Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Euthanasia and the Conversations of Ethics Nerds
If you wonder where all the talk of euthanasia and "death panels" came from, a good piece in Salon ties it all together. The bogeyman - in case you hadn't heard - is Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the best known medical ethicists in the country, who just happens (the conspiracy theorists note) to be the brother of Rahm, the President's Chief of Staff.

If you've ever taken an Ethics 101 class, or engaged in any of that kind of discussion, you know that there's a certain kind of intractable intellectual problem that drives the uncovering of ethical philosophy. If you or I were to just happen to overhear one of these conversations about, say, how do we decide who to throw off the boat if one of us had to die so that all of us could live? we might be a bit appalled if we didn't know the context, that it was a hypothetical for the purpose of an academic discussion of principles.

That is essentially what happened to Dr. Emanuel, who, despite becoming the "death panel" poster boy for Palin et al, is as it turns out a staunch opponent of legal euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. Read all about it.

No comments: