Right to die.

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Maduyn
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:37 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:10 am UTC

To use an analogy to explain the essence of the ability to consent to life issue.

Imagine a baby as a Golem from Discworld in the fact that until it owns itself it has no consciousness.

This is to say that until a baby is capable of taking responsiblity for its actions it is nothing more than a tool owned by its parents.

We do not need the hammers consent to use it but once that hammer can choose not to strike the nail then we must let it decide for itself what it wants to do.
I was once asked why i am a pacifist.
I simply said "Because I have finally understood what it is to die"

Hedonic Treader
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:45 am UTC

Maduyn wrote:Imagine a baby as a Golem from Discworld in the fact that until it owns itself it has no consciousness.

This is to say that until a baby is capable of taking responsiblity for its actions it is nothing more than a tool owned by its parents.

We do not need the hammers consent to use it but once that hammer can choose not to strike the nail then we must let it decide for itself what it wants to do.

I see. So using babies as sex toys should be legal, then?

User avatar
Maduyn
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:37 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:28 pm UTC

Hedonic Treader wrote:I see. So using babies as sex toys should be legal, then?


No because society has agreed that babies must be protected due to their potential.
I was once asked why i am a pacifist.
I simply said "Because I have finally understood what it is to die"

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:29 pm UTC

The act of giving consent is a protection that a person uses to protect himself from society. It prohibits society from acting against his wishes in these matters, but he does not need societies consent. If the person wishes to end his life he needs no moral basis for his action, no permission and must bow to no ones judgment other than his own. It is an act solely of interest to him. Societies only interest is in regulating this right, in order to protect him from coercion by others and to protect him against ephemeral states of mind by mandating a period of time to reflect or proof of competency.

GardenGoblin
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:57 pm UTC
Location: A place in time

Re: Right to die.

Postby GardenGoblin » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:04 pm UTC

Hedonic Treader wrote:
Maduyn wrote:Imagine a baby as a Golem from Discworld in the fact that until it owns itself it has no consciousness.

This is to say that until a baby is capable of taking responsiblity for its actions it is nothing more than a tool owned by its parents.

We do not need the hammers consent to use it but once that hammer can choose not to strike the nail then we must let it decide for itself what it wants to do.

I see. So using babies as sex toys should be legal, then?


Would you mind not leaping straight to the strawman?

A baby may not be capable of consent, but it is capable of emotions and capable of feeling pain. A creature capable of feeling pain should not be unnecessarily subjected to pain. Additionally we are aware that under normal circumstances, a baby will eventually gain the intelligence and maturity to be capable of full consent and should be allowed to reach that capacity.

Think on this: It is perfectly legal for me to take my dog to the vet and have it put down. It is NOT legal for me to set my dog on fire and drag it behind my car at 55mph for three miles. Both actions ultimately result in the death of the dog, so why is one acceptable and the other not?

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Right to die.

Postby Angua » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:13 pm UTC

So, I'm necroing this thread as it's got the right topic, and I'm not sure if it's gone in the direction that I want to take it, but we'll see.

So, England is currently having a big thing about assisted suicides, and the right to die. The two cases that have been on the bbc recently are Right-to-die man wins first step in legal battle (where an extremely paralysed man wants to take his own life, but his wife won't do it for him, and anyone else wouldn't get protection as family is currently not being prosecuted for helping to take people to switzerland), and Objections to right-to-die plea (a different man with locked-in syndrome tried to get a court to rule that a doctor could help him die, as he physically can't do it himself). The second one ended with the QC trying to have the case dismissed, as this should be a matter for parliament, and not a court to decide.

I see this sort of thing as a bit distinct from euthanasia, as you have two mentally competent individuals who would be doing themselves if they could, but I can see how people are worried that it will lead to abuse, with people possibly even feeling that it is their duty or something to stop forcing themselves on their loved ones. Does Switzerland (and any other country where this is legal) suffer from these problems? There isn't much pressure to change things at the moment, as people feel you can just go to Switzerland if you really need to (though as at least one of the cases above shows, it's not always possible for the individuals in question to arrange these things by themselves), but I think this is a really important thing to start considering, especially as life-saving measures are getting much better now, so we will have more people who are being kept alive when their actual quality of life may not be able to be restored as well (eg you're more likely to survive a stroke now, but once you survive, you will still have about the same amount of trouble recovering from the effects, if that makes sense).
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:18 pm UTC

Ahhh, I remember those two fellows. I sympathize with them greatly.

Angua wrote:I see this sort of thing as a bit distinct from euthanasia, as you have two mentally competent individuals who would be doing themselves if they could, but I can see how people are worried that it will lead to abuse, with people possibly even feeling that it is their duty or something to stop forcing themselves on their loved ones. Does Switzerland (and any other country where this is legal) suffer from these problems?
--wait. Nested in the middle there. Is there a problem with people killing themselves because they want to remove a burden from those close to them? Certainly, those who care for them might disagree with that decision. But the presence of that disagreement...I don't see how that's related to problems/abuses with access to assisted suicide.

Working out policies to safeguard against possible abuses is certainly important, but I don't see how that one part fits.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
WarDaft
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby WarDaft » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:12 am UTC

Having actually had a family member try to commit suicide, I feel like I should post. (Not because this makes me more informed, but rather motivated)

You do not have the right to die. You should not have the right to die. You should have the right to be put in a medically induced coma if you are suffering, and you should have the right to not have an unnaturally prolonged death. If you are dieing painfully, and no one can stop you from dieing, you have the right to not let anyone lengthen the process.

If life seems bad, horrible, terrible and beyond repair, killing yourself betrays:
Your friends
Your family
Your community
The you who for the majority of your life desperately did not want to die, and who will probably return if you can get past your current episode.


We are not always the same people. Wanting to kill yourself is extremely strong evidence that you are not the person you were when you didn't. If you try to kill yourself, you should be -if necessary- physically restrained by anyone around until a complete diagnosis can be made to make sure that it is not a temporary condition. If it is not some temporary condition, and you really never ever will want to live again, then your family still has the right to have you committed to a care facility that will prevent you from killing yourself (because they always have the right to institutionalize you for insanity.) There is of course, rarely a way to stop someone from killing themselves if they are intent on it, and so from a practicality standpoint, there is only so much point in trying to stop them if they will never again wish to live.

Let's look at a slightly less extreme example though. Say you personally own a really nice house. Then say you get completely smashed and decide it would be funny to burn it to the ground. You are with someone else who is not completely smashed, and so they realize that this is in fact a temporary opinion, that you of this morning and you of tomorrow would highly highly disagree with this course of action. Should they not stop you, even if it is absolutely your property and your right to burn it down and even if we assume no one else will be harmed by burning it down? Is it not still right for them to stop you in your altered mental state? Isn't someones life just a tiny bit more important to protect than a nice house? Just because we want to do something right now does not mean we should simply be allowed to do it.



Also I noted how someone said (a far ways back I think) that it is irrational to want to die. That is not true. Rationality itself has nothing to say about wanting to live or die. If you fear death, then rationality can tell you that it is irrational to want to die. If you enjoy life, then you can determine that it is irrational to want to die. But reasoning alone cannot provide evidence for wanting to live or die, you need axioms that also have emotional content and those axioms will determine whether it is rational to want to live or to die.
All Shadow priest spells that deal Fire damage now appear green.
Big freaky cereal boxes of death.

