Advocates Viewpoint on Assisted Suicide

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by tasha1011, Dec 19, 2010.

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  1. tasha1011

    tasha1011 New Member

  2. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    My problem with these debates is that the advocates never go far enough in establishing the set of people who may avail themselves of assisted suicide. We all suffer from a terminal condition, every one of us, and many of us find the resultant suffering unbearable. Why be so circumspect about extending and withholding simple mercy? Seems to me it's something everyone deserves, by all rights.
  3. cult logic

    cult logic Staff Alumni

    They really ought to just open up suicide clinics.

    Just walk in, sign a paper, and boom done.

    As much as some want to believe otherwise, there are people who cannot be helped.

    Instead of leaving us to try ineffective methods over and over they might as well just help us get it right the first time.
  4. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

  5. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    I think it would have to be more complicated than that. What if granny has one foot in the grave and her loving children want their inheritance now rather than later? Persuasion will be a HUGE problem if low security suicide clinics are set up. Customers of a suicide clinic should first meet with a clinic-appointed psychologist (alone) to A. determine if the person is competent, B. to make sure they are of age (21 sounds about right), and C. to make sure it is what THEY want and nobody else.

    Once the person is cleared they sign whatever and have to wait a month. The waiting period is set up in order to weed out the impulsive ones. At the end of each week the pyschologist calls up to ask if the customer is suicidal on a scale of 1-10 (4x in total.) If you REALLY want to die obviously you will just give 10's each week.

    At the end of the month you go there (alone or w/ family/friends.) The person walks into a hospital-type room, lays on a bed while the doctor administers the drugs. Obviously you pay for the drugs w/ fee because this is America and you don't get a service for nothing.

    However there is an economic problem with suicide clinics... what if someone wants to use one and they're in debt? Obviously the government isn't going to let anyone go peacefully if they're screwing them out of the mighty buck. What if someone is running from the law and wants an easy out? They'd have to go a step further and start screening people's backgrounds.
  6. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    Being young, being in debt, being impulsive, being "incompetent," facing criminal charges... none of those really sound like barriers to granting someone's death wish, to be honest.

    Psychologists are people, and they have their own beliefs and biases and motives and politics, and ought not necessarily to be trusted as to the ultimate validity of another person's sincerely stated wishes, at least not in the eyes of the law. Having a doctorate does not make one a reliable arbiter of life and death.

    The one-month waiting period just seems arbitrary and unnecessary. If I decide that I want something today, who cares what the potential Me of a month in the future wants?

    The age limit... I dunno. On the one hand, I think a kid can have a desire to no longer live that's every bit as valid and sincere as an adult's. On the other hand, deciding what rights children should and shouldn't have is always a tricky business. I'm torn on this one, but my gut tendency is to say that a child's suffering can be just as real and just as horrible and just as unbearable as anyone else's, and if anyone deserves that little extra bit of mercy and compassion from us, it's our kids.

    The one problem you mentioned that does make a lot of sense to me is the issue of coercion. The philosopher J. David Velleman has a concept that he calls the "sorrow of options": that in some situations we can harm a person by giving them a choice, not because they might make the "wrong" choice, but because they are then obligated to choose one or the other. So you have grandma, who doesn't really want to die, but who sees herself as an economic burden and has been encouraged by her children to at least consider euthanasia. Grandma is now under considerable pressure to choose something that she not only doesn't want for herself, but that she is afraid of, and is quite possibly morally opposed to. So paradoxically, by restricting one of her freedoms (the right to choose to die), we secure another of her freedoms (the right to choose to live), even if it's just "by default." I think this is something we need to seriously consider, but perhaps not overmuch; there are many similar situations of "passive coercion" in day-to-day life, but we tend to accept them as part of the game rather than something to be strictly regulated.

    As far as one's duties to the State (taxes, fines, criminal justice, military service, etc.), it's a fair point, and after all the bone of contention in all of this is whether or not the State should allow its Subjects to freely, easily, and permanently abrogate their part of the "social contract" in the name of a transcendent Right To Die. Political philosophy is not really my bag, and my basic inclination is to invite the State to sit and swivel, and at least have the decency to let us opt out of a deal we never really made. Again, though, it's a thorny subject and I'm sure as hell no expert.

    I'm also not sure that we need to require physician assistance (as opposed to simply distributing the appropriate drugs to individuals), but that's a whole other issue.
  7. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    Under age: You are under your parents' control until you're an adult because you don't have the brain to make certain decisions. On those grounds I can understand lowering the age to 18 but there has to be a set age realistically. Countries like the US will never okay kids taking their lives no matter how liberal they become.

