I find this viewpoint troubling.
Suicide. A terrible, monstrous atrocity. It disturbs me in a deep, visceral, indescribable way. Of course it disturbs most people, I would assume. Indeed, we should fear the day when we wake up and decide we aren’t disturbed by it anymore.
Walsh's point seems to be to stir the pot and compel people who suffer from depression to chime in, along with their counterparts who believe depression can simply be shaken off like dust or debris. Certainly, many bloggers in the political arena do this and make considerable bank through advertising along the way.
I intend to stick to one question, though. Does suicide not equate freedom:
It is not freeing. In suicide you obliterate yourself and shackle your loved ones with guilt and grief. There is no freedom in it. There is no peace. How can I free myself by attempting to annihilate myself? How can I free something by destroying it? Chesterton said, “The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.” Where is the freedom in that?
Suicide is, ultimately, a selfish act, an act of indulgence, where one sees no other options and succumbs to the one that appears to be the only one left. Yet does suicide not free the sufferer from the shackles of their depression?
Yes, it does.
Depression, insidiously, narrows one's outlook on life so drastically that it seems like the only viable option. Similar to being trapped in a deep, dark hole, all you can see is emptiness above. All the rich landscape of one's life, their loves, interests, hopes, dreams, are stuck above the lip of this hole, a sort of event horizon. Unreachable, out of sight, out of mind.
A person in this frame of mind cares not about loved ones, much less society or humanity. Far from it. Suicide to this person is a means to an end, the end of their pain. At least, in most cases nowadays.
In ancient Japan, samurai who failed their masters might be compelled to perform ritual suicide or seppuku.
Seppuku (切腹, "stomach-cutting", "abdomen-cutting") is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honour code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture), or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed for other reasons that had brought shame to them.
In this there are elements of spirituality and practicality. On one hand is the bushido code which holds honor in high esteem and is bound to the warrior's soul. On the other is the simpler wish to evade capture and potentially suffer and be compelled to reveal secrets at the hands of one's enemies, at the expense of their superiors and subordinates.
A combat general, tried and tested on the field of battle, is an asset not to be squandered, and yet numerous such generals would take their own life in the face of failing their leader. Why?
The honor, discipline, and spiritual landscape embraced by samurai generals long past is outside the scope of this discussion. But indeed, seppuku, the act of suicide, is undoubtedly a choice; taking a razor-sharp blade and slicing back and forth to disembowel oneself isn't something someone of sound mind and body would do. It is, though, what someone mired in depression might.
We tend to look for the easiest answers. It makes us feel better to say that depression is only a disease and that there is no will and choice in suicide, as if a person who kills themselves is as much a victim as someone who succumbs to leukemia.
To suggest that the suicide victim's final decision in committing to end their human life is separate from the disease that is depression seems naive. It is a decision made under extreme duress, obscuring outside influence and internal dialog that could pull them out of this tailspin of despair.
If a deeply depressed person could suddenly disable their depression, step outside themselves and judge themselves without prejudice, they'd likely find ample reason not to commit. That this is often hardly possible without outside intervention speaks to the notion that a person in that situation is incapable of choosing something other than a most expedient, tragic route to end their suffering once and for all.
Matt Walsh doesn't know depression, rather, he looks at it at arm's length like a dark jewel, curious and wanting to exploit its darkness for profit in the wake of a celebrity's passing who suffered from this disease.