Friday, 17 June 2011

Let Them Die

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Let Them Die

Euthanasia is one of societys most widely and hotly debated moral issues. It

has pained and exhausted the courts for entirely too long, questioning the

ethics and morality of the issue. It is a never-ending loop that by no means

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considers our right, or the victims right, to freedom. It has pierced the

pocket books of American taxpayers extensively and should be put to rest with

only this statement. Let them die!

I believe that euthanasia is only debated and kept on the political agenda to

keep the courts busy, thereby ensuring the security of political pocket books.

The vast majority of the population is in favor of euthanasia. However, their

elected candidates dont represent their views (Humphry). Thus eliminating

their power of democracy and right to freedom. In this essay I will argue that

euthanasia is not a concern of religious ethics but rather an entitlement of


Euthanasia is typically broken into two categories


Active euthanasia The act of ...administering a lethal drug, or using other

means that cause a persons death (MacKinnon, 16).


Passive euthanasia Stopping (or not starting) some treatment, which allows a

person to die, the persons condition causes his or her death, (MacKinnon, 16).

Active euthanasia is typically the more highly debated of the two acts of

euthanasia and is better known because of the actions of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who

has aided in many successful suicides.

Passive euthanasia, on the other hand, is rarely debated and usually never

enters the minds eye because it is typically looked at as letting someone die

naturally. In passive euthanasia one simply refuses treatment with the

knowledge that death is imminent. This offers little debate for several

reasons, primarily because it is seen as a natural way of dying. The exception,

however, is that some religions refuse to accept treatment with the knowledge

that without the treatment they will die. For example in the faith of the

Jehovahs Witness, a child, who has been in a vicious car accident and is in

need of blood, will die rather that accept treatment. This kind of passive

euthanasia would come under much scrutiny, but be accepted because it is tied to

religious convictions.

In either case, active or passive, the victim will die. There is essentially no

difference between them. From herein both active and passive euthanasia will not

be separated but rather both will be referred to simply as euthanasia. It will

be the primary interest of this paper to focus on and address the concerns of

active euthanasia, as it is the more controversial of the two despite that fact

that both result in death. It is fair to note that the exceptional

circumstance of a comatose patient will not be addressed in this paper, as this

falls into a category all its own and requires an entirely different approach to

the debate.

Those who oppose the practice of euthanasia argue that helping the terminally

ill bring about their own deaths, or allowing them to determine the how and

when, is not only inhumane, but is also an act of playing God. This may be

true, assuming that one believes in God. However, a tactical logician may pose

this counter argument.

If it is the case that God is I AM THAT I AM (King James Version, Exodus

14), it then follows that God is everything. If God is everything, than he

would not only be disease but also death. If it is the purpose of disease to

bring about death and God is disease and death, then the actions or the will of

God would be reflected by the resulting death that comes about through disease.

If it is the case then that God is a disease, terminal or not, then would God

not be carrying out his will by killing an infected person? And if the infected

person chose to not allow the disease to take its course, then would that person

not be playing God, or interfering with the will of God? Finally, if the person

chose to partake in the action of euthanasia, could this action not be

considered an act of aiding or following the wishes of Gods will? One last

point to ponder is this If God is everything, then, is God not also the

compassionate urge to euthanize?

Proponents of freedom view euthanasia in a very different way. [They] believe

that everyone has the right to choose how they live and die (TVES). Euthanasia

allows the person, who is simply living to die, to maintain dignity by

orchestrating their own end. Thus letting him/her die in peace, rather than

suffering to the end. It eliminates their own, as well as the next of Kins,

perception of the dying to be a burden, physically and financially, and/or a

disgrace. Each person has value and is worthy of respect, has basic rights and

freedoms and the power to control his or her destiny. [The proponents] campaign

to legalise [sic] assisted dying within certain strictly defined circumstances

is fundamentally about choice (TVES).

Detractors of euthanasia may contest that dying is not disgraceful. Little do

they know. Dying of a terminal illness is a burden, physically and financially,

as well as a disgrace. Victims in the advanced stages of terminal illness will

have limited muscle control and experience excruciating and unrelenting pain.

Not everyone dies well. At least 5% of terminal pain cannot be fully

controlled, even with the best care. Other distressing symptoms such as

sickness, incontinence or breathlessness cannot always be relieved (TVES).

Mitch Albom, in his book Tuesdays with Morrie, discusses the terminal illness of

his former professor Morrie Stein. Morrie was stricken with Lou Gehrigs

disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and was terminally ill because of it.

Morrie would inevitably die a painful, expensive and disgraceful death.

Albom describes his visits and the cumbersome chore of having to move Morrie,

physically, during the later stages of his disease. In the book he also

discusses the inevitable disgrace of having to hold a bottle while Morrie

urinated and also how Morrie dreaded the day when somebody other than himself

would have to wipe [his] ass (Albom).

Could any of these detractors of euthanasia imagine doing this? Could you

imagine doing this? Let me describe what I imagine it would be like. Lets

say that my friend Harry was terminal in the same way that Morrie was. One

month prior to his death I visit Harry. It has been 6 years since we last saw

each other; however, we kept in close contact via email and telephone. I show

up at Harrys house to be greeted by his thinning wife. Her hair is graying;

she looks distraught, tired and weak. She shows me into the room where Harry is

pretty much confined. My first impression of Harry is this. He is sitting

slumped in a chair drooling. A distinct odor has permeated the room. Harrys

wife says under her breath, Damn! She goes to where Harry is slouching and

lifts the blanket that is covering him. Underneath the blanket Harry was

wearing an adult diaper and a T-shirt. His diaper was soiled; apparently Harry

was not receiving enough fiber to keep his stool hardened. It was loose and

wet, oozing and spilling out of the sides of the diaper onto the chair. His

wife began cleaning. It seemed as if this were a wearisome task for her, one

that she does quite often. I could only stand and watch as Harrys wife cleaned

up his mess and wipe his ass. What a disgrace! Not only was Harry disgraced;

his wife and I both shared in his shame. He has been striped of his freedom.

The freedom to control his muscles and his stool, and his freedom to choose


In October 17, out of nearly ,000 people who took part in a Sun newspaper

telephone poll, an amazing 7 percent said terminally ill people should have the

right to die with dignity (TVES). National opinion polls show average support

of 70 percent in the USA, 74 percent in Canada and 80 percent in Britain

(Humphry). The clear-cut majority of these democratic populations are in favor

of legalizing euthanasia. So why in Canada and most of the United States does

euthanasia remain unlawful? If we live in presumably the freest of free nations

in the world, then why can one not exercise his/her freedom by taking his/her

own life? Especially if he/she is in an overwhelming amount of pain. The only

logical explanation is that the government needs something to squabble about in

the court systems to ensure their next paycheck.

If it has been established that the person is going to assuredly die, and that

the death will be humiliating, painful, and drawn out, not to mention time

consuming and expensive, then in the most free of all of the free nations he/she

should be allowed to die. Let them die! This is not an ethical concern of God;

it is a question of freedom.

Works Cited

Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. New York Doubleday, 17.

Humphry, Derek. Final Exit. 8 May 001. Euthanasia Research Guidance

Organization. 01 Nov. 001. www.finalexit.org/faqframe.html#

King James Version. The Bible Library Ellis Enterprises, Inc. 10.

MacKinnon, Barbara. Euthanasia, Ethics Theory and Contemporary Issues, second

edition. Wadsworth Publishing Co. 18.

TVES. The Voluntary Euthanasia Society. 0 Nov. 001.


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