Our laws recognize a number of legal ages for various activities. You need to be 16-years old to get a driver's license, 18-years old to enlist in the armed forces, and 21-years old to drink. One can argue that the various legal ages should be adjusted up or down, but everyone generally agrees that there needs to be minimum legal ages for some types of activities.

I think we need to extend that concept. Once you reach the age of 80, a new set of legal rights should kick in. Specifically, you should be able to imbibe any drug you want, and you should have the right to doctor-assisted euthanasia.

A typical 80-year old might need a little chemical boost to make life tolerable. There isn't much chance an 80-year old will join a street gang or shorten his lifespan by much. Perhaps the law could require a full-time nurse or family caretaker to be around if the oldster wants to drop acid. I could see some restrictions on the activity, but it seems cruel to force grandpa to have a crappy last few years when science provides options.

Likewise, euthanasia should be legal after the age of 80. The cost of keeping people alive in the last months of their lives is a huge part of overall healthcare costs, and a big deal to the economy. I say if you're 80-years old, and you want to spare yourself, and society, from a painful and expensive last act, that should be your legal right.
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Aug 6, 2009
@netphtali "And I guess I wouldn't be a very good Catholic if I wasn't." I see. So that explains your problem.
Aug 5, 2009
It's disgusting the way Scott Adams and so many others in our society think. Illicit drugs are NEVER the answer. They don't = quality of live improvements. If anything, they breed deprevity. And asisted death should NEVER be the answer to lifes trials. IF we start killing our old people, we'll start killing everyone else who has diminished quality of life, or who is a "burden" to our healthcare system, or economy. Running Man will become a reality. If someone is diagnosed with AIDS or cancer or MS or some other such terminal disease they will just kill them off, or refuse to treat them. And they'll claim its mercy. Meanwhile those people will still have many good years left in them durring which they could live a productive life... We'll also stop looking for cures to things. And this is in the legislation they're trying to pass right now with the healthcare reform... Sorry, I'm really upset about this. And I guess I wouldn't be a very good Catholic if I wasn't. but this and all the baby killing is really getting out of hand, to say the least. I don't think I will be so happy to look at dilbert any longer. If you agree with me you shouldn't either. Sorry Mr. Adams, but this goes too far. You have your right to your oppinion, but now I'll excersize my right not to listen to it.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 2, 2009
Yeah, you could put the old guy in a room and surround him with images of nature, and classical music during the last moments of his life. Then when he dies, you can send his body to Cheapatopia for a cheap food source. Soylent Buffet!
Jul 30, 2009
Although others may have already brought up this point, you can't guarantee that people wouldn't "encourage" grandma and grandad to off themselves so they don't *have* to take care of them or to receive their inheritances more quickly. As far as giving them illegal drugs, there is also no way to prevent them from selling them, voluntarily or not, to their caretakers, grandchildren or local thugs.

However, I would like to insist on mandatory re-testing for driver's licences for anyone over 60, at 60, 65, 70 and every year after that. While the elderly don't get into many accidents, they cause a great number of them, not to mention traffic jams.
Jul 29, 2009
If this makes 80-year-old acid trips legal, I can't wait to watch them in public places. Free entertainment!
Jul 28, 2009
Honestly, Johnestauffer, I wouldn't worry too much about it. While this used to be a fun and entertaining blog, full of thought-provoking and interesting takes on visible issues, it seems to have recently turned into a hot spot for unintelligible controvery for the sake of controversy. The last two posts have left a bad taste in my mouth, and not just because they're controversial, but because the whole slant of the blog, which I used to enjoy, seems to have changed. What a shame.
Jul 28, 2009
Being in my middle 60's I have some trouble with your proposal and some of the comments.
As noted, it is difficult to say age alone is the determining factor for any activity. Ability is the key issue.
I would like to keep working until it is impractical. Then I would like to enjoy the remaining years.
Granted the sustaining life past a certain point is more expensive.
But if quality of life and cost of medical/other supports is the determining factor, it should be applied across the spectrum.
At what point do you become a 'burden to society" and should you opt for an early death to save money?
Should we ask all the homeless and those on welfare to end their lives? Think of the money/resources we would save
If staying alive is based on a cost efficiency study, then we have reached a really bad state of affairs.
I guess the older generation isn't going to earn an 'karma points' in this new society
Jul 28, 2009
Interesting that no one has mentioned Alzheimer's disease or dementia in thier anti-assisted-suicide theories.

My mom is 77 with moderate Alzheimer's. She would gladly end her life if she could. If you know anything about the statistics, if you live long enough, you will either have dementia or be a caregiver for someone who has it. 50% of people over the age of 80 will have Alzheimer's. I am 40 and because of what I have seen and experienced, am planning now for the time when it is apparent that I am more of a drain on our healthcare system than I am of value to society. That means suicide, assisted or otherwise. It is horrible and scary to think about and no, I don't take it lightly at all.

I'm with Scott on this one...
Jul 28, 2009
I can agree with this. America is a country that treats its citizens like children. I want to be able to walk down the street and drink a beer, because i don't have a record of bashing people over the head with a bottle. I want to work at a place where sexual harassment courses can be skipped because I have no history of ever treating women inappropriately. America is no longer a country that is free.

