catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Voluntary Euthanasia: a musical plea

with 88 comments

For the uninitiated, stumbling across Metallica’s One can seem like encountering a passionate anti-war statement. For metal aficionados, however, the song – probably Metallica’s finest – doesn’t work that way. This is a song about euthanasia, and manages to make all the points Million Dollar Baby did over two hours in six minutes of intense video footage.

At first, the young man is destroyed by a landmine: in time, his inability to control his fate after that destruction becomes the song’s metier. The clip’s skilled interplay of cinema and song still stands as one of music’s finest statements about the importance of individual choice.

Enjoy. And think awhile.

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Written by Admin

December 7, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

88 Responses

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  1. I’ve finally figured out how to embed YouTube clips!

    skepticlawyer

    December 7, 2006 at 10:46 pm

  2. Million Dollar Baby was a great movie about boxing. It’s the euthanasia bits which got too long and drawn out.

    Jason Soon

    December 7, 2006 at 10:51 pm

  3. That’s why this clip works so well, I think. Mind you, Million Dollar Baby was still a kicking movie.

    skepticlawyer

    December 7, 2006 at 10:59 pm

  4. How does Million Dollar Baby stack up against the original?

    C.L.

    December 7, 2006 at 11:55 pm

  5. I hear the Nazis were in favour of breathing oxygen too, CL.

    Jason Soon

    December 7, 2006 at 11:59 pm

  6. That was very clever, CL. Stopped me calling Godwin on the fifth comment 😉 Do check out Metallica’s One and let me know what you think… even those who disagree seldom remain unmoved.

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 12:01 am

  7. I’m a U2 One kinda bloke, sorry. 😉

    “We get to carry each other, carry each other…”

    C.L.

    December 8, 2006 at 12:43 am

  8. I’m with CL on this one.

    Euthanasia…………

    You poor poor children. Did you not encounter medical students during your education.

    Keep the doctors out of it.

    They are breaking their oath in order to participate beyond allowing the patient to request a little bit more opiates then what is really good for his health.

    What is wrong with finding a good bridge and jumping?

    Or getting your oxygen bottle and some real hard-core pain-killers and getting your act together enough to find yourself a firearm?

    Why bring the damn doctors into it.

    They think they are God anyway.

    You’ve all seen when one of them goes nutty.

    A hundred people might die before enough of the nurses will dob him in.

    You Utilitarians are amongst the most naieve people on the planet I’d reckon.

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 12:52 am

  9. “That was very clever, CL. Stopped me calling Godwin on the fifth comment….”

    This Godwins law business.

    Just another way the left controls the ring-craft.

    The only way around it is to get the fascist accusation off first.

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 12:56 am

  10. sorry SL, don’t know how you can find classical music boring, and yet not find heavy metal monotonous.

    The music was just too monotonous for me to persist through the whole thing.

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 1:01 am

  11. You’re right about the doc’s. they’re lonnies with higher degrees, most of them. And how smart they thing they are. They are worst people to handle this stuff.

    There is something about the people that go into that profession tnat I just don’t like. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    They sit there pretending they’re accurate diagnosers when all they are doing is using Occams razer most of the time. Only thing is, i wanna know whats’wrong with me.

    I refused to pay one dick the fee because of his shitty service. Sitting behind a desk, me telling him my problem and he pretends he knows what’s wrong without even ordering a pic. He started the converastion saying that he had a lot of patients waiting. I told him I didn’t give a shit. My problem was more important than his other patients and he shouldn’t overbooked.

    The idiot would be the last person I’d want deciding or helping decide if I ought to live or die.

    In any event we don’t have privatized health care so the government isn’t exactly a non interested party in this caper seeing they are pained with every medicare cheque they write.

    you want the gov. to be umpires if this was allowed to happen, not the ones quietly cheering I croak it early rather than later.

    Bird’s right, any of you guys supporting this stuff without a privatized medical system are asking to get taken out with a sore throat.

    Develop a little cynicism here guys. Your asking the guy writing the cheques to get the idiots who think they’re God to help decide to create a giant snuff caper.

    Leave me out of this.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 1:12 am

  12. I think the anti-Doc message in the song is made loud and clear, JC. But agree it divides people. I prefer privatised health care too – so I can have that choice.

    And Jason, it takes all kinds music wise. I just can’t get into jazz and (most) classical stuff. It bores me rigid.

    I suspect music is largely a function of social influences, and I hadn’t heard any jazz before the age of about 19 or so; classical by about 15 because the school I was on scholarship at wanted me to play kettle drums. I wanted a drum kit. Needless to say this was not a marriage made in heaven.