User avatar
Metaphysician
Posts: 519
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:58 pm UTC
Location: WV, The Tenth Circle of Hell

Re: Right to die.

Postby Metaphysician » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:11 am UTC

WarDaft wrote:Having actually had a family member try to commit suicide, I feel like I should post. (Not because this makes me more informed, but rather motivated)

You do not have the right to die. You should not have the right to die. You should have the right to be put in a medically induced coma if you are suffering, and you should have the right to not have an unnaturally prolonged death. If you are dieing painfully, and no one can stop you from dieing, you have the right to not let anyone lengthen the process.

If life seems bad, horrible, terrible and beyond repair, killing yourself betrays:
Your friends
Your family
Your community
The you who for the majority of your life desperately did not want to die, and who will probably return if you can get past your current episode.


We are not always the same people. Wanting to kill yourself is extremely strong evidence that you are not the person you were when you didn't. If you try to kill yourself, you should be -if necessary- physically restrained by anyone around until a complete diagnosis can be made to make sure that it is not a temporary condition. If it is not some temporary condition, and you really never ever will want to live again, then your family still has the right to have you committed to a care facility that will prevent you from killing yourself (because they always have the right to institutionalize you for insanity.) There is of course, rarely a way to stop someone from killing themselves if they are intent on it, and so from a practicality standpoint, there is only so much point in trying to stop them if they will never again wish to live.

Let's look at a slightly less extreme example though. Say you personally own a really nice house. Then say you get completely smashed and decide it would be funny to burn it to the ground. You are with someone else who is not completely smashed, and so they realize that this is in fact a temporary opinion, that you of this morning and you of tomorrow would highly highly disagree with this course of action. Should they not stop you, even if it is absolutely your property and your right to burn it down and even if we assume no one else will be harmed by burning it down? Is it not still right for them to stop you in your altered mental state? Isn't someones life just a tiny bit more important to protect than a nice house? Just because we want to do something right now does not mean we should simply be allowed to do it.



Also I noted how someone said (a far ways back I think) that it is irrational to want to die. That is not true. Rationality itself has nothing to say about wanting to live or die. If you fear death, then rationality can tell you that it is irrational to want to die. If you enjoy life, then you can determine that it is irrational to want to die. But reasoning alone cannot provide evidence for wanting to live or die, you need axioms that also have emotional content and those axioms will determine whether it is rational to want to live or to die.


I sympathize with your point of view. I have had friends commit suicide and at the time, I was devastated, but I also knew them, knew their history, knew their motivations and in the end, I do not think I would have stopped them if I could have. I think you make a valid point that suicide can be a betrayal of friends and family, but there are many ways in which people betray their friends and family all the time, it is not illegal (in all cases) to do so. People argue that divorce is a betrayal of the family, should it be illegal? Or only legal in cases of abuse? People kill themselves slowly all the time whether it be from eating habits, smoking, alcoholism. Should these things all be illegal? If one is intent on ending one's life, they will do it, they will find a way. Is it less traumatic for somebody to come home to a loved one that has shot themselves or have a loved one explain their choice and end their life in a fashion they choose after their family has had time to try to convince them otherwise and come to terms with the decision? There are many ways in which it could be more humane for everybody involved if suicide, indeed assisted suicide were legal. Nobody is arguing that life itself should not be protected, just that in the end, an individual should have the right to end their own life should they see fit. Is it selfish? Maybe. Will people be hurt? Perhaps. But in the end, people should have the right to choose to do what they will with their own bodies.
What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.
-Kurt Vonnegut

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Right to die.

Postby Diadem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:49 am UTC

WarDaft wrote:You do not have the right to die. You should not have the right to die. You should have the right to be put in a medically induced coma if you are suffering

What's the difference, except for €10,000 a day in medical costs, needless uncertainty for everyone involved, and a complete lack of closure for everybody who cares about you?

If life seems bad, horrible, terrible and beyond repair, killing yourself betrays:
Your friends
Your family
Your community
The you who for the majority of your life desperately did not want to die, and who will probably return if you can get past your current episode.

So?
You have the right to betray your friends
You have the right to betray your family
You have the right to betray your community
You have the right to betray your former self (incidentally: a more common term for this phenomenon is 'emotional growth')

Your conclusion follows in no way from your premise. And your premise is invalid anyway. If one of my friends of family members decided, after careful thought, to end their lives, I would be there for them and support them. The thought of betrayal wouldn't enter my mind. In fact that would be an incredibly selfish view. You are basically saying: "You must suffer for my sake".

We are not always the same people. Wanting to kill yourself is extremely strong evidence that you are not the person you were when you didn't. If you try to kill yourself, you should be -if necessary- physically restrained by anyone around until a complete diagnosis can be made to make sure that it is not a temporary condition.

So you are basically heaping together depression (or any of a variety of psychological problems that can lead to suicide) and a well-thought-out decision to end your life because your future holds naught but needless suffering (such as in the case of terminally ill patients, or the British case of the man with locked-in-syndrome). Awesome. It's generally a very good idea to treat completely separate issues as if they are identical.

If it is not some temporary condition, and you really never ever will want to live again, then your family still has the right to have you committed to a care facility that will prevent you from killing yourself (because they always have the right to institutionalize you for insanity.)

What the...
I ...

Please tell me you are just trolling here. You can't be serious. Please.

Let's look at a slightly less extreme example though. Say you personally own a really nice house. Then say you get completely smashed and decide it would be funny to burn it to the ground. You are with someone else who is not completely smashed, and so they realize that this is in fact a temporary opinion, that you of this morning and you of tomorrow would highly highly disagree with this course of action. Should they not stop you, even if it is absolutely your property and your right to burn it down and even if we assume no one else will be harmed by burning it down? Is it not still right for them to stop you in your altered mental state? Isn't someones life just a tiny bit more important to protect than a nice house? Just because we want to do something right now does not mean we should simply be allowed to do it.

Are you trying to reinvent the notion of informed consent? Because that's not needed, we already invented that ages ago.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Right to die.

Postby Angua » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:14 pm UTC

Greyarcher wrote:Ahhh, I remember those two fellows. I sympathize with them greatly.

Angua wrote:I see this sort of thing as a bit distinct from euthanasia, as you have two mentally competent individuals who would be doing themselves if they could, but I can see how people are worried that it will lead to abuse, with people possibly even feeling that it is their duty or something to stop forcing themselves on their loved ones. Does Switzerland (and any other country where this is legal) suffer from these problems?
--wait. Nested in the middle there. Is there a problem with people killing themselves because they want to remove a burden from those close to them? Certainly, those who care for them might disagree with that decision. But the presence of that disagreement...I don't see how that's related to problems/abuses with access to assisted suicide.

Working out policies to safeguard against possible abuses is certainly important, but I don't see how that one part fits.
It's one of the arguements I've heard against it is that you could get family members basically guilting someone into killing themselves if they were tired of caring for them. Eg, complaing all the time about how much it costs to keep them around, pointing saying what else they could be doing with their lives, etc. It was just a hypothetical I was thinking about - I wasn't that clear in my head what I meant.

edit- again, I think there is a massive difference between the decision of ending your life early in the case of terminal illness, and the terribly depressed state of what we generally associate with suicide. Depression is a completely different medical condition which can be treated - often people actively fighting for the right of themselves and others to die are not depressed (and in some cases, don't even want to commit suicide then, just want the option open to them in the future).
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

User avatar
firechicago
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:27 pm UTC
Location: One time, I put a snowglobe in the microwave and pushed "Hot Dog"

Re: Right to die.

