The Corner

Party of Death V. Martyrdom

Joe Knippenberg asks an interesting question:

Here’s where I’m not sure about Ponnuru. Perhaps I missed something, or perhaps his approach simply didn’t call for him to address it. Does his argument against euthanasia from natural law or public reason overlook the possibility of martyrdom because that’s only justifiable on religious or revealed grounds, because (in other words) it’s not based on a political position? What, then, does he make of the person who says “give me liberty or give me death”? How is that, on non-revealed, publicly affirmable grounds, different from the opinion that a life marked by great suffering or debility is not worth living? Must we, if we are to oppose euthanasia, also deprecate dignified patriotic self-sacrifice?

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