"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.She would like you to sign a document that says you want to be killed if you develop Alzheimer's Syndrome and can no longer care for yourself. And she wants it to be legal to off you if the circumstances arise.
"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."
[British moral philosopher Lady Warnock] went on: "If you've an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die.
"I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down."
Much outrage is being expressed, but I have no doubt that many people calculating the economics of government-provided health care think about how terribly useful this option would be and look forward to the day when people will no longer be outraged and will, in fact, feel guilty if they do not sign up for the program. Quite aside from guilt and a sense of duty, it would be easy to wrest consent out of people by offering high quality health care to those who agree in advance to be murdered if they get too expensive.
ADDED: The Anchoress sees value in long, drawn out dying.