Euthanasia: The Dishonesty of Right for Life.

Mark Hubbard's picture
Submitted by Mark Hubbard on Tue, 2012-03-13 00:11

My letter of this lunch-time to the Press:

Ken Orr (13/3/12) emotes with a dishonesty that does no credit to Right for Life. His argument against euthanasia is that 'the State is to provide legal protection for the right to life of every member of the community ... and not preside over their destruction'. What a travesty of Truth. In a civilised and free society, all individuals have rights and responsibilities: the role of government is to protect those rights, not assume those responsibilities. If I choose, when my time comes, that I want to die with dignity, then that is my right, and one that should be protected by law. The state is not 'presiding over my destruction', it is protecting the wishes of a free man who rightly owns his life, and death. A reasoned morality of man qua man is where true human compassion is found, not Mr Orr's cold mysticism.

* * * * *

Ken Orr replied to this letter as follows:

In reply to Mark Hubbard, we don't own our lives - they are a gift from God. We are the custodians of that gift. The foundation stone of a civilised society is the social contract that we have that requires us to respect and protect the lives of every member of the community from conception to natural death. Our laws should uphold that social contract. The taking of a life is a grave injustice. There is no human right recognised by any United Nations Convention that would permit doctors to kill their patients or assist their suicide. Parliament would be in dereliction of its duty to society by violating this social contract and legislating to allow for euthanasia. Advocates of euthanasia are asking the rest of society to accept the collective guilt for taking of life. Euthanasia would result, as in Holland, in many others being deprived of their lives without their consent.

* * * * *

My reply will be as follows (remember 150 words maximum is allowed):

Ken Orr (March 19) would have us revert to the barbarism of theocracy. The West’s emergence from the Dark Ages was won by separation of Church and State, for good reason. Mr Orr states, “we don’t own our lives [God does]”, and I need not read beyond that point, for the uncivil and violent society the welfare state is growing turns on this same notion we have no responsibility for ourselves. Mr Orr’s social contract is not a contract I would sign, for it's the contract of a slave, not a free man. Again, the civilised society turns on individuals recognising they have rights and responsibilities; the State must protect those rights, but is not responsible for how I choose to live and die - I am, because I own my life, the State doesn't, nor God. Compassion will only be found in a morality of man qua man. Mr Orr’s statement about Holland is wrong.


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Atta boy

Jules Troy's picture

I knew there was hope for ya!

(chuckles)

JT

Damien Grant's picture

Well, yes, I think it probably is, but the fact that I am enjoying my life means that I am probably a little crazy.

"But what if someone wants to

Leonid's picture

"But what if someone wants to end it all, but we suspect that tomorrow they will want to live, is it right to use force to prevent them from taking their own lives? I think that the answer is yes"

I think I already covered this. Depression is a mental illness which leads to suicide regardless actual objective conditions of the patient and should be treated as such. This is a task for a doctor, a psychiatrist to decide whether or not such a patient represents a danger to himself or to the others. In certain cases doctor has an authority to forcible hospitalize and treat the mentally ill. I discuss only the cases which not involve mental illness. Your reference to suspicion is very vague, unless you have a crystal ball and can predict future.

You can be depressed but

Jules Troy's picture

You can be depressed but perfectly sane. In fact, given how short, shitty and pathetic most human lives are you could make a good argument that sunny optimism is a clear sign of insanity.

I knew it! I must be stark raving mad according to you Damien.

So your own life is pathetic and shitty?

 

 

 

Leonid

Damien Grant's picture

I agree, those who want to take their own lives, and are in their right mind, their business.

But what if someone wants to end it all, but we suspect that tomorrow they will want to live, is it right to use force to prevent them from taking their own lives? I think that the answer is yes, in fact I think that there is a moral obligation to do so, in the same way there is a moral obligation to throw a drowning man a life buoy.

People who are arrested are often put on suicide watch, but once they have adjusted to the shock and come to terms with their new life, they lose the desire to die. Is this morally right?

You can be depressed but perfectly sane. In fact, given how short, shitty and pathetic most human lives are you could make a good argument that sunny optimism is a clear sign of insanity.

Updated header post with Ken

Mark Hubbard's picture

Updated header post with Ken Orr's reply, and my further reply.

