The Case against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide

Thoreau advises the audience that the impression that the majority always gets their way should not be a social norm. The majority believes in the tyranny of numbers and does not consider what could have been the proper thing, choice, or action. The governments in power should disregard majority rule and ensure that the rules of the land contained in the constitutions are followed. The leaders, on the other hand, should not depend on the numbers but rather count on their individual consciousness to make the right decisions and exercise their powers within jurisdictions provided by the law. Nevertheless, Thoreau recognized that majority rules pay no reverence to individual consciousness and disregards logics in reasoning, thus, creates the possibility of being subjects reduced to forming an alliance with institutions that are greedy and angry for power. This paper, therefore, makes application of the quote “Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?” from Thoreau’s book Civil Disobedience as a lens text (Thoreau, 12).

The minority rule hinders advances to make progress by reforming the government institutions because it encourages the use of unjust laws and discourages individual instinct to put reason and consciousness into action. Therefore, however, few the minority groups is within the society, it is high time that they tirelessly fought to ensure that the minority do not have their ways that infringes the rights of their rights as well as deter them from fronting unjust laws. The minority have to take measures that promote opportunities geared toward convincing the minority to see reason in accepting advances that appeal for amendments to be made and delete unjust laws in the society. The better approach for ensuring that the society’s belief and over-reliance on majority actions changes is through encouraging the majority to see sense in letting their conscious determine what they do. According to Thoreau, the majority enjoys the rights provided unto them by numbers hence have the ability to determine and differentiate right from wrong. However, if conscience that is shaped by society’s acceptable practices that depend on culture and believes, then reasoning would have to be left to prevail. It is for this reason that lack of reason and functionality of conscience persists in the nation of majority rule and that they have their ways regardless of the means used to achieve the end. Above all, the flaw in majority rule and that they always have their way is encouraged by the ideology that they have the strength and number to justify the unjust whenever it suits and serve their interests.

Civil disobedience actually is an understatement when it comes to fostering plight for justice opportunities as well as calls for change. The world population should work and support measures that demand responsibility and ability of the leaders to deliver. It is high time that leaders took responsibility for their poor decisions and actions without hiding and taking refuge in the majority support. It is for this reason that current governments together with their instituted institutions have failed to deliver duties to the expectations of the governed. For example, a perfect case is the recent misappropriation of power and actions beyond jurisdictions that the current sitting president Donald Trump is misusing power. He has the majority of cabinet secretaries support hence the minority group who are opposed to his actions only have a say while he has his way. He began having his ways unlawfully and the next step is his unpredicted actions on the medical bills. Thus, the minority group should devise mechanisms and techniques that enable the leader to use his conscience and the chance to reason.

Contrary to believing in power reinforced by the majority rule, the leaders within the government and government institution should be in such high offices because they have the ability to deliver unto the governed. For instance, through letting conscience and reason be their way of deliberating on issues, they become able to see and rule from the viewpoints of legitimacy. I am of the opinion that a government can only prove itself worth the power to rule, deliver and implement laws by not believing that its powers depend on the majority of strength. Only in exercising duties within that law and observing the constitution which guides and offer provisions for the state will government true prove useful to the majority as well as the minority who are its subjects. The government and various leaders should find reason and use their conscience to honor and fulfill their obligation. In fact, both minority and majority population stand a chance to offer intervention mechanisms whenever the government needs to decide and preside of certain contentious issues. Under the circumstance that the government is left with no option and is in a dilemma to choose either the minority or majority point of view, then the leaders through reason and application of conscience are obliged to do what is believed to be right and not align themselves to following distractive laws that are unjust by taking sides.

A perfect contentious issue and the mostly discussed issue of health concern is the assisted termination of one’s life otherwise referred to as euthanasia. The judgment and choice whether or not to use euthanasia and assist patient diagnosed with a terminal illness to have a less painful death are a war between the government’s majority groups against the minority group. The government, religious groups, and non-profit organization oppose the administrations of euthanasia to assist patients who are really suffering from chronic terminal illness yet it is with the doctors rich to help the patient have a less painful death. In a broader perspective, it is unjust that the government does not let reason and conceptions derived from their conscience to determine when and when not use of euthanasia could be illegal. Notable is the fact that the current laws are unjust and target the innocent minority group. For example, there is no essence in a court of the law barring a patient to end his or her life despite multiple observable cases of sclerosis, which interferes with an individual’s quality of life by causing extreme irreversible pain. On the other hand, the health professions are another minority group who has no way but only a say to administer the euthanasia. They are in fact under threat of the law that is supposed to protect them. In particular, they are to face jail sentences, which could otherwise be passed on sentences treated as murder hence could be imprisoned for life. The rhetoric question that needs reasoning and clear paths of thoughts are that, if the use of euthanasia is illegal, why then has it been legalized in some countries and states like the Netherlands (Somerville, 77). If only reason and conscience could be focused on, then the governments opposed to Euthanasia use have not contemplated on formulating regulations, procedures and provisions under which its explicit use can be put into action. Nevertheless, the health professionals study and undergo thorough training in order to save human lives, what then would be the essence of killing a patient. There oaths and codes of conducts that govern heath professional conduct hence it is their duty and obligation to save human lives. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is only used at the request of the patient and consent of the family and doctor’s assessment of the patient’s conditions and analysis of the chances of survival. Therefore, it is unlawful and unjust that patients who are the minority are denied the opportunity to have a peaceful, and painless death when they succumb terminal illness and on doctor’s assessments results, there are no survival possibilities except slow death characterized by pain and suffering.

Correspondingly, a government can exist in absence of the control by the majority but rather by control by reason and application of individual conscience, which does not obey the laws that dictate as well, do what it right even if it might go against the laws. For example, there are for landmark case that changed the history of America. Such cases included the Dred Scott V.Sanford, 1857, the United States v.Nixon, 1974, Miranda v.Arizona, 1996 and Brown V. Board of Education, 1954. For illustrative purposes, when the United State used dubious methods to interrogate suspects, including various methods of torture, which satisfied the majority way, the minority was neglected, their plight for observance for human rights was disregarded, and information obtained from suspects. However, there came a time when the jury guided by reason and the need to use conscience to the distinguished right from wrong investigated the applications of the Miranda Laws, right and just judgment emanated from critical examination of the provisions of the fifth and sixth amendments with attention on clauses that regarded self-incrimination and right to attorney. Thus, today, the statements made by a defendant to a police officer only become admissible if and only if the defendant was informed of their rights and no duress led to release of incriminating information.


Concisely, there can be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience. Through proper intervention mechanism including offering civic education to aspiring leaders as well the public, then there can be a government that is not dictated by either the wishes or interests of the minority but rather by the need to deliver and deliberate duties through reasoning and applying conscience in making decisions that might be challenging for the state. Civic engagement forums are the platforms through which the human population becomes and develop the ability of reasoning to get the best out leadership regimes. Thus, both the minority and the majority learn to demand accountability in government offices as opposed to allowing the leaders to show off the supportive tyranny of numbers in which they can obtain refuge whenever they fail to deliver.

Works Cited

Somerville, Margaret. Death Talk: The Case against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Montréal [u.a.: McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, 2001. Print.

Thoreau, Henry D. Civil Disobedience, and Other Essays. New York: Dover Publications, 1993. Internet resource.

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