Right to die.

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Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:51 am UTC

I believe that suicide is a human right.

I believe this because if we do not have the right to kill ourselves we do not have the right to do anything that could possible shorten our lives.
Now if you wish to draw a line about where it is acceptable to be self-destructive (I.E. over-eating, smoking, dare deviling) I am interested in your thoughts as to why the line should be where you have placed it.

I preemptively apologize for any negative emotions you may feel as a result of my post.
I would like to state that my intent in making this topic is one of constructive discussion and awareness on the issue of rights.
I also would like to add that I strongly discourage suicide.
I was once asked why i am a pacifist.
I simply said "Because I have finally understood what it is to die"
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Re: Right to die.

Postby +ranslucent » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:07 am UTC

I don't think you'll get too much argument about this subject; I agree and I have a feeling many others on this board will too. Just a hunch though. I'll ask you a question though; do you think that if a person suicides, they have a right to intentionally use that to emotionally harm someone else? I know that's not a great explanation, so I'll give an example. If I wrote in my suicide note, "My mother is a bitch" with the intent to make her upset (well, more than she otherwise would be), do I have a right to do that? Do I have the right to write (heh) "I killed myself because _____ doesn't love me"?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Diadem » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:50 am UTC

I'm certainly not going to argue that premisse of this thread. For me, having a right to something aplies having the right to not do it. Otherwise it's not a true right, but an obligation.

+ranslucent wrote:I'll ask you a question though; do you think that if a person suicides, they have a right to intentionally use that to emotionally harm someone else? I know that's not a great explanation, so I'll give an example. If I wrote in my suicide note, "My mother is a bitch" with the intent to make her upset (well, more than she otherwise would be), do I have a right to do that? Do I have the right to write (heh) "I killed myself because _____ doesn't love me"?

In general you have the right to be a dick. Perhaps not a moral right, that's open for debate, but certainly a legal right. So yes, you could do that.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby DSenette » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:11 pm UTC

I'm certainly not going to argue that premisse of this thread. For me, having a right to something aplies having the right to not do it. Otherwise it's not a true right, but an obligation.
+1

that argument should also extend to the whole concept of "right to life". as most laws stand now, we've got the obligation to live, not the right to live as in most jurisdictions it's illegal to end your own life
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:57 pm UTC

I'm going to go ahead and be the foil for this thread.

There need to be some real restrictions to deal with the massive problems with actually implementing a "right to death" policy.

First of all, the lack of this theoretical right is only really a problem for those incapacitated to the point of being unable to kills themselves. It's hard to jail a corpse, so successful suicides are not really punished. Furthermore, attempted suicides tend to be treated clinically rather than criminally. Therefore, there are no practical restrictions today on suicide; only on assisted suicide in cases of incapacity.

So this debate, if aimed to humanitarian ends, should be aimed at assisted euthenasia for those in extreme and incurable pain or indignity.

As a practical matter of policy, such a change to the laws would have its practical effect largely in the supply of services and advertising, that is, publically advertised services for assisted-suicide with no questions asked. Like abortion clinics that target people, rather than collections of unsentient cells.

The danger is that such ads and services would inevitably target the depressed or mentally unstable whose problems are best addressed by reaching out to them as people and helping them to overcome their depression or other problems. No-questions assisted suicide would interfere with these attempts to get people to appreciate life again and would prey on the vulnerable and despondent, a clear affront to human dignity.

That's why I think that, beyond the possibility of medical euthenasia for proven intractable medical problems which make life unbearable (full paralysis with pain, massive pain with incurable disease etc.), this is a sleeping dog best left to lie.

The best possible practical effect that such a public policy could have would be nothing. The worst possible effect would be to allow publicity campaigns and services designed to get mentally or emotionally vulnerable people to pay to kill themselves, a truly disgusting prospect.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby guenther » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:The danger is that such ads and services would inevitably target the depressed or mentally unstable whose problems are best addressed by reaching out to them as people and helping them to overcome their depression or other problems. No-questions assisted suicide would interfere with these attempts to get people to appreciate life again and would prey on the vulnerable and despondent, a clear affront to human dignity.

I was going to chime in my opposition, but Le1bn1z said it better than I would have. Culturally I like the notion that suicide isn't an openly accepted escape avenue.

And in line with what Le1bn1z wrote, I'm more open-minded on this topic if the subject is limited to purely euthanasia cases.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:I'm going to go ahead and be the foil for this thread.

There need to be some real restrictions to deal with the massive problems with actually implementing a "right to death" policy.

First of all, the lack of this theoretical right is only really a problem for those incapacitated to the point of being unable to kills themselves. It's hard to jail a corpse, so successful suicides are not really punished. Furthermore, attempted suicides tend to be treated clinically rather than criminally. Therefore, there are no practical restrictions today on suicide; only on assisted suicide in cases of incapacity.

So this debate, if aimed to humanitarian ends, should be aimed at assisted euthenasia for those in extreme and incurable pain or indignity.

As a practical matter of policy, such a change to the laws would have its practical effect largely in the supply of services and advertising, that is, publically advertised services for assisted-suicide with no questions asked. Like abortion clinics that target people, rather than collections of unsentient cells.

The danger is that such ads and services would inevitably target the depressed or mentally unstable whose problems are best addressed by reaching out to them as people and helping them to overcome their depression or other problems. No-questions assisted suicide would interfere with these attempts to get people to appreciate life again and would prey on the vulnerable and despondent, a clear affront to human dignity.

