Hi TA,

I came across the following article

Do any of us, however ill, have the right to die?

It is about a paralyzed man who wishes to die. Now this is a sensitive issue, but what I'm just disgusted by is the author, who belittles a man so defenseless in such a low and crass manner. She suggest he should wait until an infection kills him, or starve himself to death - comparing him to a whiny child.

I'm fully for everyones right to end their own lives. And I'm not going to be as arrogant and even suggest that I could understand what this man must feel, or say something stupid like "oh he's just giving up!". So because of that I was truly shocked by how misguided this person is. How low will some of these zealous people sink? Whether or not you agree with his wish is your opinion (which should not affect him), but to ridicule the only wish of such a man as if you're somehow morally superior?

What is Think Atheist's opinion?

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Fought for or not, they are either imaginary or instituted through legislation. All rights are enforced through the application of raw power, too. He who wins the war gets to legislate and enforce.

While "killing people is bad" is valid, that does not address the diversity of our lives. We correctly figure out that killing a killer is a good thing (and even then we qualify that). Why can't most people figure out that making someone suffer endlessly is inhumane?

You don't want people using a law allowing euthanasia to kill people when they chose instead of when the dying person chooses? Simple, verify that the suffering person has no medical alternatives then gather one sympathetic family member (more would be allowed but just one required) and one police officer (randomly selected from the officers on duty that day) and one notary public to be independent witnesses that there is no coercion. There are drugs that are quickly toxic that wouldn't cause pain. Keep it logical and simple.

As for the stupid ideas expressed by people mentioned in the article - I know we all have different experiences but … really? Or is it that with Xianity being partially based on suffering and death, that Xians feel everyone should suffer a long excruciating death? I was raised Methodist and we weren't taught that but is that where some Xians are coming from?


@ Virginia Templeton - dying is "an obligation that most put off." & "And if a person lives in agony and wish to die, who are we to force them to procrastinate?"

I liked both of these very much: they are true but I hadn't heard it ever said that way before.

For me, this a non-issue. Is he forcing his will on other people? No. He should be ok to do it then. I don't understand where the opposition to this sort of thing is coming from...

Not from anyone here, that I can see.

The sole reasonable objection to this is that one must be careful people cannot be pressured or guilted into doing it, say by relatives eager to collect the inheritance.  And perhaps a lot of the opposition consists of people who are worried that adequate safeguards can't or won't be instituted.

But yeah a lot of it is crazy religious stuff.

I guess I spoke too soon about nobody here being opposed, as my email was stuffed with notifications about someone new arguing against.

Absolutely, we have the right to die. My mother died last June. She had Parkinson's disease and dementia. It wasn't Alzheimer's type dementia. She knew my brother and me, most of the time. But there were times she had no idea who I was (it was usually me that she lost; she seemed usually to know my brother), and she frequently felt we were trying to kill her, starve her, poison her, etc. She lost the ability to walk. She needed constant care. She fell out of bed and dislocated her hip 4 times. She was on hospice care, and yet we managed to keep her home until the day she died. In her moments of clarity, when she knew her life was completely horrible, starting several months before to her death, when she was so confused most of the time and unable to walk, she would sit in her chair, or lie in bed, and cry, saying, "Just let me die!" I wish I could have helped her. I've helped end the suffering of my companion animals, but I could do nothing for the woman I loved most in this world. It still bothers me, when I remember how much she suffered in those last months.Anybody who thinks that her suffering was a good thing is evil.

I agree that one should have the choice to put themselves out of their own misery just as long as it's terminal illness.  The emo suicidals should just be put on medication or have their music taken away that induces them into an attention whore faux suicidal tendency.

I like Ricks idea, but as someone stated that would be messy, so that's why I'm figuring going into the woods to die and have my corpse be food for animals and the trees.

There are degrees of messiness.

About fifty years ago a neighbor dying of cancer went to his home's back yard with a pistol and shot himself. His using a shotgun would have been messy.

We who have books like Final Exit, and PCs with search software, can find out that his inhaling nitrogen or helium would have been more considerate of others.

Yes, it's your life and I think it's your right to do what you want with it...period.

I do hope however that we are all very, very, old when we see fit to take such action and better yet we kick it in our sleep. 

Fortunately for anyone who agrees with euthanasia (which includes me under most circumstances) this "journalist's" arguments are so poorly constructed that she implicitly discredits her own case by even attempting to construct one. She brings up a generic cancer patient without making any reference to his personal opinions on his illness; instead, she assumes (for some reason...) that she knows what his parents' opinions on the matter are, which, stupidly, she values above those of the individual directly affected. She then mentions that the notion of euthanasia made a doctor angry, his reason being that the doctor-patient relationship would be harmed. Strangely, this doctor considers it more important to maintain an arbitrary bond (which is, in and of itself, utterly without worth), than to alleviate suffering! He's clearly a man blindly following a principle he has never actually properly considered. Needless to say, the testimony of an unaffected man is irrelevant anyway.

Perhaps most stupidly, she fails to see the distinction between this man and Stephen Hawking. The latter, of course, most likely has a powerful drive to continue studying physics, something which does not require a great deal of physical exertion, and which most likely combats the pain and frustration of his illness with significant pleasure. The journalist assumes that her subject ought to have an equally compelling pastime, not to mention one just as well suited to paralysis. 

She also fails to consider that there is a great deal of difference between the drawn-out agony of starvation and the quick, painless process of euthanasia. She considers them to be equivalent for some reason, as if dying is dying, irrespective of the cause. The man has every reason to oppose starvation because it would greatly exacerbate the suffering of his final weeks (which would, of course, put his wife through tremendous hardship, let alone himself).

In short, she is an idiot who misses the few profound points that exist on the delicate issue. 

Sorry, that was a bit of a rant. 

Okay, let's throw a wrench in the works here. Do you still have the right to kill yourself damn the effect it may have on those left behind. Suicide typically damages those left behind who for the rest of their lives wonder what role they may have played in your decision, what signs they may have seen and ignored or missed entirely. It's often said that suicide is a selfish act, and it's considerations like that that bring that point of view into focus. Just playing Devil's Advocate.

Sometimes when a person leaves a relationship, they may do so without fully explaining their reasons and convincing the abandoned partner that separation is for the best.  This often leaves the abandoned partner wondering for years what he/she did wrong.  Now imagine that it was illegal to leave that relationship, and the otherwise abandoned partner could legally keep the disinterested partner in the relationship against his/her will.  Which one is 'selfish'?  Leaving without fully explaining why?  Or holding a disinterested partner in the relationship until a 'natural death' to avoid feelings of abandonment?


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