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.
“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.”
The younger Bushes’ “greatest” legacy in America.
Why is this Mr. Bush’s fault?
If suicide of the infirm were a stand-alone question, without connection to issues such as the availability of medical care or involuntary “suicide” under pressure from medical personnel or family, it could be discussed simply as a liberty question. However, we know from the experience of other countries that the option of suicide quickly because the duty to die and the opportunity to kill.
This issue is similar to homosexual “marriage,” in that our discussion of both often proceeds in a philosophical vacuum, as if there is no real-world data about the practical outcomes. In both situations, there is a lot of data available, and very little of it supports the contention that suicide or homosexual “marriage” will add to the liberty and prosperity of the society.
That is a better question.
The Progressives want the "Right to Die" to become the "Duty to Die"
Taking care of Elderly and Newborns is expensive, gotta pay for those Freebies some how.
We are murdering our next generation. Our nation will be a trash pile, but as long as the Liberals are in charge of it they are OKAY.
“Why is this Mr. Bushs fault?”
It is the fault of TWO Mr. Bushes in 2005, one president and one governor, whose cowardice in failing to make a stand for Terri Schiavo presaged the way for “benevolent” euthanasia in America.
Despair is a great sin. Despair and suicide in effect are saying - there are human problems or concerns which are greater than God, and that are beyond his plans for us. How can that not be evil?
The UK’s “Death Pathway” that you refer to will eventually be put into place here in order to save money on undesirable babies and elderly people. We have a culture of instant gratification that sees abortion as a convenience. How hard will it be to convince the parasite class that starving the helpless is in the best interest of America?
...and take a politician with you...
my my my.....
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
HUM. Okay. If we accept “diminishing existence” as a legit idea then what about the following.
All inmates in prison that are serving “life” sentences with no chance of parole should be executed. Surely their life is a diminished existence.. What about the handi-capped? The autistic? A slipper slope this would seem to be..............
“How hard will it be to convince the parasite class that starving the helpless is in the best interest of America?”
Thanks to the Great Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Big Media’s 2005 Terri Schiavo campaign, enough of us are already sold.
Most of my “liberal” friends see no problem with offing a Republican or two in the alleged interests of our country.
It is as if every single plot of every single dystopian novel liberals have ever read, serve as a wonderful menu of opportunities to them.
The biggest problem I've encountered is that patients (young and old) are being counseled to sign “living wills” that they absolutely do not understand. If you read and understand all the ramifications of most documents of this ilk, you are paving the way for your euthanasia. Her doctor encouraged my mother to sign, and she paid for that mistake with her life. I stood and watched her die—legally helpless.
Reminds me of "Soylent Green" also.
I am so sorry, July4.
Not just "some" but A LOT.
Almost half of dying patients placed on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway are never told that life-saving treatment has been withdrawn, a national audit has found. The study suggests that in total, around 57,000 patients a year are dying in NHS hospitals without being told that efforts to keep them alive have been stopped.
It also reveals that thousands of dying patients have been left to suffer in pain, with no attempt to keep them comfortable while drugs were administered.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, last night described the disclosures from records held by 178 NHS hospitals as "totally unacceptable".
He said the failure to consult patients would now be examined by an independent inquiry, which will also look at payments made to hospitals for meeting targets to place people on the pathway.
Each year around 130,000 patients are placed on the pathway. The national audit by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool and the Royal College of Physicians examined a representative sample of 7,058 deaths which occurred between April and June last year, at 178 NHS hospitals.
The good news is that some doctors are prescribing water to prevent forced dehydration of patients.
And not juts the elderly...pre-mature babies....youngsters involved in car accidents etc.....The Liverpool Pathway is no Yellow Brick Road....but a gateway to the morgue.
But somehow, I've yet to meet a Libtard who will discuss the societal costs of giving endless free stuff to illegal aliens, endless treatment to recidivist druggies and endless incarceration or mental health services or counseling to career criminals.
Cost is not a factor here. That's the truly scary thing about libtards. They want absolute power over deciding who lives and who dies. And often for no more superficial reasons than skin color, gender, sexual proclivities and/or their own value judgments.
Like ObamaCare Death Panels...
I watched many conservatives argue FOR the Bushes’ cowardly inaction because they believed everything Big Media told them, regarding her husband and PVS, on which they suddenly became as expert as the previous evening news had made them.
Horrible stuff out there, and more than half of American voters gave the Fraud a blank check (ours) to do anything he wants — as long as it’s to make the “rich” PAY their “fair” share.
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.
I disagree with everything you’ve posted.
Jebbie talked big about wanting to save her, but FEARED Big Media’s backlash, which Big Media knew, because they kept threatening him and the public with all that would happen if he even TRIED to take custody.
And his big brother could have saved her, too.
copingstrategiescd.com is why not!....
When you face certain questions, you need a solid foundation in ethics that doesn't change with the times (we used to call those morals) and you need a strong education that allows you to argue properly from that foundation.
If you don't have those, you don't know how to argue against killing Terry Schiavo or sending Elian Gonzales back to his father. You're left with platitudes (fathers are good for children, if you can't talk you might as well be dead) because you can't form arguments.
That's why public education is designed to make people compliant, not to make them smart. Smart would be the opposite of compliant.
“Since when do presidents stick their noses in state family law? It wasnt really any if Jebs business either, but the business of the courts.”
LOL — remember what the Great Clinton taught us in 2000 about sticking a president’s, ahem, nose, in family affairs... re Elian Gonzalez.
Jeb was willing to make statements about what he thought about the case, but was unwilling and AFRAID to back them up.
Big Media posted articles in 2005 talking about what the armed guards would do if anyone tried to re-insert the feeding tube or try to take custody of her. They wanted Bush to try.
If the Bushes had been about letting her die, Big Media would have been on her side. All because the Bushes call themselves Republicans.
It was Lord Dawson, not Lord Moyne who was the King George V physician. Injections of morphine and cocaine were given. January 1936 was the date. Last words of the old King were and certainly not given out to the public.
"God Damn You"
Daddy's holding a loaded gun to Junior's head and his hand is on the trigger. He tells you he needs to kill Junior before Junior turns into a flesh-eating zombie.
But you can't intervene because he's next of kin?????
If I find out I have Alzheimer’s...I’m checking out. I don’t even have health insurance. I’ll end up in some state run hell hole in a diaper not even knowing who I am.
Gonzales was a matter of immigration law, too, which is within federal purview. Not that it had to involve the president himself, nor Janet Reno. I still don’t see why they didn’t handle it however they routinely handle such matters, which certainly isn’t to send stormtroopers into closets.
Anyway, two wrongs don’t make a right.
I often have thoughts like that also but please don’t. Most of my problems in life are due to imagining bad things that never happened.