Monday, October 10, 2005

Euthanasia: Me first--screw you!


a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article318385.ece

The whole debate between conservatives and liberals seems to be distilled as one of whether getting what one wants is what is most important. I think it is.

But that's precisely why I oppose euthanasia. I want to survive as long as possible and I don't care how much of a burden I am on anyone. It's my life and all that I have. I don't want to be bullied or manipulated into having myself put down. I just want to live as long as I can--that's it. Fuck everyone else--I want to live.

I don't want some crappy little legislative policy empowering my relatives to pull the plug on me. It isn't a matter of stupid rules vs. what people want. It's what people want vs. what their relatives, and the state, want. Fuck them.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

>>It's what people want vs. what their relatives, and the state, want.<<

Huh? First you said it's about what you want. Then you said it's about what the people want? Which is it?

Are you assuming that "the people" want for themselves what you want for yourself? Or do you really not care about what other people want for themselves as long as you get what you want for yourself?

The people in my crowd are very concerned about this issue. They and I have a greater fear of being helpless and suffering with no way out than having relatives end it for us before we are ready. I agree with you that it's about what people want for themselves vs the rules of the state. IMO, however, the rule of the state that needs to be changed is the one that would prosecute for murder anyone who helps you kill yourself when you are too disabled to do it for yourself.

Karen

H. E. said...

People want different things and not everyone can get what they want because wants conflict. The aim of policy-making however should be to maximize the extent to which people can get what they want.

For years now euthanasia has been valorized. "Death with dignity" has become one of the standard human interest themes in women's magazines and other popular media and the story line is always the same: the patient wants to die but is thwarted by well-meaning relatives, doctors who are constrained by regulations, religious moralists and other interfering killjoys. At last the patient gets his/her way and has a good death, in a pleasant home setting, without tubes and machines, surrounded by friends and family.

The assumption is that all or most people would rather die than end up helpless and undignified and, even more importantly and less plausibly, that few if any relatives or medical personnel would exert pressure on patients to have themselves put down, or pull the plug on unwilling patients. And this latter assumption in particular seems to me false: dealing with helpless, terminally ill patients is expensive, stressful and perceived as wasteful--so it makes sense that most people would want them out of the way and be attracted by the self-serving idea that terminally ill patients agree.

People want different things though--at least recognize that some would prefer to survive as long as possible, "dignity" be damned. The question is whether laws legalizing euthanasia--and to that extent making it even more socially acceptable--will result in more people getting what they want or less people getting what they want overall. Will more people who want to die-with-dignity get what they want or will more people who want to hang on without dignity be prevented from getting what they want.

I'm betting that just as an empirical fact it will overwhelmingly be the latter.

Boofykatz said...

What if you want euthanasia? When you are in agony and your doctor tells you that you will have twenty, or more, days of agony before you die, do you want your nanny government, or theocracy, to say .. "NO, you naughty clinicians, only GOD can give you surcease, you atheist hopeful recanter.
Will more people who want to die-with-dignity get what they want or will more people who want to hang on without dignity be prevented from getting what they want.

"I'm betting that just as an empirical fact it will overwhelmingly be the latter."

Well don't bet, find out. There is an inductive method that involves looking at Canada and Holland. I think that you have been made paranoid by your nation's political climate. In any honestly liberal state the choice to live or die should be the individuals.

Anonymous said...

>>People want different things and not everyone can get what they want because wants conflict. The aim of policy-making however should be to maximize the extent to which people can get what they want.<<

You're assuming that only some people can get what they want. That's not the case. People who request assistance with suicide can get it and people who don't want to be euthanized can have that protection. To "maximize the extent to which people can get what they want" there need only to be some vehicle for expressing the choice and a justice system that supports it. Why do you think we can't satisfy everyone, at least all the principals? As for the relatives, sure, some of them will be unhappy if they can't get Uncle Harry's money before medical care consumes it. I don't have much sympathy for them, either, if Uncle Harry is in your camp, not mine. My concern is for the principals--all of them, not just some.

>>so it makes sense that most people would want them out of the way and be attracted by the self-serving idea that terminally ill patients agree<<

I think that you are conflating assisted suicide and euthanasia. Assisted suicide is a subset. It's helpful to consider the desired death and the imposed death separately.

Karen

H. E. said...

Because in general you can't satisfy all the people all the time and, in particular, because policies that on the face of it remove restrictions and create greater freedom may on net restrict de facto freedom and make it harder for the people who are most vulnerable to get what they want.

Take regulations concerning workplace safety. These restrict the freedom of employers to run their businesses as they please and, in principle, employees freedom to work in hazardous conditions if they want. But de facto, practically speaking, the absence of such regulations would restrict the freedom of employees, make it harder for most to get what they want.

In low skilled jobs there's a ready supply of applicants who are in a very weak negotiating position because they can easily be replaced and practically speaking have to take whatever they can get. Most probably want to work in reasonably safe conditions but without regulations they aren't going to be able to get what they want. Workplace safety regulations impose relatively minor constraints on a relatively few people--employers--to get major benefits for a lot of people: employers (and stock holders) get a little less money; employees get a lower risk of death or serious injury on the job.

Likewise terminally ill patients are vulnerable to being bullied and coerced. The question is whether assisted suicide is desired. If a person, whether terminally ill or not, wants to kill himself I have no problem with that. I am not conflating assisted suicide with euthanasia: what I'm skeptical about is whether all patients who would take advantage of assisted suicide programs, who would actively pull the plug on themselves or voluntarily swallow the pills, really want it--as distinct from being coerced or bullied in the way that, e.g. unsilled job applicants can easily be coerced into working for slave wages under miserable conditions. And the suicide case is an even bigger deal because death is irreversible.

Boofykatz said...

"I don't want some crappy little legislative policy empowering my relatives to pull the plug on me. It isn't a matter of stupid rules vs. what people want. It's what people want vs. what their relatives, and the state, want. Fuck them."
In the context of the Independent piece to which you linked I doubt it was unreasonable to assume that you meant that you are against assisted suicide as well as euthanasia. I think that there is a huge difference and I abhor the dreadful religious arguments that are used to deny personal freedom. Your argument by analogy with workplace legislation fails miserably. Certainly in the UK nobody would dream of extending workplace H&S legislation to the home.

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