The Right To Die?

How do you feel about euthanasia and the death penalty? Different subjects I know but  ethically surely two sides of the same coin, what do you think? I was reading an article this morning and it got me thinking about the right to take life, either someone else’s or our own, and whether such a right should exist. I’ll explain what I mean…….

How do you feel about euthanasia and the death penalty? Different subjects I know but surely,  ethically, two sides of the same coin, what do you think? I was reading an article this morning and it got me thinking about the right to take life, either someone else’s or our own, and whether such a right should exist. I’ll explain what I mean…….

Individual rightsAs Ayn Rand said “individual rights are not subject to a public vote” and I am a firm believer in this; each of us should have the right to live our lives as we choose so long as it is not to the detriment or suffering of others. This is the foundation for my conviction that euthanasia should be an option that’s freely available to everyone; no-one else should be able to dictate how we live so why should they be able to dictate when we die?

If we see an animal that is suffering we will end its life in the name of compassion and yet we will watch our fellow man suffer and do whatever is medically possible to keep that person alive. Do we have more compassion for animals than we have for humans? I wonder, if animals could talk, would we be so quick to end their pain? If they could express the desire to carry on living, despite what they were suffering, would we be so ready to ‘put them to sleep’, out of kindness?

If we would be more inclined to rethink our actions because the animal had been able voice its own opinion, surely we could rethink our attitude to prolonging human life at all costs when the individual who is suffering tells us that they wish to die? We can argue that there may still be hope, that there are treatments they could still try but we are not in their position, we do not feel what they feel so who are we to try to impose our will on them?

PainSome people believe that euthanasia in some way ‘devalues’ life; if we choose this path we would be carelessly throwing away something which has been given to us as a precious gift. This is an easy argument to make if you are happy and healthy but what if you spend every waking second of every day in unbearable pain? Is life such a precious gift then or is it just torture?

Some argue that it is not ‘fair’ on the families of those who choose euthanasia because they want to spend as much time as possible with their loved ones. I would ask is it ‘fair’ to ask someone to keep living in misery, knowing that all you are doing is delaying the inevitable? We are all going to die, that is an absolute, so if we cannot endure the suffering that the final weeks or months that a terminal illness can bring shouldn’t we have the right to decide when that happens?

There are many more arguments against euthanasia but my answer to all of them is that the rights of the many must fall if the rights of the individual are forgotten………..

It is for this very same reason that I am opposed to the death penalty. My feeling is that it is not the ‘right’ of the State to decide when an individual’s life will end. There are many heinous crimes committed where we feel that the instigator deserves to die but does that give us the right to take their life?

death penaltyThe death penalty is legalised murder; the act is pre-meditated and carried out in cold blood so what else can you call it? Just because it is done in the name of Justice, it does not change the facts. In places where the death penalty exists, the process is invariably long which means that the individual is subject to mental and emotional torture; some might argue that this is no less than they deserve as their victims and their victim’s families have suffered the same thing but do two wrongs really make a right?

The deterrent argument is often put forward to support the death penalty but answer me this: has murder been eradicated in places where the death penalty is in place? If the answer is no then how can the deterrent argument effectively be used? We have no way of knowing if more murders would have been committed if the death penalty did not exist……..

One of the most commonly used phrases you’ll hear in the death penalty debate is “an eye for an eye”; if that’s really your argument then are you any better than the person that you are condemning? You are willing to do to them what they did to others without a modicum of understanding of their situation or the reasons why they committed the crimes that they did.

If you argue that some people are just born ‘evil’ and the world would be a better place without them, do you blame them for that, is it their fault? If a random genetic hiccup meant that they were born without the capacity to feel sympathy, to understand the difference between right and wrong, without morals, is that something they deserve to die for? It’s a given that they cannot be allowed to live amongst others as they present a clear threat but is it right that they should lose their life?

