Essay on Active Euthanasia, Free Will and Autonomy

1945 Words 8 Pages
Active Euthanasia, Free Will and Autonomy

"Medicine in the hands of a fool has always been poison and death." -C. J. Jung

Euthanasia, from the Greek, quite literally means "the good death." Advocates of euthanasia, offer it as a solution for the emotional, psychological and physiologic suffering of terminally ill patients. The type of euthanasia, which is presently under debate, is called "active euthanasia" and is defined as an act performed by an individual to bring about the death of another person. Advocates for euthanasia represent "the good death" as a welcome alternative to "the miserable life." However, euthanasia is not actively practiced because law precludes it.

Indeed, three benchmark ancient texts
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Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right of life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence...the moment of death."

One of the chief arguments supporting legalization of euthanasia, is that built upon the concepts of individual "free will, autonomy" and the right to exercise them. However, the elevation of these rights of the individual above those of the greater social group are a concern. The concern which arises, is that institutions which would exercise the free will of an individual, on a populace of individuals who are terminally ill, might lose track of the elusive quality of freedom as it relates to will, and implement someone else's will upon an unwilling individual, or upon an entire group for that matter. According to Mohler (1997): "Western Civilization is breaking down under the corrosive influence of radical subjectivity and individualism. Freedom is divorced from truth and all authority above the individual is denied." Thereafter, all truth is reduced to subjective relativism as it regards the individual. Finally, "everything becomes negotiable, everything is open to bargaining; even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life." (Mohler, 1997).

Approximately 2.5 million people die in the U.S.