A recent article by Patrick Buchanan dealt with the issue of the right to die. While I make no attempt to comment on this issue except to say that it is a complicated and sensitive one that will continue to undergo critical debate by medical ethicists, theologians, and politicians, I do wish to respond to a most egregious analogy made by Buchanan.
He appeals to a higher law, stating that if man-made laws disregard this higher law, they are invalid. If we allow individuals to choose to die and thereby disregard this higher law, we then "have no basis to condemn the atrocities of the German doctors."
Buchanan seems to equate crimes against humanity performed by Nazi doctors with the issue of euthanasia. This odious analogy is both obscene and logically absurd -- obscene in its insensitivity and trivialization of the unique nature of the Holocaust and absurd in that the issue of the right to die is just that . . . a right or choice.
The Nazi experiments performed on innocent victims, needless to say, did not involve "informed consent."
JONATHAN A. BERNSTEIN