Do We Have A Duty To Die?

whatEveryone over the age of 35 relax – Google has been tackling the challenge of aging for years.  Of course, what this actually means is vague.  Do they plan on killing off everyone before they have a chance to die of old age? That certainly would take care of the problem.  Or perhaps they hope to locate that illusive fountain of youth.

Recent anti-aging research with gene therapy, body part replacement by regeneration and nanotechnology for repairing aging cells has breathed new life into the possibility of living forever.  Yet no one seems to consider the consequences of such folly.

Even if anti-aging research could give us radically longer lives someday, though, should we even be seeking them? Regardless of what science makes possible, or what individual people want, aging is a public issue with social consequences, and these must be thought through.

John Hardwig at the University of Tennessee strongly believes that we have  a duty to die.  “I certainly believe that there is a duty to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment and also a duty to complete advance directives refusing life-prolonging treatment. . .”  Hardwig takes it one step further by proclaiming that even in the absence of terminal illness, we may have  a responsibility to die even when we would prefer to live.

On the other side of the debate is Peter Lawler,  the Dana Professor of Government at Berry College, who believes that people have every right to live as long as they can.  “. . .Free persons always want more, for reasons both narcissistic and relational, and it’s somehow in the nature of free persons to be in rebellion against the cruel and random nature that is out to extinguish all personal beings.”

Bioethicist Founding Father Daniel Callahan   feels that “society is not obliged to help the old become indefinitely older.”  He has argued for decades that expensive medical care should be parceled out (rationed) for the elderly. Medicare, he claims, “should determine what benefits it will make available, based on costs and ‘other’ considerations, and then simply not pay for those that don’t pass their tests.”  He writes in his book Must We Ration Health Care for the Elderly that “rationing is an organized effort to equitably limit the availability of some desired or needed medical treatments in the name of preserving the economic sustainability of the institution as a whole or equitably distributing a scare resource.”  Callahan also pushes the idea that rationing isn’t just for the old but applicable to all age groups. 

Steve Rattner, advocated in a 2012 opinion piece in the NY Times that we should restrict medical spending on the elderly, especially on patients in their last year of life…”  Who determines it is the last year?  Anyway, Rattner said that while we may “shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, they are inescapable.”  Must be why Obama used him as an advisor while shoving ObamaCare down our throats.

In Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, also an health care advisor to Obama, proposed rationing based on a combination of factors that included age, expected ‘quality adjusted life years,’ and the patient’s ‘instrumental value’ to society.  Given that under ObamaCare the government would be making those ‘rationing decisions, value to society as determined by the government was a reality.

A 2009 TIME Magazine article peddled a cost saving death agenda that encouraged readers to literally “pull  the feeding tubes” from their dying elderly parents, causing them to dehydrate  and die, like they do under Britian’s socialized healthcare.  Newsweek also  pushed a death agenda that devalued the lives of the elderly as they encouraged people to have their own parents killed  in order to reduce medical costs. In fact, as TIME Magazine said, organizations that embrace these “outcome-based” death panel systems actually receive cash  bonuses when they save more money by pulling the plug on  granny!

Now that ole Bernie is proposing a much worse version of ObamaCare – Medicare for All – Americans must face the fact that under socialized medicine, those elitist in charge are not the ones being left to die – it is the peons who will be sacrificed for the “good” of society.

I don’t object to dying – Death is a natural progression of life.  What I object to is putting government in charge of when I die.

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