The source in question appears on appears a New Zealand website dedicated to campaigning against the introduction of assisted suicide or euthanasia into the legal code of the country. It provides a brief introduction to its purpose and then lists ten reasons as to why euthanasia should remain illegal in the country and should not sanctioned by either the government or by public opinion. As such, the piece can be seen to appeal to audience of readers who may considering whether or not to agree with proposed statutes concerning euthanasia, and to be attempting to actively change their minds regarding this. This is attempt is primarily made with a combination of logos and pathos; i.e. with reasoned argument and with an appeal to the reader’s emotions.
The piece makes several key claims regarding the morality of assisted suicide and the consequences of allowing it to enter in law. The first claim is that it would effectively “unreasonable” to change the law when only very small proportion of the population have a direct interest in assisted suicide (Life.org, 2016). Alongside this, the author of the piece also claims that while laws in favour of assisted suicide may benefit such a minority, it is in no way compassionate of the behaviour of a good citizen to prioritize this over a more general happiness. As such, in these arguments concerning public morality the article makes direct use of a logic of citizenship and an idea of a harmonious society as built upon a general adherence to public morality. By arguing that laws in favour of assisted suicide would compromize such a situation of legal and public harmony, the article uses this specific logic to insist that such laws should not be brought into place.
Alongside this appeal to a logic of public law, the article also makes extensive use of particular kind of pathos. Most often it make use of the suggestion that people will inevitably be taken advantage of by any system of voluntary euthanasia and that, instead of protecting peoples’ right to life, such a system would inevitably lead to them being abused and may even increase their suffering. For example, at one point the author argues that the introduction of euthanasia laws in New Zealand would inevitably lead to a situation in which palliative and hospice care is neglected, as people would no longer see such care to be a necessity. They also argue that the introduction of euthanasia would lead to a situation in which too much power is given to the medical profession and in which people are no longer put in charge of their own lives. This argument makes extensive use of an image of a well meaning, but essentially helpless family who are pushed into recommending euthanasia as a result of this profession. As such, the argument employs a small of logic concerning what is like to happen in the case of legalization of assisted suicide, but consistently backs up this argument with a strong emotional resonance, most often that of a helpless elderly person who will inevitably be taken advantage of if euthanasia is allowed to become a legal norm.
In conclusion, therefore, the article in question considers euthanasia as both a public and a private harm. It suggests first of all that the legalization of the practice will contradict ideas of law and public morality upon which a harmonious society is founded. It then suggests that it will inevitably lead to helpless individuals being taken advantage of by cynical, or tired, medical professionals. It is this combination of logos and pathos which most often permeates the article’s reasoning and rhetoric.
- “Ten Reasons Why Voluntary Euthanasia Should Not Be Legalised.” Life.org. N.D. Web.