    Even Leonard Cohen and Beth Orton I have to think about before I can fully appreciate what they do. With Metallica or SOAD? No way – I just get into headbanging mode.

    I’m just a philistine, and I’ve learnt to be proud of it, and I’ve learnt to tell culture vultures to flock off, too 😉

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 1:30 am

  13. The argument about killing yourself by jumping off a bridge when you’re nothing but a head on stick doesn’t really wash. Critical ill and incapicitated people should be able to take a contract out on themselves without repercussions for those that assist.

    Brendan Halfweeg

    December 8, 2006 at 2:52 am

  14. No they shouldn’t.

    Not if those assistants are Doctors.

    Keep the doctors out of it.

    And who are these nothing but a head on a stick people that you speak thereof?

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 7:13 am

  15. Irrespective of the merits, or otherwise, of voluntary euthanasia Million Dollar Baby was a great movie. The relationships and the human interest was powerful, and the Clint Eastwood character made an agonising choice. Eastwood’s finest movie (with Mystic River and the Unforgiven being excellent too).

    SL, I invested in SOAD’s Toxicity – some monotonous, some very good.

    Sinclair Davidson

    December 8, 2006 at 7:44 am

  16. SL you know nothing about music, but you know what you like:)

    CL we all know your taste in music is stuck in the three-chord gutair hero stage so beloved by 15 year olds back in 1973:)

    If anyone wants to hear some real music they should come along tonight, Sunday afternoon, next Tuesday or next Thursday to the Sydney Opera House and listen to Rococo Liberal (aka Toryhere) and 500 others of the Sydney Philharmonia perform Handel’s “Messiah” with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

    Rococo Liberal

    December 8, 2006 at 8:38 am

  17. RL
    So you do have talent after all and not a lawyer. I knew it.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 8:53 am

  18. Not usually into vocal classical music but strangely enough this atheist makes an exception for religious music – Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Cantatas are certainly my favourites in this genre.

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 8:58 am

  19. Jason

    Dude can i ask you something? You seem to be a smart, rational guy. Why take the risk with this atheist stuff? You have obviously heard of Pascal’s wager which shows it ain’t good odds to bet against the big guy in the sky. Why take the chance that you’re gonna risk pissing someone like that off to the point where your can’t get through those gates.

    Somewhow I don’t see the odds in that bet.

    I know , I know you should be true to your beliefs and all that. But it’s a really big chance you’re taking.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 9:11 am

  20. It’s all risk management for you isn’t it JC?

    If your belief is not sincere you think the big guy is going to be happy?

    I’ll take my chances.

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 9:21 am

  21. Not true jase.

    I still have a good long term memory and recall some of the gospel that was drummed into us at an ealy age.

    Someone said something like:

    It’s harder for a rich dude to make it through an eye of a needle than it is for a poor and meek guy to get through the turnstiles. I’m not sure, but this or another story went on the say that a rich dude has to take care of the poor: spread the money around etc. In other words the rich dude is behind the 8 ball compared to the poor and meek as far as the big guy is concerned. But it seems this can be mitigated.

    The story didn’t explain the relativities in the sense that it doesn’t explain who exactly is rich or poor ….as we know from various tables that’s a hard call. In other words a well to do african is poor comapred to a poor Australian, A wealthy Australian is rich compared to relatively poor one.

    This got me got me thinking.

    What this story is saying is that you can actually buy your way in. In other words if you spread your cash around and there are pearly gates etc, you can actually make your way through despite an celestially imposed a strong headwind…. all thing being equal of course.

    So yes , in short it is about risk management. Taking big bets with good loss protection also gets you through the pearly gates it seems.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 9:52 am

  22. Pascal’s wager is crap. What if you bet on the wrong big guy in the sky?JC, you Jason and I will all be in the same boat when Allah burns us in Hell.

    Steve Edney

    December 8, 2006 at 9:52 am

  23. “If your belief is not sincere you think the big guy is going to be happy?”

    Which is exactly the point. Sincerity doesn’t come into it. It’s acts and deeds these guys are concerned with, it seems to me. You can actually buy a priority pass.

    An no, Homer. Clinton or Keating are gonna make, if that’s what you’re thinking. Redistributionists don’t get counted in this one.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 9:56 am

  24. JC as a number of christian faiths will tell you it is not good acts that get you into heaven but acceptance of christ.

    Steve Edney

    December 8, 2006 at 9:59 am

  25. Seriously Edney, Why is it crap.

    I was never taught that motiviation or intent was more important than acts of kindness etc. All these religions seem to be saying that actions are far more important…. On balance of course, as you can’t have a Jeffrey Dahmer making it through, no matter how generous he was.

