The View from Middle Spunk Creek

The View from Middle Spunk Creek

Quality vs. Quantity

There has been a great deal of debate recently in the local press about what I shall call “the right to die”.

As you know, several states have passed laws that allow, under certain circumstances, a person to voluntarily terminate their life. As an example, in one state if you are terminally ill with less than six months to live, and you can get a bona fide medical doctor to vouch for that, you can have your life terminated.

That type of legislation is now being considered in many states, including my home state of Minnesota.

On one side of the debate is the odd combo of the faith-based and the scientific. Under-girded by the Bible on the one hand, and the Hippocratic Oath on the other, they argue that the natural forces of religion and the science of medicine should extend human existence as long as possible, until the last organ ceases to function, or the last breath occurs, without any assistance from humans.

On the other hand are the “quality of life” advocates, usually characterized as “liberals” who think life extension without life quality is inhumane.  We treat our pets better than we treat our elderly, they say.  When a pet reaches a certain point in life, we mercifully and painlessly “put them to sleep”.  But with the elderly, we keep them around as long as medicine and scientific technology will keep them breathing, no matter how much pain, suffering and erosion of the family treasury it engenders. No matter how terrible their quality of life.

There is merit to both sides, but neither really addresses the underlying reason we have this debate at all: scientific advancements in medicine and nutrition, and changes in lifestyle, that have radically extended the life expectancy of the citizenry of first world nations. One hundred years ago the average life expectancy was 54.75 years. Today it is over 80 in most industrialized countries.

Fueled by the spectre and realization of great wealth, and the Fountain of Youth mentality of the populace, there is little thought given by scientists, the pharmaceutical industry or nutritionists as  to what increased life extension will do to society. Or to the ever-increasing number of suffering individuals at the end of their lives.

240_F_38137619_cogv8QlGmuYH0fGEqtqO9A9hKBcW6dRY

And what if life expectancy could be instantly doubled? What then? Would the scientific community or the pharmaceutical industry recognize their responsibility toward society as a whole? Or would greed, religion and the Hippocratic Oath propel us toward world-wide disaster?

Cloud Warriors provides one man’s answer.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: