Euthanasia

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Euthanasia

Postby Carleas » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:48 pm

Challenge
Discussion

Cheegster v. Tab will debate on the subject of Euthanasia, with the winner to be decided by popular vote.

For the purposes of this debate, the following definition will be used:
eu·tha·na·sia
   /ˌyuθəˈneɪʒə, -ʒiə, -ziə/ Show Spelled[yoo-thuh-ney-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh] Show IPA
–noun
1.
Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme Medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition.
2.
painless death.


Tab will argue against all acts of euthanasia.
Cheegster will argue in favor of all acts of euthanasia, and will post first.

Participants will have two days to make each post, and each participant will make three posts.

Nothing below the belt, no biting, and no mercy killing your opponent if he's losing (unless you're Cheegster, in which case it's acceptable). Good luck and great debate!

[EDIT: Tav had to be put down, so Tab will be taking his place.]
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:57 pm

Who's this 'Tav' who'll be competing..? I'd like to meet him.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby cheegster » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:16 am

Welcome!

Due to the fact I am arguing an incredibly radical point of view for some parts; it could even be misapprehended that I could be defending such things as the ethnic cleansing. Clearly in terms of ethical theory such movements don’t have many redeeming features. So, I want to start off by declaring a couple of things that I am NOT arguing.

1. I am not arguing that involuntary euthanasia is permissible when the act can unequivocally be seen as not in the best interests of the individual in question. Of course, many ideas attached to this are subjective ones (and what are up for debate here), but generally it is pretty clear that you shouldn’t kill somebody because they are a different race. You just need a basic grasp of what is conventionally ‘moral’ to follow that one.

2. Neither am I arguing that individuals whom are temporarily afflicted/ unhealthy should be euthanized, so for example those who are going through drug rehab or those who just have a bit of flu. If it is pretty certain that their lives will definitely resume as normal after a short period these situations can be excused.

So I guess a couple of defence mechanisms there to get me started. I will attempt to defend three basic varieties of euthanasia – Voluntary, Non-voluntary and Involuntary. I will do so in that order.

Voluntary Euthanasia

If the individual in question is terminally ill this is the easiest argument of the lot. The prognosis of being terminally ill usually indicates that their health will slowly but surely diminish; that imminent death typically accompanied by a lot of pain. How could an ethical individual possibly wish that upon somebody? And not only wish it, but if a request is indeed issued for an assisted suicide, that person would in fact be condemning that person to preventable pain and suffering for the remainder of their life if they did not recognise that request.

The key reason as to why voluntary euthanasia can so easy be passed as permissible in my eyes is due to the fact that it is an informed decision. The exception to this being when somebody has a physical illness which can prove to be significantly mind altering and is in the latter stages of their illness. However, in the vast majority of cases those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness still possess unadulterated thought, and their autonomy should be respected. Why should it be respected? Because ultimately it is that person and only that person that can experience what they experience, so to refuse assisted suicide seems like an odd kind of tyranny, stripping that human being of power.

This brings me on to my next point; what if the individual in question is not terminally ill? What if they have simply decided they do not want to live any longer? If the individual has lived a desperately awful and predominantly unhappy life, if they maintain a desire to simply not live anymore, who are we to refuse them? Take for example a thirty year old man, who is totally socially incompetent. On top of this, he was born with four deformed legs and three tiny arms, and his face incredibly ugly – it just looks like a mound of mincemeat. His entire family have abandoned him and he has never made any friends. He respectfully requests that you help him to die, because the duration of his entire life has just been an unrelenting mental torture. Are we that cruel to say ‘No, you must live your life and continue this torture’? Do we have it on our heads to condemn somebody to such a life sentence? This is an odd kind of tyranny.


Non-voluntary Euthanasia


So now it becomes a little more tricky because we do not have an informed decision from the subject, they do not have their own autonomous input in this case (again, in some cases patients request that they be killed if indulged into a vegetative condition, but this is atypical). The individual in this condition has been in an accident, and their chances of regaining any sort of consciousness are incredibly close to zero, they are in a persistent vegetative state. What do we do?

I would argue that in every case we euthanize the individual. Of course, this is not without consulting an expert on their condition and a proper analysis of the subject’s state. If they are likely to recover from a coma, obviously it would be worth keeping them alive. But when the prognosis is bleak, it can only be construed as a pitiful optimism, or ‘false hope’ that the others have. The main disadvantage to holding on to this false hope would be the drain on resources in keeping the subject alive (this point is more from an economical perspective as opposed to an outright ethical one). Once one is diagnosed as no longer able to have conscious thought, it could easily be argued that they are no longer alive – they are just an organism. To keep this chunk of meat breathing any longer is unnecessary and unnatural.

Another argument for the abdication of life in this situation is that although the subject’s body is still ‘alive’, their quality of life is nonexistent. For those who are caring for the individual, they see no return. For the subject themselves, they may well have grimaced at the thought of having no ability to tend to themselves – a matter of pride. In some extreme cases, patients have been found to still maintain some consciousness but have no way of communicating it as that part of their brain is dead. The subject may even still be able to experience pain and have no way of making it stop! This is another type of potential condemnation to an inner mental prison forced to live out the rest of your life with your thoughts - and your thoughts alone.
I have pre-empted some responses to this but for now I will leave this section be.

Involuntary Euthanasia

The argument becomes trickier still. I am well aware that this can result in the killing of somebody against their supposed will, but despite the initial antagonism that one may sense towards this statement, it is certainly arguable that involuntary euthanasia is appealing in many respects.

This has a different sentiment to what I formerly argued for; I previously indicated that autonomy should be given the utmost respect when deciding whether to allow voluntary euthanasia. However, we should not forget that the fundamental component of euthanasia is to serve what is in their best interests. When a terminally ill but perfectly sane individual declares that they do not yet want to die, their judgement should be respected and we should not euthanize them. They are informed and happy with what is going on. However, when an individual’s judgement is impaired and convoluted, the judgement as to their best interests must fall on somebody else. Now, it could be argued that that ‘somebody else’ should not have the ability to play God – but we already have various (pretty successful) systems in society where we remove a person’s autonomy for their own good. The mentally ill, for example are sectioned off from society on the one part for the safety of others, but fundamentally in order to see them through to a better state of health. Mental institutions have particularly explicit criteria for what constitutes the different varieties of mental illness, and it is a system that, dare I say it - works.

So, can the same concept be applied to euthanasia? I would suggest it can. One example would be an individual that has Alzheimers. Soon enough, that individual would both have lost proper brain function and simultaneously began to suffer quite considerably. Although that person may be in terrible pain, they may also be scared of death and thus unwilling to voluntarily give up their life. But is it worth allowing that person to go through this unbearable pain because they are scared of their doctor? Certainly not. Give them a lovely bit of poison, and see them off to a blissful sleep of eternal tranquillity.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Tab » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:57 am

Nice OP Cheegster, will get on it. Thanks Carleas for getting rid of that annoying Tav guy.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Tab » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:30 am

Hokay, another day, another debate. Euthanasia. Who'da thunk it. Anyway. Eu-Thana-sia. What is it..? Where does it come from..?

Well, 'Eu' means 'good' as in utopia. Uh, eutopia. For some reason they fucked up the spelling somewhere, and now everyone thinks utopia means 'noplace', but it actually means 'goodplace'. 'Good' is a bit lame though in my book, so let's dub it 'beneficent' instead - a little more vavoom. And 'thana' stemming from the old God of death, as any Sandman-fan will know - Thanatos. 'Sia' gets tacked on to make it doable.

Leaving us with "the practice of beneficent death."

Chills.

I'm a bit of a bastard on the sly. I'd quite happily dispose of half the populace of the planet without them actually having to be old and infirm. Where you might think that puts me at a disadvantage - being as I am the white knight in this - it doesn't. Being able to think like a bastard allows me to see what would happen if euthanasia did become an accepted practice in wider society. It ain't pretty.

Allow me to put on a few different hats: The Priest, the Economist, and the Sociologist. The Priest will be first, basically because for me to play the religion card is somewhat of a novelty, and novelty is the spice of life.

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Christianity beats around the bush a little, Islam gets right in there. Good 'ole Islam. Basically, God takes a dim view of someone offing themselves, for whatever reason. Go straight to hell, do not pass go. I mean jeeze, how many times in films and Star-Trek have you heard some version of the phrase - "who are we to play God..?" or "Who are we to decide who lives or dies..?" etc. God has a plan, and even if that plan involves putting you through agonising pain, incontinence, and general mental torture, it still counts. Mysterious ways.

Who are we..?