    Atheists believe in annihilation, Steve. it’s a bad bet comapred to Pascal. it’s a shockingly bad bet.

    As for the Muslim angle. Well the koran speaks ok about us being the people of the book etc. So you can squeeze through it seems.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 10:05 am

  26. I was going to make the point that CL did.

    Nice piece of fiction though.

    Steve is correct JC, whilst we were born for good works they are only done because of what Jesus did on the cross and of course rising again.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 8, 2006 at 10:07 am

  27. “JC as a number of christian faiths will tell you it is not good acts that get you into heaven but acceptance of christ.”

    I’m fine with that. No problems with that at all. If the objective is to make it through, why do i give a toss about not accepting him. Of course I would. The other bet, the atheist bet, doesn’t stand a chance.

    So mix acceptance in with a few decent acts, behave yourself a little and your in.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 10:09 am

  28. well err No JC.

    God being God knows whether you believe or not.

    If you do not believe Jeus took your the punishment for your sins on the cross then you are out.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 8, 2006 at 10:11 am

  29. “Steve is correct JC, whilst we were born for good works they are only done because of what Jesus did on the cross and of course rising again.”

    That’s not exactly contraversial, homer. It doesn’t exactly cross out what argued.

    In fact it cements my argument even more.

    I was always taught that only to be wiith the in crowd is if one blieves in Christ etc. sprinkled with acts of kindness.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 10:15 am

  30. Actually, RL, I really like Handel’s Messiah and have been to see it performed a few times by different choirs, some professional, others amateur but still excellent.

    Is next Thursday your last performance? If it is I’ll miss out by one day.

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 10:15 am

  31. JC if you think something it’s true, that’s that. You don’t believe in something because it may be desirable to,

    And no I don’t believe in annihilation. I believe my self is just a pattern of information. It will be uploaded into immortality one day either by me or my descendant when the Singularity comes 🙂

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 10:16 am

  32. Balls Homer.

    He never told us that we can’t make rational decisions as to the motivations for belief. In fact i am being true to these beliefs. Quite honest in fact.

    I am saying that I believe in God, Christ etc. because I wanna make it through the gates and the alternative is a bad bet.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 10:18 am

  33. “JC if you think something it’s true, that’s that. You don’t believe in something because it may be desirable to”
    But of course you do. It’s a darn side more favourable living in those gates, as we have been told, than not to. That’s why I am forced to believe in his existence and pay my way through.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 10:20 am

  34. Homer is right, JC. I don’t think you can hedge with God/Allah/Yahweh. You have to accept the fundamental principles of faith. Sure, good works are nice, but ultimately, you must have faith.

    (NB: the above shows I had a good religious education. Like Jason, however, I don’t believe any of it).

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 10:20 am

  35. How did I know that a thread on choosing when you’ve had enough pain for yourself would devolve into superstition.

    OK, my 2c:

    I don’t believe in God. This means I’ll do what I think is right for the here and now, and for the legacy I’ll leave when I’m gone. If it turns out I’m wrong, and get eternal damnation for not being superstitious, then Who or Whatever does it to me never deserved my faith, respect or devotion. He/she/it is just a fucktard.

    And just a quick casuistry challenge for the anti-euthanasia folks:

    You are on one side of a razor-wire fence. Can’t get through or around it. Forget it. Okay, it’s a magical force-field. Only bullets can pass through it. You have a gun. Some dude (or chick… whichever you’re most kindly disposed to) is on the other side, slowly bleeding to death, while being pecked at by crows. Also, s/he has cancer of the face and tuberculosis and shit. An upset tummy as well. Will probably last two or three more days, writhing, writhing, writhing in the sun and hail.

    Whatchagonnado?

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 10:54 am

  36. God is the laws of physics. I believe he exists but I don’t believe he is concious of his own existence. 🙂

    I think agnosticism is the most rational path. Atheism requires too much faith.

    John Humphreys

    December 8, 2006 at 11:10 am

  37. Thanks for hauling this thread back on topic, FDB 🙂

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 11:24 am

  38. what the hell do you mean by that, John?

    What requires too much faith?
    Let me posit a hypothesis – there is a 5 cm flying unicorn behind your right shoulder. But everytime you or anyone else tried to capture its presence it disappears. So tell me, does it require too much faith to conclude that the ‘5 cm flying unicorn hypothesis’ should just be ignored? Because obviously it can never be completely ruled out.

    In that case, I’ll propose there are also all manners of 5 cm flying animals with the same qualities. So I guess you’re obliged to incorporate all these into your belief systems as possibilities?

    None of these can have its existence completely ruled out.

