Euthanasia demagogy Lambert

The Vincent Lambert affair in brief: Vincent Lambert was the victim of a road accident in 2008. He was first in a deep coma and then in a "minimally conscious" state (he moves his eyes, feel the pain, but it is not possible to know if he understands what he is told). After five years, and 80 speech therapies, no code of communication could be established with him.

We would like to give him the right to die with dignity, but this decision is too tough, too painful, so we hesitate and... end up taking a non-decision: let him die of thirst. That way we won't take the risk to frustrate the opponents of euthanasia (because no clear act will be done deliberately to cause death) and we won't either take the risk to frustrate the pro-euthanasia (since Vincent Lambert will no longer be kept alive artificially).

So we do nothing, and everybody is happy... Well almost. According to a specialist Vincent Lambert will take 3 to 5 days to die after the interruption of his intravenous food and water supplies. That should remind him of the old good days since it's the second time we are terminating his care. In 2013, we had the idea to let him die of hunger (hydration was maintained). Vincent Lambert survived 31 days before... we finally changed our mind and restored artificial feeding.

This story illustrates perfectly well what "demagogy" is: the art of dodging difficult decisions. It also shows us that the building more empathetic societies, more concern about people well-being requires a difficult learning consisting of being aware of our natural bias to overcome them. And, in this case, that would consist of overcoming our penchant for the easiest choice, and therefore often the most absurd one, and also our inclination to follow blindly our moral intuitions, despite them being more the result of instinctive impulses than of reasoning.