Killing them softly

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 09:07
With euthanasia debates progressing through various parliaments, the focus is again on the rights or wrongs of someone’s right to take their own life. The famous Australian labour powerbroker and spokesman Graham Richardson, himself in dire medical straits and experiencing life without many of its physical joys, puts the case in favour very well when he articulates that every day doctors remove the painkillers or up the morphine dose and assist people in dying. He defends these poor doctors on whom the onus of these decisions is placed. In wanting legislation introduced which makes assisted dying legal, he argues that when it’s his time he wants to be able to go with dignity but as with the rest of his life, he wants to be able to do that legally as well.
For anyone who has seen people go through this dying process at an agonising last stage of their life would find it hard to disagree with theconcept of assisting people out of their pain and letting them go whilst they still have a semblance of cognition. Against this, the negative arguments start with the religious, where those so inclined argue that man does not have the right to give or take life. It seems most of these are the middle aged who don’t want to face the concept of getting old. A lot of countries have now done away with capital punishment so they can at least argue that they are not playing with such a lottery but there are many other countries where the death penalty still exists.
The two major arguments against this concept of mercy killing would need to be on whether the person making this decision has the competence and circumstance of necessity, so there needs to be a basic age limit and some form of medical justification to ensure that the decision is justified and there will be no chance that the circumstances for the decision could not have been altered. Or so the legislators argue. The latter, given that many people who have attempted suicide and survived were happy with that second chance outcome.
For many, the major concern regarding someone being peacefully hurried on before their natural expiration date would be the danger of some people in a family wanting an elderly member out of the way because of their nuisance value, or to benefit financially from such passing. This is a step beyond the infamous so-called “granny dumping” reported at Disney World but equally as disgraceful. How to overcome this possibility is extremely difficult where the person of interest might be vulnerable to manipulation from close family members.
For many ageing people, the real elephant in the room on this topic is that reaching a certain age it’s not about voluntary euthanasia but rather the fact that the system itself is helping to kill off the senior citizens. Especially when you hit 75 government regulation starts to kick in to ensure that all dignity is lost, with compulsory annual driving tests and all the other regulations which change no matter how fit a person might be. You have won nonstop assignments for 40 years but suddenly you don’t get a look in. No one will of course say it’s about age and if they write that it’s because of age, if you complain they come back saying it was just a mistake. They didn't mean to say that. of course they didn't; there's a law against it. At least Deloittes say they just recruit to a job specification and age is just one of these. Try living on the old age pension on its own and if you’ve been diligent enough to save a little during your lifetime you will need to downsize considerably just to survive. While the government keep increasing charges on just about everything. More and more of the elderly therefore are looking at perhaps passing on before their time simply because they would prefer to go out with dignity and the memories of a lifetime rather than realising family and friends have little time for them.


Consequently, this euthanasia question will eventually extend to allowing the aged who are treated like garbage to just say “enough” and be able to opt out. With so many people on the planet there’s all this overcrowding anyway so at least extending dignity instead of throwing the aged on the rubbish heap should be a natural extension of the current debate.