Maybe vegetative state guy had a few skeletons in the cupboard and God just got round to puttin' the whammy on him..? Maybe drooling cancer-grandad did some really bad shit in the war, and is paying the spiritual price..? Who are we to judge..? If nothing else, and Euthanasia does take off, I hope they involve a serious karmic background check.

Okay, I'm not much of a believer, agnostic at best, so my use of this argument is wildly hypocritical. Except that doesn't matter, because it's not up to me. The world is absolutely full of people who take this argument very very seriously indeed:

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As you can see - roughly half the world pop. follows either Christ or Mohammed. Dat's a lot of people. A lot of people who will get pissed at any Government that decides "Yeah shit, of course you can off Grandad if yer wanna." So, even if I don't really care one way or the other as a spiritual fence-sitter, simply in the interest of an easy life, one with rather less firebombed retirement homes and government buildings than more, I'd have to come down on the uh-uh side of Euthanasia discussions.

The bible also covers assisted suicide as well, in a whimsical way (wtf. is it with the bible and directness anyway..?)

Leviticus 19:14, "Do not put a stumbling block before the blind,"


ie: don't offer to off a guy in pain because you're tempting him with a mortal sin at a point in his life when he's a wee-bit low on willpower.

The other side of God's mysterious way, is miracles. More specifically miracle cures. Pain doesn't kill old people, lack of hope kills them. Or at least drives them to ask someone else to kill them. But science marches on, often slowly, but somethimes in leaps and bounds. Stem-cell research moves apace, as do longevity drugs. Cancer, while tenacious, may soon prove beatable. There is hope. And euthanasia kinda fucks with that. Gives sad old Grandad an easy option, that maybe he might regret, well okay, he'll be dead, so he won't, but his kids might, or whoever finally pulled the trigger, just that year too early.

Now let's put on the economist hat.

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Y'see, the trouble with old people is that their money dies a long time before they do. Economy-wise anyway. You've probably all heard at least one tale concerning some old gimmer found gently decomposing in their bed with a small fortune hidden in the matress. Small point however, the small fortune is in old, out of date bills, and worth exactly squat. Oops.

What I mean is, when you get old, you get cautious. You don't float your cash on some fledgling long-shot company on the stock-exchange, I dunno like uh, Google back in the nineties. You don't buy much stuff. A couple of cans of spam and a bottle of lo-fat mik a week etc. As far as a country's liquid economy goes, old people's cash is a glacier, big, but moves about an inch every century.

Trouble is, the governments don't help matters much. I used to work in the Inheritance-tax offices as a temp way back when. If you die, at least in the UK, any money you've got tucked away over 240,000 - the government gets a whacking great 40%. 240 grand sounds like a lot, but it's not. Say you've got a nice house, and two nice cars, plus a few savings, a life-insurance policy whatever, that'll take you comfortably over 240 thou no problemo. All the government has to do to ensure that they get their cut, is to stop Grandad and Grandma from giving all that cash away to their kids as gifts before they croak. To do this, the law states (or at least did circa 1994) any money over 3000 pounds gifted to a child in the period of seven years before your death counts toward inheritance tax. You literally cannot give your money away unless you are psychic, or have really pissed off a gipsy at some point, and been given a very time-specific curse.

Also in England, I dunno about the USA, geriatric care is a bitch financially. For example my poor Dad is in a care home right now, living out his twilight years. He became too much for my Mother and Sister to look after. The care home costs one thousand pounds a week. When placing my father there, my mother underwent a means test. The governemnt sponsored care-home has been given the right to my father's pension, his entire savings, the house - everything. The price of his care, until his death, will be removed from that total until something crazy like that last 12,000 pounds or something is reached. By which time the house will have gone, and my mother will be ekeing out her final years in a cardboard box somewhere. Everything my Dad ever worked for will be gone. The nice old government will however consent to cover his bills after that point. Thanks government.

Why am I telling you this..?

Remember the bible quote..?

Leviticus 19:14, "Do not put a stumbling block before the blind,"


There's a small, and very nasty part of my soul that wants my Dad dead. Tomorrow. Luckily, having spent time on a certain philosophy site, I can accept that this nasty part of my soul exists, and its existance does not necessarily make me a bad person. We all have our demons. But, I'm not really in any dire finacial straits. I've a house that's paid for, my kids have enough money for coco-pops and I can keep my wife in shoes. However, imagine I had none of those things, imagine I had a small business that was failing through lack of capital, loans mounting up in the bank. A sick child, a wife in rags... How much bigger would that demon be then..?