That's why I think that, beyond the possibility of medical euthenasia for proven intractable medical problems which make life unbearable (full paralysis with pain, massive pain with incurable disease etc.), this is a sleeping dog best left to lie.

The best possible practical effect that such a public policy could have would be nothing. The worst possible effect would be to allow publicity campaigns and services designed to get mentally or emotionally vulnerable people to pay to kill themselves, a truly disgusting prospect.


I think that laws (in the unlikely case this law gets implemented) should allow for suicide clinics (hopefully government run) as you call them but they should only give euthanasia and not be allowed to advertise.

I guess my point here is that i don't think that a person should be able to physically restraint or stop a person from committing suicide. And currently nothing exists or is put into practice that stops a person from stopping a suicide.
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I simply said "Because I have finally understood what it is to die"
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Ouiser » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:21 pm UTC

Helping a terminal patient actively suicide shouldn't be allowed. Allowing them to refuse treatment that would extend that life should be. Maybe that's a silly distinction to make, but I think it's important.

A healthy person that suicides? Not much can be done about that anyway so it's a moot point. We'd have to outlaw guns, then knives, then cars, then tall places... you get the idea.


I want to add that I find it odd that we prevent criminals from offing themselves during an arrest so that we can fry them up later. I suppose if it was me, I'd try to save their life too, so I can understand it.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

Maduyn wrote:
I guess my point here is that i don't think that a person should be able to physically restraint or stop a person from committing suicide. And currently nothing exists or is put into practice that stops a person from stopping a suicide.


That's not quite the case. In fact, there are many laws and provisions which provide for physical restraint against suicide. In mental institutions and prisons, people may be put on "suicide watch" if there is a fear that they may try to commit suicide. Provisions for such a watch include physical restraints of several kinds.

Where possible, police are required to stop people from suicide by physical means if necessary (i.e. pulling them back from a bridge.) Paramedics and doctors are required to attempt to save people who attempted suicide if they arrive in time. Bystanders are protected from civil or criminal liability to a broad extent for attempts to prevent a clear and immediate suicide attempt.

Many of those saved, it seems to me, are successfully treated and go on to live their lives, a far more humane, dignified and respectful outcome than simply discarding their life as not our concern.

Since suicidal thoughts are so often secondary to either mental illness (depression, etc.) or to terrible, but fixable, personal circumstances, its stands to reason that we ought to work on those assumptions when considering physical or other intervention with a suicidal individual. This is, ultimately, a clinical-ethical issue rather than a legal-ethical one, and ought to be judged according to the health-oriented principle of care.

I do agree that there are all sorts of circumstances, mostly revolving around total incapacity or terminal conditions paired with terrible pain where suicide ought to be allowed as a right of human dignity.

However, that does not detract for our duty to protect deeply troubled fellow-citizens and human beings from succumbing to temporary conditions or mental illness.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Goplat » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:49 pm UTC

How about making life not so shitty that people want to commit suicide in the first place? (Suicidal depression couldn't have always been as common as it is now, or else humans would have evolved immunity to it.)
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Re: Right to die.

Postby PeterW » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:04 pm UTC

Right to die, even if you agree to it, has one problematic aspect if it's administered through the healthcare system. Keeping people alive costs money, and the same people who will lose money if you decide to stay alive will be the ones "counseling" you on end of life issues. (This applies whether the healthcare is government or privately funded.) So if euthanasia becomes a widely legitimized practice, expect a lot of subtle pressure to pull the plug. The profit motive here is just too large to ignore.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Ouiser » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:How about making life not so shitty that people want to commit suicide in the first place? (Suicidal depression couldn't have always been as common as it is now, or else humans would have evolved immunity to it.)


That's probably best left for another thread and I doubt very much anyone is opposed to making life sunshine and rainbows, but do you have any ideas on how to make it happen?

We continue to de-legitimize things/concepts that make life meaningful and then gape incredulously at the results. What did we really expect to happen.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:01 pm UTC

PeterW wrote:Right to die, even if you agree to it, has one problematic aspect if it's administered through the healthcare system. Keeping people alive costs money, and the same people who will lose money if you decide to stay alive will be the ones "counseling" you on end of life issues. (This applies whether the healthcare is government or privately funded.) So if euthanasia becomes a widely legitimized practice, expect a lot of subtle pressure to pull the plug. The profit motive here is just too large to ignore.


I believe this is an incredibly important consideration. People considering suicide tend not to be in the best frame of mind anyway, and it wouldn't take much to send them over that ledge.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:How about making life not so shitty that people want to commit suicide in the first place? (Suicidal depression couldn't have always been as common as it is now, or else humans would have evolved immunity to it.)


In God we trust. All others must bring data.

Sweet heaven, I miss my JSTOR subscription. I'll try and edit in the best-known statistics later, when I bum access to articles off a buddy.

For now, I'll just have to point to famous examples of litterary or philosophical sources which point to the fact that it was, actually, a distinctive problem throughout western history.

Litterary examples of suicide survive from Ancient Egypt. One of the "Didactic Tales" is a "Conversation between a man and his ba concerning suicide."

Suicide is a common theme in Greek mythology. Orpheus comes strongly to mind, as does the wife/mother of Oedipus.

Dante deals extensively with suicide in the Inferno, where there is a whole sub-circle of hell (a forrest) full of well-known suicides.

