I’m saddened by the recent Supreme Court ruling wherein the judges unanimously voted to remove restrictions on physician aid-in-dying. Many of my peers and friends are in support of this ruling and would perhaps be surprised I feel differently. I could write a big essay about it but I know how it would go:
To reason this through properly I would first have to lay out the argument of how our collectively-enabled, leaderless, capitalist, neoliberal regime is coaxing us to draw up the blueprints of our own demise, at our own hands, before things get too messy or expensive. I would have to walk the reader through how narcissistic fear (renamed “dignity”) is at the root of our resistance to seeing our lives through to the bitter end. I’d have to account for how I think it’s a terrible indictment on our society that people who are vulnerable and dependent deem themselves too much of a burden for loved ones, while the loved ones tearfully agree and praise them for their courage.
And then the rebuttals would appear, right on cue. I’d have to sort out arguments about relieving pain and suffering, and an individual’s right to decide one’s own fate. I’d probably do an okay job taking apart the suffering angle but the ‘right to decide’ bit would be much harder, and frankly would probably be the showstopper.
My own initial argument would be my undoing. I would review my notes, see how I described the inevitability of this decision, acknowledge how of course this is what our society claims to want for itself because we’re all so scared of imperfection and disability, realize I can’t fend it off. I would grudgingly, achingly concede I don’t have any foothold to insist that someone must keep living against their will, regardless of how that will was determined or formed.
The ruling itself seems like an inevitability and many would argue it’s a good thing to remove barriers to civil liberties. Sure, yes, I agree. But in this case, I’m on the conservative side of the debate and that makes things a little awkward.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m not saddened by the ruling itself. Maybe I’m saddened by the applause and what it says about us.