Sunday, December 02, 2012

State-sponsored Killing

I never understood the so-called logic behind the argument that we won't allow doctors to kill someone immediately with drugs, but we'll allow them to starve people to death over days.  To me it's just savage.  Britain's NHS isn't solely guilty of this--as I said, we do it here in the US as well--but there, it's actually the government running the hospitals so it's government that's killing people
My first reaction is to hope that this story is wildly wrong, filled with exaggerations and lies.

My second reaction (and this is why I got so agitated) is to imagine what it must be like for the parents. They get talked into letting their kids die, which must be agonizing, and then (assuming they stick around) they have to watch them slowly starve to death or die of thirst. Wouldn’t it be better to just give your kid a fatal injection? Setting aside the moral issue of deciding to let a kid die because he’s disabled or something like that, doesn’t simple decency mean that death should be painless rather than agonizing?

My final reaction is to wonder what Paul Krugman would say about this scandalous neglect and mistreatment. During the Obamacare debate, he told us we could ignore stories about what was happening across the ocean, writing that “In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.” So I guess starving children don’t qualify as a scare story.
Savage.  I wonder if our descendants will judge us as harshly for doing this as we judge people who owned slaves or burned "witches".

This is "socialism".

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Socialism? No.

Religion. Yes.

This is because religion refuses to stay out of secular discussions regarding end of life care and euthanasia.

On second thought. Yes. "Socialism." Religion is socialism.

Darren said...

So your point is that only religious people value life? That socialists want to kill anyone that can't "contribute" to their utopia?

'Cause that's what I'm getting out of your comment.

Anonymous said...

The story says:

"Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. The doctor described one case of a baby born with ‘a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies’, whose parents agreed to put it on the pathway.

The doctor wrote: ‘They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped. They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby."

...

"Parents have to agree to their child going on the death pathway, often being told by doctors it is in the child’s ‘best interests’ because their survival is ‘futile’."

If the parents and doctors have decide on *the pathway*. A humane method of euthanasia would be preferred to starvation. Wonder why other methods aren't an option. Actually. I don't wonder. Passivity is allowed by the church. Action is not.

The Church of England view is that “physician assisted suicide is incompatible with the Christian faith and should not be permitted by civil law.”

Anonymous said...

"That socialists want to kill anyone that can't "contribute" to their utopia?"

Selfish much? If someone *chooses* to die for quality of life issues, unbearable pain, and suffering in order to make *you* feel better we should deny their wishes. I got it.

It's your religion that is the *utopia*. Some of us live in this world.

Darren said...

Not at all what I said, but nice try. In fact, I don't even see how you can infer that from what I said, absent rabid kneejerk opposition to *any*thing I say or write.

Darren said...

Somehow I doubt that the Church of England has any say in much of anything in today's England.

Left Coast Ref said...

This is eugenics. Who gets to decide what is "unbearable", "worthy of death", "not a good enough quality of life"? THIS is the problem that *religion* has with Gov't run health care. If I decide you are not worthy of life, can I off you? If you decide that Mr. RotLC is in too much pain (or causing too much pain), can we remove him? Everyone deserves to live until the appointed time. Socialism is not the answer.

Darren said...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_PXBeKOqYMMQ/SDIwCHbuKdI/AAAAAAAAApk/_QzlT8tzIBY/s1600-h/P5181371.JPG

This picture is of President Reagan's grave.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


If anyone wishes to learn about this dilemma.

http://vimeo.com/21980031

Darren said...

Insulting me and *daring* me to post your comment is not quite the way to get your comment posted here. Just saying.

Disagreement is welcome. Being disagreeable is not. And don't try the sophomoric "free speech" argument. I'm not the govt and I'm not stopping your speech, I'm merely refusing to give you platform. Go elsewhere if you want to continue to play your reindeer games, as I choose not to play.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Ah, but being disagreeable is one of the perquisites of moral superiority. Ask any lefty.

As for socialized medicine, a nation that's in the process of disassembling the long-lived, ubiquitous institution of socialized education doesn't strike me as a firm foundation upon which to build an institution of socialized medicine.

Anonymous said...

"Ah, but being disagreeable is one of the perquisites of moral superiority. Ask any lefty."

It's ironic when the man begins his *morally superior argument* by ridiculing his foe about being disagreeable and claiming morally superior.

It's as if the man, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head.

Left Coast Ref said...

My daughter was born @ 27 weeks gestation. She weighed 2.0lbs and was 15 inches. According to many, including our doctors, she had a 50-50 chance at survival. She's going to be 8 in February. She's absolutely amazing. To think that some people think the cost of her hospital care was unreasonable (> $500,000 for her 76 days in the NICU), I scoff and say some day, she'll be your kids boss. My Faith kept us strong, and like Mr. RotLC showed with Reagan's grave, EVERY life is worth living. Don't try and say that "religion" won't have a discussion in it. "Religion" is the loudest voice saying "Give Every Life a Chance."

Anonymous said...

Left Coast Ref,

Good for your daughter and your family. I'm glad her situation turned out so well.

Darren was conflicted about why we as a society don't permit euthanasia but let people starve to death. Then he went on to say it was Socialism. I tried to explain otherwise. (BTW. Darren doesn't always post all my responses so you're only seeing part of the conversation. I've know him a long time. My response was directed more in his quick 'labeling' and putting into a nice neat box all the problems of the world. Sometimes I'm actually on his side.)

Another point I was making was one of medical costs and responsibilty. At some point US insurance companies stop paying. Is that socialism? Death panels? If we are to be in the same insurance pool in a free market system do those who won't find themselves using services pay for those who use *too much*. Conservatives don't like free riders. They like personal responsibility. If a person though lifestyle choices is obese should I be in the same pool? Are we responsible for our consequences? I was just wondering how far that argument went with some conservatives?

My experience tells me Darren was responding emotionally (as we all do) to his linked article. Rationally we have finite resources. Real world decisions and the life long consequences we live with are often difficult. I think it is cruel to score political points and wag a finger at a parent who made a choice different than you did in a perhaps more difficult situation.

I continue to maintain medical decisions and end of life care personal choices. Especially after watching the BBC video I mentioned. I commend you for your decision at 27 weeks. I wouldn't condemn a parent either way for the excruciating decision they face. Especially at 21-23 weeks.

Anonymous said...

"Don't try and say that "religion" won't have a discussion in it. "Religion" is the loudest voice saying "Give Every Life a Chance.""

I did say it. We will disagree on this issue. Who said I don't support giving life a chance? Or that I said every life is NOT worth living. However, these decisions are not difficult because of Socialism or eugenics. These are difficult decisions because we are mortal and death is ugly. Alway will be.

I just ask how are we to be financially responsible about defending life at all cost? Should we focus all resources at end of life services? That is one reason medical cost are skyrocketing. We can keep people on pumps for a long time. Is there any responsibility for choice? Do we *means test* Medicare? Should we focus any resources on prevention or perhaps treatments that have higher outcomes?

I am frustrated at so called *conservatives* perverting every word and inventing where facts fail them.

If you insist on injecting religion into what should be a secular discussion I will make you justify why I'm supposed to believe your version of the *benevolent life giver* that presented me with the excruciating dilemma in the first place.

For me religion is tyranny. This idea that my life doesn't belong to me is disgusting. It is what I hate most about theism, I think - the horror at 'rebellion against God?' The conviction that we don’t belong to ourselves. Get it away from me. Moral absolutes produce moral obscenities.

Which benevolent God shall I use as a moral compass? Whose interpretation am I beholden to?

Darren said...

Anonymous misrepresents my use of the term "socialism"--and just about anything else I say, if it serves his purposes.

Religion isn't tyranny unless you're compelled to submit--which you aren't. There is a religion, however, the name of which, when translated into English, means "submission". Hmmmm.

Left Coast Ref said...

"Moral absolutes produce moral obscenities." So are you trying to say there are no moral absolutes? If so, I would have to argue vehemently against that. Here is a moral absolute that I guarantee is indeed absolute: Rape is wrong.

If you can somehow warp your logic to make that acceptable, then good by you. I cannot. As a result, where do morals and ethics come from? God may not make sense to us 100% of the time, but we are not God. Realizing that I am not worthy of anything but have been blessed by God's mercy and grace makes a world of difference. Altruism, compassion and justice will always be accepted. Conservative Christians (like myself) have no problems with carrying the load when I see that it is not the result of people abusing the system/benevolence. When people in my community are hurting, I am willing to help them. There are many Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, etc. that are willing to help when the patient can't pay. Where our concern lies is when people make zero attempt at making a difference and expecting either the Government or their Pastor/Priest/Bishop/Imam to make it so.

I feel that gov't making health decisions is a bad idea. Abortion, Euthanasia, Death Penalty, eugenics - all go against the idea that life is valuable. We have gotten ourselves into a pickle with all the technological advances that keep people alive at the poles of life. My daughter would not have survived even 50 years ago, let alone in the Civil War era. In fact, there is a good chance my wife would have passed too. That is the trade-off: more technology means more expense, but preserves life. I am in favor of preserving life, no matter the cost. When a machine is keeping a person alive, the wishes of the family must outweigh the wishes of the gov't.

You are right that death is ugly. My faith gives me hope.

Anonymous said...

Please clarify what you meant by: "This is "socialism"".

Religion isn't tyranny unless you're compelled to submit--which you aren't.

Oh, but I am. The use of religious dogma is used to establish the current euthanasia/doctor assisted suicide laws we have. Which is one of the subjects of this thread.

If our ancestors' religious dogma had carried the day, we would not have autopsies, vaccinations, blood transfusions, artificial insemination, organ transplants and in vitro fertilization, all of which were denounced as immoral when they were new.

"There is a religion, however, the name of which, when translated into English, means "submission". Hmmmm."

If you blew the 'dog whistle' to suggest that in realizing we have finite resources, that there are limits to medicine, that life is sometimes uglier than we like, that some decisions are difficult, and that prioritizing these resources are bound by reality. I'm guilt.

You can have the last word. Mwah!

Darren said...

I can't imagine there's any religion that requires starving and dehydrating babies as an alternative to juicing them up with some drug. The latter seems even more barbaric, but they're both "wrong".

As for socialism, perhaps I should have said, "This is the inevitable result of socialism." That would have been more accurate.

Bill said...

Sorry Darren, but your ignorance is amazing... who was it that signed the "Baby Doe" law? That would be Saint Reagan, supported by Dr. Koop? Nancy was all for it... oh, until stem cells might be a cure for Alzheimer's disease, then she had a change of heart. Conservatives love to tell other people what to do...until it bites them in the ass. Look at the percentage of "pro-life" people who are okay with abortions when it effects them!

Anonymous said...

Left Coast Ref,

"I am in favor of preserving life, no matter the cost."

If there was one *machine* that could be used to save five people needing it for a short time, but that one machine was being used to keep the one person alive would you ever consider pulling the plug so the other five might live lest they die?

Different problem.

Does it matter what the actual person involved in a right to die case wants. Or does *your* need to feel better about it override that? Tersely. Since I don't believe your dogma why am I bound by it?

"As a result, where do morals and ethics come from?"

The fact that you can read the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12 and say, "This is good. That's why I read the Bible." Then come to Deuteronomy 22:13-21 and rationalize a way of ignoring it proves that wisdom/morality found in scripture is not in scripture. It is in us. It is a larger conversation about what it is to live a good life.

Furthermore, as I mentioned above, autopsies, vaccinations, blood transfusions, artificial insemination, organ transplants and in vitro fertilization, all were once held by the church to be abominable and sinful yet are now acceptable. Seems the church has shifting morality.

When trying to pin down many religionists on exactly what God is or wants they will often say something like. "I don't know what God is or how he works. God works in mysterious ways. Lemme tell you how you are supposed to live. I sure know what you're supposed to do (or not do)"

Darren said...

I can see Bill is my new troll. *sigh*

OK, Bill, try to communicate with a little more reason and a little less vitriol. I can't figure out what the heck you're saying.

Try disagreeing without being disagreeable. If you cannot, I just won't post your comments anymore. Heck, I won't even read them. I'm past that whole "post them all" phase; treat this blog as the online equivalent of my home, and act accordingly.

If you're just going to come here and start blasting, I'm not going to have that here.

allen (in Michigan) said...

"It's ironic when the man begins his *morally superior argument* by ridiculing his foe about being disagreeable and claiming morally superior."

Ridiculing? Hardly. Describing. And accurately if the stung tone of your response is any indication.

"It's as if the man, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head."

Your choice of metaphors is, unintentionally I'm sure, instructive and illustrative of the point I was making. Thanks for being so obliging.

As for your spirited defense of the socialist policy of deliberate, institutionalized murder the comparison to the limitations on private medical insurance is entirely specious. Not only does socialized medicine lead to a moral coarsening of society by explicitly, if not-too-noisily, sanctioning murder of society's most helpless but the political nature of socialized medicine inevitably leads to the politicization of access to medical care.

Your granny wouldn't get a heart transplant because guidelines dictate she die but the granny of a powerful politician does get that heart transplant because of her foresight in the bearing of the mother of the future, powerful politician.

Anonymous said...

@Left Coast Ref-

"I am in favor of preserving life, no matter the cost."

Welcome to Mitt Romney's 47% Left(y). Thanks for illustrating the hypocrisy of the 'compassionate' fiscal conservative. Enabling those old medicare and special needs leeches.

Hey, I'm with you. I'm a 5%er that voted against your 53%er. Ain't it funny how that worked out. This, among other things, is why I switched to Independent after voting Republican since Ronald Reagan.

Anonymous said...

Allen (in the Mitten State),

"spirited defense of the socialist policy"

I'm merely pointing out the incoherence of, supposedly, fiscally conservative policies. Save life at all cost, value the human, and cut all the useless social programs that are needed to actually care for the permanently disabled and special needs, and my grandmother. The 47% that your guy so eloquently gave lip service to. If you want the first part of the good stuff. You've gotta pay for the second half too.


"sanctioning murder of society's most helpless"

"institutionalized murder"

Could you use a few more 'dog whistles'? Hyperbolic partisanship resonates at frequencies unavailable to little old me.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> I'm merely pointing out the incoherence of, supposedly, fiscally conservative policies.

No you're not. You're trying to erect a rickety case for socialized medicine against a backdrop of failure in the hopes that the cognizance of failure won't catch up with the attempt to complete the socialization of medical care here in the U.S. Your assignment, as a lefty, is to try to keep people's attention focused on the prospect of getting something for nothing before the realization sets in that that sort of offer's always a scam.

> Could you use a few more 'dog whistles'? Hyperbolic partisanship resonates at frequencies unavailable to little old me.

How convenient. Perhaps I'll miss the fact that you're trying to dodge the issue.

Oh wait, I didn't, did I?

I suppose when you've got no response to make the poor best you can manage is to try evade.

But to recap, socialized medicine ensures that the quality of care for all those without political influence goes down while costs go up leading to ever-tighter restrictions on care. That means government policy dictates starving premies and geezers to death. Unless, of course, they have someone of sufficient political influence in their corner.

Remind me again of the gloriously egalitarian promise of socialized medicine.