    We make judgement calls all the time. According to Popper all knowledge is conjectural. So if all you mean by ‘agnostic’ is someone who believes that the existence of God isn’t a good working hypothesis I agree with you. But to me this is all atheism means so it’s just a matter of semantics.

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 11:25 am

  39. The shorter me:
    People who say atheism requires too much faith are basically saying it requires too much faith to *reject* the existence of an additional entity.

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 11:37 am

  40. Flying Spaghetti Monsterism requires too much faith. Although the inverse relationship between pirates and global warming is compelling evidence.

    I see agnostic vs athiest as a useful distinction if applied correctly.

    An agnostic is unsure whether they believe there’s a God.

    An athiest is sure they don’t believe there’s a God, but this is perfectly compatible with being unsure that there is no God. There might be one, but it really doesn’t look likely enough to believe.

    Only someone who positively asserts that there definitely is no God is suffering from faith.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 11:44 am

  41. of course, atheists are a different matter entirely 🙂

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 11:46 am

  42. The existence or otherwise of 5 cm flying animals is unfalsifiable. The sensible conclusion to draw about such a question is that the question isn’t worth answering. That’s the agnostic position. The agnostic answer isn’t “yes” or “no” but “bah, stupid question, next”.

    The atheist position takes the question seriously and somehow goes from “unfalsifiable” to “must be false” which is a non-sequitor.

    There could well be a bunch of weird shit happening out there past our human ability to fathom. I’m not going to insist that those things don’t exist (aethiest). I’m just going to ignore them (agnostic).

    John Humphreys

    December 8, 2006 at 11:51 am

  43. Well, FDB, despite your efforts, the thread has once again headed off topic…

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 11:53 am

  44. Only someone who positively asserts that there definitely is no God is suffering from faith.

    That’s atheism.

    John Humphreys

    December 8, 2006 at 11:53 am

  45. “That’s atheism.”

    Not according to my definition. A very well known and argued one. In my philosophy of religion studies, the academically predominant one. Yours was common though, so use it if you want:)

    Anyway, does anyone want to take my challenge at #40?

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 12:06 pm

  46. “Let me posit a hypothesis – there is a 5 cm flying unicorn behind your right shoulder. But everytime you or anyone else tried to capture its presence it disappears.

    So tell me, does it require too much faith to conclude that the ‘5 cm flying unicorn hypothesis’ should just be ignored?”

    The 5cm unicorn passes no convergence test. And only convergence gives us ‘rightful certitude’ in my epistemology.

    He passes no convergence test except when he starts ramming my earhole head-first.

    Which leads me to believe he’s a homo or a very frustrated female.

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 12:11 pm

  47. what FDB said at comment 40.
    OT but GMB – didn’t you say you were taking some steps re the FDB situation?

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 12:16 pm

  48. In response to the challenge at #40, FDB, surely the better definition of atheism is the belief that the question of the existence of God is irrelevant to understanding the universe.

    Liam

    December 8, 2006 at 12:17 pm

  49. John
    as I said coming from this as a Popperian, *all* knowledge is conjectural and contingent. This means that anything that can’t be reduced to something that is conjectural is excluded from my field of consideration. Thus God occupies the same space as the unicorn.

    This is simple English – adding the ‘a’ to the ‘theist’ just means ‘absent’ or ‘without’
    atheist = without a belief in god or in my case without a working hypothesis that god exists.

    Agnostics by contrast are cowardly pussies 🙂

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 12:21 pm

  50. wow, go away and we have a hell of a conversation,
    such are the burning issues of our time

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 8, 2006 at 12:23 pm

  51. By Liam’s definition John is an atheist

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 12:33 pm

  52. “as I said coming from this as a Popperian, *all* knowledge is conjectural and contingent. This means that anything that can’t be reduced to something that is conjectural is excluded from my field of consideration.”

    You see this is where you are making a big mistake.

    1. You don’t practice this consistently. In practice you give great weight to the status quo hypotheses. No matter how ridiculous they are.

    2. No knowledge can pass this high bar. No knowledge can hope to pass the high bar that David Hume set.So that you end up with no consistent way of judging things. Which explains your tendency to run with the mob.

    3. Since nothing at all can pass over Humes skepticism in practice his ideas are utterly useless as guidance.

    4. In order to get to work on time or even post on this blog you have to incorporate a myriad of assumptions that will not pass Humes high bar. So you do not, nor could you practice any like ideology with consistency. And the upshot is that you will raise the bar arbitrarily according to your predjudices.

    5. As explained on earlier occasions bivalent deductive exactitude, on its own, cannot give us rightful certitude about anything in the real world.

    The practice of it (or more likely the PRETENSE of the practice of it) or better still THE FELT NEED FOR IT is a sort of theological undertaking. A hangover from the middle ages.

