philosophy and medical ethics in 1992. His academic work extends over nine books and many articles. The domain of these works is mainly public policy and bioethics. In the book, To Kill or Not to Kill, John Fleming takes up the very controversial subject of authorized killing and the availability of drugs that empower a person to do such an act. The subject in question is sensitive and Dr Fleming deals with it very aptly.


Book Review by Selena Ewing


"Dr Fleming has fired a lively shot into the euthanasia debate with this book. But the reader will soon realise that the book is much bigger than euthanasia. In fact, it seems to contain a lifetime’s experience in understanding the broader cultural and political context in which medical killing arises. This includes historical perspectives, recent high profile cases, the rise of secularism, faith and reason, the family, church and state, democracy, abortion, eugenics, political processes, and more. Clearly no holding back some hard truths in this book. And as I am not a Catholic, I can observe from a safe distance his apparent challenge to some of Pope Francis’s teachings and to revisionist clergy, from his firm and almost evangelical position of being faithful to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church.


If you want to join the public dialogue on any controversial medical topic, this is a very useful book. You’ll find medical, legal, philosophical and theological aspects of euthanasia discussed in great detail. And some true stories.


For lobbying, social media engagement, or lively private conversations, you’ll find plenty of material. Be warned, though, that successful anti-euthanasia advocates inadvertently make plenty of enemies by insisting that euthanasia is murder and must never be allowed. For whatever reason, this makes some people very, very angry.


I don’t always agree with him, but he sure can write a page-turner on a controversial topic. The fact is, he obviously loves to argue. I find it amusing that he writes, “It is not the role of the Church to impose, endorse, let alone propose a political ideology based on secularist principles…” and you might think he is politically inert. Yet he will proceed to cheerfully engage with any and all secular ideologies he comes across with wit and intellect. Also, he seems likely to have a beer and a laugh later with his opponents.


My final thought is that someone needs to go through the book and create a bunch of witty memes for the modern generation to understand Dr Fleming’s work and launch it into cyberspace."