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I'll start with a question.

If you, your doctors, and your family all agree on an end-of-life healthcare strategy to minimize your suffering, should the government be allowed to veto your choice?

Before you answer, keep in mind that the government's veto might devastate your family's psychological and economic health. Who is onboard with letting the government make those decisions over the wishes of you, your family, and your doctor?

I ask because I've never met anyone who would prefer the government to have veto control over their own healthcare decisions. That's why I think the debate over doctor-assisted suicide is a fake debate.

My hypothesis is that the alleged 49% of the country opposed to doctor-assisted suicide is more like 1% nut jobs and 48% people who got tricked by a poll question that was some form of "Should the government allow your doctor to kill you if it seems convenient?"

But I try to be open-minded. I really do. Can anyone point me to a rational person who would answer yes to the government having veto power over your end-of-life wishes, your doctor's advice, and your family's preferences?

It's no fair rewording my question into something you DO object to. I'm looking for someone willing to say proudly and loudly that the government should make their end-of-life decisions for them over their own wishes, the advice of doctors, and the wishes of their family. Any takers?

I submit that that person does not exist. If I am wrong, I'd like to debate you right here. Please show yourself. Maybe I'll learn something.

In the unlikely event such a person exists, and cannot be swayed with simple information such as the success stories of similar systems elsewhere, that brings us to the second topic on my list.

It turns out that having an outspoken opinion about anything important in this world is very bad for business. The folks who disagree with you on any sensitive topic will use it as a reason to take their business elsewhere.

That leaves no one but the nut jobs to dominate the debate. Sane people stay out of the line of fire.

Now here's the interesting part: I just became an orphan.

Living parents are a huge limiting force on a writer. I was always worried about embarrassing them. They trained me to be that way. I'm now freed from that restriction. (The rest of the family wouldn't much care.)

My remaining reason to self-censor is purely economic. In my unique case, 100% of the money I earn for the rest of my life will be spent for the benefit of others. I already have enough for my own needs. The main reason I keep working is because I am in a rare position to make an oversized contribution to the economy, and perhaps add value in other ways. Apparently I am genetically inclined to find that prospect satisfying if not necessary. I don't want my valuable business engine to clog up just because I was outspoken on an emotional topic. That wouldn't be fair to a lot of people in the value chain who were minding their own business.

So I'm going to offer you (the public) an arrangement. If my new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything..." hits #1 on the NYT non-fiction list I will be freed of my last remaining reason to self-censor. And I will drive a stake through the government's heart on this doctor-assisted suicide topic.

You haven't seen me uncensored. You might enjoy the show.

I'll even sweeten the deal. I guarantee that you know someone who would benefit from the book. That person might be you, or it might be someone in your life who is making suboptimal career and lifestyle decisions and doesn't want your advice. The book is designed like one of those soft dog treats inside of which you hide the dog's medicine. The reader won't even see the useful stuff coming.

If you're counting, that's three potential benefits from one book: The book might help you personally, or at least entertain you. It might help someone you care about (after you read it first, of course). And it might free me to jackhammer some rational thought into the end-of-life debate.

Or you could just buy clothes for everyone on your shopping list. Clothes are fun too.

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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.

 
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+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
"If you, your doctors, and your family all agree on an end-of-life healthcare strategy to minimize your suffering, should the government be allowed to veto your choice?"

Sorry Scott, that question is leading the witness just as much as "Should doctors have the legal right to kill terminally ill people?"

I watched my mother take control of her own death last year when the time had come. She refused food and water, her kidneys packed up and death came in due course. Never pretty, but she found a way to be dignified to the end.

With sympathy to you and your family.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
I can absolutely think of cases where the government should have a veto. They are extreme examples and might be a little contrived by I think they might happen to a few people per year. I don't think they apply to the general case you have talked about recently.