Ken Orr (in my life and your's) has replied in today's Press

Mark Hubbard's picture

No time to put it up at the moment, hopefully over lunch.

The Voluntary Euthanasia

Mark Hubbard's picture

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society rang me this morning after reading this. Sending me information: though I've never been a 'joiner', perhaps will with this.

Mark

Leonid's picture

You are welcome.

Leonid

Mark Hubbard's picture

Thank you for the much better long answer Smiling

Suicide

Leonid's picture

"a temporarily impaired mental state due to depression or pain or drugs becomes a sort of ‘ward of the state’ for the duration of their impairment, "- and constant as well, psychiatric hospitals are full with these kind of patients. But we are talking about fully conscious person who is responsible for his actions. Besides, if one wants to commit suicide for any reason whatsoever, this is only his/her problem, nobody else is involved. However, if one asks for assisted suicide, in other words he /she involves other people , these people should share responsibility for such an act. In such a case they should refuse to cooperate unless such a person has a clean bill of mental health.

Actually Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

But many of those who want to die today will not want to do so tomorrow.

Yeah, but they won't be alive tomorrow to regret it, they'll be dead. Non issue.

Suicide

Damien Grant's picture

Messy issue.

People have an absolute right to end their lives. If Catholics do not wish to exercise it then they have an absolute right to die a slow and miserable death. So long as my taxes do not pay for their suffering.

But many of those who want to die today will not want to do so tomorrow. So is it right to stop someone taking their life today if we think, but cannot know, that they will change their mind?

I recall seeing a documentary on a burn victim. He begged his doctors to let him die, they refused, knowing once he was over the worst of the pain he would want to live. The patient in this case disagreed, saying that even though he lived, the doctors should have ended his life at the time. But most are grateful at the end that they are alive.

Beng a muddled statist I take the view that someone in a temporarily impaired mental state due to depression or pain or drugs becomes a sort of ‘ward of the state’ for the duration of their impairment, where other people can intervene on their behalf until the individual is capable of making their own decisions, but there is no doubting it is a messy affair, literally as well as philosophically.

The simple-minded mantra of the pro-life set gives them a much easier compass to navigate such murky waters.

Right to Life's Moran

gregster's picture

He protested quite adamantly that only God was entitled to end your life. Turned out he was a Catholic. This runs deep within Catholics, in fact it's a mortal sin to end your own life. You go straight to hell if you do.

Bernard Moran is well known to me. He is Catholic. I've had many drink sessions in his house with his daughters, and friends, in Glenfield.

Good guy, well meaning, but can't shake his mysticism.

Suicide could be moral

Leonid's picture

Suicide is a big issue. I think it's justified if and only if life becomes its own opposite-from the process of self-sustenance and self-bettering it becomes a process of self-destruction, an agony. In such a case a suicide is fully moral. In fact it is an act of affirmation of life. It's like to say-I know what the life is and I refuse to accept its opposite as life.

I once...

Ross Elliot's picture

...worked with what seemed like a reasonably rational man. The subject of suicide came up.

He protested quite adamantly that only God was entitled to end your life. Turned out he was a Catholic. This runs deep within Catholics, in fact it's a mortal sin to end your own life. You go straight to hell if you do. You have stolen that which belongs to God. That is, your life. Only He can decide. You must suffer until such time as He releases you from your suffering. This is doctrine. There is no way out of it for a true believer.

The right to life is the right to live it as you see fit, and to end it if you find that it is no longer fit. It bookends the abortion debate.

Yah..

Jules Troy's picture

Let us all know how that works out for ya..

not at all

Damien Grant's picture

I am advocating going back to nature.

All the way back

That was a rather

Jules Troy's picture

That was a rather strong anti-life statement Damian.

Compulsory?  You are totally missing the point.

it it time!

Damien Grant's picture

Universal, compulsory, and retrospective abortions.

That will solve a few problems.

I have

Jules Troy's picture

For years even before I became an objectivist thought the exact same thing.  I would far rather die LIVING and standing on my own two feet than die crawling on my knees in the mud with my senses all but destroyed and wearing a diaper because I had become a slobbering infant no longer even aware of what I once was.

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