    Which is why I tended to refer to philosophers as ‘Godless Theologians.’

    6. As explained on earlier occasions. Only convergence gives us rightful certitude. The only sensible beliefs you have will have ultimately come about by convergence.

    And evolution, Zeus, Gaia or God knows this. Since he/she/it saw to it that we had 5+ senses and not one or two really highly developed ones.

    [EDIT BY ADMIN – I, GRAEME BIRD, WILL BE FORCED TO APOLOGISE TO FDB BY HAVING THIS COMMENT FORCIBLY INSERTED IN ALL OR MOST OF MY COMMENTS UNTIL I VOLUNTARILY RETRACT OR APOLOGISE TO FDB FOR MY VILE COMMENT ON THE GAIDAR THREAD]

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 12:42 pm

  53. Whatchagonnado?

    Shoot FDB in the private parts and jump up and down and sing Halleluljah.

    SL

    Sorry to hear that you will miss our “Messiah.” As “K” Clark said, Handel’s “Messiah” is one of those rare great works that appeals to people of all conditions, even Metallica fans 🙂

    Rococo Liberal

    December 8, 2006 at 12:51 pm

  54. FDB

    Your off track as usual. We not talking hypotheticals here we’re talking reality.

    It seems your racing off to a bunch of guys who write the cheques and a another bunch of guys who think they’re God having a lot of power over your life.

    The government has a conflict of interest when they are the cheque writer and the potential terminator.

    Heaven forbid, say we end up getting a Labor government in power and they go on monsterous spending binge predicated on faulty economic assumptions. A the same time they have a say in who dies and who lives.
    Combine that with a bunch of bozos ie the medical profession who pretend they are God.

    What do end up with?

    You end up with the potential for one gigantic snuff film.

    Man,some of you guys are trsuting souls, aren’t you.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 1:15 pm

  55. That’s a bugger, RL. Would have been a nice thing to do while in Sydney. I shall have to time my visits better!

    JC, the whole point of voluntary ethanasia is to allow personal choice. That’s why it’s voluntary euthanasia. We’re not talking about Terri Schiavo. We’re talking about sentient people making their own choices.

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 2:10 pm

  56. Well said JC!

    What is it with these wallies that they want a law passed allowing euthenasia? We all know that such a law would have to be hedged about with so many qualifications that it would be a nightmare to enforce.

    But thit would do the dangerous thing, it would enshrine the idea that it is OK to take life. From that you can see the pressure being put on poor old Aunty jessie to give up her struglle for a few more lives so that her fatuous little grand daughter can have the means to go to univiersity to study some left-wing tripe. If we are going to have euthenasia, it would be far better to kill off the grand daughter before she becomes yet another useless lefty.

    Rococo Liberal

    December 8, 2006 at 2:16 pm

  57. so JC, GMB and RL are all paternalists.

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 2:18 pm

  58. Sl

    Yes I appreciate what you’re saying, but decisions like that don’t happen in vacuum. You need laws passed (as RL says) and the meds would have to be on it. On top of that you have the overhang of socialized medicine.

    Not to bring the point up again in a different context but a lot of terminal patients are living on probability scenarios. And these scenarios are not as easy as what you would think to figure out.

    My concern is that a 6 to 24 month estimate eventually becomes a 6 to 9 month scenario. People could easily hear that message and decide it isn’t worth because the probability scenario has been “fine tuned” to“ help” patients out in their “ courageous life and death struggle” (I’m adding lefty speak for dramatic effect). In other words important decisions like that are based on rubbery but “honest” answers.

    You can only allow these decisions when the government is an honest broker in the debate.

    Look, I wouldn’t send a dog to the British NHS for the most minor problem. The NHS kills. Would you trust those pricks giving you decent stats? Forgetaboutit.

    And RL makes a good point.

    If population culling is the new vogue, why pick on Aunt Bess? Why not go for the unborn lefty whose eventual vote and contribution is bound to cause far more problems alive than not being born at all.

    I am sure stats people could easily provide good sampling on the likely voting intentions of an unborn as well as through a decent DNA test. Get to the problem before it’s too late and in this way you’re making huge gains.

    Aunt Bess may only have a few years left, god bless her. So her cost of socialized upkeep is far less than an lefty….. not out of the womb but with the propensity to do great harm to the world.

    Think if we had got to the humanities departments of western university facilities in time to stop the damage.

    Now that’s a great way to approach cost benefit analysis that Humphreys’ is always drumming on about.

    I’m more a supporter of preventative medicine than curative when it comes to these issues.
    .

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 2:42 pm

  59. Jason
    Only is so far as I am cyncial enough to think the government and the meds would at some time like to give me wrong figs to hasten my demise.