It's messed up when a sick person can easily get morphine, a HIGHLY addictive opiate, from a doctor that has no training in addiction or addictive substances, but that same person can't smoke a joint without going to jail, and getting his house, car, and children taken away from him. If you've taken pain killers for more than 2 weeks, you're addicted to them. Your pain exists because you're addicted to the pain killer. Want proof? Stop taking your pain killers and your pain will magically be gone in 2 weeks.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2009
For the most part I'm in agreement with Martin81a: people don't die of "natural causes", that just means that they weren't hit over the head with the hammer.

Some research:

NY Times: "Neither should “infirmity” or “senescence” appear as a cause of death, according to the C.D.C. handbook on how properly to fill out a death certificate. Why? These words “have little value for public health or medical research,” the agency says. Plus, “Age is recorded elsewhere on the [death] certificate.” Instead, every death must be attributed to a single disease, which is the immediate cause of death. "

That article goes on to argue that "old age" should be considered as a cause of death. But I'm in disagreement because it equates old age with a disease. My father is 93. He's old, but he's not sick with anything he's going to die of. Therefore he deserves the best medical care available and doesn't need people telling him that he should have a right to die. Sure, his medical expenses are about 10 times more than mine, but they're less than my wife's (cancer survivor).

We either all have the right to die or none of us have it. And activily seeking death is normally a symptom of a disease, and that disease should be treated.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2009
If your mental age is 80, would you be eligible for euthanasia as well?
Jul 28, 2009
The State needs you to DO YOUR DUTY. Are you a good citizen? Is your infirmity becoming a burden to your nearest and dearest? Do YOU want to make a difference?
Our 24 hour assisted rest centres are there to service your life closure needs. Our caring technicians will tailor every aspect of your final experience on this earth, right down to the last music you will ever hear. Our state of the art organoscans will determine the viability of your major organ groups. Remember, a good citizen is a green citizen. Call now for an information pack. Large print and Braille version available on request.

+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 27, 2009
I completely agree with "minimum age" requirements to conduct certain activities in society. In fact, I would like to add a few of my own:

Minimum age to...

- use a fork, spoon, or spork combo: 15 months.
- no longer sleep in bed with your parents: 10 years.
- stop going wee-wee in public: 7 years.
- pay for your own college education: 18 years.
- move out of the house: 18 years. (Or ASAP if you really piss off your parents.)
- complain about being oppressed by "whitey": 16 years
- complain about being harrassed by the Cambridge Police Department: 65 years.
- stop imagining the CIA are spying on you from cameras in your airconditioning unit: 45 years.
- stop pretending you are a member of the British Royal Family and Nobility: 35 years.
- move to Florida and still hold a driver's license: 85 years.
- chew gum and walk at the same time: 8 years.
- stop saying "Like" 50 times in every sentence..."Like, I was at the mall, and like, I saw Josh and Megan, and like, gawwwd! I was so like...": 18 years.
- ditch the white-collar work-a-day suit and become an outlaw biker: 35 years, or 45, whichever is closer.
- chew steak with your neighbor's teeth: 75 years.
- pretend your a politician and run for president...and win!: 43 years.
- act human: FROM BIRTH!!!!!

That's all I can think of for now.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 27, 2009
Soylent Green is people! 80 year old, grisly, but remarkably tasty people. Mmmm.
Jul 27, 2009
Martin81a you are on crack. I mean seriously.

There is a really good reason why people are sometimes listed as dying "of natural causes", it is exactly that. They don't have a heart attack or a stroke, or get pneumonia or cancer. The body deteriorates over time, cells die and muscles weaken (including the heart muscle) until we get to the point where our body is incapable of sustaining life and we die OF OLD AGE.

Ever notice as you get older that things within your body don't quite work as well as they used to? Eyesite/hearing getting poorer? Knees a bit stiff in the mornings? Thats what I'm talking about - your body is literally in the process of dying from old age. It can't be prevented from happening, and it can't be cured (except without some way-in-the-future shwanky genetic modification and/or artificial organ creation).
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 27, 2009
The human animal has no natural predators, and nothing on this earth to limit it's population. Except disease. Add to that the dazzling human intellect, and as science matures, so do we. Humans have a natural inborn fear of death, so we naturally are working very hard to prolong our lives. The result is not always what we had hoped for. I watched my Grandfather suffer through ten horrible years of "life" following a stroke. It depleted a lifetime of hard work and savings, and overshadowed the 30 years of good memories I had of him. Given the opportunity, I think he would have happily taken an earlier ending.

Religion teaches us we can't kill ourselves, because then we go to hell. As long as we are a country full of religion, we will be a country full of fear.
Jul 27, 2009
Bobman1235, people get old, they get sick and then they die. It's actually not age that kills people it's there health that deteriorate. The better we get at handling disease the longer our lifespan will be. You don't have to go back far to see that our lifespan is getting longer.
Jul 27, 2009
I don't know, scott, I loved your writings in the dilbert future and the dilbert principle, but since then you have become a goofy faux libertarian.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 27, 2009

THis is a great article about the legal drinking age and how raising it to 21 didn't do anything.
Jul 27, 2009
I do not recognize "minimum legal age" for anything. One size never fits all. For that matter, any "law" which attempts to control or punish anything other than aggression or theft is not a "real law" at all, but a counterfeit "law". "Laws" regulating consensual and voluntary self-medication fall into this category regardless of age.
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