I'd be tempted. I'd trip over that stumbling block quick as a flash, and Dad would be up to his eyeballs in lethal injection before you could even say euthana-

See what I mean..?

And don't forget:

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The other thing old people with a lot of money do is really bizarre stuff. Like leave it to their cats. Or marry Anna Nicole Smith. And to be honest, it is their money, so it does remain up to them to do these things. But exactly how long do you think that old-geezer-cum-playboy-bunny-fancier would have survived if euthanasia was an option for his leech-like children..? Hmm.

And once the precedent was set, would anyone really ever be much motivated to stop it again..? Those that disapproved would simply not euthanize their relatives. Those that did, would be better off financially, if not in conscience. That glacial old-people-money would become liquid young-people-money, roaming the wider economy and buying taxable consumer goods, propping up bars and businesses, paying wages, creating growth... The governement would get its cut anyway, and wouldn't have to fork out so much in healthcare for the destitute. Drinks all round and who gives a shit about the wrinkly corpse in the corner.

Keeping up with the Joneses (who've recently euthanized their relatives and bought new sofas) will drag yet more of the wobblers on the mercy-killing fence down to their side, and that snowball just keeps rolling.

Sociology time. What could be the impact on societies..?

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Sad to say, but old people are not valued as much as they were in past. Number one, we've become more obsessed with youth than we used to be recently, and old people... Well, not very youthful. They are like walking momento moris, reminding us with our six-packs and our boob-jobs that try as we might, we too one day will be a decrepit wreck that no-one will sleep with. And number two, the elderly's role as the traditional reposit of wisdom has diminished - time was when ole Grandad knew a thing or two, and could be relied upon to offer up some vital bit of guidance that might well save the day. But not any more. Life and society moves so quickly now that what Grandad knows is out of date. "Hey Grandad - how do I get facebook to work..?" "Hey Grandad, the engine-management system on my BMW's on the blink..." "My new 3D Tv's picture is poorly resolved..." "How do I get ahead in viral marketing..?"

Er. Okay, maybe affairs of the heart... Love never goes out of date. But marriage does. And bringing up kids. And sex has just gotten massively kinky. Grandad doesn't know even how to spell clitoris, let alone where the damn thing is.

The gap between the old, and the young, ever widens. And this is bad. Families grow more alienated than ever. Throw in on top of that euthanasia and what have you got..? Scared old people. Involuntary mercy-killing..? Yikes.

I forget which book I read it in, but there was a story about a Sociology professor who sent 6 of his students to sanitoriums and had them try to get admitted as schitzophrenic - he gave them a list of symptoms to exhibit. Anyway, they all got themselves successfully committed. Then he told them to revert back to their normal selves, and try to convince the staff at those sanitoriums that they were fine, and should be released. None of them were. In the end the prof. had to go and spring them himself.

The moral of the story: Getting commited is easy, getting uncommited is hard. Anyone old who has one senior-moment too many, without the safety-net of a family with their best interests at heart... Is potentially one dead son of a bitch.

You know what I'd do..? If I got old, and a touch doolally..? I'd pack my bags, along with my matress full of cash, and fuck off somewhere which didn't have pro-euthanasia laws. Just in case.

Eh, enough I think.

In conclusion. The main thing I'm trying to drive home is that while euthanasia, in its purest snowy-white moral form of a merciful death, may save the pain of the few, it will open the way for a terrible amount of abuse, corruption, familial division and general religious-fanatic-based mayhem for the many, and, as Spock said,

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Just say no.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby cheegster » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:37 pm

An impressive post there, Tab – good work. Unfortunately though, it is not quite as impressive as the overwhelming benevolence that euthanasia has for people everywhere.

Now, without getting too bogged down with religious balderdash and bickering, I would argue that to act solely from a religious perspective (the case being that particularly in the Abrahamic religions followers will act on excerpts dictated directly from their respected doctrine) – is not to act in the individual at hand’s interest, but to act in what is God’s supposed interest. I will introduce at this juncture (what I believe to be) one of my own religious paradoxical observations.

Paradox: God is Omniscient or God is Ombenevolent – he can’t be both.