Postby firechicago » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

I think this documentary is relevant.

Full disclosure: the main subject was a dear friend of my family's.

User avatar
EMTP
Posts: 1556
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:39 pm UTC
Location: Elbow deep in (mostly) other people's blood.

Re: Right to die.

Postby EMTP » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

The discourse of rights is always front and center in discussions of this kind. Should we also talk about benefits and harms?

Many people who are mentally ill -- depressed, intoxicated, suffering from impulse control disorders, or some combination of the three -- will attempt suicide. If those attempts are unsuccessful, and they are successfully treated, they may go on to enjoy life and be glad they survived. Their families and communities are spared an awful wound. Good things.

On the other hand, some people with medical conditions live with agonizing pain and indignity and without the ability to do the things they once enjoyed ever again. Most people agree that those people can refuse further therapy to prolong their lives. I think that is ethically correct. If we believe that it is, however, we have to ask ourselves the question of what the difference is between allowing someone to die that we could keep alive and allowing them to take their own life.

What the discourse of rights misses, I think, is the very great difference between an acute exacerbation of a mental illness and a state of existence in which, to put it bluntly, any sane person would want to end their life.

In Oregon we have had the right to die (for those with a life expectancy of six month or less) for some time now. The effects of the law have been interesting, and not what was expected. The law is rarely used -- about 20 times a year. On the other hand, end of life care has improved dramatically with more aggressive management of pain and nausea, more advance directives, more hospice.

It seems to me -- in my unscientific analysis -- that doctors have focused their minds on not sucking quite so hard at end of life care, because thanks to the law, a patient can call them up and say "I am suffering so much right now that I'd rather be dead than under your care." And no one wants to get that phone call. So care at the end of life, long a low priority for physicians, is suddenly front and center.
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
-- Alan Watts, "The Way of Zen"

TranquilFury
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:24 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby TranquilFury » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

If you have the strength to kill yourself, no one can stop you. THAT is what makes this a right, rather than a privilege.

User avatar
WarDaft
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby WarDaft » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:28 pm UTC

Metaphysician wrote:I have had friends commit suicide and at the time, I was devastated, but I also knew them, knew their history, knew their motivations and in the end, I do not think I would have stopped them if I could have.
I do very much appreciate your sympathy, but I am not someone who was almost devastated by a suicide, I am someone whose life was almost irrevocably destroyed by suicide. I still cannot afford to dwell to much on it even over a decade later despite the fact that it was only attempted suicide. I would prefer not to go into details but I think I could paint a close enough picture if pressed. If this seems weird, ask yourself if you would ever really get over someone almost... say... blowing your head off with a shotgun. Not because they didn't pull the trigger, but because they missed, narrowly, and not because of anything you had control over.

Diadem wrote:
WarDaft wrote:You do not have the right to die. You should not have the right to die. You should have the right to be put in a medically induced coma if you are suffering

What's the difference, except for €10,000 a day in medical costs, needless uncertainty for everyone involved, and a complete lack of closure for everybody who cares about you?
You mean beside the fact that one is reversible? You don't need to hold out for a cure, just for a quality of life improvement that makes you not want to die. You don't need a medical breakthrough, it could be something like legislature permitting more potent drug treatments.

Diadem wrote:
WarDaft wrote:If life seems bad, horrible, terrible and beyond repair, killing yourself betrays:
Your friends
Your family
Your community
The you who for the majority of your life desperately did not want to die, and who will probably return if you can get past your current episode.

So?
You have the right to betray your friends
You have the right to betray your family
You have the right to betray your community
You have the right to betray your former self (incidentally: a more common term for this phenomenon is 'emotional growth')
Becoming suicidally depressive is a form of emotional growth? Colour me impressed. And as for betraying your future self? I also find it fascinating that it is 'right' to blast a huge emotional hole in their lives, but oh, if you had some minor joint financial investment as opposed to emotional, even a few hundred dollars... that you can't betray them in. I think most people who have lost someone close would pay a fair amount of money if it would make that feeling just go away. So yes, we can conceive of a measure of the emotional pains you place on others with your suicide. In a free market economy with the technology to eliminate such negative feelings (rather than partially mitigate, as we have now) then we could come up with a very reasonable estimate of the costs your suicide has inflicted upon others, every bit as much as if you had demolished their property or simply stolen from them. And the only reason we care about money? Emotional investment.

Diadem wrote:Your conclusion follows in no way from your premise. And your premise is invalid anyway. If one of my friends of family members decided, after careful thought, to end their lives, I would be there for them and support them. The thought of betrayal wouldn't enter my mind. In fact that would be an incredibly selfish view. You are basically saying: "You must suffer for my sake".
You cannot always tell beforehand that someone has in fact taken that careful thought and introspection. If someone is considered to have a right to die, then how could you possibly be right to stop someone who you are not convinced has examined their lives with careful measured thoughts? Be perfectly honest: If someone you cared about came up to you and said "I've weighed the options and decided to kill my self" and puts a very real knife to their throat and you believe that they are going in fact going to kill themselves, are you really going to just say "Okay, I understand?" I somehow doubt it. The only unrealistic thing about this situation is their openness.

Diadem wrote:
We are not always the same people. Wanting to kill yourself is extremely strong evidence that you are not the person you were when you didn't. If you try to kill yourself, you should be -if necessary- physically restrained by anyone around until a complete diagnosis can be made to make sure that it is not a temporary condition.

So you are basically heaping together depression (or any of a variety of psychological problems that can lead to suicide) and a well-thought-out decision to end your life because your future holds naught but needless suffering (such as in the case of terminally ill patients, or the British case of the man with locked-in-syndrome). Awesome. It's generally a very good idea to treat completely separate issues as if they are identical.
You have already made the diagnosis I spoke of, and so already divided them into separate cases, even under my interpretation. Even if someone terminally ill wishes to die, making sure it's because they've reasoned it out, and not because they are clinically depressed (considering that people who have been informed they are terminally ill by medical professionals are going to be more susceptible to depression - the person who is supposed to make you better has told you to give up hope of recovery) seems like a rather important concept to me. I'm not just thinking of what I think others should be bound by ethically, I'm considering myself. If I ever later decide that I want to die, I expect the people who care about me to stop me at least long enough to make sure I am clear headed, not help me do it.

Diadem wrote:
If it is not some temporary condition, and you really never ever will want to live again, then your family still has the right to have you committed to a care facility that will prevent you from killing yourself (because they always have the right to institutionalize you for insanity.)

What the...
I ...

Please tell me you are just trolling here. You can't be serious. Please.
So you are saying that is not currently the case? That if someone who wants to die, knows they want to die, has measured it out and decided that because of their condition they never want to live again, that a sufficiently obstinate family could not get this person committed? Did you not see where immediately afterwards I said that doing this is kind-of pointless anyway? Perhaps I could have organized things better, but this is less of a "should be" and more of an "is" thing. I apologize.

Diadem wrote:
Let's look at a slightly less extreme example though. Say you personally own a really nice house. Then say you get completely smashed and decide it would be funny to burn it to the ground. You are with someone else who is not completely smashed, and so they realize that this is in fact a temporary opinion, that you of this morning and you of tomorrow would highly highly disagree with this course of action. Should they not stop you, even if it is absolutely your property and your right to burn it down and even if we assume no one else will be harmed by burning it down? Is it not still right for them to stop you in your altered mental state? Isn't someones life just a tiny bit more important to protect than a nice house? Just because we want to do something right now does not mean we should simply be allowed to do it.

