The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When you give people freedom, they make surprising choices

Ezra Klein addresses the issue of physician assisted suicide. He is reluctant to accept the legality of it, and he gives some reasons worth considering. He quotes Ezekiel Emanuel who says:
Broad legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia would have the paradoxical effect of making patients seem to be responsible for their own suffering
Rather than being seen primarily as the victims of pain and suffering caused by disease, patients would be seen as having the power to end their suffering by agreeing to an injection or taking some pills; refusing would mean that living through the pain was the patient’s decision, the patient’s responsibility.
Klein sums up the position, which I think really gets to the heart of his concern: "I do buy into Emanuel’s concern that it’ll give the people around them too much choice, and that the long-term consequences of that are unsettlingly unpredictable."

Klein is saying that when you give people freedom, they make surprising and unpredictable decisions, which sometimes are bad decisions. I on the other hand think physician-assisted suicide should be legal. Suicide, for one, should not be restricted because it's your body and your life and you thereby should make the decisions about it. And a physician should be permitted to help, since they can help make the suicide less unpleasant. But, still, at the end of the day you have to have faith that when given freedom people will make the right decisions. Certainly, people will make poor decisions sometimes, but I don't see it as plausible that laws or lawmakers will be able to make consistently better decisions for them. I personally don't think that if physician-assisted suicide becomes legalized it will be anything but a grave decision, but it is doubtless that the results will be unpredictable.

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