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$21.95 hardcover · 224 pages
9978-1594037641-January 2015

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The theme of The Great Divide is that the populations of the democratic world, from Boston to Berlin, Vancouver to Venice, are becoming increasingly divided from within, due to a growing ideological incompatibility between modern liberalism and conservatism. This is partly due to a complex mutation in the concept of liberal democracy itself, and the resulting divide is now so wide that those holding to either philosophy on a whole range of topics: on democracy, on reason, on abortion, on human nature, on homosexuality and gay marriage, on freedom, on the role of courts … and much more, can barely speak with each other without outrage (the favorite emotional response from all sides). Clearly, civil conversation at the surface has been failing -- and that could mean democracy is failing.

This book is an effort to deepen the conversation. It is written for the non-specialist, and aims to reveal the less obvious underlying ideological forces and misconceptions that cause the conflict and outrage at the surface -- not with any expectation the clash of values will evaporate, but rather that a deeper understanding will generate a more intelligent and civil conversation.

As an aid to understanding, the book contains a handful of Tables directly comparing modern liberal and conservative views across a range of fundamental moral and political “issues” so that curious readers can answer the book’s main question: “Where Do You Stand?” An interesting result in testing this exercise has been the number of people who find they “think” one way, but “live” another.    

 

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Essays (37)
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Monday
Mar272017

What "Euthansia" Is, and Is Not

If you ask most people to define "euthanasia", they will pause a little, then say it has something to do with helping someone who is old, or sick, or suffering, to die. They rarely consider the various complicated scenarios that crop up.

Here is a terse set of distinctions sent by a physician friend with whom a few of us were having a debate surrounding Canada's recent law legalizing euthanasia.

Before reading, I think it is useful to keep in mind that euthanasia is not about "letting" someone die of natural causes, keeping them as pain-free and comfortable as possible along the way,  with nursing, food, water, etc., as distinct from keeping them alive artificially.

 Rather, euthanasia is always about "making" someone die by the administration of life-ending drugs, injections, etc. 

Note: MAiD = Medical Aid in Dying

 ************

Euthanasia = making someone die (with the intent to end suffering, or for some other cause deemed compassionate by those who have legalized the killing procedure and those who administer it).

Voluntary Active Euthanasia (VAE) = patient consents, doc/nurse does it.
Non voluntary Active Euthanasia (NVAE) = patient can't consent, doc does it
Involuntary Active Euthanasia  (IAE) = patient doesn't want it, doc does it
Assisted Suicide (AS) = patient given means to end own life (patient self-administers)
MAiD = VAE for the most part.
AS often requires VAE if the AS isn't successful (eg, person not quite dead).
Issues:
MAiD changes the ontology of medicine. No one want to debate this very much.
Giving patients the right to universal access to MAiD creates a duty for others to offer and pay for it.
Finally, "Hard cases make bad laws". No one need die in pain. Terminal sedation means we can all pass quietly. Intent to relieve suffering by "turning up the morphine" often hastens death. It's been done forever. This is very different from giving meds with the intent to cause death.

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