Are you trying to reinvent the notion of informed consent? Because that's not needed, we already invented that ages ago.
How did you get informed consent out of that? The drunken you is not consenting to anything, they are not having anything done to them, they are doing. Their free choice modulo a chemical imbalance in the brain.


You can of course say "what is the difference between smoking (though personally I think it should be as illegal as any other recreational drug) and direct immediate suicide." How can we allow one but disallow the other. Or even just unhealthy eating habits. How can we let people do that, but not let them blow their brains out? If we cannot draw this distinction, how can we possibly leave all the other freedoms we value intact? Simple: unhealthy eating is reversible. If you change your mind, you can stop eating unhealthily, and repair the damage done to your body. Deciding to eat poorly for the next month is not a death sentence. Deciding to smoke for the next month is not a death sentence. (There are points where a doctor could advise you that if you don't stop now the complications would grow insurmountable and kill you, and it is at this point you go from not caring about your health to not caring about your life.) There are varying degrees of healthiness. There are not varying degrees of deadness. There is legal death, and clinical death, and information-theoretic death... but if you're committing suicide you're only going for that utterly irreversible third one. If you succeed, you're gone. You can often decrease your health without killing yourself. You (obviously) cannot kill yourself without killing yourself. You could also consider intent. You are not shooting yourself in the face because you enjoy shooting yourself in the face and have accepted a reduced life expectancy as the trade-off. Likewise you are not smoking because you have decided life is too horrible to live and just want it to be over - that's probably one of the slowest, most painful ways to kill yourself even conceivable. Not only are you forcing yourself to potentially endure years or decades more of this life that you hate, you're choosing to die of cancer, which itself can be horribly slow and painful.



I am, simply put, one of your staunchest opponents in this, for as I said my life was nearly shattered by a suicide. Suffice it to say, it is difficult for me to think of anything realistic that could have made it have a worse impact if it had been successful, even if I apply some very sadistic creativity. You are welcome to call this trolling by way of inspecificity, but even if you do not believe this is true of me, given a sufficiently large population you must believe that it is likely to be true of someone. What argument would you give them then, that the person they cared for had every right to commit suicide, and that they should feel bad for wishing they could have stopped it? This is not a straw man, if something is someone's moral right, you should feel bad for wanting to strip them of that right. I don't see how you could disagree with that, it almost seems like a tautology, but I am willing to hear reason if you think it possible. And remember I am not just claiming that such people exist, but that I am one of them, and so you can expect any rebuttal to be from that point of view whether or not you actually believe it true of me. That does not mean I will fight you to the death over the issue, there are more important things in life than forum posts, and I doubt I will actually convince you of anything.

If you have the strength to kill yourself, no one can stop you. THAT is what makes this a right, rather than a privilege.
Now that is a terrible argument. Not only does it justify anything a 'strong' enough person can do unopposed, it is also not actually true - though it would require a number of what are currently considered ethical violations you could, in fact, be stopped from killing yourself.
All Shadow priest spells that deal Fire damage now appear green.
Big freaky cereal boxes of death.

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:34 pm UTC

Angua wrote:It's one of the arguements I've heard against it is that you could get family members basically guilting someone into killing themselves if they were tired of caring for them. Eg, complaing all the time about how much it costs to keep them around, pointing saying what else they could be doing with their lives, etc. It was just a hypothetical I was thinking about - I wasn't that clear in my head what I meant.
I remember seeing that concern too. Certainly, that's a massively jackass move by the family. Possibly, it should be considered a criminal offense if it's deliberate, and the family should be kept separate while being required to pay for their care (that's a tricky policy question).

These sorts of offenses must be dealt with and safeguarded against, but I don't think they count against the freedom/right to die. It's as if we were setting out how freedom of speech should work. Certainly, we could think of how some speech could be bad (e.g. slander, hate speech, incitement, etc.). But we wouldn't conclude from these negative points that there should be no freedom of speech. The importance of paying respect to that freedom means we would simply try to make a policy that maximizes the good while minimizing the bad.

Angua wrote:edit- again, I think there is a massive difference between the decision of ending your life early in the case of terminal illness, and the terribly depressed state of what we generally associate with suicide. Depression is a completely different medical condition which can be treated - often people actively fighting for the right of themselves and others to die are not depressed (and in some cases, don't even want to commit suicide then, just want the option open to them in the future).
Depression can have various causes. But, speaking of depression purely as a mood rather than a medical condition, I do not think the influencing effect of a mood necessarily undermines the rationality of a decision. I would hate to dismiss a person's decision and opinion on the grounds that he is "depressed" and therefore "mentally ill". (Though how to determine if they've thought through their decision to the level that society should respect it, and whether other measures ought to be tried first, are the details of working out a specific policy.)

-----------------------------------
EMTP wrote:The discourse of rights is always front and center in discussions of this kind. Should we also talk about benefits and harms?
I think rights and freedoms comes up because it's considered a prior issue. Something like this: if the right to die is considered as basic respect for autonomy and control over our own lives, then paying due respect to that right and freedom would normally override questions of benefits and harm. If people haven't first resolved their on ideas on things like this, then they'll have confused disagreement and different starting perspectives on how benefits and harms weigh into the issue.

For instance, I'm strongly swayed by the idea that our lives are our most basic personal possessions, and that the right and freedom to live or die respects the most basic choice we can make. My thoughts on benefit and harm are naturally framed in light of that.

-------------------------------
Edit:
WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:Your conclusion follows in no way from your premise. And your premise is invalid anyway. If one of my friends of family members decided, after careful thought, to end their lives, I would be there for them and support them. The thought of betrayal wouldn't enter my mind. In fact that would be an incredibly selfish view. You are basically saying: "You must suffer for my sake".
You cannot always tell beforehand that someone has in fact taken that careful thought and introspection. If someone is considered to have a right to die, then how could you possibly be right to stop someone who you are not convinced has examined their lives with careful measured thoughts? Be perfectly honest: If someone you cared about came up to you and said "I've weighed the options and decided to kill my self" and puts a very real knife to their throat and you believe that they are going in fact going to kill themselves, are you really going to just say "Okay, I understand?" I somehow doubt it. The only unrealistic thing about this situation is their openness.
Diadem's point is about permission; your counterpoint is less about permission, and more about procedure. So rather than, "should people be permitted to kill themselves, or be assisted in dying" you raise, "in this situation, is it proper procedure to let them kill themselves?"

That objection, therefore, is entirely compatible with a conclusion like, "there should be a procedure developed where people are mentally evaluated, and permitted to kill themselves and/or given assistance if they are judged of sound mind." If it was a procedure that was unbiased with catch-22s like "you're suicidal so you're not of sound mind", and effort was devoted to refining policy and procedure, then that could be just fine.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
WarDaft
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby WarDaft » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:05 pm UTC

You could say that, but if we said "there should be a procedure developed where people are mentally evaluated, and permitted to speak freely if they are judged of sound mind" then no one would actually call it the right to free speech, so I doubt the positions are reconcilable.
All Shadow priest spells that deal Fire damage now appear green.
Big freaky cereal boxes of death.

