I started with good intentions of starting something tonight, you know how it goes, “This time I’ll do the one that sets the blogsphere alight.” Then I started looking for some stuff, and found some other stuff, got interested in it and everything went out the window.
But all is not lost, I found something interesting and thought provoking enough to bring it to your attention. I congratulate the people at Astrolobe for this article, the last part of which is ‘borrowed’ and published here.
One concern with this — aside from the religious arguments — is that there are very powerful incentives for young people to want the elderly to die. For example, there is that most basic human impulse of greed and a selfish dislike of curtailing one’s own ambitions to care for the old and decrepit. One can see something of this impulse in the phenomena of ‘granny dumping’ where adult children, fed up with caring for an adult relative, decide to dump them at a hospital, shopping centre or other public place.
So even though euthanasia will begin as procedure for only the most extreme of circumstances, human nature may lead assisted suicide down the same path as abortion and caesarian births before it. Just as abortion is now seen by some as a form of contraceptive, and women can make use of caesarians as a means of meeting cutoff dates for exclusive schools or qualifying for government handouts, it is not inconceivable that, given human nature, the bar for euthanasia may be substantially lowered from where we imagine it to be today.
The right to die might then become a responsibility. Is it not possible that were euthanasia legalised, that elderly parents would find themselves under pressure from their children to be “responsible” and “die with dignity” rather than continue to squander their inheritance on the medical and other expenses that often accompany one’s twilight years. Such parents could be seen as selfish and irresponsible in their obstinate refusal to make way for the succeeding generation.