Whichever way I look at it, I believe that the right to die must be something for the individual and not for the State. What do you think? I know that it’s a pretty heavy duty subject but I’d love to hear from you



Is Woke the Path to Enlightenment?

People should not be treated as sheep unless the intention is for them to become like sheep – mindlessly following popular opinion without applying their own moral standards – that can never lead to anything positive!

For those of you don’t know (and I was one of them until recently) ‘woke’ is a widely used term for people who are ‘aware’ of social and racial injustices but does being aware make them enlightened or just intolerant of the intolerance of others?

If you have a quick whiz around Google you’ll soon find this comment from David Brooks (who is an American journalist apparently):

“To be woke is to be radically aware and justifiably paranoid. It is to be cognizant of the rot pervading the power structures. The woke manner shares cool’s rebel posture, but it is the opposite of cool in certain respects. Cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke. Cool was individualistic, but woke is nationalistic and collectivist. Cool was emotionally reserved; woke is angry, passionate and indignant. Cool was morally ambiguous; woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable.”

face palmWhen I first started thinking about ‘woke’ I thought yep OK we need a bit more tolerance and understanding of other people because, with that, comes acceptance and with acceptance comes peace but then I read this explanation and face palmed….It would appear that, in modern parlance, woke is merely calling other people out over their ideas and opinions which the ‘woke’ collective deem as being unacceptable. It has led to a culture in which some people, who presumably consider themselves woke, criticise the comments or actions of others and, furthermore, are offended on behalf of others. 

A sad example of this was the online castigation of a young girl who posted a photo of herself in her prom dress. Pretty innocuous right? Nope, because she was wearing a traditional Chinese dress called a cheongsam and she’s not Chinese which apparently means that she committed the crime of cultural appropriation which prompted responses such as:

“Was the theme of the prom casual racism” (this from a girl whose profile picture indicates that she is not Chinese)

This was followed by:

“I’m Asian and not insulted in any way. You look beautiful”

This thread prompted over 6,000 comments, some condemning and some showing support. Those condemning appear to consider themselves woke; they are pointing out that a dress choice could be interpreted as taking something from someone else’s culture without having the proper respect or understanding of that culture which is, apparently, inappropriate. If you take this theory to the nth degree then, surely, it means that everyone must stay within their own cultural boundaries in case they offend someone by stepping over theirs. Whilst I can appreciate patriotism and pride in our heritage I do find it incredibly sad that we should not be able to appreciate the wonders of someone else’s culture without fear of inadvertent appropriation.

Your rights endThis phrase from Mr Brooks “woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable” really concerns me not least because who will be deciding what is ‘unacceptable’. Is it the case, as it seems to be with advertisements these days, that if more than 0.00000001% of the population is offended then it naturally follows that the rest of the population should be offended?

There is currently a battle ranging between trans women (biological men who identify as women) and extreme feminists and both sides are gaining a lot of traction in the media because they are trying to force people to accept their beliefs by saying that, to have a contrary opinion, is offensive and unacceptable. So, to take this example, does ‘woke’ mean that you have to accept both sides of the argument as being offensive? If that is the case then where does the positive on each side fit in? Where is the place for the individual in all this?

sheepApparently woke is collectivist which means that the good of the society has to be considered over the welfare of the individual. That’s dangerous ground for me I’m afraid; what is ‘society’ other than a collection of individuals and who gets to decide what is good for the majority of an individuals other than a minority of other individuals? People should not be treated as sheep unless the intention is for them to become like sheep – mindlessly following popular opinion without applying their own moral standards – that can never lead to anything positive!

Lotus isolated on blackSo, is being woke the same as being on the path to enlightenment? In my opinion, that would be a resounding no. True tolerance and true harmony between individuals doesn’t come from being offended, angry and indignant, it comes from acceptance and understanding. It’s a rare thing to be able to accept others just as they are but I believe that’s the way to peace so I will try to be awakened and not woke if that’s all the same to you ;O) x