A Natural Right to Die: Twenty-Three Centuries of Debate

A Natural Right to Die: Twenty-Three Centuries of Debate

A Natural Right to Die: Twenty-Three Centuries of Debate

A Natural Right to Die: Twenty-Three Centuries of Debate

Synopsis

Demonstrates how U. S. attitudes and practices concerning euthanasia have been influenced by the historical development of rights within the western world.

Excerpt

This book was written to develop a new approach to the “right to die” debate. It is hoped that if readers can be provided with the foundation needed to understand the historical basis upon which the claim of such a right can be based, as well as the main points that support and oppose the legalization of the “right to die,” the debate might shift away from an argument over whether the “right to die” is “right or wrong” to one that emphasizes the degree to which we, as a society, wish to control the inevitable acts that will be performed in support of those who believe that there is a “right to die.”

In attempting to reach this goal, this work also examines current public policy issues from a new direction, taking as its basic approach the idea that society has become so distracted by the arguments for or against euthanasia that we have failed to recognize the fact that euthanasia is now a common practice in the United States. In political reality, the United States has few options when it comes to the legal status of the “right to die,” since euthanasia has been both secretly and openly practiced in the United States for at least twenty years, and there is no reason to believe that this state of affairs will change. The reality of this debate is that the frequency of acts of euthanasia will only continue to increase, whether government recognizes such a right or not.

The underlying structure and development of the theory of rights, as it evolved from the pre-Socratic age to the present, are also documented in this book. In this way, the reader learns that the “right to die” question is not simply a question of law, majority or moral will, but rather a cultural question that involves some of the fundamental theories of the Western world. This work reveals that the “right to die” controversy is related to basic questions about the proper role of society, as well as the proper position of the individual within society. This author has combined historical overview of the argument with a discussion of contemporary attitudes and opinions, so that the reader can come to understand the shifts in political thought that have made the current . . .

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