If the (Abrahamic) God is Omnipotent he has the ability to do anything. He therefore willingly makes people serial rapists and murderers, and if he is omniscient then he also knows he is doing this in advance, as he knows everything that can and will happen. This is all fine, unless you also accept the predicate that God is all loving and does everything out of love. Because in the case of the rapists and murderers, he knew in advance that they would sin, then damns them to eternal hellfire anyway. Fair? No. So, either he created everything but doesn’t know how it will turn out, or he is the creator and bearer of evil. So what the hell does God really want? It’s cryptic for sure.

I have a lot more to say on this but as I said, I don’t want to get stuck in religious conundrums.

The point of the paradox is to show that the metaphysics of religion are poorly articulated and understood, particularly by the layman religious individual. All you are left with is ‘Well, God works in mysterious ways’ which I spit on as an argument, as it is practically unfalsifiable. When an event occurs which is counter to the rudimentary religious logic, that phrase always comes out of the bag.

Why is that unfalsifiable though? It’s just because metaphysics is pretty hard in itself to understand and thus provides the religious individual with a simple way to answer why their new born child died at birth from a crippling disease. Whilst ‘God moves in mysterious ways’ may work as a religious comfort tool, when it comes to real life situations it is a hard pill to swallow.

Ethics is a lot better understood by the layman. It is a lot more accessible for any old Jimmy or Jonny to debate, because it is innate to them. Whilst ethics is subjective to a degree, it is also a pretty universal thing. We know and feel that it is ‘wrong’ to lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape etc. In the same way that we know it is wrong to make somebody suffer. Whilst this is true of most human beings, those whom are also reading their ethics straight from their respective doctrines are also partially acting out of fear for their God and eternal damnation. Should we still put trust in these individuals towards matters of life and death even when they don’t seem to be acting wholly in the practice of ethics itself? I would say not.

To address your point more directly and succinctly (that it is the religious masses that matter), we see another reason to distrust (or to place less trust) in the religious individual as objectively ethical. Here is a mound of stats to ponder for one moment:


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It basically demonstrates that those who place more importance in their religion are...well...er...stupider than those that do not. If these statistics are correct, it would indicate that they are not the kind of people we look to for expert moral analysis. Their foundations are misguided.

Enough with that metaphysics malarkey. I’ll briefly stick on that very same economist’s hat you were wearing just now.

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Mmmm. Woman with money.

In this relentlessly money-hungry world that we unfortunately live in, it is inevitable that some individuals would act on their ‘dark side’ and pop a blissful poisonous cap in their elderly relatives asses. But just because somebody may have this urge in order to cash in on said relative’s savings, it doesn’t mean it will always happen. The small majority that would actually act on this urge thankfully can’t euthanize people willy-nilly. Simple procedures like standing before a judge (or at least some expert) could ratify this potentially unpleasant behaviour. Your acts would have to be justified in some way.

Plus, you can always look at it from a Utilitarian point of view. For example, if one were to have an elderly relative who was immanently dying, and was in the same situation as your father in the respect that their funds were speedily depleting, a Utilitarian perspective would argue for a lovely injection every time. The elderly relative gets to die in peace and thus eradicate the chance of any more pain and suffering, and the relatives receive a hefty and well deserved inheritance. The elderly relative hasn’t lost much as he was soon to die anyway, so everybody is happy! Yaay.

Now, a quick look at why society loves euthanasia and everything to do with it:

Like you Tab, I also read the study of the mental institution and found it very interesting (but the name slips my mind too, sadly). But whilst I understand that we can’t let mental cold blooded buffoons take matters into their own hands when it comes to matters of euthanasia, I also think that we can put our trust in certain individuals and a rigorous system to do case by case analysis of proposed euthanasia with basic guidelines. People do not know what is good for them most of the time. People eat McDonalds every day and cheat on their partners. Let’s put this in the hands of the smarty-pants. What is the plural for smarty-pants? Anyway, I’m babbling now.