Hamlet. Need I say more?

Voltaire's "Candide" includes suicides, and very compelling explainations of why people go there.

One of Goete's first great litterary offerings, "The Sorrow of Young Werter" set off a proto-emo revolution of melancholic suicides (except the colours were blue and yellow, rather than black)

Suicide is a fairly common conundrum, and I assure you, life was not better in ages past for the majority. Again, you can reference Candide, or just pick up a social history book. Life really, really, really stank, and there were all sorts of reasons to off oneself.

Simply making life "better" in some material sense is not likely to help. Medical issues like depression and issues of melancholy and angst which stem from the human condition are not likely to disappear by twerking social conditions. Though social and cultural considerations can have a huge impact in whether someone develops suicidal thoughts and on general suicide rates, I doubt there's a panacea for angst. Clinical and counselling approaches will be necessary for the long-term forseeable future.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

I would like to clarify:

I believe that the police or anyone else should interfere in a suicide ONLY if by the way they commit suicide they endanger others.
Second I think that treatment is a good thing.
My main point i guess is at what point do we say this person has terminal depression and let them commit suicide to end their mental suffering?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby HighwoodFool » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:32 pm UTC

It seems that one should have self-sovereignty concening a decision as personal as suicide, as it is a matter of one's own life and body.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby PeterCai » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:52 am UTC

But wait a minute, why am I my own? I was raised by my parents, state, and community, who spent resources, have I no responsibilities to them? I bore my children, who depends on me for a flourishing future, have I no responsibilities to them?

One must agree that the passing of a life can harm others. The intentional harming of others is assualt. If that is true, then why is suicide not assualt, or, at the very least, negligence?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Chen » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:22 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:But wait a minute, why am I my own? I was raised by my parents, state, and community, who spent resources, have I no responsibilities to them? I bore my children, who depends on me for a flourishing future, have I no responsibilities to them?

One must agree that the passing of a life can harm others. The intentional harming of others is assualt. If that is true, then why is suicide not assualt, or, at the very least, negligence?


Same reason smoking or drinking to excess isn't assault or negligence (well in the legal sense).

The issue with suicide is that it often comes about when someone is not in a healthy mental state. There are plenty of treatments for depression and people brought back from the brink of suicide CAN be helped. This is the benefit I see for having people prevent suicide. If after they are treated or find that the treatment is unacceptable people can just attempt to kill themselves again. It seems like its worth the risk of TRYING to help people rather than just letting them off themselves, especially if they may be sick and its the result of that sickness that is making them do it.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Turtlewing » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:But wait a minute, why am I my own? I was raised by my parents, state, and community, who spent resources, have I no responsibilities to them? I bore my children, who depends on me for a flourishing future, have I no responsibilities to them?

One must agree that the passing of a life can harm others. The intentional harming of others is assualt. If that is true, then why is suicide not assualt, or, at the very least, negligence?


I think this is the best argument against legalization of suicide. Essentially suicide is a subset of murder (you murder yourself) and those who survive you would be just as wronged as they would have been were you murdered by someone else (possibly more so as they're also denied the posability of seeking justice on the guilty party). Therefore by extension assisting a suicide is equivelent to being an accomplice to murder, and attempted suicide is equivelent to attempted murder. However there is likely a distinction between withholding life extending treatment and assisting suicide (similar to how failing to prevent a murder through inaction is not the same as assisting in the completion of one).
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

Maduyn wrote:I would like to clarify:

I believe that the police or anyone else should interfere in a suicide ONLY if by the way they commit suicide they endanger others.
Second I think that treatment is a good thing.
My main point i guess is at what point do we say this person has terminal depression and let them commit suicide to end their mental suffering?


This is terrible.

Depression is, by definition, a malady of the mind, to the detriment of reasonable judgment, balanced consideration of one's emotional needs and of will and motivation, generally. Suicidal thoughts stemming from depression are and ought to be understood as secondary symptoms to a serious clinical condition, not as some dignified and glorious expression of freedom.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as "terminal" depression, in the sense of untreatable depression. Depression becomes "terminal" precisely when intervention is insufficient.

The proper way to end mental suffering is through treatment or counseling, not standing by, munching on some popcorn and watching another human being off him/herself.

The general indifference towards other human beings inherent in such a policy is, frankly, appalling. If you want to talk about euthanasia in cases of real terminal pain and/or total incapacity and the depression resulting from that, then you'll find a lot of support. And I'll agree, there's sweet little we can do to punish someone for walking off a cliff.

But forcing upon people a state-mandated law of indifference to people killing themselves because of entirely remediable conditions, that I find unconscionable.

Talk about big-government gone horribly, horribly wrong. Yeesh.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Chen » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

Turtlewing wrote:I think this is the best argument against legalization of suicide. Essentially suicide is a subset of murder (you murder yourself) and those who survive you would be just as wronged as they would have been were you murdered by someone else (possibly more so as they're also denied the posability of seeking justice on the guilty party). Therefore by extension assisting a suicide is equivelent to being an accomplice to murder, and attempted suicide is equivelent to attempted murder. However there is likely a distinction between withholding life extending treatment and assisting suicide (similar to how failing to prevent a murder through inaction is not the same as assisting in the completion of one).


A preposterous and unjustified statement. The main difference between murder and suicide is that in murder you are infringing on SOMEONE ELSE'S rights. It'd be like saying travelling to another country is a subset of kidnapping (you're kidnapping yourself). Or that taking something from your fridge is a subset of stealing (you're stealing from yourself).

