Friday, 22 December 2017

The Mess of Pottage That is Euthanasia

To Die Or Not to Die That is the Question

New Zealand is going through yet another debate on "euthanasia".  Another bill to institutionalise "euthanasia" is before the Parliament.  The usual suspects are hard at work pushing it mightily.  Given that New Zealand is a thoroughly pagan society--one where the predominant religion is atheistic secularism--it would appear to be only a matter of time before the death cult has its way.

Euthanasia is underpinned by a philosophical principle which espouses a particular human right.  It rests upon the doctrine that human beings have a right to determine their own deaths.  If human beings have no such right, then euthanasia is a great evil.  But let us assume for the present that they do have such a right.  Let us assume that the right to choose death is one more faux human right dreamed up by pagan philosophers and professional ethicists. Let us assume further that euthanasia is not just a freedom right (people have a right to kill themselves if they chosoe) but it is also a demand right (society must facilitate, assist and enable people to kill themselves).

At present the issue before the country is whether elderly or terminally ill people have a right to take their own lives (either by their own hand, or assisted by others).  Let us repeat: these people have a right to terminate their own lives, say the protagonists--so much so that if any body or institution interfere with their taking their own life, they are breaching the human rights of that person.  In its strongest demand right sense, people have a right to have their self-death funded and facilitated by the state.

The debate is also being framed at present by an appeal to pity.
  Think of the depths of suffering patient X, or elderly person Y, is enduring.  Death is inevitable anyway.  If we truly have mercy, and if we genuinely pity such a person, we will do all we can to relieve their suffering and hasten their deaths.  So the issue turns around an emotional guilt trip: if you oppose euthanasia, you are glorying in the suffering of another human being.  You are without pity or mercy.

For our part, we ground our case against euthanasia on denying that human beings have a right to die.  But if we do have such a right, then it ought to be applied throughout society.  New Zealand has a huge problem with youth suicide.  But if the euthanasia advocates are right, it ought not be seen as a problem at all.  It ought to be respected, welcomed, and even assisted.  If euthanasia is a human right at age 90 then surely it must be a human right at 16.  Any restriction or impediment placed in front of a 16 year old in taking their own life is a violation of their human rights after all.

Ah, says the euthanasia advocate, the two cases are fundamentally different.  The elderly ill person has a limited span of time yet to live.  He or she has nothing left to look forward to.  Thus allowing or assisting that person to terminate their lives is a kindness, especially if they are suffering pain.  The young person wanting to take their own life is in an entirely different circumstance.  Their whole life is ahead of them.  But since the euthanasiast has grounded his argument for assisted dying on it being a human right, who has any right to decide or determine that the human rights of a 16 year old are to be suspended or abrogated.  Society must not be allowed to violate the human rights of its citizens at whim or will.

If however "mercy killing" is not a human right at all, then it is wrong at any age.  As one would expect, in countries where euthanasia has been institutionalised, it has spiralled way beyond its statutory limitations and safeguards.  Why?  Because a human right is a human right--checks and balances and limitations and restrictions have no traction or currency.  Belgium and Holland are prime examples--as discussed here and here.

What then ought to be done with the appeal to pity that asks for us all to lessen suffering and pain.  Of course.  Our palliative care ought to be the best in the world.  But to offer euthanasia as a form of palliative care is tantamount to promoting suicide as a way of celebrating and respecting life.  Only a perverse and evil generation would confuse such things.

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