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:28 pm UTC

WarDaft wrote:You could say that, but if we said "there should be a procedure developed where people are mentally evaluated, and permitted to speak freely if they are judged of sound mind" then no one would actually call it the right to free speech, so I doubt the positions are reconcilable.
I didn't say people should be legally forbidden from killing themselves unless they go through this procedure. I simply wanted to point out that your objection can lead to conclusions that aren't, "suicide and/or assisted suicide should be forbidden." Also, we could include a "good faith" legal defense for people who interfere with people trying to kill themselves, if the parties are worried that the people trying to kill themselves aren't of sound mind.

For instance, if we made access to death by a regulated party available and not too inconvenient, then there could be an argument that people of sound mind wouldn't try to knife themselves in front of you like in your example. Or, heck, they just could make it so you have to register that you plan to kill yourself, no evaluation necessary, and then they give you a document of proof. And/or forbid you from killing yourself in front of non-consenting people, because of the trauma. There are various little policy points that could be refined on this issue while still permitting the essential right/freedom to die.

So I don't think the "guy knifes himself in front of you" scenario is a major problem to the right/freedom to die.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
WarDaft
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby WarDaft » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

The killing yourself in front of someone thing wasn't so much for trauma or dramatic effect, as it was to ensure that you did not now about it before, and do now, without going into a more detailed example. I did say that it was improbable that it would happen just like that.


What you said was that my position was compatible with something, and I pointed out that that something wasn't what people would actually call a right to die. If we say it's okay for people to just kill themselves anyway, without consulting the procedure, then what is the point of it? Why consult something that might say you are not of sound enough mind to do what you want, if you can just do what you want anyway? A choice in this matter then is still not consistent with my position.


Yes, we definitely can make a functional legal system with suicide and the assistance thereof being permitted. Saying we can set up laws that can make it work is not like saying we should set up laws that can make it work.


And now I shall be going out for a while. Possibly the whole day.
All Shadow priest spells that deal Fire damage now appear green.
Big freaky cereal boxes of death.

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:16 pm UTC

WarDaft wrote:The killing yourself in front of someone thing wasn't so much for trauma or dramatic effect, as it was to ensure that you did not now about it before, and do now, without going into a more detailed example. I did say that it was improbable that it would happen just like that.

What you said was that my position was compatible with something, and I pointed out that that something wasn't what people would actually call a right to die. If we say it's okay for people to just kill themselves anyway, without consulting the procedure, then what is the point of it? Why consult something that might say you are not of sound enough mind to do what you want, if you can just do what you want anyway? A choice in this matter then is still not consistent with my position.
I'm not too worried about hypothetical arguments about whether something is "true" freedom of speech or freedom/right to die. And since, in my area, it is legal to kill yourself and I already accept that it's permissible for people to kill themselves, I'm not worried about that either. But as for the merits of the procedure? I'm sure there are various good points it could have.

One possibility is that the people are on the fence; they'll go through the procedure because, although they are tempted by access to death, they think it also could push them towards treatment or assistance. Also, some people might not like knifing themselves or hanging themselves, or whatever; if they are judged of sound mind and afterwards provided access to some more palatable form of killing themselves, they could consider the evaluation procedure worth it.

WarDaft wrote:Yes, we definitely can make a functional legal system with suicide and the assistance thereof being permitted. Saying we can set up laws that can make it work is not like saying we should set up laws that can make it work.

And now I shall be going out for a while. Possibly the whole day.
Sure, but if an objection is, "this downside could occur" then my counterpoint would be "but we could make a functional system that mitigates that", and that's the line I've more or less been following.

As for why I lean towards this idea in the first place? I think it pays respect both to responsible decision making, and also to the freedom and autonomy of the individual regarding their own life. Also, I approve of giving people access to a form of death that is probably less painful and messy than what many people can get on their own.

One last point. Ironically, I think a society that is more permissive of killing oneself--as through some sort of procedure and associated right/freedom to die--would make more people pursue treatment too. The permissive attitude would implicitly mean less stigmatization towards killing yourself; less stigma and more acceptance/permissiveness means suicidal people may be more open to discussing the issue and pursuing treatment instead of keeping it to themselves.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Right to die.

Postby Angua » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:31 pm UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
Angua wrote:edit- again, I think there is a massive difference between the decision of ending your life early in the case of terminal illness, and the terribly depressed state of what we generally associate with suicide. Depression is a completely different medical condition which can be treated - often people actively fighting for the right of themselves and others to die are not depressed (and in some cases, don't even want to commit suicide then, just want the option open to them in the future).
Depression can have various causes. But, speaking of depression purely as a mood rather than a medical condition, I do not think the influencing effect of a mood necessarily undermines the rationality of a decision. I would hate to dismiss a person's decision and opinion on the grounds that he is "depressed" and therefore "mentally ill". (Though how to determine if they've thought through their decision to the level that society should respect it, and whether other measures ought to be tried first, are the details of working out a specific policy.)

Why would you speak of depression as a mood in this context? Severe depression as a medical condition is what often drives people to suicide, and that is something that can be treated, and often needs a lot of help. No one is saying that being sad=mentally ill. I think you are getting confused with the colloquial use of 'being depressed' with the actual medical problem, which can be extremely severe. If there is doubt about state of mind, then a psychiatrist would probably be asked to consult, but I think they would distinguish between clinical depression and something milder.

@ wardraft: I'm sorry that you had to go through someone close to you attempting suicide (presumably out of depression). However, are you really willing to condemn someone to a life time of suffering on the offchance that a cure might be found. Say they sign a form saying that if they ever need any other medical treatment, they don't want to be treated, which could lead them to die from a fairly curable infection - which would be drawn out, but is currently one of the only options for people who wish to die (my clinical interview was about a woman who signed a living will saying that if she ever got Alzheimers no one was allowed to treat her for anything else, which meant you couldn't prescribe antibiotics if she got pneumonia). Is that really want you are willing to put them through, so that you feel a bit better. Sadly, people die, and I think that people deserve to be able to die in dignity.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

Angua wrote:
Greyarcher wrote:
Angua wrote:edit- again, I think there is a massive difference between the decision of ending your life early in the case of terminal illness, and the terribly depressed state of what we generally associate with suicide. Depression is a completely different medical condition which can be treated - often people actively fighting for the right of themselves and others to die are not depressed (and in some cases, don't even want to commit suicide then, just want the option open to them in the future).
Depression can have various causes. But, speaking of depression purely as a mood rather than a medical condition, I do not think the influencing effect of a mood necessarily undermines the rationality of a decision. I would hate to dismiss a person's decision and opinion on the grounds that he is "depressed" and therefore "mentally ill". (Though how to determine if they've thought through their decision to the level that society should respect it, and whether other measures ought to be tried first, are the details of working out a specific policy.)
Why would you speak of depression as a mood in this context? Severe depression as a medical condition is what often drives people to suicide, and that is something that can be treated, and often needs a lot of help. No one is saying that being sad=mentally ill. I think you are getting confused with the colloquial use of 'being depressed' with the actual medical problem, which can be extremely severe. If there is doubt about state of mind, then a psychiatrist would probably be asked to consult, but I think they would distinguish between clinical depression and something milder.
Because of the second last line (the one right before the brackets). To try and be clearer, I think it's entirely possible to be suicidally depressed and rational. Therefore, I would abhor dismissing a suicidally depressed person's decision as "irrational and mentally ill" and I would consider it grossly disrespectful.
Last edited by Greyarcher on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Right to die.

