BBC re-casts Socrates’ death as voluntary euthanasia
The BBC Radio 4 programme In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg recently discussed the Hippocratic Oath. The assembles classicists were concerned with various interpretations of those difficult clauses which deal with abortion and euthanasia, and accurately expounded the document’s sitz im leben – with one exception.
If you go to iPlayer and listen from the 25th minute onwards, you will hear a discussion on the subject of voluntary euthanasia, during which the omniscient Melvyn Bragg astonishingly announces that Socrates in fact ‘decided to take his own life, and he personally took hemlock...’. Not only that; he ‘went and got hold of it’ and ‘...no-one around him seemed to object’.
Well, you learn something new every day.
His Grace had no idea that Socrates was in fact a poster child for voluntary euthanasia. All this time, His Grace has been deluded into believing that Socrates was put on trial and sentenced to death by the Athenian authorities for corrupting the nation’s youth, and that he was forced to drink hemlock, which was a cause of great distress to many, not least his fellow philosophers.
But now we know, through this dazzling new interpretation of Plato, that Socrates was actually not only a supporter of voluntary euthanasia, but an enthusiastic practitioner.
His Grace looks forward to the forthcoming BBC documentary on sharia law, and the laudable practice of voluntary euthanasia by stoning.