March 31, 2012

Romanticizing suicide. [AND: Murder!]

In the NYT.

Expect more propaganda of this kind, my friends, because in the future, it is hoped, you will be your own death panel.

42 comments:

Pogo said...

You have a keen eye, Althouse.

Commenters to the piece cited the husband shooting his wife and then himself as "enlightenment".

But it's a very short step to pushing people to be more enlightened and recognize that they have "a duty to die and get out of the way".

SGT Ted said...

SO, we should celebrate the suicide of the gay college kid, but prosecute his roommate for "Being An Asshole Right Before a Gay Guy Kills Himself"?

I love how they romanticize suicide until they blame and prosecute someone for it using PC metrics.

madAsHell said...

Is this the same newspaper that is lamenting the demise of Obamacare?

Ann Althouse said...

"But it's a very short step to pushing people to be more enlightened and recognize that they have "a duty to die and get out of the way."

This is the way our enlightened society will deal with its aging, demented population. You're supposed to contemplate, with the help of elite media, how terribly much you have loved this person, then realize that the most noble thing you can do is murder her/him and then prove your nobility by killing yourself.

Thanks, grandmother and grandfather. Thanks for the insanely brutal new regime of euthanasia and self-sacrifice. Here's your write-up in the press to encourage the next couple into the slaughterhouse.

What saints!

Ann Althouse said...

But there is an alternative to this brutality. That wonderful man who murdered his (shell of a) wife could have remained among us if only we would permit ourselves to discreetly inject the Alzheimer's patients with a deadly drug.

Think of the cost savings!

Ann Althouse said...

No messy gunshot scene to clean up.

No Alzheimer's patients to care for.

No suicide victim's body to cart away. The would-be noble, healthy spouse can live on until he goes bad and it's time to give him his injection.

Surely, you'll go for that.

Phil 3:14 said...

What will go undiscussed is the burden of and physical and psychological consequences of care giving. This may have been as much about his depression as her Alzheimer's.

traditionalguy said...

The ultimate power of death facinates controller types among us. It is their final challenge. They plan to stay in control of that part of their lives too, and their controlled family members have no choice but to go along with their plans.

What this type gets away with doing is the essence of being a Nazi, which is unrestrained the use of the power of death against others.

IMO that explains why Obama is so happy. He has set up mega deaths:
genocide 2.0 in Israel from invasion; and in the USA food starvation caused by energy starvation; and in our Cities from civil unrest and gang wars errupting everywhere after the death of the Dollar.

No one wants to admit that all that is already prepared to happen suddenly. But Obama knows it and so he smiles the Controller of Death's creepy smile.

edutcher said...

On strategypage's Military History section yesterday, they noted that, on that day in 1942, Heinrich Himmler's ordered the construction of Auschwitz.

These things take time. If ZeroCare stands, we won't have Treblinka-on-the-Brazos for another year.

Pogo said...

Or: "I do think at a certain point you’ve had enough years of living."

The idea behind rationing this way is a worldview where people become costs to society when they are not contributing to the whole in the only way that counts: paying taxes.

In this view, the nonproductive are a senseless burden, and families insisting on keeping their unproductive units alive are selfish and irrational and, for some, immoral.

Those remaining soon recognize however that their only real worth is as a beast of burden.

Ann Althouse said...

"In this view, the nonproductive are a senseless burden, and families insisting on keeping their unproductive units alive are selfish and irrational and, for some, immoral. Those remaining soon recognize however that their only real worth is as a beast of burden."

And what of the young and able-bodied, when they realize that their worth is measured in terms of the work that can contribute to the group? They're not slaves. Why should they act like slaves? Why shouldn't they minimize their effort? We're counting on them to pay all the bills, but if they see that that's how we see them, they should pull back.

Which is to say, if we stop valuing human life, for what it is, in itself, everything will change.

ricpic said...

Our ruling class is materialist to the core.

The ultimate power of death fascinates the controller types among us.