    Impulsive: The waiting period is set up so someone one or two weeks after "makin an appointment" can have the chance to think "shit, what was I thinking? glad i didn't kill myself afterall!" I don't see how extending your life an extra 30 days will hurt if it creates instances like the one I mentioned. Lets be reasonable.

    Incompetent: This is a little more tricky.

    Debt: The government isn't going to let the banks, businesses and overall economy suffer by enabling people to skip out on their loans. It just isn't a happening thing.

    Criminals: I guess the US could see it as saving money.. still it will give people the impression that they can murder/rape/etc, run to a suicide clinic and die peacefully.

    Physician assistance: Because someone "wanting to die" could take these fatal pills elsewhere and drug some unsuspecting person who wants to live. Ya gotta think about the security of those who want to live as well as the right of those who want to die.
  8. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    And yet, that doesn't mean we can't hold it up as a far-fetched ideal. I readily admit that few of the things I propose will likely be enacted in my lifetime, if ever. :)

    It's not anyone else's place to "protect" me from my own impulses, least of all the government's. Besides, "being glad it happened" after the fact is a pretty shaky basis for decision-making to start with. And some people don't have a month to screw around after they make their decision, anyway; perhaps the circumstances that cause them to pursue death are more immediate than that.

    I totally agree. It is definitely in the State's best interests to keep its laborers and taxpayers sticking around. I'm arguing from a more "idealistic" standpoint, I guess: this is what the State should do, and possibly might do IF it didn't have such a vested interest in the status quo.

    You know what else makes killing people easier? A gun. A car. A chainsaw. A kitchen knife. Dental floss. Take just about any old item that exists, and it's a guarantee that people will find myriad and creative ways to mutilate each other with it. Take away all their weapons, and they'll just beat each other to death with their bare hands. It's what people do.

    If someone really wants me dead, I'd much, MUCH rather they do it by slipping me barbiturates than, say, stabbing me in the stomach or pushing me into traffic.
  9. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    It would take a huge, enormous mentality shift from society to get this far into active euthanasia. Like if Hell was proven false and reincarnation was proven fact.. that sorta mentality shift.. proving the idea this life is valueless when compared to an infinite sequence of them.

    If it's not anyone's place to protect you from your impulses, why is it anyone's place to accomodate them? Sounds like "one way street" mentality.

    A pound of prevention is worth an ounce of cure, right? Who knows if someone wants to die based on impulse or carefully thought out logic? If statistics prove there is a demographic that would recover within a month's time enough to be glad they didn't go through with it, then I don't see anything shaky about it.

    I'm sure if someone had to die "right now!" they would've been thinking about suicide long before this revelation. If not, it would be an impulse. If they had, it would've been wise to set up an appointment before it got to this stage of desperation. I'm curious though, what sort of situation would arise where someone not previously suicidal had to take there own life immediately?

    Well the status quo isn't just to protect the fat cats, but every citizen in the country. Loans are the foundation of our economy, couldn't stress that enough. If certainty of repayment of loans drops significantly it would spell disaster from the grounds of society up. I am thinking idealistically as well, but my ideal takes into account what's fair for everyone involved.

    I'm not so much concerned with "how" people will be killed, but all the extra murders that'd take place if these death pills were easily available. True you can kill someone with any old object, but most people, women particularly, prefer less hands-on methods to do the deed. They might also not be sure which chemicals do what to whom in what dosage, but they WILL know a couple pills from a suicide clinic can take care of business guaranteed. It opens the flood gates of opportunity is what it does.
  10. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    Just to be clear, I'm not saying that suicide clinics should be in any sense mandatory, just legal. I think it should be a similar situation as abortion. It's no one's place to prevent me from killing myself if I feel like it, but I also can't require anyone to help me in my endeavor.

    Who knows, indeed? I have no doubt that some people have taken the time to carefully mull over their suicidal plans more than others. And if we lived in an impossible utopia where suicide clinics were legal, and some of those clinics decided it prudent to implement a one-month (or however long) waiting period, I would have no problem with that. It's their choice. I just don't think it should be a legal mandate; so if I wanted to open up a walk-in, same-day, no-questions-asked suicide clinic, I should be able to do so as well.

    See, I actually would have assumed the opposite: if someone told me that they had to die immediately and couldn't possibly wait, my first thought would be that something terrible has just befallen them very recently and that this was a sort of spur-of-the-moment decision. If someone's in the sort of position where they feel like they can wait a bit longer, then it seems to me they're probably also in the sort of position where they've had lots of time to think about it.

    In any case, you're absolutely right that, all else being equal, people should give it some time and think it through very carefully. It's a HUGE decision; probably the single biggest decision one can ever make in their life. It's not something to be taken lightly. But if people want to be idiots, and they're not harming others in the process, I say let them be idiots.

    Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of situations like impending homelessness, threats of violence ("you have 3 days to pay up or I'll break your kneecaps" sort of thing), intolerable loss, diagnosis of extremely painful chronic (but non-terminal) illness, etc. I'm not saying that any of these things are "good" or "bad" reasons to want to end your life immediately, but they are reasons that someone in that position may want to. Who can ever know, ultimately, exactly what factors contribute to a person's suicidality? It's an intensely personal sort of thing.

    Yeah, abdication of one's duties to society is a tricky moral question (at least I think it is). Instinctively, my sense of it is that the right to die takes precedence over just about everything else. Every other moral consideration, in a sense, just describes the "rules of the game"; but the game itself is only valid if you have the option to quit playing. Otherwise, it's not a "social contract" so much as straight-up slavery.

    At any rate, for the purposes of this discussion I assume we're operating from the idea that suicide itself is generally morally permissible; all I further advocate is that the means to accomplish suicide predictably and with a minimum of suffering should be more easily available to those who seek it.

    I'm not at all convinced that homicide rates would skyrocket if the "peaceful pill" were legalized. More murderers would probably choose it as their weapon, but I can't see any reason to think that these murders wouldn't have occurred by some other method anyway. But supposing I'm wrong about that, I guess appropriate safeguards aren't entirely out of the question, if it means that more people who just want to end their lives peacefully are able to do so.

    In the end, the very nature of human society, human biology, and the natural world itself is stacked against those who would seek to escape from it. In other words, life ain't fair. It can never be fair, not even theoretically. Your parents forced you, probably unwittingly, into a fundamentally cruel situation the moment they created you. The best thing, in my opinion, would have been for none of it to ever have happened in the first place. But now that it's here, now that the damage is done, we do what we can to stand up against it. At least I do.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2010
  11. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    That's no bigger a problem then securing a pharmacy; with the right casing or luck you can find a pharmacy that has more than enough of any of a number of drugs that could kill you, many of them rather quickly and/or painlessly. Considering some of those drugs and many unrelated drugs in many pharmacies are also popular street drugs and that most pharmacies aren't hiring PMC security I think that's nothing to worry about.

    Hell, once upon a time a doctor could be pretty easily coerced into prescribing you a drug that's been used recreationally and for suicide both.
  12. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    Because it needs to be moderated. Ending a life, whether it's criminal or not or just a simple accident, is one of the biggest thing that can happen in life. We moderate anything relating to it. We moderate guns, traffic laws, hospitals and health, safety standards for cars and other things, war, police, and so on. They'll eventually allow others to gain access to assisted suicide, but it will be a hard one fight, as it should be. Assisted suicide is a powerful thing, and holding the system accountable when it uses it is just a recognition of this.
  13. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    In exchange for free room and board and schooling, it makes sense that adults have the right to lay down the rules on kids and even adolescents. On the other hand, what stops them from overusing this power and abusing the children? When does "prevent them from hurting themselves because of a simple impulse" change to "prevent them from protesting or shown signs of distress when we imprison them in a high security work camp where they do not get payed or respected for their work". Point is, perhaps it's in our best interests to give kids more responsibility so that the gap between protecting them and abusing them is not so difficult to discriminate.
    If having a loan causes someone to want to kill themselves then maybe a loan is an ineffective mechansim? I mean, if people have no means to protest or express their disagreement then couldn't the state feasibly do whatever it wants, even commit murder?
    I'm not saying assisted suicide should be made available to adolescents. In fact, I just stopped here to read the thread and am interjecting my thoughts into a reply you made to someone else. So I'm kind of building makeshift bridges here to express m thoughts. But if it ever got that far, it would still be heavily moderated. It will moderated whether tis' for the terminally ill or not. I would imagine that not just any one could get access to these pills. And in the future information gathering will be better than it's now so it's foreseeable that it would be very difficult to trick others and use this pill for nefarious purposes - like a wife killing her husband using this method.
  14. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    I'm not suggesting we don't regulate it or put appropriate safeguards in place. I'm simply asking why we should only extend the mercy of an easy death to those whom we arbitrarily determine to be in a "terminal" condition.

    As far as I'm concerned, room and board and other accommodations are owed to children by their parents, by dint of having forced them into existence. It's the procreator's penance, an act of reparation; by all rights, a child shouldn't owe his unsolicited maker jackola. And if said child decides that he wants out of the whole wretched system he's been coerced into entirely, I say the compassionate thing is to help him do that, regardless of what his self-appointed owners have to say about it.
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