We live in a highly individualist society where we want what we want. We want our freedom. We want our rights. We want to do as we please. We want to afford everything we feel we deserve. We want to live in complete security. We want to live forever young! In our ‘Me first!’ culture we never learned the lesson that everything costs. When ‘everyone’ wants and gets that means someone has to pay the price – usually in a far away place that’s out of sight and mind. But the world is getting smaller and people are on the move – those who are paying the price are walking over to meet up with those who have been getting everything they want. Can we expect that the meeting will occur cordially and without upheaval?
Life isn’t demanding and getting your rights. Life isn’t everyone living a wonderful life and avoiding pain. Everything has a cost and does it make sense to expect to live in a world where we will never be confronted by those splattered in our moral sewage. We can hide from the ugliness of it all as long as the sweatshops and refugee camps are far away, across the sea. But now, not only are desperate people on the move but the aging and sick are among us in greater numbers. The ‘problem’ is in our face and how do we make it go away!
Margaret Wente in her discussion of ‘right to die laws’ makes an interesting statement;
Personally, I think right-to-die laws are inevitable. Despite my reservations, I want them in place for me and the people I love. But I think we’re crazy to dismiss the moral hazards as just a fantasy of unenlightened people. They are real.
Should doctors be allowed to kill?,MARGARET WENTE, The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Sep. 19, 2015
Ms.Wente doesn’t seem to realize that in order to have her wish granted, morality must be dismissed. What we claim and accept about these issues can be the ‘easiest’ way do dismiss them. What is a ‘moral hazard’? Is it just a pothole in the road to a desired destination that should be marked clearly so drivers can slow down as they drive over it while continuing on their way? In framing a moral objection as a moral ‘hazard’ which can be negotiated as people pursue their desires undeterred, Ms. Wente does the very thing she cautions against. The word ‘objection‘ means; “a reason or argument offered in disagreement, opposition, refusal, or disapproval.” The word ‘hazard‘ is defined as; “an unavoidable danger or risk, even though often foreseeable,” For many years I drove to work when it was snowing outside but the hazardous road conditions presented no compelling objection or reason not to go to work.
So if we deconstruct the meaning behind Ms Wente’s statement we can answer the question posed in her article’s title; ‘Should doctors be allowed to kill? ‘ Yes, they should as long as they do it while acknowledging the moral ‘hazards’. We can assert our ‘right to die’ as long as we caution others about the moral pitfalls of it. After all a hazard, though real, isn’t in itself a compelling reason not to do something. What a smooth way of setting aside morality – by redefining morality as a mere pothole in the road that can be negotiated albeit with caution as we proceed undeterred to our wants. All too often, we get what we want ignoring that somebody will have to pay the price wishing that it won’t be us or those we love!
Before long the ‘right to die’ morphs into the ‘right to kill’. And it all can start with wanting something for yourself while cautioning others against the moral ‘hazards’ of it.
God help us all!