Skip to comments.Old and Worn Out? Why Not Suicide?
Posted on 01/02/2013 9:13:46 AM PST by Kaslin
This week, blogger Wesley J. Smith directed his readers' attention to an article on Salon.com written by Lillian B. Rubin. Eighty-eight years old and in failing health, Rubin speculates about our society's fear of death, the taboo surrounding elder suicide, and her own struggles with "ambivalence" about taking her own life. She challenges the notion that suicide is the coward's way out, insisting that on the contrary to accept the fact of one's "diminishing existence" and to take decisive action to end one's suffering is an act of immense courage.
It would be disingenuous to accuse Rubin of discussing this issue cavalierly. She recognizes the complexity of the issue, and acknowledges the difference between merely contemplating suicide and actually mustering the nerve to do it. Nonetheless, it is clear that her position derives from a worldview in which human life has no inherent value. It is quality that counts. Since this life is all we have, our mental, physical, and emotional capacity for enjoying existence is paramount. When the humiliating descent into senility and incontinence begins, life is no longer worth living.
Rubin's arguments may appear reasonable, and they certainly appeal to the American tradition of self-determination, but the embrace of such logic represents a grave danger to society nonetheless.
The Declaration of Independence is the document that establishes the principles of equality that inform American government and guide our culture. In it is the implicit recognition that human beings are special because we are created in God's image. This concept of the imago dei is what gives rise to the notion of human exceptionalism, and is what inspired America's founders to accord special protections and freedoms to individuals. We are not viewed as mere machines which can be discarded when our useful life is over. That was the attitude of Old World kings and aristocrats who thought nothing of the lives of those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. The rather recent political concept of equal protection under the law is premised on the idea that we are creatures made in God's image and of infinite worth, value and dignity. Accordingly, suicide has traditionally been discouraged in public policy because it is a form of self murder. It defaces the divine image within each of us and degrades our species. It is an affront to humanity and an affront to God himself.
Embracing suicide for the elderly would represent a radical departure from our founding values and a tragic step backward in the political progress for which so many have sacrificed their lives. A cultural shift from a "sanctity of life" to a "quality of life" ethic would not only impact the elderly, it would establish a sliding scale of human worth and dignity that would impact the feeble, the handicapped, and anyone else whose "quality of life" is deemed sub-par and their societal utility compromised. Furthermore, it is inevitable that the embrace of self-directed suicide would naturally flow to an embrace of assisted suicide, and from there, murder under the guise of "palliative care." This is already happening in places like the United Kingdom, where the elderly as well as newborn babies deemed unworthy of hospital resources are being sentenced to death by dehydration.
To be sure, Ms. Rubin believes that she is advancing an argument for human dignity with her push for a cultural embrace of suicide. But the frustration and suffering that often comes at the end of life must be weighed against the implications of undercutting the principle of mankind's exceptional value in the eyes of God. For once we have shifted from a sanctity of life ethic to a utilitarian view, there's little to keep society from embracing the notion that the elderly and unwanted have a duty to die and get out of the way and pursuing public policies that will hasten their demise.
1- Your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
2- The only unforgivable sins are those against the Holy Spirit.
3- I’d rather do all of my suffering on this side of the veil.
4- If you think you have no price to pay, you need further Wisdom.
Are you saying that those who feel despair are evil?
Ringa-Ding-Ding! We have a winner!
In fact, they cheered it on, Look up the Origin of the Phrase "Can't Break an Omelet without breaking some eggs"
>The Progressives want the “Right to Die” to become the “Duty to Die”<
The “Duty to Die” only for the non-progressives.
“...where the elderly as well as newborn babies deemed unworthy of hospital resources are being sentenced to death by dehydration.
Hitler and his henchmen used to call this “Life unworthy of life”. Nice to know the libtards are showing their true colors—and apparently that’s the black, white and red of the NAZI philosophy.
Better be prepared to defend yourself from the tyrannical tsunami.
It was said the family wished the death to be at a certain time, so that the morning papers would have the news. It was put out that the king's last words were "How stands the Empire now?". Another unofficial account claimed "the the old sailor, opened his eyes and said Damn you!" This as they were injecting him and his last words.
I remember talk even as far back as the 1940's about patients being elderly and with Parkinson's disease, being deprived of fluids. Common knowledge, but little if any proof.
I emigrated to Canada from England over fifty years ago and I am not sorry.
when life has no valuethen anything goes, welcome to humans becoming animals
In a sane world, the doctors and nurses responsible would be going to the gallows, or at least to jail.
Too bad the world is no longer sane.
Eugenics is all the rage. “Who wants to go first? No takers? Ok, we’ll select by committee”. - signed, B. H. Obama
“Why Not Suicide?”
Because it’s a sin? Wait, do we still use that word?
Her reasoning is “sound” only if you accept her presupposition that her life is of little to no value.
Take away that presupposition and she makes no sense.
The fact is, we are of value, to God of course, and also to many others. Some, we don’t even know how important we are to them.
What is better for a 50 year old man? To see his mother kill herself, or to see her loved and cared for and respected and enjoyed until the true end of her days?
Our deaths affect so many people. Her reasoning assumes the opposite.
Nevermind the practical results; gay marriage isn’t an issue of liberty at all. No one’s stopping them from having sex, cohabitating, vowing to spend their lives together, raising children, etc. What they’re asking for is the state to intervene and grant them special status. Which has nothing to do with liberty.
Isn’t everything President Bush’s fault? /saercasm>
You’re off on two counts. Firstly, the Schiavo case was not about whether ir not she was going to die, but who had the right to make decisions for her. You can’t say it’s the parents just because you want her to live. Either they were next of kin or not, and they were not. Secondly, it was none of Bush the Younger’s business, certainly. Since when do presidents stick their noses in state family law? It wasn’t really any if Jeb’s business either, but the business of the courts.
“Despair is a great sin”
I wouldn’t say that, as it’s not really a choice. Your actions leave you more or less likely to possess it, and once you have it the only way out, really, is deliberative. Coincidentally I am reading Kierkegaard’s “The Sickness Unto Death,” which is about despair and describes it as a sickness of the soul.
Suicide is wrong because life is sacred.
To underscore that ultimate value, we go to extraordinary lengths to prevent life from being cheapened. When life is cheapened, everyone’s life is in jeopardy.
The less the powers that be infringe upon us and into our business the better off we are, imo. Others may differ as is their right.
You can consider the feeling of despair a type of temptation
“Youre forgetting one Bush: Jeb. Jeb Bush tried to save Terri Schaivo.”
Not at all, in my book.
He could have taken protective custody.