My fellow bloggers have blogged their perspectives about euthanasia so it seems fair that I should too.
The term euthanasia covers several situations:-
1) Killing oneself.
2) Another person killing himself.
3) You helping someone kill himself.
4) You killing someone.
5) Another person helping someone else kill himself.
6) Another person killing someone.
7) The state helping someone kill himself.
8) The state killing someone.
9) The state punishing a person for helping someone else kill himself.
10) The state punishing a person for killing someone.
Each of these situations has different moral considerations which makes euthanasia a difficult topic for me to discuss. At the moment my interests for discussion are only the situations involving the state.
I’m pragmatically absolutely opposed to the state killing someone (8), mainly because the state is clumsy, filled with incompetent, arrogant people who think they know best and they are largely immune to accountability. Likewise, the state helping someone kill himself (7) is dangerous for the same reasons. If the state were to change in character I might reconsider these positions.
It is wrong for the state to punish a person for helping someone else kill himself (9). Killing someone who reasonably wants to die is victimless except in the situation where it was likely the dead person would have changed his mind (e.g. a recently paralised person).
It is wrong for the state to punish a person for killing someone (10) if it was reasonable and truly done out of mercy. It is not on a par with murder. If done according to the dead person’s wishes then there is no victim.
Laws that punish people should be justifiable with regard to the harm done to the victim.
No victim, no injustice, no justifiable punishment.
8 thoughts on “Euthanasia (Part 4)”
Under a legal euthanasia, the euthanasia itself is solely between two people: the ‘respondent’ for lack of a better word, and the doctor (probably two doctors). The state has merely provided the framework where the doctor giving the service can do so legally.
I don’t see that as ‘the state killing the respondent’ as all parties are interacting on a voluntary basis. You?
Yes, having a legislative framework would be ‘the state killing the respondent’ – someone would be licensed by the state to kill as the state prescribes.
Do you want the state issuing Euthanasia Consents like they issue Building Consents?
Disagree. The legal framework simply provides an absence of state. For medical practitioners who voluntarily provide such a service, the state withdraws it’s ability to prosecute (a non-existent crime).
But okay, I don’t think the list of those who can provide such services should be subject to a licence: just as I disagree with all monopoly licencing. However I’ll take a licencing regime and euthanasia over no euthanasia. The thing about euthanasia is those who would avail themselves of it don’t have the luxury of waiting for the law to catch up with a basic right (that should be beyond a vote of any type).
Christians I’ve spoken with about euthanasia don’t want people punished for performing euthanasia however I imagine most of them wouldn’t accept a legal framework for various reasons.
By advocating a legal framework you’ll alienate people whose position on euthanasia is compatible with yours.
… and, you know the legal framework idea is wrong in principle. 😉
Mark, the state never “merely” provides a framework. Remember the PSA?
Killing someone is incompatible with Mercy.
Mercy is probably the wrong word to use as it usually relates to forgiveness. By mercy I meant compassion.
Killing someone is compatible with compassion. Agree?