Kill ‘em all off, for the good of the planet.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Tab » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:16 am

A quick 'quote and shoot' session before the commencement of normal programming.

cheegster wrote:in the vast majority of cases those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness still possess unadulterated thought, and their autonomy should be respected. Why should it be respected? Because ultimately it is that person and only that person that can experience what they experience, so to refuse assisted suicide seems like an odd kind of tyranny, stripping that human being of power


Again I think we're missing the point in all this. The point is principally pain, with a nod to disability and indignity in the wings - and morphiates, though effective, are the medical equivalent of a club to the back of the head - primitive. However neurophysiology these days is progressing amazingly fast, and pain is wholly the illusion of the brain. Already, using non-invasive em-radiation, a doc can 'numb' or induce greater activity in quite focussed areas of brain tissue, it may not be too long until the pain of terminal patients can be relieved without turning them into drugged-up zombies.

You say "unadulterated thought" but this is not really true. More like "they possess thought unadulterated save for the thousand watts of agony running through their lobes" I mean, the next time you're trying to make an informed choice at MacDonalds, have one of your friends reach around and crush one of your testicles, slowly.

This brings me on to my next point; what if the individual in question is not terminally ill? What if they have simply decided they do not want to live any longer? If the individual has lived a desperately awful and predominantly unhappy life, if they maintain a desire to simply not live anymore, who are we to refuse them?


The same way we say "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And to be honest, if a person is that desperate, and is that depressed, then they can damn well blow their own heads off all by themselves - why stain another's hands..? Plain good-old suicide and cut out the middle man. What does this have to do with euthanasia..?

we should not forget that the fundamental component of euthanasia is to serve what is in their best interests. However, when an individual’s judgement is impaired and convoluted, the judgement as to their best interests must fall on somebody else.


This is the trouble. Knowing someone's best interests. Okay, grandad's gone completely crazy - throwing shit around, howling at the moon and swearing like a trooper. He's also got terminal cancer. But the thing is, maybe grandad's actually got to the point where he's as happy as Larry. Maybe throwing shit around is fun. Howling and swearing might really put a great big inner grin on his soul. So hard to tell.

I've a feeling it is not so much a case of 'putting them out of their misery', as relatives really putting grandad out of theirs.

cheegster wrote:Paradox: God is Omniscient or God is Ombenevolent – he can’t be both.

[and]

...those who place more importance in their religion are...well...er...stupider than those that do not.


Again, you're speaking as someone outside the faith. And telling roughly half the population of the the world that "euthanasia is okay because God's theoretically cool with it actually, and btw. you guys are all retards..." is not going to guarrentee the legislation pushes through, quite the opposite. I mean, look at the Catholic stance on abortion and birth control, and you seriously think euthaniasia is going to slip under the radar..? Because you have a theory..?

a Utilitarian perspective would argue for a lovely injection every time.


You see to me, this is the cruncher. Utilitarianism wouldn't just argue for a lethal injection for terminal patients in terrible pain, it would end up arguing for a lethal injection at retirement. Utilitarianism is Hitler, and no jew is a good jew in Hitler's book. Old people would start having to pass "Life Entitlement Exams" every year after 65 or something, like the new driving licence requirements.

Allow me to put on another hat. An unfashionable one these days, that of, for want of a better word, Heart.

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Utilitarianism at the social level is deeply linked to concepts like progress, the needs of the collective and other abstracts. Its lean, trimmed-down glossiness is well suited unfortunately to the current (western) mindset. It's pushed by population density and resource management, so it is no wonder it has taken such a foothold of late. Trouble is, as a liturgy, it negates the qualities that humanity should perhaps treasure more faithfully. Ultimately, the purpose of life is simply to live as gracefully as possible, and if society does not serve that end, then something's wrong. What meanning has progress if it does not facillitate life.? What is the collective other than souless tyranny if it sacrifices the individual in its name..?

And it would come to this. Let us not kid ourselves concerning the avarice and professional niche-carving talents of the human race, given half a chance. Already the dubious practice of ambulance-chasing is firmly established in legal circles and the culture of litigation it sponsors has become the bane of professional life in the US, and is fast spreading to the rest of the world. Think of the opportunity euthanasia presents to a hard up and unscrupulous lawyer firm. There's money to be had - the inheritance. There is quarrel, between relations - to be exploited. What would they call it..? Pensioner chasing..? Zimmer-fishing..? :-?

Given overcrowding in hospitals, the practice of routinely pushing a euthanasia suit for geriatric patients would become the norm. Hospital management would pressure doctors to diagnose 'hopelessness' and sign off on whatever release forms the hospital might have to okay in order for the process of euthanasia to be facillitated. There would be adverts, awareness campaigns, all subtley and uh, 'compassionately' done of course. In the collective social mind euthanasia would indeed become the loving thing to do.

