Euthanasia now and then

Euthanasia is now legal in Holland. Do historical records show it to have been legal or tolerated at any other time throughout history in any country in the world? Isn’t it a bit strange to think that it has become accepted after the introduction of anaesthetics and painkillers and not before? What does that say about human beings?

Actually I gather that only the Jews and Christians consider euthanasia/suicide to be illegal or immoral (although there is one mention of a mercy killing in the OT). Buddhists apparently have no particular objection although it isn’t encouraged, whereas in feudal Japan it was actively encouraged amongst (I assume) Shintoists during the ritual of seppeku (hari kari) and for wounded fellows to prevent them being captured in battle. Australian Aboriginals of at least some tribes apparently practiced euthanasia and I gather from my readings/filmwatching of the ancient Romans and Greeks the act of killing a mortally wounded comrade or enemy on the field of battle was considered a noble thing.
What does this say about the high value placed on life by the Christian/Hebrew god?

The Christian God also disapproves of “fornication” but venereal disease has always been high in Christian societies. Abortions and alcoholism are also common transgressions against Christian beliefs and infanticide has even been used as a form of contraception. How is it that similar “transgressions” have not taken place to assist people with unbearable pain? I have read about Civil War soldiers, for instance, who were in desperate need of it but it just wasn’t considered an option - even in the absence of proper medical care.

As someone who has spent the better part of my adult life caring for people who are “terminally ill”; as someone who has heard all of the arguments regarding pain relief, but held the hands of dying people whose pain can not be relieved (go right on believing that doctors - there’s a good reason why doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession; you are basically cowards who cannot confront your inability to relieve human suffering) but whose humiliation is intractable, I kind of wonder where this question is coming from.

I’m guessing that you are fairly young, because otherwise your would know the very long history of suicides relating to various cultures. There’s a reason why in most western countries voluntary euthanasia societies have names along the lines of “the hemlock society”. You obviously haven’t conducted any searches on the topic of “suicide”. It doesn’t take a whole lot of research to discover that all anaesthetics are fat soluble and essentially all anaethetics are also solvents. I simply don’t get the point of your post. For many years, PAS has been available in the Netherlands - you obviously don’t watch SBS too often or you would have seen the very many programmes which have been aired on that station showing PAS.

Gaspode is almost right; Aboriginal tribes left alone without any interfence from well meaning white people will actually leave twins to die. I think that perhaps you might want to start a GD thread about the ethics of euthanasia. Just realise that it is a highly emotive subject, and no matter how well thought out your arguments are, someone is going to disagree with your opinion…

Suicide was very common in ancient Greece and ancient Rome; none of this is “new” (and if it was we would be talking poisons like ricin).

Just go watch the Simpsons and stop being concerned about reality - it obviously hasn’t impacted on you so far, it’s not likely to do so in the near future…

In answer to the OP, euthanasia was legally permitted for a short peroid of time in Australia’s Nothern Territory (NT), during the mid 1990’s. IIRC, only four terminally ill people were able to take advantage of it before the laws were overruled when a new federal government came to power.

The conditions were extremely strict, and required the sanction of four doctors, who practised in NT, to certify a patient’s sanity, quality of life and impossibility of recovery. All of those four persons mentioned above expressed their difficulty in finding doctors who were willing to participate in the process.

The doctor at the centre of the whole affair is still a prominent advocate of euthanasia today, and still as controversial as ever in his head-on approach in dealing with the rights of the terminally ill.

Reprise: I don’t know how I could have gone so wrong - or been so misconstrued. I have given the example of one group of people (Civil War soldiers) who were forced to die slow, unimaginably painful deaths when a quick death would have been their choice. In your opinion, had their hemlock club subscriptions run out? There is a crucial difference between suicide and assisted-suicide. At least I understand that.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask a related question. Why, in late 19th-century America did Dutch people gain a national reputation for self-destructive tendencies? They were even responsible for introducing euphenisms for suicide into the English language. To do a Dutch or the Dutch act means to commit suicide - or used to. Maybe I should start another thread for this - perhaps I need advice.

Could you elaborate on the Dutch being self-destructive in 19th century America, G. Nome?

It’s completely new to me. What did they do? Kill themselves substantially more often than average?

What exactly is your question? Is it “Do historical records show it to have been legal or tolerated at any other time throughout history in any country in the world?” In which case the answer is yes as I stated above.
Or is it: “How is it that similar “transgressions” have not taken place to assist people with unbearable pain? “
In which case I think Reprise has already stated quite clearly that there were ‘transgressions’ in the form of ‘hemlock societies’.
Like adultery, alcoholism and fornication these were not openly accepted by ‘decent’ people, but the transgressions occurred. Added to this of course euthanasia is nothing like fornication or alcoholism. There is no pleasurable side effect to euthanasia, only a cessation of pain. Euthanasia is not an act that can be engaged in many times unlike fornication or drunkenness. It strikes me as a strange to compare euthansia to these two ‘sins’.
The lines between euthanasia, suicide and assisted suicide are not so clear to me, or the legal systems of this country, as they apparently are to you.
Perhaps a debate on the morality and history of euthanasia would provide you with the information you require.

Yes, I think they must have. But no, I can’t elaborate. I wish someone else could though. It’s so interesting.