You have no control over the feelings of others. If you use the feelings of others as justification to disallow suicide, I'd say you'd need to disallow breaking up with a significant other as well. Or cheating on a partner. Or hell calling your little brother names.

Finally I have to wonder who actually considers the legality of suicide before trying to (or committing) it. If you're willing to end your life I can't imagine worrying that what you are doing carries legal consequences (only if you fail). So what would be the purpose of said laws? To further punish people who fail at committing suicide? We already try and help these people.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby PeterCai » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:35 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
PeterCai wrote:But wait a minute, why am I my own? I was raised by my parents, state, and community, who spent resources, have I no responsibilities to them? I bore my children, who depends on me for a flourishing future, have I no responsibilities to them?

One must agree that the passing of a life can harm others. The intentional harming of others is assualt. If that is true, then why is suicide not assualt, or, at the very least, negligence?


Same reason smoking or drinking to excess isn't assault or negligence (well in the legal sense).

The issue with suicide is that it often comes about when someone is not in a healthy mental state. There are plenty of treatments for depression and people brought back from the brink of suicide CAN be helped. This is the benefit I see for having people prevent suicide. If after they are treated or find that the treatment is unacceptable people can just attempt to kill themselves again. It seems like its worth the risk of TRYING to help people rather than just letting them off themselves, especially if they may be sick and its the result of that sickness that is making them do it.


Smoking in public areas is recognized as immoral by law, and individuals are punished for doing so. Suicide inflicts a much more readily visible and traumatic suffering to others, why shouldn't it be treated harsher?

As for excessive drinking, I agree that there are indeed a lot of similarities. But in the case of drinking, the law choose to punish the consequence, rather than the source. If you got drunk and assualted someone, you are punished by the assualt; if you got drunk and proceed to ignore your duties to your children, you are punished for the negligence. The same can not be done with suicide, where only that very action can be deemed immoral.

Chen wrote:You have no control over the feelings of others. If you use the feelings of others as justification to disallow suicide, I'd say you'd need to disallow breaking up with a significant other as well. Or cheating on a partner. Or hell calling your little brother names.

Finally I have to wonder who actually considers the legality of suicide before trying to (or committing) it. If you're willing to end your life I can't imagine worrying that what you are doing carries legal consequences (only if you fail). So what would be the purpose of said laws? To further punish people who fail at committing suicide? We already try and help these people.


It's not the feelings of others that I worry about, but rather, the negative influences it inflicts on one's family, community, and state.
http://family.jrank.org/pages/1661/Suicide-Disturbing-Effects-Families.html
http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/page2.htm

These are not rigorous scientific studies, but they confirms what we know by common knowledge: that suicides can lead to depression in family units, which, may ultimately lead to more suicide.

I am not trying to argue for punishment here, but at least the law should consider suicide as an immoral action, and create appropriate mechanisms to stop them.

Suicide shouldn't be considered appropriate and understandable by the society. It shouldn't be cherished as a god given right. Social acceptance of an action leads to the increase of inclination to commit such action. Suicide rate has increased by 60% in the past 50 years (according to wiki), and we see general opinion shifted toward acceptance during the same time period. There is clearly a correlation, even if we can't prove causation.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Turtlewing » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:19 pm UTC

Chen wrote:A preposterous and unjustified statement. The main difference between murder and suicide is that in murder you are infringing on SOMEONE ELSE'S rights. It'd be like saying travelling to another country is a subset of kidnapping (you're kidnapping yourself). Or that taking something from your fridge is a subset of stealing (you're stealing from yourself).


You fail to realize that murder is a crime committed not only against the murdered but also those who rely on the murdered. When a person commits suiscide they infringe on the rights of those to whom they have outstanding obligations (family, friends, creditors, etc.). How is it less damaging for a child to grow up without a mother/father because their parent committed suicide, than if someone had shot their parent?

You have no control over the feelings of others. If you use the feelings of others as justification to disallow suicide, I'd say you'd need to disallow breaking up with a significant other as well. Or cheating on a partner. Or hell calling your little brother names.


The problem isn't that you make people feel bad it's that by virtue of being part of society others have invested in you and therefore have a right to protect their interest in your continued existance. For example: if the only member of a household with an income commits suicide, the other members of the household have more than feelings hurt.

Also you may wish to enter into your concideration that alamony and child support exist so there is presedent for the premis that you don't have the legal right to ditch your commitments to a spouse and/or child.

Finally I have to wonder who actually considers the legality of suicide before trying to (or committing) it. If you're willing to end your life I can't imagine worrying that what you are doing carries legal consequences (only if you fail). So what would be the purpose of said laws? To further punish people who fail at committing suicide? We already try and help these people.


That's really beyond the scope of my interest in the matter (i'm looking at it from a fairly phylisophical point of view not so much a practical one), but presumably the purpose would be to deal with those who assist or attempt suicide, not so much those who succeed at it. And truthfully illegalising attempted suicide could be a simplified way of forcing treatment (as it's hard for the government to require it unless you've been convicted of something).
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Cleverbeans » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:One must agree that the passing of a life can harm others. The intentional harming of others is assualt. If that is true, then why is suicide not assualt, or, at the very least, negligence?