But it would only be love in the strictly corporate sense. The love of Big-Brother.

These days death is one of the few last private things we do. And grieving for one lost a deeply personal matter. I'm grieving for my father, even though he's not yet dead. The intrusion of inheritance is bad enough, sullying to my mind, what should be kept as pure as possible. A society-wide euthanasia trend would blow famillies apart at a time when they are most emotionally weak. It would hover on the shoulders of each of those involved - a nasty little grating and selfish voice destroying a lifetime's worth of love and trust between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters.

Just as no parent should have to bury their child, no child should have to consider killing their parent.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby cheegster » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:58 pm

Awesome, will get on my last post either later this eve or tomorrow early afternoon.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby cheegster » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:25 pm

Okay, I’m gunna go ahead and refute your claims about the human condition, then finally re-iterate why euthanasia is potentially so beneficial to all societies.

I’ll do a rejoinder for this one point and then I’ll get straight to it:

You see to me, this is the cruncher. Utilitarianism wouldn't just argue for a lethal injection for terminal patients in terrible pain, it would end up arguing for a lethal injection at retirement. Utilitarianism is Hitler, and no jew is a good jew in Hitler's book. Old people would start having to pass "Life Entitlement Exams" every year after 65 or something, like the new driving licence requirements.


Come on now. The legitimization of euthanasia would have a very distinct difference to the legitimization of a fascist regime. In my first post, I noted how euthanasia would in every case be determined in the best interests of the individual. Hitler conducted his ethnic cleansing as a means of ‘perfecting’ the human race; a project that was fuelled by hate. He clearly didn’t have their best interests at heart. Jews weren’t resentful that they were Jews, for the most part. Here’s the two differences:

1. In medicine and ethical practice, there is no master tyrant who can at the click of a finger send orders to save or kill. It is mostly democratic (amongst the appropriate individuals) as a means of finding the best way in which to deal with the situation - many, many people contribute to the conventional practice.

2. Nazi Germany was conducted not in the best interests of the individuals at hand, but of that leader. If it is not in the individual’s best interests then it can’t really be classed as euthanasia, but as murder.

Here is the second part to my refutation –

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So you have painted a pretty grim and ghastly picture of human nature. There is no denying that it is part of our genetic make-up to have more unpleasant sides to us that exhibit greed and power, but I would say that these ugly traits are equally matched by empathy, compassion and altruism. We are hard-wired to be social individuals, and we live in a modern age where we are nurtured to value those latter traits.

I stand to claim that whilst there will always be a small minority of monsters who may be described b some as inherently ‘evil’, the good natured majority always suffice.

Not to forget that those few bad eggs would be filtered out anyway if they were planning on any tomfoolery; by a rigorous system with various quota needed to be fulfilled in order for each euthanasia to be qualified. Unfortunately though, if life aint in their best interests and things are only getting worse, we are morally obliged to kiss them goodbye. This ethic integrated with a close eye on those whom only have their own bests interests at heart can produce a utilitarian bliss which is open to very little corruption.

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So in a very short summary, I am essentially arguing for two fundamental human rights.

1. The right to be able to cease living if you desire to do so. *
2. The right to not be forced to suffer.

*Strictly in reference to Euthanasia under the conditions of #2

This in every single case should be decided from a first person perspective, with only one exception. That exception is when that first person perspective is significantly impeded and the judgement for an individual’s best interests must fall on somebody else.
In the latter case, the first right is forfeited but under no exception should the second right be forfeited.

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These two rights combined equate to only one thing; to get rid of the screaming individual begging that somebody stop the torture that they have been condemned to sit through whilst being trapped in their own body for the rest of their desperate life.

Provided the right systems are in place, and the ethical community comes together without a dictating authority, it is a visible idea to be able to implement this kind of euthanasia with absolutely minimal corruption.


A broader overview of the argument is a basic utilitarian one – if it can be decided by a community that somebody’s best interests is to be put to death with justification, it should be done.

The individual’s best interests are wholly what are at hand here. We should make it our duty to cater for this.

:banana-dance:
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:47 pm

Before we kick off with the last installment, I'd just like to say thanks to Mr. C for involving me in this topic. When I first saw the choice I was all like "eh" but as has it progressed I've gotten quite into it. Been fun.

