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Friday, April 13, 2012

More on American attitudes on Euthanasia

I was wrong in my post on why Americans oppose euthanasia. Don't get me wrong, I stand by everything I said in it, except that I said there was one reason when in actuality there are two.

I believe I am correct in saying that Americans generally do not believe that there is a right to kill innocent people. We could expand this notion to say that Americans generally do not believe others should have that right over them, nor do they want that right for themselves. We fought bloody wars against regimes that thought otherwise. The right to kill is a tool of tyranny. Americans oppose tyranny. (Why we put up with Obama just goes to show that many Americans have lost their sense of what a tyrant actually is.) This nation exists precisely as a bastion against tyranny.

The other reason, which I neglected to mention before, is that Americans are not cowards, by and large. Some of us are. Most of us aren't. Now the movement favoring euthanasia and assisted suicide has two parts. Those who want to be able to die on their own terms. And those who want to be able to kill them. Both groups tend toward cowardice, the first group more than the second. The object of fear here is not death itself, but of dying. Many people fear suffering, indignation, and that sort of thing typically associated with a protracted death. Some of us do not fear it. At any rate, even if you deny that those who want to want to die quickly and easily are cowards, you cannot say that those who face suffering and the process of dying with their chins up are anything but courageous. But if you do deny that desire for euthanasia is cowardice, you would be creating a reality of your own. It would be like saying a soldier who runs from combat is not a coward because it takes some bravery to risk court martial and prison. Right. But then, many of us are in the habit of trying to make reality be a certain way by defining our words how we like. Why not redefine "courage" to justify cowardice? (Read 1984.)

As far as those who want the right to kill go, I would say that cowardice plays a smaller part. Those in this group are quite diverse and their motives to kill a dying person are myriad. But in general it is their own burden they seek to relieve, couching it in terms of easing the burden of the patient. So they fear their own burden and would rather kill the patient than be burdened. It might be cowardice. It might be selfishness. It might be greed. It might be a combination. Cowardice can't be excluded completely, however.

The American way is to face hardship with courage and to live and die by the notion that no one -- NO ONE -- has the right to kill an innocent person. This has nothing to do with religion. 

I am American. How about you?

Of course, people are defining "American" to mean whatever they want it to mean. Sure, being American means accommodating tyrants, running from battle, being selfish. Just define it that way and that's what it means. Are you that sort of American?

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