This is too far reaching, it's like saying that wearing a seatbelt should be illegal because it can cause injury. There are tons of examples where the passing of a life helps others too, like the ethical, emotional and financial costs of watching someone in a debilitated condition wither and die. The Terri Schiavo case is a perfect example of significant harm being done by keeping someone alive. Also, anyone who can draw a bell curve can use this sort of economic reasoning to justify killing the lowest producing individuals since by definition they'll be a drain on society. Someone with down syndrome is never going to produce in equal proportion to their consumption.

I'd also argue that pay-to-die is a great idea and should be actively encouraged, with some regulation to ensure they're not being artificially incentivized. Suicide has a long and noble tradition from Socrates to Hemingway to Seppuku and despite the widespread acceptance of Puritan ideal in North America the moral position of suicide being bad is hardly "obvious". So while I may appreciate that you think someone should suffer a lifetime of pain and neglect so that your economic investment into their well being entitles you to their labor so you can recoup your investment, men were not meant to be slaves and should be allowed to make their own decisions, or have their next of kin or acting physician make those choices for them if they're incapable of doing so.

On that note I think the Netherlands has the best model. Doctors and euthanize up to the age of 12 without consent on grounds of pain and suffering, and assisted suicide is regulated to physicians. Multiple physicians must be involved if their are any concerns about the patients competency to volunteer. This process ensures the decision isn't entirely impulsive since it requires conscious participation, appointments and reasonable diligence by a professional, as well as ensuring a human death in a private setting. Trying to deny the reality of rational suicide through legislation leads to the same negative consequences as restricting abortions. People are going to do it, and forcing them to either suffer for their cultural distinctiveness, is a tragedy in a free society.

On that note, I'm with Goplat, if we really want to stop healthy people from committing suicide we'd have to address the problem by creating a society where individuals actively want to participate. Checking this study it looks like best indication of suicidal tendency if being crazy or physically ill (makes sense), poverty, lower social class, unemployment, parental suicide, being single, substance abuse (also correlated with social class and unemployment) and being a male. Notice that these are exactly the least economically and socially valuable individuals in a society. Personally, I can't blame healthy folks for wanting to commit suicide in a the drugs aren't making them happy (they could just be illegal or cost prohibitive, that's another discussion however), they can't get a date, no one will hire them and their family led by example.

Le1bn1z wrote:Depression is, by definition, a malady of the mind, to the detriment of reasonable judgment, balanced consideration of one's emotional needs and of will and motivation, generally.


This is a common myth, however the definition of clinical depression like the definition of so many mental disorders (as opposed to mental illness) is merely a collection of symptoms with no known cause. The term "disorder" is a misnomer and in this context it's more accurate to say that depression is "economically sub-optimal". The treatment of depression, ADD, bipolar disorder and other similar "disorders" exist only to help these individual become economically and socially valuable, there is nothing wrong with them at all. The New England Journal of Medicine recently suggested it was time to consider allowing amphetamines to be widely prescribed instead of restricting their use for exactly this reason. Krishnamurthi said "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." and I agree with him. The only reason these individuals are labeled as "sick" is because they aren't supporting economic growth as much as the next guy. It's the same underlying assumption that it's somehow irrational to want to commit suicide when you're healthy so they must somehow be suffering a mental disorder. The truth is for many folks it's irrational to want to keep striving against a world that doesn't want them, and suicide is the most rational choice. I'm not saying deny them the chance to beat it, but we shouldn't be so nieve as to assume their desire to die is somehow caused by some boogyman "disorder" inside the closets of their mind.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby jakovasaur » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:Depression is, by definition, a malady of the mind, to the detriment of reasonable judgment, balanced consideration of one's emotional needs and of will and motivation, generally.


This is a common myth, however the definition of clinical depression like the definition of so many mental disorders (as opposed to mental illness) is merely a collection of symptoms with no known cause. The term "disorder" is a misnomer and in this context it's more accurate to say that depression is "economically sub-optimal". The treatment of depression, ADD, bipolar disorder and other similar "disorders" exist only to help these individual become economically and socially valuable, there is nothing wrong with them at all. The New England Journal of Medicine recently suggested it was time to consider allowing amphetamines to be widely prescribed instead of restricting their use for exactly this reason. Krishnamurthi said "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." and I agree with him. The only reason these individuals are labeled as "sick" is because they aren't supporting economic growth as much as the next guy. It's the same underlying assumption that it's somehow irrational to want to commit suicide when you're healthy so they must somehow be suffering a mental disorder. The truth is for many folks it's irrational to want to keep striving against a world that doesn't want them, and suicide is the most rational choice. I'm not saying deny them the chance to beat it, but we shouldn't be so nieve as to assume their desire to die is somehow caused by some boogyman "disorder" inside the closets of their mind.

I couldn't agree more with this. Once it became "decided" that being depressed was a sickness of the mind, it became impossible for anyone to rationally decide that their life is not worth living. What if it really isn't? Why is it impossible for someone to take a reasoned look at their life, and decide that their unhappiness is not worth enduring?

It's a catch-22: You are only allowed to kill yourself if you are sane. If you want to kill yourself, you are not sane.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby PeterCai » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

Perhaps I should state more clearly: I am not arguing for the banning of suicide, but rather a change of attitude toward it, legally and commonly.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:18 pm UTC

jakovasaur wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:Depression is, by definition, a malady of the mind, to the detriment of reasonable judgment, balanced consideration of one's emotional needs and of will and motivation, generally.


This is a common myth, however the definition of clinical depression like the definition of so many mental disorders (as opposed to mental illness) is merely a collection of symptoms with no known cause. The term "disorder" is a misnomer and in this context it's more accurate to say that depression is "economically sub-optimal". The treatment of depression, ADD, bipolar disorder and other similar "disorders" exist only to help these individual become economically and socially valuable, there is nothing wrong with them at all. The New England Journal of Medicine recently suggested it was time to consider allowing amphetamines to be widely prescribed instead of restricting their use for exactly this reason. Krishnamurthi said "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." and I agree with him. The only reason these individuals are labeled as "sick" is because they aren't supporting economic growth as much as the next guy. It's the same underlying assumption that it's somehow irrational to want to commit suicide when you're healthy so they must somehow be suffering a mental disorder. The truth is for many folks it's irrational to want to keep striving against a world that doesn't want them, and suicide is the most rational choice. I'm not saying deny them the chance to beat it, but we shouldn't be so nieve as to assume their desire to die is somehow caused by some boogyman "disorder" inside the closets of their mind.

I couldn't agree more with this. Once it became "decided" that being depressed was a sickness of the mind, it became impossible for anyone to rationally decide that their life is not worth living. What if it really isn't? Why is it impossible for someone to take a reasoned look at their life, and decide that their unhappiness is not worth enduring?

It's a catch-22: You are only allowed to kill yourself if you are sane. If you want to kill yourself, you are not sane.


True, but not quite the whole picture.

Nobody has touched on the fact that so many cases of depression are treatable. People beat depression and emerged happy and greatful that they did not kill themselves. As someone who faced a great deal of pressure not to kill myself when I was going through this, I can attest to this from personal experience. I'm very greatful to the prof, shrink, family and friends who didn't get all deferential to my problems, and just let me off myself. And we all know others in similar situations.

Now, there are clear cases where there's no hope of life yielding any happiness or joy. In such cases, Euthanasia makes lots of sense. I support Euthenasia for those the chronic and untreatable pain facing further degradation of their condition, for example. It makes no sense to criminalise suicide watches for overstressed honours students who have snapped and gone temporarily insane but there is clear prospects for improvement.

But lets not forget what the OP is proposing: That we find a way to prevent people to stop others from committing suicide without reference to the reasons behind the suicide.

People are already free to commit suicide, should they desire. It's not like we can throw them in prison. And we all agree to Euthenasia, it seems, minus those with training in theological seismology.

So what's really on the table? Criminalisation of suicide or assisted suicide? No.

It's:

1.) Criminalisation of Good Samaratins;
2.) Legalisation of posters, other advertising media and solicitation for suicide and the encouragement of suicide amongst vulnerable people;
3.) Restrictions on those able to provide counseling or care.

Suicide is best not approached from a Metaphysical or Theological standpoint, whether that theology be theological seismologist-like declarations that suicide is sin (absurd) or likewise theological-style assertions that suicide is "right" because of "sanctity of the will." Both are unpragmatic views that care more about metaphysics than they do about people.

Suicide should be approached from the standard of care. In the majority of cases, where there is a real and major chance of the person living a happy life, they should recieve care to encourage them to live and overcome whatever problems may be driving them down that dark road. In cases where pain and suffering are the only real possibilities (terminal cancer patients, for example) then embracing death with dignity and on one's own terms should be facilitated.

But always the principle should be to maximize happiness (which you only get alive) and minimise pain in the individual in question. None of that utilitarian "what about the kids" nonsense. That stuff works as much for encouraging suicide as discouraging, sometimes.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:33 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:It's:

1.) Criminalisation of Good Samaratins;
2.) Legalisation of posters, other advertising media and solicitation for suicide and the encouragement of suicide amongst vulnerable people;
3.) Restrictions on those able to provide counseling or care.


Allow me to clarify my views (they may be changing as this debate goes on so don't begrudge me please)

on 1:
i think a fine of 50 bucks and maybe being held over night for physically stopping someone from committing suicide. i fell it is okay for them to "talk them down" as it were.
on 2: I support a government supported euthanasia service (in a hospital) that would not be allowed to advertise beyond informing people of the service.
on 3: my only restriction is physical restraint.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Vaniver » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Maduyn wrote:on 3: my only restriction is physical restraint.
Let's say I know someone who occasionally loses control of themself, and tries to harm themselves and other around them. The best way to respond in this situation is to restrain them and wait for the episode to pass.

Is this something I should do, or should this be illegal? If this is something I should do, how would I know? Unless I try to restrain them, I can't tell if they've snapped for good or if they'll snap out of it.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby makc » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

Maduyn wrote:I believe that suicide is a human right.
Even if it is not, noone is going to sue you after you successfully perform suicide.... I think.... I hope :shock:
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:24 am UTC

Maduyn wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:It's:

1.) Criminalisation of Good Samaratins;
2.) Legalisation of posters, other advertising media and solicitation for suicide and the encouragement of suicide amongst vulnerable people;
3.) Restrictions on those able to provide counseling or care.


Allow me to clarify my views (they may be changing as this debate goes on so don't begrudge me please)

on 1:
i think a fine of 50 bucks and maybe being held over night for physically stopping someone from committing suicide. i fell it is okay for them to "talk them down" as it were.
on 2: I support a government supported euthanasia service (in a hospital) that would not be allowed to advertise beyond informing people of the service.
on 3: my only restriction is physical restraint.


There already are restrictions upon physical restraint, except under a court-sanctioned psychiatric care order. You're already only able to physically restrain in cases of immediate threat.

You're still Criminalsing Good Samaratins. This makes even less sense than criminalising pot, abortions or booze. You're making people criminals, no matter what mask you put on it, for intervening as any non-psycho would do when faced with someone trying to kill him/herself. Most will still try, all you'll do is spread misery and force caring people to NOT report the attempted suicide to people who could either help the suicidal person overcome his/her issues or help him/her go with more dignity. Like with abortions, there'd be a much greater incentive to do "back ally" psychiatric care and even restraint.

As a mater of policy, prohibition on caring enough to stop loved ones from killing themselves is still one of the worst ideas I've ever heard of.

And I've been to a Green Party meeting on democratic reform.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Maduyn » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:06 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:
There already are restrictions upon physical restraint, except under a court-sanctioned psychiatric care order. You're already only able to physically restrain in cases of immediate threat.

You're still Criminalsing Good Samaratins. This makes even less sense than criminalising pot, abortions or booze. You're making people criminals, no matter what mask you put on it, for intervening as any non-psycho would do when faced with someone trying to kill him/herself. Most will still try, all you'll do is spread misery and force caring people to NOT report the attempted suicide to people who could either help the suicidal person overcome his/her issues or help him/her go with more dignity. Like with abortions, there'd be a much greater incentive to do "back ally" psychiatric care and even restraint.

As a mater of policy, prohibition on caring enough to stop loved ones from killing themselves is still one of the worst ideas I've ever heard of.

And I've been to a Green Party meeting on democratic reform.


or is that your point?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Chen » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:05 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:Smoking in public areas is recognized as immoral by law, and individuals are punished for doing so. Suicide inflicts a much more readily visible and traumatic suffering to others, why shouldn't it be treated harsher?

As for excessive drinking, I agree that there are indeed a lot of similarities. But in the case of drinking, the law choose to punish the consequence, rather than the source. If you got drunk and assualted someone, you are punished by the assualt; if you got drunk and proceed to ignore your duties to your children, you are punished for the negligence. The same can not be done with suicide, where only that very action can be deemed immoral.


I had meant smoking directly as a result of the consequences to yourself. The increased risk of cancer and such. All the burdens that come from that, that will be placed on your family. None of that is illegal. I also don't know why you're conflating morality with the law here. We make laws to protect our citizens' rights. We don't generally make laws based on subjective moral choices (clearly some laws are based on morality, but many are not).

Suicide shouldn't be considered appropriate and understandable by the society. It shouldn't be cherished as a god given right. Social acceptance of an action leads to the increase of inclination to commit such action. Suicide rate has increased by 60% in the past 50 years (according to wiki), and we see general opinion shifted toward acceptance during the same time period. There is clearly a correlation, even if we can't prove causation.


Freedom is the god given right. Suicide is just tagged along in it. I have the freedom to burn all my possessions and go live in a cave in the woods, regardless of the effect that has on my family/friends etc. Change the laws in how creditors can obtain money from the estates of dead people if your concern is suicide's damage on creditors and the like. Once money is out of the question, there are no laws to prevent me from being a deadbeat to my family and friends. Because I have the freedom to do these things.

Making attempted suicide (since you can't actually punish correct suicide) more onerous on the person committing the act, does nothing to help the situation. If someone is going to kill themselves, they're not going to be deterred by the fact there are legal ramifications if they fail. I'm not saying we should make suicide some sort of glorious thing. It isn't. But any type of harsher treatment of it is not helpful.

Assisted suicide is definitely a separate issue. I had already agreed that there are very tricky questions that come up with regards to coercion and the like when you are talking about assisted suicide. But again the primary issue here is that one person may be able to convince another to kill themselves for whatever reason. If there was some way to magically determine that the person in question really wanted to die, I'd have no problem with people helping them out. Unfortunately I don't see a situation like that occurring anytime soon (if at all).
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Re: Right to die.

Postby PossibleSloth » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:11 pm UTC

As far as punishing people for preventing suicide I'll side with Le1bn1z. My logic is that:

A: A major depressive episode can be enough to drive a person to attempt suicide.
B: These episodes are usually temporary.
C: Suicide is not reversible.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

Maduyn wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:
There already are restrictions upon physical restraint, except under a court-sanctioned psychiatric care order. You're already only able to physically restrain in cases of immediate threat.

You're still Criminalsing Good Samaratins. This makes even less sense than criminalising pot, abortions or booze. You're making people criminals, no matter what mask you put on it, for intervening as any non-psycho would do when faced with someone trying to kill him/herself. Most will still try, all you'll do is spread misery and force caring people to NOT report the attempted suicide to people who could either help the suicidal person overcome his/her issues or help him/her go with more dignity. Like with abortions, there'd be a much greater incentive to do "back ally" psychiatric care and even restraint.

As a mater of policy, prohibition on caring enough to stop loved ones from killing themselves is still one of the worst ideas I've ever heard of.

And I've been to a Green Party meeting on democratic reform.


or is that your point?


You're punishing people for doing something not reasonably preventable or deterrable. So, you will not accomplish your goal (of letting people have an easier time to commit suicide outside of euthanasia clinical situations), but you will prevent people from getting proper care and do serious and pernicious damage to individuals and families.

Like with prohibition.

But stupider.

Hence the reference to the Green Party meeting, where some people were in favour of giving votes on the basis of square kilometers of trees.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby iop » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:16 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Making attempted suicide (since you can't actually punish correct suicide) more onerous on the person committing the act, does nothing to help the situation. If someone is going to kill themselves, they're not going to be deterred by the fact there are legal ramifications if they fail. I'm not saying we should make suicide some sort of glorious thing. It isn't. But any type of harsher treatment of it is not helpful.

How can you legally restrain someone if they're doing something perfectly legal?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:TThe treatment of depression, ADD, bipolar disorder and other similar "disorders" exist only to help these individual become economically and socially valuable, there is nothing wrong with them at all.

This is factually incorrect.

Depression exists. Evidence suggests that it is a physical condition. There is something measurably wrong with depressed people. Good news: it's often treatable.

These people need our help. They don't need you telling them they're fine, and that they should kill whoever they feel like killing.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Cleverbeans » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Depression exists. Evidence suggests that it is a physical condition


Sorry I don't follow, the second sentence says "it has not been possible to devise a single cause of depression" and I don't really see how exactly you've concluded it's caused by a physical condition from the article. I see a clear categorical distinction from say, schizophrenia which has much clearer biological and developmental causes. Also, I don't think I've met anyone who's never experienced depression before, however I have met countless individuals who have never hallucinated so I'm still going to have to go with depression being pretty damn normal, since it happens to everyone.

If you'd like me to clearly state that getting high is an acceptable way to fell better then sure, it's an acceptable way to treat depression, and taking speed is a great way to be more productive at work/school, and steroids will help you win the World Series and a few beers can help you ask that pretty girl out, I have no moral objection to any of those activities or any other form of performance or pleasure enhancing drugs. At the same time I'm not going to conclude if someone wants to kill themselves because they're unhappy or in pain that they're taking an unreasonable course of action just because they can get high.

These people need our help. They don't need you telling them they're fine, and that they should kill whoever they feel like killing.


I'm confused, I'm not sure how my stance that those who want to kill themselves shouldn't be forced to stay alive, and that this should be a decision between them and their doctor somehow morphed into an endorsement of blind-sobriety and homicidal rampages. I can certainly appreciate this is a highly emotional issue, and it's easy to exaggerate when some groups polarize the psychiatric drug debate however my position is far less radical. I certainly don't think everyone who wants to kill themselves should, not do I think the decision should be made without mandatory professional consultation.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby smw543 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:11 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:Depression exists. Evidence suggests that it is a physical condition

Sorry I don't follow, the second sentence says "it has not been possible to devise a single cause of depression" and I don't really see how exactly you've concluded it's caused by a physical condition from the article. I see a clear categorical distinction from say, schizophrenia which has much clearer biological and developmental causes. Also, I don't think I've met anyone who's never experienced depression before, however I have met countless individuals who have never hallucinated so I'm still going to have to go with depression being pretty damn normal, since it happens to everyone.
Read that second sentence with an emphasis on the word "single" (also, read the actual article). It's saying that in some cases, depression is caused by X, or in other cases by Y, or sometimes by Z, and we don't know of any all-encompassing cause for X, Y, and Z.

"It has not been possible to devise a single cause of liver failure" is an equally accurate statement.

As for your claim that everyone experiences depression, this pretty clearly demonstrates how woefully uninformed you are about mental health. Depression, when used as a clinical term, doesn't just mean sad. I'm going to exercise restraint here and not flame you into oblivion, but seriously, this is common knowledge. It should be as apparent as the difference between hypothermia and feeling a bit chilly.

And you never addressed the fact that you lumped ADD and Bipolar disorder in with depression, instead falling back on what I assume you consider a more legitimate illness, schizophrenia (which, by the way, is still not fully understood, and is also influenced by multiple factors). But what about schizophrenia, then? Schizophrenics, who you acknowledge suffer from a physiological condition, have a much higher suicide rate. Since there judgment is being influenced by a physiological condition, wouldn't you agree that we should take some preventative action?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Felstaff » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:46 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:I'm still going to have to go with depression being pretty damn normal, since it happens to everyone.

You keep using that word. It does not mean what you think it means. Depression is not normal, and doesn't happen to everyone. It is an acute condition, suffered by a significant minority. You say everyone you know has suffered depression. I'm going to go out on a limb here and presume they said something along the lines of "[audible sigh], I'm so depressed". If this is indeed the case, then I hope you don't feel there's some kind of endemic food crisis each time you hear the phrase "God, I'm starving".

What I'm trying to say is there's a world of difference between "I'm depressed", and "I suffer from depression". It's depressing, but it's true. The former phrase is a ubiquitous clichéd intensifier for "I'm feeling sad", and the latter is a medical condition diagnosed by professionals. Presuming you're not a doctor (I think one is safe to do so), I believe you have your definitions mixed up, and should probably do some research (a few lines of Wikipedia) before you make the spurious claim of "everyone suffers from depression".

SBworthy input, in case I get angrily magistrat'd in purple: If depression (the mental condition) is a factor in somebody wishing to take their own life, then I believe there is a responsibility from a person of authority (i.e. doctor) to help prevent that person from doing so. From a societal aspect, perhaps the 99.9% of the rest of us should be more aware of the signs of suicidal tendency, and take the right course of action in preventing such thing from happening (moral obligation angle).
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