Health, Law, Politics

Death used to be viewed as a natural phenomenon. Now we know better. The average life expectancy of adult humans has more than doubled in the last hundred years, and shows no signs of slowing down. The obvious conclusion from this is that if anyone dies it is because they are lazy. They either failed to adequately plan for their old age, saving money to pay for the latest medical technology or, at the very least, making plans to be frozen until such technology is capable of keeping their heart beating. There is really no difference between such lack of foresight and suicide. It is as if people actually wished to die of old age.

Since suicide is illegal, shouldn’t dying of old age be illegal too?

Just think of how many deaths could be prevented each year if there were real consequences for failing to live! Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to threaten people with death for dying of old age, and monetary fines wouldn’t do much to prevent them from paying for expensive medical treatment, so the best means of enforcing such a law seems to be to target their relatives. I propose that if someone dies, their living relatives be arrested and forced to serve their sentence working in the life support industry. Not only would this provide an effective deterrent to death, it would also encourage family values by ensuring that the young properly care for the aged. And, since it is unlikely that such a law would be one hundred percent effective at preventing the laziest members of our society from dying, such a policy would have the added benefit of providing a steady source of labor to the life support industry, ensuring lower prices and making continued life support affordable to all.

Some might argue that such a policy would have the unintended effect of creating a culture of recklessness since some people would be inclined to engage in risky behavior in order to die of an accident, rather than old age. However, most deaths from injuries are not immediately fatal, and there is no reason to treat dying from an injury any differently than dying from old age.

Under what conditions might it be allowable for someone to die? Obviously the military can not be held accountable if soldiers die in war. Therefore those dying in military service would be granted an exception. It might even make sense to create a special category for aged military reserves. That way those who know that they will not be able to afford life support will have the option of dying for their country when there is a war. (Only combat deaths would count for such an exemption, accidents incurred while in battle, say from falling asleep while driving a tank, would be the sole responsibility of the soldier and his or her family.) Another exception would be made for industrial accidents. Obviously companies cannot be held responsible for the carelessness of their employees, especially when older employees might wish to take advantage of the company by dying on company property.

In the twenty-first century we should no longer allow people to take away what God gave them just because they are old or infirm.

UPDATE: Another post in a similar vein. And don’t miss the Daily Show Clip.