Euthanasia in American Culture

I was watching the new episode of the Closer on t.v. tonight, and the subject of euthanasia was brought up.  I was a bit surprised with the turn that the episode took.  The last t.v. show that I watched concerning euthanasia was about ten years ago, and it was a show involving an elderly Dick Van Dyke.  Dick’s character called the murderer who euthanised his sickly patient to be brave for doing what he himself did not have the courage to do.  However, in this episode of the Closer, the main character showed high emotions and indignance at a person euthanizing seven people to earn money, even hinting that she hoped he shared his victims’ fates.  Modern t.v. and movie producers just don’t side with the Catholic view of things all that often.

Just a few years ago, the country had highly favorable opinions to euthanasia.  As this article from this group of articles reports, euthanasia advocates argued that the only arguments against the practice were coming from religious groups, obviously meaning that those arguments could be discounted out of hand.  However, the tide changed when disabilities groups got on the band wagon, arguing that euthanasia diminished respect for the disabled, etc.  Surprisingly, today’s USA is slightly more opposed to euthansia than in support of it.

I guess that constitutes a good thing.  A few years back, the legalization of the practice seemed almost inevitable, but now it does not.  However, I don’t think we should breathe a sigh of relief just yet.  Being the student of human nature that I claim to be, people’s opinions on different moral issues has a tendency to change when money becomes a factor.  I wonder what public opinion is going to look like in 2020 when our social security system has broken down, and 2 youth are supporting 1 retiree in this country?  Will our country’s solution to the social security crisis be to kill off our old people because it is financially expedient? 

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