How about cases where the person is to die in a culturally or religiously significant way that is gruesome? Like without any painkillers for a particularly painful condition? Or the person is to be sent out on an ice flow just because they are old but don't have a terminal condition? Did Eskimo's ever actually do that? I'm not sure. And if the terminal person is a child or mentally incompetent adult does that change anything? If the person and immediate family agree I'm still not sure I want to allow all types of deaths under any type of !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$ is the reverse case of people trying to treat their child who has a very curable cancer with faith or alternative medicine that has no evidence that it can cure the cancer.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
"If you, your doctors, and your family all agree on an end-of-life healthcare strategy to minimize your suffering, should the government be allowed to veto your choice?"

If you also expect the government to pay your doctor to provide the service, then, yes, you should expect that the government will want a veto option.

If you have health insurance, you should expect that your insurance company will want a veto on your choice. They might want to end you sooner than you do.

If you are prepared to pay for your own medical treatment then you can make your own choices.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
Am LOVING the book and am finding it shaping my life in unexpected ways. It's already caused me to rethink some of my work behaviors (turns out, I'm an a$$hole about 20% of the time and I didn't know it. Thanks, book!).
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
@JohnMcG

[Your rephrasing of the question is no less deceptive (and in fact more so) than the original. Your question leans heavily on people's natural disposition against having the government tell people what to do. Which is fine, but let's not pretend that you're being clinical and scientific.]

I see I'm not the only one picking up on Scott's intellectual dishonesty.

WATYF
 
 
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
[If you, your doctors, and your family all agree on an end-of-life healthcare strategy to minimize your suffering, should the government be allowed to veto your choice?]

This is such a cute way to reword the question in order to avoid the actual issue at hand. What finely crafted weasel-words you've used here. Bravo.

[I ask because I've never met anyone who would prefer the government to have veto control over their own healthcare decisions.]

ANY healthcare decision? I'm pretty sure you have, since pretty much EVERYONE (including yourself) agrees with a certain level of government regulation in what is and isn't allowed in health care. But we aren't talking about "any" healthcare decision, are we?

[That's why I think the debate over doctor-assisted suicide is a fake debate.]

Yes, you certainly might think that, if you're silly enough to reword the entire debate using generic terms which completely avoid the actual topic.

Why not just say it the way it is, Scott?

Should people be allowed to pay someone else to kill them? Yes or no?

As for arguments against the non-weasely framing of this question, there is no shortage of them out there. Here's what five seconds and Google did for me...

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/suicide

http://www.l4l.org/library/asstsuic.html

http://www.thecompassionatechoice.com/articles/30-logical-reasons-against-assisted-suicide/

http://divisionoflabour.com/archives/002448.php

Per the last one, I'd be very interested to know if you are capable of being logically consistent in this matter and thus support the legal right to sell oneself into slavery. Of course, that would require you having a coherent philosophical basis for your views, which we all know you don't. :^D

WATYF
 
 
+16 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
We already do an accept it.

If me, my family and doctors agreed that the best end of life care for me would be to harvest organs from babies to keep my alive, the government would veto that decision. And almost nobody would object to that.

So, we've established that there are some restrictions, and we're negotiating over what those should be. An obvious standard is that the government shouldn't be involved if there is no harm to third parties. Then we debate what constitutes harm.

Your rephrasing of the question is no less deceptive (and in fact more so) than the original. Your question leans heavily on people's natural disposition against having the government tell people what to do.

Which is fine, but let's not pretend that you're being clinical and scientific.

Those on the other side can play a similar game. The general public includes criminals, sex offenders, tax cheats, etc.

I could phrase the question as, "Should sex offenders be allowed to end the lives of their relatives?" and get an even greater response.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
Starts good but then becomes a sales pitch for your book at the end? Epic fail.

