Uninvited guests, or, beware the nanny state?

Well, jeez, so I guess this is what happens when you invite some guests over and they decide to have a domestic dispute in the middle of your dinner party.

Not to feed the trolls …

Gotta say that I’m fascinated that this debate (on this blog at least) has immediately gotten down to the brass tacks of the legal and economic issues involved.

Bruno did a great job laying out the Utilitarian / Liberal / Libertarian arguments in favor of I-1000 (or death with dignity initiatives generally).  It does not infringe upon my personal liberty if someone else chooses to take his or her life.

Personally, I have a hard time reducing this one to a strict Utilitarian analysis.  There’s a more emotional connection to this issue for me, and one that precludes me from making a strict economic analysis of the issue.  To me, it comes down to the definition of “life”.  It seems reasonable to me that conditions that prevent an individual from enjoying certain basic human freedoms — let’s say “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” — don’t really constitute much of a life after all.

Admittedly, there’s a slippery slope in here.  But why not take that to its conclusion?  We’d do just as well to criticize the unjustness of a regime that subsidizes all kinds of self-abuse (smoking, poor fitness, bad diet), but then seeks to regulate the final act.

I’m still undecided as to whether or not I-1000 is a good bill.  But I’m convinced that the the general principle is correct.

One thought on “Uninvited guests, or, beware the nanny state?”

  1. I-1000 is not a “good bill” from the patient’s perspective. I-1000 is instead written to protect prescribing doctors and family members; it does this by watering down patient protections, for example:

    * I-1000 would immunize doctors from liability for negligence. While I-1000 states that nothing lowers the standard of care, physicians are immune from liability as long as they act in “good faith.” (Sections 18(2) & 19 (a)).

    * I-1000 allows an heir, who would gain financially from the patient’s death, help the patient apply for the lethal dose. This includes allowing an heir to witness the lethal dose request form and allowing the heir to talk for the patient. (Sections 3, 22, & 1(3)).

    * I-1000 does not require a disinterested witness at death. If an heir gives the fatal dose to the patient without her consent, who would know? (See entire text of I-1000 (no witness required at the death).
    http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/i1000.pdf The patient is not protected.
    Even if you are for the concept of assisted suicide, I-1000 is bad law. Vote “no” on I-1000.

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