Postby Angua » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:19 pm UTC

Again, the different levels of depression mean that for someone with mild depression, a pyschologist may have to consult, but they'd probably still get their dnr. Severe depression is different. The infrastructure for distinguishing between the two is already there, or should be in societies which allow dnr orders.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:23 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Again, the different levels of depression mean that for someone with mild depression, a pyschologist may have to consult, but they'd probably still get their dnr. Severe depression is different. The infrastructure for distinguishing between the two is already there, or should be in societies which allow dnr orders.
Is it? It's been a while since I've looked into the DSM and its relation between suicide and depression, but I'm wary of possible catch-22s wherein suicidally depressed almost automatically leads to a mental illness classification.

Edit: Hmmm, seems like it might be workable, from what I can find. In any case: perhaps more clearly, I used "mood" because I wasn't certain how exactly the modern medical/psychological establishment classifies and distinguishes depression, suicide, and mental illness from each other (and how it varies from country to country). So I decided to bypass all that stuff and tried to speak of depression while avoiding that baggage.
Last edited by Greyarcher on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Right to die.

Postby Angua » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:32 pm UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
Angua wrote:Again, the different levels of depression mean that for someone with mild depression, a pyschologist may have to consult, but they'd probably still get their dnr. Severe depression is different. The infrastructure for distinguishing between the two is already there, or should be in societies which allow dnr orders.
Is it? It's been a while since I've looked into the DSM and its relation between suicide and depression, but I'm wary of possible catch-22s wherein suicidally depressed almost automatically leads to a mental illness classification.

Suicidally depressed would lead to mental illness classification. I'm a bit confused by what you're saying.

Maybe you are seeing a stigma in mental illness? Mentally ill doesn't mean that you must be permanently classed as such, nor does it mean that you automatically lose all autonomy when it comes to medical decisions (though they may be more scrutinised). There's a difference between being diagnosed with a mental disorder (which may or may not be chronic), and being judged mentally incompetent (not sure if that's the right phrasing - apologies if I accidentally insult someone) at the time of whatever legal document you're signing. Mental incompetence has to be assessed at each time - you aren't just going to be diagnosed with severe depression and never be allowed to make a judgement about your treatment for life.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:37 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Suicidally depressed would lead to mental illness classification. I'm a bit confused by what you're saying.

Maybe you are seeing a stigma in mental illness? Mentally ill doesn't mean that you must be permanently classed as such, nor does it mean that you automatically lose all autonomy when it comes to medical decisions (though they may be more scrutinised). There's a difference between being diagnosed with a mental disorder (which may or may not be chronic), and being judged mentally incompetent (not sure if that's the right phrasing - apologies if I accidentally insult someone) at the time of whatever legal document you're signing. Mental incompetence has to be assessed at each time - you aren't just going to be diagnosed with severe depression and never be allowed to make a judgement about your treatment for life.
Ahhh, you're right. I guess I'm not aware of modern practices. I was drawing off my admittedly vague memory of some of the unfortunate history of mental illness and societal treatment of it, when so-called mental illnesses were at times naturally connected to irrationality or mental incompetence, and the denial of autonomy.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Right to die.

Postby Diadem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:06 pm UTC

WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:
WarDaft wrote:You do not have the right to die. You should not have the right to die. You should have the right to be put in a medically induced coma if you are suffering

What's the difference, except for €10,000 a day in medical costs, needless uncertainty for everyone involved, and a complete lack of closure for everybody who cares about you?
You mean beside the fact that one is reversible? You don't need to hold out for a cure, just for a quality of life improvement that makes you not want to die. You don't need a medical breakthrough, it could be something like legislature permitting more potent drug treatments.

On terminally ill patients medical comas will only be reversible for a very short while, because they will be dead after. I suppose in theory it's possible that that magical drug is discovered in those two weeks between inducing coma and death, with not a hint about it beforehand, but it seems exceedingly unlikely. I'd sooner bet on winning the lottery 10 times in a row.

From the point of view of the patient there isn't much difference. You go to sleep and hope to never wake up. The main difference is the needless emotional stress imposed on friends and families. Though now that I think about it it's also different for the patient. You're taking away their dignity, and a lot of their peace of mind.

WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:
WarDaft wrote:If life seems bad, horrible, terrible and beyond repair, killing yourself betrays:
Your friends
Your family
Your community
The you who for the majority of your life desperately did not want to die, and who will probably return if you can get past your current episode.

So?
You have the right to betray your friends
You have the right to betray your family
You have the right to betray your community
You have the right to betray your former self (incidentally: a more common term for this phenomenon is 'emotional growth')
Becoming suicidally depressive is a form of emotional growth? Colour me impressed.

You betray your former self every time you change your opinion about something important. This is generally seen as a good thing: "My teenage self thought x. Thank god I grew up". The idea that you would not be allowed to change your mind about something important strikes me as somewhat absurd. Perhaps you want to say that people only do not have the right to do this in the specific case of suicide. But then you can't argue the special case from the general one, as you were doing above.

WarDaft wrote:And as for betraying your future self? I also find it fascinating that it is 'right' to blast a huge emotional hole in their lives, but oh, if you had some minor joint financial investment as opposed to emotional, even a few hundred dollars... that you can't betray them in. I think most people who have lost someone close would pay a fair amount of money if it would make that feeling just go away. So yes, we can conceive of a measure of the emotional pains you place on others with your suicide. In a free market economy with the technology to eliminate such negative feelings (rather than partially mitigate, as we have now) then we could come up with a very reasonable estimate of the costs your suicide has inflicted upon others, every bit as much as if you had demolished their property or simply stolen from them. And the only reason we care about money? Emotional investment.

Are you honestly comparing emotional relations with financial ones? Because in that case you'll also have to argue that you are not allowed to move without compensating your neighbours, or break up a relationship without paying your ex a huge fee.

I do not have a legal obligation to be nice to my friends or families. And you can't honestly believe that this is the case. So I'm completely confused about what you trying to say here.

WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:Your conclusion follows in no way from your premise. And your premise is invalid anyway. If one of my friends of family members decided, after careful thought, to end their lives, I would be there for them and support them. The thought of betrayal wouldn't enter my mind. In fact that would be an incredibly selfish view. You are basically saying: "You must suffer for my sake".
You cannot always tell beforehand that someone has in fact taken that careful thought and introspection. If someone is considered to have a right to die, then how could you possibly be right to stop someone who you are not convinced has examined their lives with careful measured thoughts? Be perfectly honest: If someone you cared about came up to you and said "I've weighed the options and decided to kill my self" and puts a very real knife to their throat and you believe that they are going in fact going to kill themselves, are you really going to just say "Okay, I understand?" I somehow doubt it. The only unrealistic thing about this situation is their openness.

Two things. First of all, if one of my friends approached me out of the blue, said that, and proceeded to put a knife to their throat right in front of me, that would be positive proof that they did not in fact think about it carefully. Because that's a very irrational and impulsive method. So your example is self-contradictionary.

Imagine though that one of my friends had cancer, and had been fighting with that disease for month, slowly losing the battle. One day they approach me and say they are tired of fighting and suffering, and just want to end it with dignity. We would of course talk about that, and it would quickly become clear they thought about it very carefully for a very long time. In such a situation, I do not see why I would feel betrayed. It would be a decision that I could completely support. But even if I for some reason couldn't support it, a betrayal it most certainly is not.

