Description Essay

Topics: Suffering, Suicide, Ernest van den Haag Pages: 3 (1052 words) Published: June 12, 2010
“Comparison between Ernest Van den Haag’s and Rand Richards Cooper’s Articles.’’

It is a very delicate issue to talk about physician-assisted suicide. There are two authors that have very interesting things to say about this topic: Ernest Van den Haag with his essay “Make Mine Hemlock”, and Rand Richards Cooper who wrote “The Dignity of Helplessness: What Sort of Society Would Euthanasia Create?” They have very interesting, and valid reasons to believe that their point of view should prevail when deciding if physician- assisted suicide should be or not legalized. They have very different opinions in many issues like the slippery slope argument. They disagree when they talk about safeguards as a guarantee of a legal decision, and they do not agree in the point that it is an individual right for people to choose if they want to live or die. Van den Haag finds the slippery slope argument has no foundation, and Cooper says that it will definitely end up happening. Van den Haag finds it irrational trying to compare the physicians that would assist patients to commit suicide with the doctors in the Nazi era. When Germany was under the Third Reich, the doctors and hospitals were forced to perform terrible things, by the way, usually exaggerated to make them believable. These practices were not the result of any command given in the past; there is no slippery slope in the Nazi era. The idea that things will get worse because we let a doctor act as an assistant to help a patient to terminate his life has no convincing arguments, and after some time the doctors are not going to turn into murderers or are going to start performing weird experiments with people. Cooper, on the other hand, says that our minds get used to things. Maybe after our society accepts the fact that an elderly and sick person or a terminally ill patient needs to be put to death, in a couple of years or so, we are going to start thinking that a person with disabilities or a malformation in...

Cited: Cooper, Rand R. “The Dignity of Helplessness: What Sort of Society Would Euthanasia Create?” Commonweal (1996): 12-15. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Web. 22 Jan. 2004.
Van den Haag, Ernest. “Make Mine Hemlock” National Review (1995): 60-62. Academic One File. Web. 10 Sept. 2004.
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