Monday, February 8, 2010

Death Panels!

In a recent lecture Discworld author Terry Pratchett has called for “euthanasia tribunals” so that people who are dying of an incurable malady can receive legally approved medical assistance to end their lives. Sir Terry, who is suffering from an incurable illness himself, is arguing that we have a right to die and that we should be able to seek expert assistance so that the deed can be done with the least pain and the most dignity possible.

In the past I would have disagreed. I was once something of an absolutist on the subject of the sanctity of human life and I had a strong paternalistic streak. My positions have changed radically over the years as I've come to realize that life, while a good, is not the greatest good, and that if individual liberty is to mean anything then people should have a right to do as they will, even if the state might not agree that it is in their best interests.

What do you think dear reader? Do we have a right to die? Should there be a legal avenue to sanctioned assisted suicide?

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