Euthanasia, human or reprehensible?

The opposition to euthanasia comes mainly from a Christian angle. This is unjustified. There are a number of very good arguments, especially from a purely secular angle, to reject euthanasia.

Is there a 'good death'?

Euthanasia is derived from two classical Greek words: eu (good) and thanatos (death). Literally translated, euthanasia is therefore: a good death. This word combination is contradictory to say the least. Death is something a healthy person wants to avoid as much as possible, not a good thing. Although death is - still - ultimately inevitable, at least: in the next ten to twenty years, it is a different matter to magnify it, or to see death as better than life. Death means an end to all experience. For a non-religious person like myself, death also means an end to existence and is by definition a bad thing. Believers, such as Christians, believe that after this earthly life, there will be an (eternal) life and that the existence in the hereafter, at least for those who meet the admission criteria of the supreme being, will be better than the earthly existence. Reasons for believers to reject euthanasia are for example: going against the will of God who alone has the right to dispose of life and death and: avoiding karma.

The Sarco, developed by Philip Nitschke and Alexander Bannink, guarantees, according to the makers, a painless death for those who want to die. In warp speed to the zero dimension. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Euthanasia as an easy way out to end suffering

As the Nepalese prince Siddhartha Gautama (well known here for the many Buddha statues) said, albeit rather one-sided: life is suffering. While most people enjoy their lives on balance - our quality of life is among the best in the world, and certainly among the best in human history - this was often different in ancient times, and certainly different for the terminally ill. Not everyone can easily cope with this pain, or the loneliness it brings. Pity is also suffering, and many people prefer to avoid this suffering. At first sight, euthanasia seems to be the solution to this problem. Euthanasia is low-tech, as archaeological finds from euthanazi operations such as stab wounds and smashed stone age skulls show. This is in contrast to pain relief, which requires drugs such as morphine, or the cure of hitherto deadly diseases.

The Nazi T-4 Euthanasia Program
We all know the horror stories of the Nazi Final Solution, in which six million Jews and other human obstacles to the realization of Hitler's racist utopia were gassed and shot. Less well known is that before the genocide of the Jews began, the Nazis ran tests on "mentally deficient" children and adults. This T-4 programNamed after the address Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin, where the operation was headquartered, removed severe psychiatric patients from institutions and euthanized them with an injection or by gassing them. When this became known to the Catholic Church and the general public in 1941, a storm of indignation broke out among the population. The Nazis ended the open practice but then continued it in secret, this time led by SS men to prevent rumors of the mass euthanizing of enemies of the Nazi regime from spreading. In camps such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, the euthanasia of Jews reached the industrial “peak”.

Inclined plane

As before with the Nazis, we also see in the Netherlands that euthanasia is being used in more and more cases. For example, there are more and more voices to “euthanize” incapacitated persons. This was not negotiable in the beginning. As a result, the dignity of human life is increasingly under pressure. There is no logical limit to stop this process. For example, “clinically incurable” depressed patients are already “cured” with the help of a syringe. [1] An additional advantage is that in the event of a planned death, many organs can be harvested from the body. As history in Germany has shown, the slippery slope is a reality. Once murders start, the boundary shifts more and more. Most people who die of natural causes can do so without anesthesia. A painful grimace on the face of a deceased may occur, but usually not [2].

Palliative care and disease curing

Here too, the morally correct way is also the most difficult. Partly due to its unpredictable nature, attending the dying process is painful for future relatives. The visionary solution, of course, is to cure disease and achieve clinical immortality. Euthanasia diminishes our will to end human suffering. It's an easy and cowardly way out. Euthanasia is not a good death, but a suicide of our civilization.
Shelter for the dying is better, as long as we do not yet have effective medicines. More and more palliative rest homes are being built where the terminally ill spend their last days of life. Hopefully those in attendance will vow to fight to the last gasp against disease and death, as every Israeli soldier swears: never again Masada. Let me close with a poem by the poet Jan Arends, who committed suicide a few days before his literary breakthrough, so completely pointless.

Cancer

is
a good death.

Tepletter traps
is
a good death.

Drowning
is
a good death.

Suicide
is
a good death.

Every death
is
a good death.

But
death
that you
awaits
that is
a bad death.

Always.

Sources

1. Aurelia (29) dies in 12 days: 'After such a rotten life I am entitled to a dignified death', RTL Nieuws, 2018
2. Ton Bakker, How does the dying process go ?, Health Square, undated

Leave a Comment

English