It’s an overgeneralization, but I’ve always regarded "The Culture of Death" as simply employing death as "The Final Solution" to the problem of life. Could the right to die ultimately become the obligation to die? Of course, this is just a slippery slope argument and I was once told that slippery slope arguments are automatically invalid. If I let my kids play with matches, it will lead to a fire, which will lead to property damage, and someone getting hurt, and someone dying, but this is just more nutty logic from a slippery slope.
Regardless, euthanasia could head down the following slippery slope and finally hit rock bottom via four distinct stages.
Stage 1: Voluntary – Passive
(Completely voluntary, but not applauded)Canada joins a small group of “enlightened” countries in stage 1. This stage would have been unthinkable many years ago, but doctors may now lawfully help competent adults to kill themselves if they are terminally ill. Certainly, no one would be forced to do it, because that would be unthinkable. There should be no coercion either, since it’s such a personal choice between patients and their doctor.
Stage 2: Voluntary – Active
(Completely voluntary and encouraged)We need to think of what is best, not only for ourselves, but for our immediate families and the common good of society. We live in a free country and no one can force you to do anything, but as a society we have an obligation to encourage what is “right” and promote the common welfare. The “right to die” can now slowly morph into the “obligation to die”.
People are still free to smoke cigarettes today, but anti-smoking campaigns, legislation and taxation have done a good job of breaking the will to smoke. The same can be done for those who insist on living for no good reason. Persistent pressure to do the “right thing” will break the will to live.
Stage 3: Mandatory – Passive
(Mostly voluntary with some exceptions)
As our population rapidly ages and the health care costs consume ever larger proportions of government budgets, at least some legislation must be considered to help reduce the source of rising healthcare cost. Laws to guide the old and terminally ill through their final stage of life and their final obligation to the society just makes sense.
Of course, such laws would be very limited in their scope and only apply to the most desperate cases. In fact, such laws are not likely to even be enforced much, like some immigration laws or gun laws today, so there is certainly no cause for alarm.
|This won't hurt a bit.|
Stage 4: Mandatory – Active
(Mostly required with some exceptions)
Physician assisted suicide need not be limited to only desperate pain. The very old, very sick and severely physically or mentally handicapped should all be considered for legal and mandatory euthanization once the quality of life has been properly assessed by professionals.
Again, we must be mindful of the common good and do the “right thing” no matter how difficult it may seem. Why allow these poor people to suffer for no reason, even if they choose to suffer. Those in favor of such legislation will be called progressively “pro-health”. Those opposed will be said to have radical “anti-health” agenda.
We have been watering down the meaning and dignity of human life for decades and the stages above could take many decades more, but a slippery slope need not be as fast as the metaphor implies. A lava flow can be slower than 1km/hour, but will destroy everything in its path.