End-of-life decision: A personal choice; a private matter?

2016-12-08 07:39

Are those members of society who pry into the end-of-life decisions of people with whom they have absolutely no relationship to, at all, closet sadists and masochists or religious nut jobs? Perhaps they are an all-in-one package. Have you noticed that most of these people are healthy? Physically healthy, I cannot vouch for psychologically or intellectually. And they are not dealing with death personally, yeah at least not yet. I wonder if they are into God loyalty points. Good luck redeeming those during your final hour buddy.

People living physically pain free shorten their lives all the time. Someone decides that having a Zuma presidency is too much to live with. They take the joke personally and decide to end it all. Can you blame them? Someone believes in romance religiously and decides to end it all when they get dumped by the One. Oh, I really thought s/he was the One! The medical aid companies we love cannot cover our chronic medication because of some technicality... like paying for advertising or higher dividends for shareholders, only to shorten our lives. People drown themselves everyday in work, alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex and junk food only to shorten their lives.

There is no furore about death here. “Life is so precious. Life should be treasured. Life is a gift from god.” You know why these people are not picked on? Because they are already dead!

We only enjoy making the living miserable. Hmmm why don’t we pick on people who are already suffering? Look, a person over there is in terrible agony. The family looks vulnerable, in emotional pain, in grief, exhausted, oh shame, so helpless. Let’s talk them to death about “the sanctity of life,” “dying with dignity” and “god’s miracles”.

Sanctity of life! Dying with dignity! What history books have you been reading? What news channel are you watching? Which natural world, which society, no, which country do you bloody live in?

“Listen sweetheart it is okay to rot to death. The smell will pass eventually. We know you are fully conscious of the unbearable pain. We understand the terrible dread you must feel. God must have wanted it this way.”

If your counter-argument to my position is guided by divine command then you obviously need growing up. I mean, we have not decolonized science yet and you are a believer of the invisible man in the sky. Sorry no hope for you, holy, doomed, missionary scholar. If your argument is based on its natural law derivative (i.e. life is ‘always’ a fundamental human good) then there is also just a tiny, tiny contradiction you need to go and work out, especially since I would guess someone like you probably endorses the death penalty or killing your enemies in some circumstances. If your argument is that society may somehow uncontrollably go the slippery road Nazi Germany went down because professional doctors would be allowed to assist terminally ill people with dying, you are deliberately drawing a false comparison. Such groups may as well stop reading now. It would be pointless to reason with you. Tip toe away. Bye bye now.

For those of you who by some miracle reached the age of reason in missionary land, I ask you, why is it irrational to avoid extreme pain during the final stage of terminal illness? Why can’t we construct the good death? Is it not insane to opt for the alternative – hopeless, painful, assisted life-prolonging treatment? How can it be wrong in the case where the patient provides their informed consent? Pharmaceutical corporations that rush to test out their new drugs assist people in dying all the time. The State often sends young men and women to die so that the elites can remain in power. So, how can it be wrong to assist a terminally-ill patient to die when they become incapacitated, who granted you their permission?

Why is the State so inflexible on this issue? I mean, the State is flexible on the issue of hate speech. The State is flexible on the issue of corruption. The State is flexible on the issue of violating the constitution. The State is flexible when an elite person murders. How can it always be wrong to be assisted with death when such an action violates no one’s rights? How can it be wrong to perform an action that benefits everyone involved? How can it be wrong to be merciful?

Take the humanity we show to our pets. As far as we can tell, they have relatively little awareness of their impending death yet we cannot stomach the fact that our cute faithful doggy or our itty bitty kitty cat must face the indignity of unbearable pain, the suffering, and the terror of dying. No, it is only humane to grant them a good death.

So Pryers, if you are still here, and your life’s meaning is fulfilled by being altruistic and godly, go visit a state hospital. Go witness the kinds of indignity people, many who were once only mildly ill, now have to put up with every day! I can think of a hundred other ‘indignity’ projects for you to tackle in this country. Go fight those fights! Back off from end-of-life decisions.

Just leave end-of-life decisions to the terminally-ill patient, the qualified doctor, and the concerned family.

Damn, Sartre was so right when he wrote: “Hell is other people!”

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