Secondly, you say "you cannot always tell" in your post above, but then argue as if it is "you cannot ever tell". Yes, perhaps it is sometimes hard to tell if someone is in a sound state of mind when making a decision. That doesn't mean you should never accept any decision from anyone, even if you know that this person, in this case, is in a sound state of mind.


WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:
We are not always the same people. Wanting to kill yourself is extremely strong evidence that you are not the person you were when you didn't. If you try to kill yourself, you should be -if necessary- physically restrained by anyone around until a complete diagnosis can be made to make sure that it is not a temporary condition.

So you are basically heaping together depression (or any of a variety of psychological problems that can lead to suicide) and a well-thought-out decision to end your life because your future holds naught but needless suffering (such as in the case of terminally ill patients, or the British case of the man with locked-in-syndrome). Awesome. It's generally a very good idea to treat completely separate issues as if they are identical.
You have already made the diagnosis I spoke of, and so already divided them into separate cases, even under my interpretation.

Wait a second. Temporary vs. Permanent condition is not at all the same axis as 'sound state of mind' vs. 'suffering from a severe depression'. Besides, you did that that even if it's a permanent condition, it still shouldn't be allowed but that person should instead be locked away forever.

WarDaft wrote:Even if someone terminally ill wishes to die, making sure it's because they've reasoned it out, and not because they are clinically depressed (considering that people who have been informed they are terminally ill by medical professionals are going to be more susceptible to depression - the person who is supposed to make you better has told you to give up hope of recovery) seems like a rather important concept to me. I'm not just thinking of what I think others should be bound by ethically, I'm considering myself. If I ever later decide that I want to die, I expect the people who care about me to stop me at least long enough to make sure I am clear headed, not help me do it.

How... How do you think it's done now? Do you think that if someone in a hospital says: "Doctor I want to die" the doctors just go "Oh, sure, whatever" and immediately hook up their IV with poison? Because that is not how euthanasia works. There is in fact a lot of counselling to make sure you are sound of mind and understand the ramifications of your decision.

WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:
If it is not some temporary condition, and you really never ever will want to live again, then your family still has the right to have you committed to a care facility that will prevent you from killing yourself (because they always have the right to institutionalize you for insanity.)

What the...
I ...

Please tell me you are just trolling here. You can't be serious. Please.
So you are saying that is not currently the case?

De jure, that has never been the case. The decision has always been in the hands of either a judge or professional psychiatrists / psychologists. De facto, yes, it has in many countries often been the case. And that has always lead to horrible abuse. You are advocating something here that throughout history has primarily been used to silence daughters that are threatening to talk about their sexual abuse, sons that have dared to not be heterosexual, children who have broken with their parent's religion, etc. Parents rarely have their children committed out of honest concern for their well-being.






I am, simply put, one of your staunchest opponents in this, for as I said my life was nearly shattered by a suicide. Suffice it to say, it is difficult for me to think of anything realistic that could have made it have a worse impact if it had been successful, even if I apply some very sadistic creativity. You are welcome to call this trolling by way of inspecificity, but even if you do not believe this is true of me, given a sufficiently large population you must believe that it is likely to be true of someone. What argument would you give them then, that the person they cared for had every right to commit suicide, and that they should feel bad for wishing they could have stopped it?

Nothing, for that is not my opinion.

You keep making this thread about suicide. It's not about suicide. But for the record: If you see someone who is about to commit suicide, you should always try to stop them. Even if it later turns out that they have a good reason for wanting to end their lives, there are better ways of doing that than suicide. Well, not in all countries I guess. But even in such a country that will only be a very tiny minority of people who commit suicide, so it's best to err on the side of caution when you don't know what is going on. They can always try again later if need be.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

Hedonic Treader
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:30 pm UTC

Even if it later turns out that they have a good reason for wanting to end their lives, there are better ways of doing that than suicide.

This is nice-sounding, but objectively wrong. Consider this hypothetical:

Let's assume you could aquire 10^5 additional average (not superhappy, just average) human life-years for yourself, but as a cost, you have to agree to be personally tortured severely (all with probability 1).

Would you take the offer?

This is relevant for anyone who claims suicide is irrational, while the decision of staying alive is not. I'd argue that, for any one person on the planet, the probability increase per year of continued survival for severe torture-like suffering, is higher than 10^-5.

So if you wouldn't accept the above offer, you shouldn't accept the conclusion that suicide is irrational, either.

(If you disagree with the probabilities, just adjust them in your mind. I assumed the statistical murder rate as a very crude proxy, which is actually higher than 10^-5 per person per year in the US and Europe.)

Are you still convinced suicide is always irrational? What would you say to a person who insists on rejecting the above offer and wants to aquire a good suicide method based on this argument? "You are objectively wrong about your preference not to be tortured"?

User avatar
WarDaft
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby WarDaft » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:30 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:You keep making this thread about suicide. It's not about suicide.


... what?

Maduyn wrote:I believe that suicide is a human right.
All Shadow priest spells that deal Fire damage now appear green.
Big freaky cereal boxes of death.

User avatar
lucrezaborgia
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:20 am UTC
Location: Green Bay, WI
Contact:

Re: Right to die.

Postby lucrezaborgia » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:45 pm UTC

Is it better to allow oneself to die by refusing medical treatment or refusing to eat? How is that not suicide?

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Right to die.

Postby Diadem » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:You keep making this thread about suicide. It's not about suicide.

... what?

People who post one word responses to page-long posts are not worth a further investment of my time.

/conversation
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
lucrezaborgia
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:20 am UTC
Location: Green Bay, WI
Contact:

Re: Right to die.

Postby lucrezaborgia » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:59 pm UTC

Deciding to end your life is suicide, no? Or are you making a distinction that suicide is something only people who are not of sound mind do?

User avatar
firechicago
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:27 pm UTC
Location: One time, I put a snowglobe in the microwave and pushed "Hot Dog"

Re: Right to die.

Postby firechicago » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:14 am UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:Deciding to end your life is suicide, no? Or are you making a distinction that suicide is something only people who are not of sound mind do?


Generally speaking, advocates of right to die legislation like that in place in Oregon make a categorical distinction between otherwise healthy people who take their own lives and people who have received terminal diagnoses who seek medical help to choose the manner and time of their death. The former they term suicide, the latter they do not.

User avatar
WarDaft
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby WarDaft » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:59 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
WarDaft wrote:
Diadem wrote:You keep making this thread about suicide. It's not about suicide.

... what?

People who post one word responses to page-long posts are not worth a further investment of my time.

/conversation
It is utterly pointless to make a page long response when we can't even agree to basic definitions. It's part of the fundamental nature of argument that you have to agree on definitions or all you are really doing is spending a lot of time just disagreeing over which definition you are using. But if no one admits that that is really what you are arguing about, then you will continue doing that and making no progress at all. So no, I cannot form a reasonable response to anything else you say if we don't even agree what the thread is even actually about. It would waste my time and yours.
All Shadow priest spells that deal Fire damage now appear green.
Big freaky cereal boxes of death.

User avatar
XJ_0
Posts: 274
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby XJ_0 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:20 pm UTC

I see discussion about those who are terminally ill and their right to choose not to suffer. Having recently watched a documentary on prisons, I am curious to people's opinions on whether inmates (on death-row, or life-ers) could choose to have their life ended instead of waiting to die in prison? (The documentary made me feel horrible, with one person saying, "I'm already dead," having realized that he would die in prison.)

