MarkThe ever-expanding circle of eligibility for euthanasia now includes alcoholism. Writing in the Dutch magazine Linda, journalist Marcel Langedijk describes the grim life and death of his brother Mark, a hopeless alcoholic.
After eight years and 21 stints in hospital or rehab, Mark decided that he had enough. He had two children but his marriage had collapsed; his parents cared for him and he had plenty of family support, but he was unable to dry out.
Finally he asked for euthanasia. Physically he was quite ill and psychologically he was suffering badly.
A woman doctor in a black dress and sneakers arrived to give him his lethal injection. She confirmed his decision and then gave him three doses.
Mr Langedijk is writing a book about his younger brother’s disease and his death through euthanasia which will be published next year.
There is quite a bit of literature in bioethics journals about the ethics of telling white lies to patients, especially with terminally ill patients. But a far more common ethical conundrum has been strangely neglected: whether children should be told the truth about Santa Claus. This, thankfully, has been remedied. Two psychologists have written an article in The Lancet Psychiatry arguing that children’s moral compass could be permanently deranged by the disappointment of learning that their parents have been telling them lies.
Kathy McKay, a clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Australia and a co-author, told The Guardian: “The Santa myth is such an involved lie, such a long-lasting one, between parents and children, that if a relationship is vulnerable, this may be the final straw. If parents can lie so convincingly and over such a long time, what else can they lie about?”
The psychologists follow in the footsteps of Richard Dawkins, who saw through the myth of Santa Claus at the tender age of 21 months. He told a conference in 2014: “Is it a good thing to go along with the fantasies of childhood, magical as they are? Or should we be fostering a spirit of scepticism? I think it's rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism.”
We’d like to open up comments on BioEdge to a discussion of this issue.
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