Active and passive euthanasia in capitalist health care

James Farmelant farmelantj at
Fri Dec 8 05:56:49 MST 2000

I wrote:

>I'd therefore suggest that the notion of the
>"right to die" is one that we cannot easily
>dismiss, providing that we recognize
>that such a right cannot be made meaningful
>unless people are provided access to the
>resources (i.e. decent medical
>care, effective palliative care, hospice care etc.)
>under which people can make truly free choices
>concerning how they
>wish to deal with the end of their existence.
>In other words, the winning of the "right to
>die" is likely to prove to be a horrible
>victory without radical changes in the
>political economy of the medical care system.

I meant to write in the last sentence that
winning the "right to die" might prove to
be a "hollow victory" given the current
political economic realities of capitalist
medicine.  An interesting Freudian slip
on my part.  Such a victory might well
turn out to be "horrible" as well as
"hollow."  I have heard advocates of the
right to euthenasia admit that it might
not be wise to legalise it without a
national health care system in place.
Like Yoshie, I suspect that the Dutch who
have such a system in place will probably
do a better job in regulating euthenasia
than would be the case in the US.  And I
would also agree with her caveat that
while we might expect social democracies
to do better in in dealing with the
"right to die" than the US, the history
of the Scandinavian countries in regards
to eugenics does not exactly inspire

Jim F.

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