If your message that you support doctor-assisted suicide is now not because you believe in it but because you want more exposure to sell your stuff (think Miley Cirus twerking) then few people will take you serious. (I still think you support the cause because of personal experience and not money, but my judgement is clouded since I am the choir (i.e. support doctor-assisted suicide myself) but this will be used by the nut-jobs to discredit you (note: I think the percentage of nut-jobs is higher than 1%, see Tea Part, Creationists, ... and some of them are very influential, e.g. Rush Limbaugh).
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
I can certainly understand your position, but as a physician who deals with dying patients on a semi regular basis in the hospital, I don't want to be the one who ends the lives of my patients. I'm not opposed to stopping aggressive medical care and providing palliative care (and this includes using medications for relief of pain/suffering that may shorten someone's life) which I also do frequently. But, I'm not comfortable with pushing a medication that is going to kill someone. You may find that many physicians don't want to be in the business of killing their patients.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
I lost my grandmother just a few months ago. Physically it took her about 2 weeks to die. While she was still sharp as a tack, she stopped living over 20 years ago. Most conversations revolved around why she survived while her friends and siblings had passed. Divorced for most of my life, she rebuffed every willing suitor, so she spent most of her life alone waiting for death.

She experienced the normal range of health issues for her age, but we still considered her life valuable to the end.

I don't support the concept of deliberately ending human life. I support and individual's right to refuse life prolonging care. You've previously around $8k/month was spent to keep your father alive at the end. Why?

It seems like someone else was making the decisions, and you are understandably angry at the prolonged suffering your father experienced.
 
 
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
@charmcd My condolences. BUT, if you have ever watched a loved one die of a disease and have to suffer through it when they want it all to end, then no sane person would ever want that choice in anyone's hand but the patient and family. My mom died of lung cancer; she was dying for well over a year, but the last two months were the worst as it ate her from the inside. She wanted to opt out a lot earlier than "natural" causes permitted, and she should have been able to.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
I'm in. Is there a outlet for your book which provides you with more of the revenue? (if you don't understand the question: as an analogy, one of the reason I buy from farmers markets is that more of the money goes to the source). I wasn't planning to buy this book but given that I was due to throw in some money in your virtual violin case (for the entertainment from your blog and strip), the possibility of seeing you unleash the Scott easily pushed me over the edge.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
The issue I have with your argument as stated is that one can easily phrase any law as taking away your choices. Should the government have veto power over what I can own (or who)? Have sex with? Where I can drive my car?

The issue I have with your idea is that my loved ones were taken away far too early, and I would do anything to have them back. The idea of choosing to lose loved ones is completely alien to me, and quite sickening to be honest. That's how you get your 49%. Those of us 'lucky' enough to not have to worry about loved ones.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
I would like to see someone challenge you on this debate, just so we can move on with it already. There seems to be religious opposition to any form of suicide, or hastening of death, so perhaps you will find a debate partner there...

I attempted to buy your new book in a bookstore, but it took them half an hour to find it during which I was subjected to awful Christmas music, and they wanted literally double to Amazon price... so I ordered it on Amazon. It is very good and I recommend it to others, however I doubt it will hit #1; you have steep (Malala) competition and it isn't as perfectly in the Zeitgeist as The Dilbert Principle was when it came out.

So how about this, either you get a solid debate partner, or move onto something that is far easier for the rest of us (who pretty much all agree with you) to deal with than the death of loved ones?
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
DOH!!! yes, I realize it's DNRC (typo)

FWIW my claimed title was (/is) "Minister of Zymurgy & Chief Defender of the Froth"
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
BTW, I am still waiting for my call up from the DNRC army...
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
How can you possibly fail to transform the world with your loyal and faithful legions of Dilbert Disciples behind you? We have assisted in making you wealthy beyond measure, and that was just a start!! There is nothing more dangerous to the establishment than a cartoonist angered!! Let a new age of enlightenment commence, Dilbertism will one day soon be the law of the land!
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
well, my holiday shopping just got a lot easier!

come on, fellow DNCR-ers! let's rally the troops! even if you disagree w/Scott (which I doubt few of us do) it'll be worth it for the entertainment value alone!
 
 
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
Well, I don't know about the government having the ability to step in, but I know more than enough religious nut-bags that would want someone, anyone (even the government they hate) to step in an prevent anyone from killing anyone. Look at the history with Schiavo, and 50 years of the abortion debate.

BTW, your uncensored self is the best. You need a Dilbert for general publication, and one for those of us who can think and handle life.
 
 
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
you censor yourself?

since........when?
 
 
 
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