    If we wanna do this, privatize medicine and i wouldn’t be against the idea..

    Frankly I couldn’t trust Julia (red head) Gillard with a dime let alone my life.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 2:46 pm

  60. JC et al:

    Why should I not be able to sign something right now that says

    “In the event that I am ever so far gone that I can no longer respond to the world around me; feel constant pain; can’t tell you that I definitely want to live; have been diagnosed (with a second opinion) incurable; yada yada yada… please overdose me on that smacky smacky goodness.”

    Who are you (or the big bad boogie-man gummint) to tell me that’s not my choice? I shouldn’t have to do it myself, nor my family or friends, just as I shouldn’t operate on myself. I’m not an expert.

    BTW, a fully privatised medical system would make money from beds being full, so it would NEVER be in their best financial interests to allow anyone to die before it’s utterly unavoidable, and they’ve used all the fanciest, most expensive techniques to empty the pockets of the patient’s family. The alternative nightmare scenario (aren’t they fun?) is of course the abovementioned gummint-slaughtering-folk-willy-nilly-to-free-up-resources-and-save-public-money one.

    Neither scenario seems terribly likely to me – people being basically pretty compassionate whether they’re evil gummint thieves or entrepreneurial doctors in Porsches. What would actually happen if we legislate euthanasia? What’s already happening, but without the hypocrisy and without the risk of criminal prosecution.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 2:59 pm

  61. I don’t see what privatisation has to do with anything. This is a simple matter of freedom of contract. Are you saying we shouldn’t have freedom of contract until we have a minimal state i.e. possibly never? in that case, many lefties would agree with you …

    Jason Soon

    December 8, 2006 at 3:05 pm

  62. There ‘s a good book on Probability… Fooled by Randomness” written by someone I once worked with in the same firm.

    He cites Steven Jay Gould who was once diagnosed with a deadly cancer given about 8 months to live.

    The guy was a smart enough fellow to delve a little deeper into the diagnosis. And found out more. He uncovered a very different scenario from what the Doc gave him.

    It came to his notice that EXPECTED and MEAN are not the same thing. Median meant that 50% of people die before 8 months while the other 50% die after. However those who survive live considerably longer even going to old age and meeting what was then the expected life span of a normal adult… 74 years.

    In other words it is a symmetrical finding. There are those who die very early and those who die a long time after. In other words his specialist had given him the wrong advice. Couple that with the way people expect to die from cancer, ie horribly and you have a potential for a snuff fest.

    This is a case of a Specialist Doc getting the numbers wrong and feeding that error to a patient.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:07 pm

  63. Why should I not be able to sign something right now that says
    FDB says
    “In the event that I am ever so far gone that I can no longer respond to the world around me; feel constant pain; can’t tell you that I definitely want to live; have been diagnosed (with a second opinion) incurable; yada yada yada… please overdose me on that smacky smacky goodness.”

    Fster, in your case the I don’t have a problem with it.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:08 pm

  64. “I don’t see what privatisation has to do with anything.’

    I told you what privatization has to do with it. I wouldn’t trust the parties in the arrangement offering me the best, unbiased advice.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:10 pm

  65. As usual, JC, you are as hilarious as you are charming as you are good at proofreading.

    Apart from snide asides relating to your wish for me to die, what do you think of my non-hypothetical. Should I (as your favourite representative of interventionist big-statism) be able to prevent YOU making that choice for yourself?

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 3:14 pm

  66. FDB:
    BTW, a fully privatised medical system would make money from beds being full, so it would NEVER be in their best financial interests to allow anyone to die before it’s utterly unavoidable, and they’ve used all the fanciest, most expensive techniques to empty the pockets of the patient’s family. ”

    Fster

    You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about because you don’t know the economics of the hospital business. Hospitals don’t work the same way as hotels in that they can make equal amounts of money on each hosiptial day.

    They make most of their money at the beginning of the stay, which is when the patient is going through surgery. In other words it’s in their interest s to have a high turnover rate by decreasing the time in hospital. The opposite of what you are saying.

    You see, this is a perfect example of a lefty who speaks “truth to power” but really knows sweet fuck all about the subject on hand.

    I have traded in medical stocks and spent a little time informing myself of this stuff. Why don’t you think before you sprout your mouth off in the same way Rudd does about “commoditized society”.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:23 pm

  67. “As usual, JC, you are as hilarious as you are charming as you are good at proofreading.”

    I can’t proof read most time because i don’t have the time.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:25 pm

  68. FDB says:
    “Apart from snide asides relating to your wish for me to die, what do you think of my non-hypothetical”

    Let me apolgise before you go telling Jase I want you to die. I don’t. I want you to live a long life and I am deeply sorry for the pain I may have caused you by the confusion. It was meant in jest.

    As to your hyerthetical.

    Look to be honest if the info is correctly given out and understood, I don’t have problem with it.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:28 pm

  69. You see the problem with Fster, jase.

    He writes that he wants to be given the right to snuff himself out. i tell him I grant him that wish. He then turns it around and suggests I want him to die.

    God almighty. Bird is right. Never ever give a lefty an even break. If they’re down don’t help them out.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:32 pm

  70. What a load of horseshit JC.

    Actually I know a fair bit about the medical industry, both my parents and about 1/2 my friends being doctors. Here’s how it works:

    Some hospitals are procedure-heavy. The ones you’re talking about. They don’t want people clogging up beds (whether they’re public or private) because they don’t have many beds, and their job is to make people better.

    Some other hospitals are for aged and palliative care. Their job is essentially to look after people until they die. They don’t even have the facilities for most life-saving or life-prolonging procedures – they contract them in or out and make little or nothing from them.

    Have a fucking think before you accuse people of ignorance JC.

    Also, an attentive reading of what I said will show that I don’t think the scenario was all that likely. So fine, post gobbledigook if you want, but please at least read what other people write before you start foaming at the mouth.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 3:35 pm

  71. Obviously it was meant in jest JC. Don’t get your panties all bunched. Your ‘joke’ being I presume that as an ideological opponent, you don’t mind me dying. Really funny!

    But I know it was a joke, and it wasn’t that offensive. Please don’t compare it to what GMB said. I’d really like to stop thinking about that if you don’t mind.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 3:37 pm

  72. “Actually I know a fair bit about the medical industry, both my parents and about 1/2 my friends being doctors. Here’s how it works:”

    gee thanks for the free advice, Fster.

    “Some hospitals are procedure-heavy. The ones you’re talking about. They don’t want people clogging up beds (whether they’re public or private) because they don’t have many beds, and their job is to make people better.”

    Ah, but you only made mention of hospitals, but now after I clued you in we have this informative rejoinder:

    Some other hospitals are for aged and palliative care. Their job is essentially to look after people until they die. They don’t even have the facilities for most life-saving or life-prolonging procedures – they contract them in or out and make little or nothing from them.

    Except you never mentioned Pallative care units, did you? The image you created was the regular trype. I am sure a clear thinking, careful individual like you would have shown otherwise.

    And of course your first argument fell in a heep because we all know that the job of a hospice is longer term care. You didn’t exactly show you knew what you were talking about when you mentioned Hospitals.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:51 pm

  73. ” BTW, a fully privatised medical system would make money from beds being full, so it would NEVER be in their best financial interests to allow anyone to die before it’s utterly unavoidable, and they’ve used all the fanciest, most expensive techniques to empty the pockets of the patient’s family. ””

    This was talking about regular hospitals and you know it. You got caught out lying again and now trying to change the subject.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 3:54 pm

  74. Oh I’m sorry. I thought it was pretty much established that we were talking about people who were terminally ill or permanently incapacitated.

    You obviously thought it was about perfectly saveable folks. Now I understand your opposition to euthanasia. Evil know-it-all “educated” (the horror!) government doctors swiping babies from the maternity ward and gassing them because they’ve got the sniffles – you’re right, sounds terrible!

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 3:55 pm

  75. FFS – my point was that “the medical system” makes money from beds AND procedures, and would be cutting off its revenue stream if it kept euthanasing perfectly good wallets.

    It was you who said

    “They make most of their money at the beginning of the stay, which is when the patient is going through surgery. In other words it’s in their interest s to have a high turnover rate by decreasing the time in hospital.”

    Demonstrating that you were simply not on the right page. We’re talking about people who’ve been through the “beginning of their stay” well and truly. I didn’t think it necessary to say I wasn’t talking about maternity hospitals, mental hospitals, general hospitals, army hospitals or whatever.

    Anyhoo,

    Personally I think a fully private system would still do it (and in fact they DO) because even though they’re in it for the money they’re mostly decent people who don’t like patients to suffer. Having had my dear old Nanna “allowed to die” very recently by the facility she was paying through the nose for I can attest to this. They could have kept her alive for much longer, but she had recurrent internal bleeding, no short-term and litlle long-term memory, paralysis from a stroke in her whole left side, and made it VERY clear she’d had quite enough thank you very much. 96 is plenty. The telegram from HRH is just not worth hanging around for. etc etc

    Conversely, the public system wouldn’t go slaughtering wards en masse because it too would be staffed in the main by decent people who care about the patients and their families. Call me an idealist if you will.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 4:12 pm

  76. ” Call me an idealist if you will. ” And a lefty.

    Fster, go read what i said again. I said the guys writing the cheque and the medicos should be kept well away from making these decisions…even helping to formulate a policy for the reasons I gave.

    JC.

    December 8, 2006 at 4:32 pm

  77. Nonsense, RL. Exile On Main Street has many more than three chords. 😉

    C.L.

    December 8, 2006 at 4:40 pm

  78. Jason, I hope you listened to at least 4.5 minutes into the song, when the real visceral stuff starts to kick in.

    Thanks Skeptic! Keep the Metallica coming!

    fatfingers

    December 8, 2006 at 4:45 pm

  79. And all I’m saying is that VOLUNTARY euthanasia should be legislated for in some form.

    Obviously you don’t trust doctors or the government with your life. Fair enough too. Why then do you oppose a law that gives YOU (or your next of kin even) the power to make the choice? Simply because that choice is enshrined in law it’s automatically bad?

    Most opposition (cf C.L.) seems to come from the idea that life and death by their very nature can’t be treated in anything but black and white. We must ALWAYS struggle to keep people alive.

    Fucking wierd that these same people believe they’re off to sit on a cloud with Hendrix, when sanguine death-dealers like me face oblivion.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 4:48 pm

  80. Not Metallica’s best, even on that album IMHO.

    Give me Blackened any day.

    FDB

    December 8, 2006 at 4:51 pm

  81. Catholics do not believe we “must ALWAYS struggle to keep people alive”. Heroic, excessive and superfluous medical treatment are not hallmarks of Catholic palliative care.

    FDB, if you’re going to cite me, try to educate yourself about what people like me actually believe. Otherwise, humbly bail out of discussing a subject you don’t fully grasp.

    As for your self-description above, I wouldn’t call you an idealist. I’d call you an angry clown.

    C.L.

    December 8, 2006 at 5:22 pm

  82. FDB, agree totally it is not one of Metallica’s best attempts. Harvester tops it on Justice as well as Blackened.

    fatfingers

    December 8, 2006 at 5:36 pm

  83. Harvester=one of my all time favourite songs. That said, One – especially the clip – is genuinely thought-provoking and a great conversation starter – here we are, nearly a 100 posts on a YouTube vid. And a lot of it pretty good stuff, too.

    skepticlawyer

    December 8, 2006 at 5:52 pm

  84. RL — “As “K” Clark said, Handel’s “Messiah” is one of those rare great works that appeals to people of all conditions, even Metallica fans.”

    Yes indeed. Kwame Nkrumah, the first leader of independent Ghana, said the same thing: Handel’s Messiah isn’t for just the Brits or the Africans, it’s for everyone.

    I’d say the same of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. You should try it, sl.

    Rob

    December 8, 2006 at 6:50 pm

  85. I totally agree but it was written for Easter!

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 8, 2006 at 8:28 pm

  86. “And all I’m saying is that VOLUNTARY euthanasia should be legislated for in some form.
    Obviously you don’t trust doctors or the government with your life. Fair enough too. Why then do you oppose a law that gives YOU (or your next of kin even) the power to make the choice?”

    Its nothing to do with personal fears you idiot.

    Its about the reality of doctors and governments.

    Humphreys been suffering from this self-same mental defficiency.

    One minute you’ll be talking about public policy and the next minute the dumb bugger starts claiming that its not public policy its personal fear.

    Now there is just no laws proposed about Euthanasia that don’t involve a hospital situation and the doctors having this power.

    When such an idea comes up one might consider it on its merits.

    But why do we need a law to commit suicide.

    It might be better with a with a pharmacist and a JP or something. Who knows.

    But keep the Doctors, for the love on non-fascists everywhere, out of it.

    Its got nothing to fucking do with anyones personal fears…

    Right?

    You got that?

    Its about not being a fascist and having some concern for public standards and the and the maintenance of a high implied value of human life.

    This idea that people die in great pain is all bullshit anyway.

    Even in a country town you can get good palliative care to chase the pain away.

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 11:48 pm

  87. “57. Jason Soon | December 8th, 2006 at 2:18 pm
    so JC, GMB and RL are all paternalists.”

    No thats bullshit. You’ve just gone Cuckoo because I’ve gone and encroached on your David Hume religiosity.

    I’ll bet you this time its you and not skeptic that put the admin message up.

    You know how I know this?

    Once I start laying into your David Hume personal religion you are likely to experience such severe cognitive dissonance that you’ll throw any distraction up.

    GMB

    December 8, 2006 at 11:56 pm

  88. Don’t talk to me except to apologise, Graeme.

    FDB

    December 11, 2006 at 10:25 am


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