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Euthanasia: the 21st Century Culture of Death

  • Date Submitted: 04/10/2012 02:20 AM
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EUTHANASIA: THE 21ST CENTURY CULTURE OF   DEATH.

By

OMIPIDAN BASHIRU ADENIYI [Ph.D]*

INTRODUCTION

Human beings have been known to share love and affections within the family in particular, and the society at large. However, the situation is gradually changing with the emergence of euthanasia. This new concept has become the newest means of telling the terminally ill and vulnerable persons in our society that they are no longer useful. Several writers and books of history are of the view that the concept originated from the ancient Greek and the Romans. This view is, with respect limited to the acronym, ‘euthanasia,’ without more. This is because euthanasia, as used among the ancient Greek and Romans, refers to eu (Good) and thanathos (death).[1] In other words, people take their own lives or are assisted to die in these jurisdictions in order to avoid disgrace. For instance, these persons commit suicide to avoid humiliations associated with rape cases or as a way of showing disaffection with the government of the day.[2] This is not, however, what the concept is today.[3] What may however be regarded as the major causes of the request for euthanasia and or assisted suicide, remain the evolvement and influence of three theories. These theories are the Malthusian theory of population,[4] Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution,[5] and the eugenic theory.[6] These theories encouraged the elimination of species, referred to as being ‘unproductive,’ in favour of the supposedly productive ones.[7] These theories in turn became the basis for the formation of the modern utilitarian bioethics principle. According to this principle, lives that are unworthy should be eliminated for the worthy ones. In other words, there is no justification in expending ‘tax payers’ money on an illness that is incurable.[8] Presently, euthanasia and or assisted suicide have been legalized in five countries. These countries are in the United States of America, (the State of Oregon in 1997 and...

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