In the UK the debate rages! From TV to the newspapers, much time and effort has been afforded the controversial circumstances surrounding euthanasia.
If we are to investigate the anti euthanasia lobby, we find that much of the argument rests with the Christian philosophy. Very simply, it is against the laws of a Christian God to kill yourself. This law is also used as a fundamental principle when the western secular legal system was developed. Originating in religion, the immorality and illegality of euthanasia eventually became an important part of the psyche of those who were born and nurtured in a Christian based society.
If we are to expand our investigations however, expand into other faiths, histories, and tribal foundations, many of which, are so called less civilized societies, we find that euthanasia and or suicide, was a normal part of the culture. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to expound further in this short essay, but it will suffice to say, that when a person was unable to live a useful and productive life, their life was shortened, needless to say by their own wishes.
Not for a moment do I suggest this form of euthanasia continue in today’s world, but the point I make serves to illustrate that euthenasia, was and possibly still is, a common means of death to those that have no chance of painless recovery.
The essence of the argument must centre round the question; do I have a right to take my own life, and, do I have a right to ask someone else to assist me? It is presumed when asking this question that I would be of sound mind, and know the consequences of my actions.
It is in the consequences of a person’s actions that we must start the enquiry. If, in seeking an early death, the individual would be creating a negative result to the lives of others, then there can be no question, euthanasia is unethical. By killing ourselves, or getting someone else to assist, we are running from the responsibility of caring for those who depend on our presence.
If, on the other hand, our premature death would relieve the stress, trauma and pain, created by our living, then an argument might be made for assisted suicide. The agony, anguish and pain, created by certain debilitating conditions is almost indescribable to someone who has not experienced the situation. For us to pass judgement on whether the afflicted person chooses whether to live or die, is extremely cruel, and to a point barbaric.
Considered euthanasia under controlled and monitored conditions can only benefit those who wish to die. I do not believe we have the right to extend life when, the very person who is suffering unbearable pain, chooses to end it all.