Are our rulers psychopaths? A dangerous question because crazy is what our rulers call those who oppose them. But really, how far are "controller types" from psychopaths? A person with an antisocial personality disorder, especially one manifested in perverted, criminal or amoral behavior: that's the dictionary.com definition of psychopath. What could be more antisocial than the war on life - a war that is perverse, criminal and amoral - and a war which our rulers are driven to wage?

kcom said...

"Why should they act like slaves?"

That is all they are. ObamaCare is simply animal husbandry. Taking care of the stock to maximize the work that can be squeezed out of them for Massa. When they're done, it's off to the glue factory.

I'm reminded of "Roots" in these instances. They're pushing us to enjoy the nice piece of pork fat they're giving us, while wanting us to forget that it's only because they're enslaving us that they're in a position to do that.

PatCA said...

Eugenics is making a comeback, I see. Much more subtle this time around.

Bill Harshaw said...

Let those who have walked in the shoes of the Alzheimer caregiver cast the first stone.

~N. said...

Soylent green will be the new pink slime.

On the one hand, I understand how terrible it is to witness one's spouse disappear into the black hole that is Alzheimer's. On the other, despair cannot be the answer. Despair is the absence of God. What peace is there in that?

lemondog said...

Focus on life-years, not lives.

Lives, Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay
Cass R. Sunstein
THE LAW SCHOOL
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
July 2003


The Coming Medical Ethics Crisis
How the government is putting the medical profession—and your health—at risk


Coming: Medicare covered Government Balloons

Up Up and Away

MadisonMan said...

What will go undiscussed is the burden of and physical and psychological consequences of care giving. This may have been as much about his depression as her Alzheimer's.

Yes, where the latter certainly contributed to the former. Hoping to see the spark that appears with less and less frequency.

If I'm ever in that man's shoes, I hope I can remember to celebrate the life before me. But depression has an invidious way of making the important unimportant, and vice versa.

Marshal said...

I have a family member who has bought into this nonsense to the degree that she's set up a DNR (she's in her early 60's) even though she has no idea what level of debilitation she would be experiencing should i become relevant. I suggested to her that "healthcare reform" that only functions if people allow themselves to die rather than stress the system isn't an improvement. No response.

She's so into advancing progressivism she's willing to die for it. It's sad.

~N. said...

Setting up a living will, or signing a DNR should one become hospitalized for a debilitating, terminal illness is not the same as buying into assisted suicide or putting a value on various stages of life.

It's as bad to force someone to "live" as it is to force someone to die.

If I was faced with a terminal disease with very little recourse for treatment, the last thing I'd want is for doctors to inflate my lungs with air, pump fluids through my body and keep running a tab on my insurance card. Because there's a lot of that going on now. It's just as immoral as "helping" people to die.

I believe in life from natural conception to natural death.

Problem is, does anyone even know what "natural death" is anymore?

I have a living will, and I will absolutely sign a DNR when I realize my body is breaking down and starting the dying process.

CWJ said...

Bill Harshaw @11:01

Since I qualify:

BONK

Here's a second one for your trouble.

BONK

Marshal said...

~N,

Consider all the circumstances you had to add because without them the action is incomprehensible. None of them apply, she's in fine health.

Ken said...

And what of the young and able-bodied, when they realize that their worth is measured in terms of the work that can contribute to the group?

I'll let George Bernard Shaw answer. These are the terrible thoughts lurking in the minds of the NYT reporter and the approving crowds.

KLDAVIS said...

"They're not slaves. Why should they act like slaves? Why shouldn't they minimize their effort? "

Althouse, I'm starting to doubt your claim that you haven't read Atlas Shrugged...

~N. said...

She's in fine health...now. Which is when these decisions should be thought through.

She has every right to make these decisions for herself. Why should she be forced to undergo treatments and surgeries and procedures, or forced to "live" with tubes running in and out of her body, immobilized in a hospital bed, just because someone gets to make some money off her misery?

Sorry. I'm with your mother on this. It's her life. She has every right to deny treatment. You can't force people to undergo medical treatment and procedures against their will. It's just as wrong as denying them medical treatment based on your perception of the value of their life.

Whether or not she wishes to pursue treatment is between her and God, not her and you.

Marshal said...

Ah, the self- righteously wrong. Of course it's her choice, that isn't the issue at all. The issue is the policy is so incredibly misguided supporters realize they have to allow themselves to die prematurely in order for it to not fall apart immediately.

chuck said...

Suicide is more common among the old than some here seem to realize. I've known of several examples myself.

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

Expect more propaganda of this kind

Here's a story for you --

a young woman suffering from multiple sclerosis who believes that her life is no longer worth living and asks her physician husband to relieve her of her misery. In a grand act of humanity, the husband gives his wife a fatal injection of morphine, while a friend of his (also a doctor) accompanies the act with soothing and romantic music at the piano. When he is brought to trial for murder, the husband refuses to let his colleagues invent an alibi for him, because he is convinced he has done no wrong. He is acquitted on grounds that his act constituted an act of mercy and in a critical scene, the words of the Renaissance physician Paracelsus are recalled: “medicine is love.”

Wouldn't that make a great movie? Oh, wait, it was already made into a movie in Germany, "I Accuse" (1941), from the book Mission and Conscience (1936), by Helmut Unger.

Later on, at his trial for crimes against humanity, the attorney for Alfons Klein, supervisor at Hadamar Sanitarium, described the course of events that followed films such as this. "In a motion picture called 'I Accuse' the problem of euthanasia, that is, mercy killing, was expounded. This picture was simply a prelude for things to come, because shortly after the beginning of the war the government passed a law whereby people who were afflicted mentally should be put out of the way. . . . from January 1941 to July 1945, more than 10,000 German mental patients were killed in Hadamar alone." (The Hadamar Trial (United States v. Alfons Klein, et al.) 220-21 (1949).)

Bender said...

And what was Hadamar?

Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, acting as Chief of Counsel for the United States at the Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals, explains --
To begin with, [the Hadamar euthanasia program] involved only the incurably sick, insane and mentally deficient patients of the Institution. It was easy to see that they were a substantial burden to society, and life was probably of little comfort to them. It is not difficult to see how, religious scruples apart, a policy of easing such persons out of the world by a completely painless method could appeal to a hard-pressed and unsentimental people. But "euthanasia" taught the art of killing and accustomed those who directed and those who administered the death injections to the taking of human life. Once any scruples and inhibitions about killing were overcome and the custom was established, there followed naturally an indifference as to what lives were taken. Perhaps also those who become involved in any killings are not to be in a good position to decline further requests. If one is convinced that a person should be put out of the way because, from no fault of his own, he has ceased to be a social asset, it is not hard to satisfy the conscience that those who are wilful enemies of the prevailing social order have no better right to exist. And so Hadamar drifted from a hospital to a human slaughter-house.
(Forward to The Hadamar Trial (United States v. Alfons Klein, et al.) xiv (E. Kintner, ed. 1949)).

Gary Rosen said...

If people do it of their own accord you won't need death panels. Take *that*, Sarah Palin!

~N. said...

So, Marshall, at what point do YOU think your mother should be allowed to die "naturally"?

Define natural death for me, and then tell me how self-righteous I am.

I've seen the extent to which hospitals and doctors lie and manipulate people, or play into fear and anxiety, or arm twist relatives in order to squeeze one more test or procedure on someone -- tests and procedures that are either completely unnecessary or completely pointless.

I'm 51. My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer at 52. My mother died of breast cancer at 54. I've never had mammogram, never will. You gonna send the titty police after me now...?

No way.

Besides, you wanna stay healthy, stay the hell away from doctors. That's just a fact.

Bender said...

No suicide victim's body to cart away.

Justice Alito's question on mandating burial insurance isn't so far-fetched now, is it?

I can imagine it is a substantial burden for others to have to come in and clean up after a suicide, especially when it is a shooting. Thanks buddy, nothing people like more than wiping up your blood and brains and bone fragments.

A rather perverted notion of love you have there, where it means destroying the one you love.

~N. said...

Bender, people who do these things are not thinking straight. It's pretty mean spirited to snark at them after the fact.

Alzheimer's caretakers often need as much or more care than the person suffering from Alzheimer's.

Bender said...

