Italian right to die case shows prevalence of utilitarian view of life in the West

Ken Connor [Chairman, Center for a Just Society]: "Eluana Englaro's tragic death by starvation and dehydration is yet another example of how the West is embracing a utilitarian view of life that is undermining human dignity. The standard of human worth is now "quality of life" rather than human equality. Those with diminished physical or mental abilities are seen as somehow less worthy of life. Where does this end? If Eluana could be starved simply because she had a low level of mental activity, what about the mentally handicapped or demented? Many of the great tragedies in human history were predicated on a utilitarian "ranking" of human life.

Western civilization is increasingly losing its historic understanding of human dignity, an understanding which has long been rooted in the Judeo-Christian western principles of human equality and the importance of preserving life and liberty. In the Declaration of Independence, the American Founders emphasized the "self-evident" truths that "all men are created equal" and all are endowed with the rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Apparently those principles are no longer evident to many in the West.

In the United States, we've made great strides towards racial equality under the law and in the public consciousness. We must not in turn ignore the equality of the old, young, and disabled."

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