The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 April 2005

Final option

Michele caught a lot of flak, generally undeserved, during l'affaire Schiavo, and she's issued a statement that isn't a manifesto, but could be:

I would like to see laws enacted that would allow, with specifications and limits, a person to choose death over instances where they may be dying, in pain and agony, for a long time. It's about dying with dignity. Dying without protracted, prolonged pain. About choosing the option to go quietly and peacefully rather than lingering in a vegetative state for years. My option. My choice. Again, within specific guidelines and limitations. I don't think someone should be able to say "I lost my job, my wife left me, let me check myself into a hospital and have them kill me legally."

Of course, things like this will never happen, because the Slippery Slopists will be there to say, IF...THEN. If you give a mouse a cookie, he'll eventually want your whole house. And if you give a person the right to die with dignity, eventually you'll be killing everyone who's not blonde haired and blue eyed. And those who aren't screaming about Hitler will yell about God. It's God's choice when you die. It's God's will when you die. Only God can choose when a life should end.

I am, of course, somewhat bemused by the notion that by asking for that one last shot, I am somehow thwarting the will of God.

I do worry about that slope, because there are people — not many, but enough to mention — who would happily bring us a few steps closer to the Soylent Greening of America, who for whatever reason feel that caring for the infirm is somehow an affront to their sensibilities or to their future affluence. But advocating the right to die for oneself does not inevitably translate into advocacy of a full-fledged euthanasia program: were I in straits that dire, I might want my plug pulled, or I might not — lately, I'm thinking the latter — but I would never be able to try to talk someone else into it, and I resist the idea that there should be any policy beyond "It is a matter solely up to the individual."

Life is precious. One does not choose to give it up except under the most extreme circumstances. Should your choice be irrevocable and indisputable, I believe you should be allowed to do so — and absent either of these criteria, life must be preserved.

Although I might make an exception for people who routinely scream about Hitler.

Posted at 8:03 AM to Life and/or Death


If there weren't something to the slippery slope argument, people confronted with it wouldn't find it so frustrating.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:58 AM on 15 April 2005

I'm with McG. The "Slippery Slopists" wouldn't sound nearly so persuasive as they do, if they weren't so inconveniently right. There may be nothing inherent about "right-to-die" thinking that inevitably leads to "duty-to-die" or even "duty-to-kill" philosophizing. But it somehow always does lead that way, which could be taken as evidence that the slope is both steep and slippery.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 4:02 PM on 15 April 2005