That said however I'm now at a bit of a loss. My hatbox seems to have been emptied and C.'s last post hasn't really broached anything new for me to chew on.

So let's take a huge leap and assume that, despite the obstacles of religious doctrine, social and moral objection and the whole general 'euww' factor involved, euthanasia gets the green light.

Now it must be policed - we cannot have society randomly grabbing whatever blunt instrument comes to hand and bludgeoning its aged to death in the street, after misinterpreting Grandad's complaint "that his back was killing him this morning" as adequate evidence of unbearable suffering. Some kind of legal framework must be engineered to regulate and ratify such actions.

In lieu of a hat, let's put on our wigs.

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Legally, we would have to provide oversight for the rights of all parties involved, namely:

    o The Patient involved.
    o The Relatives.
    o The hospital/medical staff.
    o (And in some circumstances, should relatives be absent, the state).

Right from the word go, the doctors are going to be a pain because of the Hippocratic Oath, crucially:

Hippocrates wrote:I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan


Which would most probably oblige the governements involved to create an additional body, attached to the health system, to er, execute the policy of euthanasia. Recruitment however, may prove a problem. And I mean, what criteria would you recruit on..? Personally, when my time came I'd really rather not be switched off, juiced up or otherwise kicked off the mortal coil by some spotty school-leaver while he bopped to his mp3 player and texted his mates. "yea i iz up4it soon as iv snuffed dis gramps k LOL."

The hopsitals, as I previously discussed, needing the bed-space, will probably not cause problems, though they might insist that the actual location for euthanasia be separate from the hospital itself. A constant reminder of death would probably not do the geriatric ward, nor the nursing home morale any good. Better a knacker's wagon and a shed by the crematorium perhaps.

In the case of the elderly and infirm without relatives, I daresay again that the government would not be much motivated to do other than a little politically-correct heel-dragging before putting on the black-cap and consigning grandad to the great loony-bin in the sky. Politicians have holidays to go on and babies to kiss. Snogging geriatrics isn't really very high on their list of things to do.

These however, are relatively paltry concerns, all achievable, tweakable. But the real trouble would start during the representation of the patient, and the relatives. Imagine a typical case:

Patient X is nearing the last stages of some currently terminal disease, and in great pain. He or she expresses a wish to be euthanised. Witnesses are brought in, along with a pschiatrist and perhaps a priest. The wish is witnessed and notarized. Then the relatives are consulted, or at least notified. All other things being equivocal, Patient X is euthanised.

But all it would take is for one of their children to be devout. Patient X is commiting suicide, and suicide is a mortal sin. From the POV of a believer, patient X is sacrificing his or her soul to an eternity of Hell just to escape a finite amount of pain. Spending the world to save a penny. What are they going to do..? Of course they are going to appeal against the decision to euthanise. If necessary they will try to have patient X declared unfit to make a decision, and drag their siblings' characters over the coals of public scrutiny.

Whatever happens from that point, patient X not only spends a prolonged amount of time in increasing pain, but now suffers the personal torture of seeing his family rip itself apart in the courts.

Perhaps there occurs the rare family in which no member is spiritually motivated enough to appeal. However, all it would take is another child to be... Hopeful. New cancer treatments are announced every year, others are in development. Treatments for every kind of disease are being researched as we speak. Anyone pushing a wait-and-see strategy would be perfectly justified in doing so. Such a POV would also be morally obliging. No other sibling would really want to be the one to put the final nail in beloved patient X's coffin. Not without being fearful of ostracisation later. "Are you happy now...? Huh..? ARE YOU..!!!" Sob-sob, beat fists on chest.

Whatever happens from that point, patient X, should they stick to their guns, not only spends a prolonged amount of time in increasing pain, but now suffers the personal torture of seeing themselves pitted against their family in the courts.

There are any number of scenarios, all involving not so much the relief of pain and suffering, but rather its exacerbation.

And all of this is to forget one thing.

Time.

Court-process is a notoriously slow beast. We're talking, if the case is contested in any way at all, months, and in some cases undoubtably years, before any kind of legally-binding consensus could be reached. And meanwhile, what is happening to patient X..? Is he or she being spared any of their quota of pain by initiating the process of euthanasia..? Or have they simply sacrificed what little dignity they still possessed, and spent whatever love and respect remained to them..? And for what..? The equivalent of a permanent aspirin..?

Death's painful, live with it.
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