For the record, I do believe in a person's right to choose to die/not suffer.

Grog
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:25 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Grog » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:24 am UTC

I just want to share how here in Switzerland the whole subject is dealt with.

Assisted suicide is legal if the motives are altruistic, i.e. you cannot commit suicide for purely egoistic intentions. And there is actually the liberty to choose means to your end, and a physician must not be present. So nowadays there are 2 private companies that help you and assist you to suicide. They control your request and if proven founded (aka you are doing it for altruistic reasons) they help you die.
This has caused a new phenomena called "Sterbetourismus", Deathtourism, where people from other countries (mostly germans and british) come here to die in peace.

Some reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_Switzerland

User avatar
EMTP
Posts: 1556
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:39 pm UTC
Location: Elbow deep in (mostly) other people's blood.

Re: Right to die.

Postby EMTP » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:03 pm UTC

Greyarcher wrote:I think rights and freedoms comes up because it's considered a prior issue. Something like this: if the right to die is considered as basic respect for autonomy and control over our own lives, then paying due respect to that right and freedom would normally override questions of benefits and harm. If people haven't first resolved their on ideas on things like this, then they'll have confused disagreement and different starting perspectives on how benefits and harms weigh into the issue.


Rights and freedoms are not prior to benefits and harms. Outside an explicitly theological framework, rights are justified in terms of benefits vs harms. For example, the potential harm of a neo-Nazi march is argued to be outweighed by the benefit of maintaining a principled approach to the freedom of speech, however the potential harm of private arsenals of nuclear weapons are held to outweigh the benefit of an absolute and unqualified right to bear arms.

For instance, I'm strongly swayed by the idea that our lives are our most basic personal possessions, and that the right and freedom to live or die respects the most basic choice we can make. My thoughts on benefit and harm are naturally framed in light of that.


Emphasis mine. That's an interesting analogy, because what we can do with our possessions is rather strictly circumscribed by legal restrictions designed to advance the public good. You are obliged to turn over a portion of your personal possessions every year to the tax man, for the good of maintaining the state. You cannot set fire to your house. You must purchase and maintain working smoke detectors. You cannot even abandon your house without potentially losing your title to it. You may not run a business from a property zoned residential or live in a commercial property. And so on.

What we can do with our possessions is regulated according to the body politic's concept of the public and even your personal good. If your life is one of your possessions, should not you expect what you do with it to be similarly regulated?
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
-- Alan Watts, "The Way of Zen"

Hedonic Treader
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:57 pm UTC

Grog wrote:i.e. you cannot commit suicide for purely egoistic intentions.

Such as? Not wanting to personally suffer?

You know, we could at least outlaw procreation. Actually punish parents for forcing more children onto this rock. It is non-consensual after all, and they cannot opt out for "egoistic intentions".

The part that makes me really angry is this pretentious bullshit that the resulting system is supposed to be positive in any way. Venus is in a better state as current earth precisely because there's no life on it.

Greyarcher
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Greyarcher » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:09 am UTC

firechicago wrote:
lucrezaborgia wrote:Deciding to end your life is suicide, no? Or are you making a distinction that suicide is something only people who are not of sound mind do?
Generally speaking, advocates of right to die legislation like that in place in Oregon make a categorical distinction between otherwise healthy people who take their own lives and people who have received terminal diagnoses who seek medical help to choose the manner and time of their death. The former they term suicide, the latter they do not.
I wasn't aware of that. How peculiar. Either way one is killing oneself, and that is essentially the meaning of "suicide". If anything, the latter would simply be assisted suicide.

-----------------------
EMTP wrote:
Greyarcher wrote:I think rights and freedoms comes up because it's considered a prior issue. Something like this: if the right to die is considered as basic respect for autonomy and control over our own lives, then paying due respect to that right and freedom would normally override questions of benefits and harm. If people haven't first resolved their on ideas on things like this, then they'll have confused disagreement and different starting perspectives on how benefits and harms weigh into the issue.
Rights and freedoms are not prior to benefits and harms. Outside an explicitly theological framework, rights are justified in terms of benefits vs harms. For example, the potential harm of a neo-Nazi march is argued to be outweighed by the benefit of maintaining a principled approach to the freedom of speech, however the potential harm of private arsenals of nuclear weapons are held to outweigh the benefit of an absolute and unqualified right to bear arms.
Emphasis mine. What you speak of amounts to a utilitarian calculus, but rights and freedoms were probably not derived in this manner (though I don't know nearly enough world history to declare that none of them were ever initially conceived in this manner). Rather, in large part I think they were an expression of what people valued, considered important, and worth granting protections.

There are various ways to frame the examples you gave--which is a whole different discussion (e.g. whether something is a constraint of a right, or a logical caveat that is merely being made explicit, or the compromise between two opposing rights (implicit or explicit), etc.)--but, regardless, they do not pertain to the establishment of a newly proposed right.

EMTP wrote:
For instance, I'm strongly swayed by the idea that our lives are our most basic personal possessions, and that the right and freedom to live or die respects the most basic choice we can make. My thoughts on benefit and harm are naturally framed in light of that.
Emphasis mine. That's an interesting analogy, because what we can do with our possessions is rather strictly circumscribed by legal restrictions designed to advance the public good. You are obliged to turn over a portion of your personal possessions every year to the tax man, for the good of maintaining the state. You cannot set fire to your house. You must purchase and maintain working smoke detectors. You cannot even abandon your house without potentially losing your title to it. You may not run a business from a property zoned residential or live in a commercial property. And so on.

What we can do with our possessions is regulated according to the body politic's concept of the public and even your personal good. If your life is one of your possessions, should not you expect what you do with it to be similarly regulated?
Your examples, notably, do not actually deal with control over the person's life itself. The only example I can think of where society demanded such extreme control over your life? The draft.

The state demanding that you die for it is quite the same as demanding that you live for it. Two sides of the same coin. It is a demand properly only made in the most extreme situations, because it is an interference with the most basic and personal of possessions. To reserve the right to make this demand in no special circumstances--the demand that you live or die because the state considers it good--is something I think most of us would not accept or consider reasonable.
In serious discussion, I usually strive to post with clarity, thoroughness, and precision so that others will not misunderstand; I strive for dispassion and an open mind, the better to avoid error.

Grog
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:25 am UTC

Re: Right to die.

Postby Grog » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:49 am UTC

Hedonic Treader wrote:
Grog wrote:i.e. you cannot commit suicide for purely egoistic intentions.

Such as? Not wanting to personally suffer?

You know, we could at least outlaw procreation. Actually punish parents for forcing more children onto this rock. It is non-consensual after all, and they cannot opt out for "egoistic intentions".

The part that makes me really angry is this pretentious bullshit that the resulting system is supposed to be positive in any way. Venus is in a better state as current earth precisely because there's no life on it.


The legislation only says that you can go and be helped with the whole suicide thing to a private company/hospital only if it is for altruistic reason, such as : not be a burden for relatives, that must see you suffer etc.

If you are depressed and full of debt and you just want to end your life, well in this case the state doesn't legalize anyone in helping you (because they are purely egoistical reasons), but since when does that stop someone to commit suicide?

It's more of a moral distinction: if you feel that suicide is the best solution for you AND your relatives, then the legislation allows you to seek help in committing suicide. If not, you are not receiving any help to die. The state in this case doesn't endorse this kind of suicide, but of course it has absolutely no way to stop it.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests