July 23, 2010

A Freudian slip about euthanasia?



Bob Wright, inviting Robert P. George to address the topic of euthanasia, lays out the scenario with respect to seriously persons who "feel that they are so unpleasant... uh... unhappy..."

It's also, I think, a slip to say "euthanasia" instead of "assisted suicide," isn't it? Wright must mean only to refer to people who are choosing to die. Euthanasia goes beyond that, and covers killing individuals whom others find — shall we say? — unpleasant.

45 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Death Panels this way cometh. A limit to years lived should cap at 70, except for the exceptional persons who are excepted. A single Czar making exceptions may looks bad...let's name a panel. The first exception case heard by the will be Joe Paterno.

Peano said...

"Unpleasant" was a Freudian slip? I think you're stretching, though I can't guess why. Seems to me he was merely thinking of circumstances in which living had become so unpleasant ....

Saint Croix said...

I think a lot of liberals are totally cool with killing people, as long as they are very young or very old. And of course they have no trouble killing off the handicapped. It all falls under the rubric of "viability". Mark off the weak and helpless and kill them, so that our society remains strong and healthy. It's all a part of the general liberal desire for population control, and eugenics, dating back to Plato.

Christoph said...

You are so stretching, Ann, to the point of distorting and breaking.

Hear, hear, Peano -- at least with regards to this clip. I have no idea what the guy's views are in broader context, but anyway, what you quoted was him just saying what one opinion on euthanasia is.

I don't see how pointing out the different viewpoints that exist is remotely interesting.

nobody said...

Why Disability Rights Activists Oppose Physician Assisted Suicide:

http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/departments/closerlook/000749.html

Texan99 said...

"Seems to me he was merely thinking of circumstances in which living had become so unpleasant ...."

Yes, but unpleasant to whom?

Larry J said...

The Death Panels this way cometh. A limit to years lived should cap at 70, except for the exceptional persons who are excepted. A single Czar making exceptions may looks bad...let's name a panel. The first exception case heard by the will be Joe Paterno.

Sounds like a scene from Logan's Run where people were all killed at age 30 except for an enlightened group of elders who exempted themselves from the policies that were applied to everyone else.

bagoh20 said...

Assisted suicide is just a form of euthanasia. Euthanasia being any deliberate death for the purposes of ending "suffering". IMHO.

Big Mike said...

I see that liberals want to replace the Hippocratic Oath with a hypocritical oath.

Death panels for thee, but not for me.

c3 said...

I would suggest that euthanasia and assisted suicide is not a left/right issue. You'll hear a fair amount of positive discussion regarding it from libertarians.

I'm a big proponent of consideration of quality of life. However, everyone who considers that in declaring advanced directives should understand that there's a good chance their designated surrogate decision maker will likely implement the directives. Its there where decisions get muddied.

SMGalbraith said...

I've come full circle several times (yes, I'm quite dizzy) on this issue.

Originally, for many years I was strongly against "pulling the plug" and believed that human beings would want to struggle and fight for every last breath. Let them fight and let us help them fight. Encourage them.

But watching my father fade away, the fatigue, the tiredness, the loss of quality life, the energy devoted to just surviving, has made me think again.

However, during his decline, he suffered many setbacks that he recovered from. He fought back. He tried. Only to get knocked down and out again.

Eventually, it was too much.

Yeah, I don't know anymore.

c3 said...

And just to throw out how this (in theory) could work the opposite direction. Let say this guy has been an SOB all of his life. And lets say her never designates anyone as his surrogate decision-maker. By default if he's incapacitated it would fall to his wife. What an ingenious way to get back at him by declaring to the doctors who want to pursue "aggressive" treatments:

Oh he was a fighter. He would want EVERYTHING. He would NEVER GIVE UP.

Palladian said...

"... he suffered many setbacks that he recovered from. He fought back. He tried. Only to get knocked down and out again.

Eventually, it was too much."

Sounds like a good description of life.

c3 said...

Now if you ask me,

"Have you ever seen that happen"

I'd have to say

"No".

However, there have been some times when I've scratched my head wondering

"Why does this family so desperately want to pursue this to the nth degree in spite of clear suggestions from a variety of docs that outcomes will not be good"

Comrade X said...

I've got no problem with going Carousel on a cost/benefit ratio basis regarding the public fisc, but of course I won't be a public sector retiree with a fat government pension in the cost column hanging over head.

jr565 said...

I thought they were talking about sucides of the Youth In Asia. And I was wondering why so many asians were killing theslves. Oh, euthenasia...

Flexo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flexo said...

I think a lot of liberals are totally cool with killing people

It's called "compassion" and "eliminating suffering."

They eliminate suffering by eliminating the person who suffers, not by authentic compassion (from the Latin meaning "to suffer with"), which is an act of love, but by a violent act whether it is accomplished by a needle or a brick smashing in their skull.

And such types all too often take it upon themselves to decide, with cold utilitarian calculations, exactly who is "suffering," even if that person would strenuously disagree.

jr565 said...

even if that person would strenuously disagree.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grbSQ6O6kbs

I feel happy, I feel happy... thump.

c3 said...

OK the comedy barrier has been broken.
Let's not forget this ancient example of euthanasia

bagoh20 said...

I'm pretty damn conservative, but not religious. A few years ago, I was expected to die. As soon as it started looking inevitable, I started becoming obsessed with going out on my own terms, terrified of being helpless and dependent in my final months. I started thinking about how once I was sick and hospitalized, I would loose all choice in the matter. That prospect was more terrifying than death itself. I completely understand the thinking, and it was not my thinking before this happened. You never really think about death honestly until it's real. I would not have robbed myself of any good time, but wanted to be ready to be in control when my chances got to zero. Obviously, by a miracle of science and luck, they never did.

I also never came up with a workable strategy to off myself without help, unless I did it before I got sick. That's the problem. Complete loss of control over your own life and dignity at the most critical time. The time your loved ones will last see you.

traditionalguy said...

Fleo...The Conservatives conserve life by conserving Christianity and family traditions. The Libertarians are head cases that only want to be right in their argument that no one is his brother's keeper. The suicidal murderers (a/k/a The Progressives) are hellbent on seizing all of the money and resources available to Conservatives so that they will no longer have power to conserve Christianity and family traditions (a/k/a clinging to God and guns like Americans have done for 235 years).

Scott said...

Apropos: HBO had an interesting movie called "You Don't Know Jack" starring Al Pacino in the title role of Jack Kevorkian. If your cable system has HBO On Demand, it might still be available. It will be in DVD release in October.

rhhardin said...

A clients' information letter from a long-ago newly minted Ohio State University vet said that euthanasia was from Latin for good death.

Larry J said...

bagoh20 said...
I'm pretty damn conservative, but not religious. A few years ago, I was expected to die.


And there is part of the difficulty - you were expected to die but didn't. A number of years ago, I had an uncle who had congestive heart failure. When diagnosed, they said he had maybe two years to live. He lived more than five years. In those "extra" years, he was able to see his only daughter get married and have a child.

When diagnosed with a terminal illness, doctors sometimes give an estimate as to how long the person will likely live. Those estimates are frequently wrong as was the case with my uncle. What happens if we have panels who decide when it's no longer worthwhile for a person with failing health to continue living? On what basis will they make their decision? Will the same rules apply to those who are politically connected as to the rest of us?

Yeah, right.

Peano said...

@Texan99 ("Yes, but unpleasant to whom?")

Listen to the clip: "If they decided that the quality of their life ... doesn't warrant staying alive ...." [my emphasis]

Peano said...

Seldom do so many fish rise to so little bait.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Euthanasia goes beyond that, and covers killing individuals whom others find — shall we say? — unpleasant.

I always though euthanasia was a third party (Nurse Jackie, etc.) who, for one reason or another, wanted to end someone else's life, usually out of compassion.

What Ann describes is murder and treated as such, no?

Either that or it means Oriental children.

Big Mike said...

You know, I wonder how many lefties favor euthanasia, but use as the ease with which a person can use a gun to commit suicide as a reason to push gun control?

Just askin'

Saint Croix said...

euthanasia was from Latin for good death

Euthanasia, like eugenics, comes from the ancient Greek. Euthanasia means "good death" and eugenics means "good birth". Euthanasia means you are killing off the old, the suffering, and the handicapped. Eugenics means you are keeping undesirables from reproducing, and it can include abortion and infanticide.

The Greeks also coined the term "autonomy," meaning self-rule. They deemed it okay to kill the very young or the very old or the handicapped on the grounds these people cannot govern themselves.

The important question for liberals is not whether a person is alive, but whether he or she is autonomous. If you're not autonomous, liberals reserve the right to kill you.

Saint Croix said...

I should add that "liberal" is a sloppy term here, since at least some liberals are pro-life. And I've met some conservatives who are on the other side.

Saint Croix said...

Neo-pagan might be a better word for them.

Ann Althouse said...

""Unpleasant" was a Freudian slip? I think you're stretching, though I can't guess why. Seems to me he was merely thinking of circumstances in which living had become so unpleasant ...."

He doesn't say living is unpleasant. He says *they* are unpleasant.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Peano: "Unpleasant" was a Freudian slip? I think you're stretching, though I can't guess why.

Euthanasia is a favorite hobyhorse of Althouse. Get her talking about it and you'll she she's a Liberal at heart.

I do agree that this wasn't a Freudian slip. Some people have the habit of trying to say one thing many different ways in an attempt to sound clearer. It usually ends up making things more confusing, as in this clip.

c3 said...

Either that or it means Oriental children.

As some of my friends have pointed out:

Furniture is Oriental; People are Asian

That's your PC lesson of the day......




your welcome

grackle said...

Folks have always committed suicide for various reasons and if a person truly wants to commit suicide there are ways to do it that are quick and painless. What I resent is when a second person is needlessly put into the potential suicide situation. This other person, whether physician or someone else to whom the state decides to make legitimate, is the danger.

Will the ‘death assistant’ encourage or discourage the act of suicide? Would the suicide occur IF that second person were NOT in the equation? There is no way to know but one thing is sure: If there is no second party involved we can be reasonably assured that the decision arrived at will be the decision of the suicidal person and NOT the result of some second party’s intervention, no matter how well-meaning that second party is thought to be.

Go ahead, commit suicide if you think you want/need to, but keep the rest of society out of it. As for worrying about:

Complete loss of control over your own life and dignity at the most critical time. The time your loved ones will last see you.

Such situations are rare, too rare to saddle the rest of society with such a dangerous precedent in order that some individuals are relieved of their(largely uncalled for) anxiety – which in the quoted commentor’s case turned out to be unfounded.

Texan99 said...

If you're going to kill yourself, you should leave other people out of it. And if you think other people should be permitted to kill themselves, you should leave yourself (and your proxy) out of it.

Obviously no one can totally resolve the question of whether a slip of the tongue revealed someone's inmost, hidden, embarrassing thoughts. Ms. Althouse's point is that this particularly slip is ironically very close to the mindset many of us deplore in advocates of euthanasia. It's easy to talk about relieving someone else's suffering, but frankly what we're far more often talking about is the suffering of the witnesses. If the dying person is conscious enough to suffer, he's most often in a position to do something about it on his own. What euthanists seem more focused on is people who hang on and on, consuming resources and making life hell for their loved ones while they themselves are long past the point of making decisions or reaching closure or taking leave of family. In other words, "unpleasant" people. People it's become a nightmare to interact with.

bagoh20 said...

"Complete loss of control over your own life and dignity at the most critical time. The time your loved ones will last see you.

Such situations are rare, too rare to saddle the rest of society with such a dangerous precedent in order that some individuals are relieved of their(largely uncalled for) anxiety – which in the quoted commentor’s case turned out to be unfounded. "


The situation where you are dying and need someone to care for your every body function for weeks or months is very common and will continually become more so. We will be able to support life near indefinitely and this decision will need to be made regardless.

Although I did not die (I think), at some point it would have been unavoidable and obvious that it was imminent. This is when I would want the freedom and right to spare the expense, and suffering of myself and my loved ones which would be for no good purpose.

It should be my choice and never anyone else's, especially if I express such a wish well ahead of the decision point. This eliminates any danger of being pressured into it. You would need an advanced directive.

bagoh20 said...

End days can be brutal for all involved. Repeated calls to the hospital because this may be the night, or not. Weeks or months of financially devastating forced suffering and tortuous attempts at stretching it out. I have no problem with people choosing it for themselves, but I want my own choice about this.

This is a relatively new problem due to advances in medicine. This is not normal for our species to extend out the dying process. It is now possible to do so in many illnesses that would formerly be quick and merciful. Is that an improvement over our savage earlier days or a step backward?

Flexo said...

if a person truly wants to commit suicide there are ways to do it that are quick and painless

Not really. The body was not made for death, it was made for life, and it will struggle to live, even as against the will of the person who tries to kill it. And it is a violent struggle as the organs and cells of the body scream out trying to survive.

Drowning, suffocating, strangling, poisoning (including over-medication and gas), gun-shot, throat-slitting, blunt-force, caustic substance -- all are extremely violent to the body. There is NO easy way to die.

Jason (the commenter) said...

It's also, I think, a slip to say "euthanasia" instead of "assisted suicide," isn't it?

Althouse wont be happy until everyone calls it "self-murder".

Flexo said...

Euthanasia, like eugenics, comes from the ancient Greek. Euthanasia means "good death" and eugenics means "good birth".

Let's not forget the German --
Gnadentod "mercy death" and Sterbehilfe, “dying help,” which was advocated by the elite medical profession in the 1920-30s for the incurably sick and was considered to be Wohltat, a merciful act, especially in those cases of lebensunwerten Leben, "life not worth living."

By the way, "suicide" is from the Latin for "self-murder."

Peano said...

@Ann ("He doesn't say living is unpleasant. He says *they* are unpleasant.)

Yes, dear, that's why I said he seemed to be *thinking* of circumstances in which living had become not worth it. You are the one who makes the ungainly leap to a Freudian diagnosis.

@Jason(the commenter) ("Euthanasia is a favorite hobyhorse of Althouse. Get her talking about it and you'll she she's a Liberal at heart.")

I saw that long ago, not least when she went all gooey over Obambi. Ann obviously has several obvious hobbyhorse issues -- euthanasia now added to my list of the obvious. Another is that she starts to unravel when a young, attractive woman who is admired as a young, attractive woman. Probably some sort of childhood trauma, but I'm not about to go there. There's such a thing as too much information.

bagoh20 said...

"life not worth living."

I believe the Latin for that is "trollicide."

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