I'm not snarking N. I'm condemning.

This is an evil act what this guy did. Evil.

And such evil does not end with the death of such people. It acts like a poison, a cancer in society, which encourages others to follow in his steps.

This murder-suicide -- yes, he is a MURDERER -- especially since it is being celebrated as an act of "love" and "compassion," will lead to more murder-suicides.

Once upon a time society rightly condemned such actions. Today we celebrate them. As such, we owe the likes of Karl Brandt and Alfons Klein, et al. an apology.

n.n said...

If it is voluntary, then it will reflect measurable progress from the strategy followed by their ideological counterparts, most notably throughout the 20th century.

Marshal said...

"N. said...
So, Marshall, at what point do YOU think your mother should be allowed to die "naturally"? "

She's not my mother, so you should drop that talking point. But again this isn't the issue. I'm inviting everyone to understand what it takes for Obamacare to succeed, to "voluntwrily" allow yourself to die sooner than you otherwise would. I understand why you're desperate to change the subject, but don't expect me to help.

MadisonMan said...

since it is being celebrated as an act of "love" and "compassion,"

That's the problem with the article.

And I have to ask: where were their 5 kids?

Ipswichie said...

Agatha Christie used the voice of Hercule Poirot to state again and again (she did get a bit formulaic, but hey, dame wrote a lot) that the biggest or most-persevering evil in murder is the act's effect on the soul of the murderer. That even a "noble" murder committed to execute justice the law could not bring endangered the soul and character of the killer. This theme appears in almost every novel, and is made explicit in the final Poirot "Curtain".
I haven't read any of her books in years. Think I'll go dig a few out of the attic.

Saint Croix said...

If we stop valuing human life, for what it is, in itself, everything will change.

Yes, that's right. Roe v. Wade is proof of that.

Julie C said...

This is a tough issue for me, as I have watched my mother slowly decline from dementia for the last 5 years.

I can't understand the acceptance of the kids in this family - unless there is a big estate and they figure this saves them lots of money down the line (seriously). My mother's care runs close to $6k a month.

I'm would not advocate murder - but in my darkest hours my thoughts have run towards - well, doctor, do you have to try so hard to keep everyone alive? A friend of mine whose mother had early -onset Alzheimer's once said to me, "why do they try so hard? Why the insistence on all the preventative medicine?"

My mother has had two broken hips. In the old days, the first broken hip would have been a death sentence. We now have state of the art orthopedic surgeries and voila! Add another 5 years!

But there is value in her life. My kids are learning a lesson in how to take care of the elderly. They are still able to interact with her and even though she doesn't know they are her grandkids she still laughs and tells jokes with them. She doesn't know I'm her daughter but she thinks I'm a dear friend who comes to see her. She's not in physical pain and she's well-cared for.

I'm glad we are able to have her live somewhere nice. I can't imagine having to take care of her around the clock - she could be dangerous to herself and to my father.

Buy long term care insurance people! You do not want to end up in some crappy state run nursing home!

~N. said...

Marshal -- I apologize for wrongly assuming you were speaking of your mother. It was my mistake. I'm not sure why you think it's a "talking point", however. The relationship is immaterial to the discussion.

I'm not "desperate to change the subject", regardless of whatever addled thought processes brought you to that conclusion in your mind.

DNR's (which, btw, are not something you set up in advance to cover all future hospitalizations or medical situations -- they're situational and they're an order signed by your attending physician, not some legal document you and your lawyer cook up) and living wills have been around since long before Obamacare. It is generally understood by every major religion that there is nothing morally wrong whatsoever with choosing to reject treatment for oneself.

It is not "volunteering to allow yourself to die sooner than you otherwise would" to make an informed decision about the end of your own life.

Define "otherwise".

Are you now saying we are morally required to undergo every single procedure, operation, treatment under the sun? That those of us who aren't afraid of God or what comes next are somehow fucking things up for you by not being good little guinea pigs and sources of income for the medical industry?

Suicide, murder, assisted suicide are in themselves great evils.

Choosing to ask your physician to sign a DNR or having the forethought to create a living will are not the same as suicide or murder.