Suicide

Dilbert's Scott Adams Wishes a "Long, Horrible Death" to Assisted Suicide Opponents

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Death to my opponents.

Scott Adams, the self-described "pro-death ignorantselfishertarian" Dilbert creator, wrote on his personal blog this weekend that his father was dying a slow and painful death and that he wishes for people who've done anything to help maintain the prohibition on doctor-assisted suicide to experience the same pain and suffering:

If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won't do that, because I fear the consequences. But I'd enjoy it, because you motherfuckers are responsible for torturing my father. Now it's personal…

…I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too. You and the government are accomplices in the torturing of my father, and there's a good chance you'll someday be accomplices in torturing me to death too.

He continues on to caution readers not to "misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration," emphasizing that the raw emotion of the situation is fueling his anger. The post was followed by outrage and disgust from pro-life activists. Adams' father has since died.

While National Review helpfully points out that Adams' wrath targets approximately half the US population, that number should be weighed against the 62 percent of Americans who believe in a moral right to suicide when the patient is "suffering great pain with no hope of improvement." This could indicate that most Americans believe in the right to control your own life and death, but that a portion of them fear that doctor-assisted suicide might be susceptible to abuse. In fact, Adams addresses this concern near the bottom of his post:

I know that many of my fellow citizens have legitimate concerns about doctor-assisted suicide. One can certainly imagine greedy heirs speeding up the demise of grandma to get the inheritance. That would be a strong argument if doctor-assisted suicide wasn't already working elsewhere with little problems, or if good things in general (such as hospitals and the police) never came with their own risks.

For an example of some of those places where doctor-assisted suicide is working without rampant elder abuse or other horrific consequences, watch the Reason TV video below, which examined the fight for legalization in Montana.

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  1. Wow. Adams should start commenting here. He’d fit right in.

    1. I’ve been reading his blog off and on for a few years and he’s definitely been getting more and more libertarian. He’s quite sharp, never dogmatic, and pretty open to new ideas so, come to think of it, he’s better off staying away.

    2. Adams would never be the same after reading a SugarFree work of “fiction”.

      1. No one is.

      2. Dilbert might drift in an interesting direction, though.

        1. Chubby chick pron?

  2. Can we just cut and paste the comments from the knockout thread here?

    1. Bo, learn some fucking HTML 😉

  3. Brilliant. The morality policing of this country is disgusting but its advocates are incapable of feeling any kind of shame.

    Can doc-assisted suicide lead to abuse? OF COURSE IT CAN. Just like pretty much everything else involving life/death decisions. To completely ban the practice, however, is ludicrous; it’s more than sufficient to include provisions to protect the person (i.e., a certification by another doctor of no recovery possible, etc.).

  4. “You and the government are accomplices in the torturing of my father”

    I agree, there’s nothing I hate more than people who are cavalier about others suffering while they don’t have to experience it as well.

    1. Kind of like how the strongest pro-life advocates send their minor daughters (or their own wives) to abortion clinics… God forbid THEY have to go through the trouble and responsibility of teenage motherhood.

      1. Citation needed, asshole.

        1. Yeah, bassjoe watches too much teevee apparently. Life isn’t a Law & Order episode.

  5. Adams’ case is a tough one. I am not sure a living will would have fixed it, since his father’s mind rather than his body is going. I suppose his father could have committed suicide before his mind was gone. But perhaps he didn’t know this would be his fate before it was too late.

    Adams is right but his proscription is wrong. This is one are that is so personal and so individualized that the law should remain silent. What the right thing to do in this circumstance is a decision that is so individual to the family and the situation that you can’t make any sort of general rule, which is all a law is, that won’t produce monstrous results. No case like this contains any lessons for any other case. So the answer is to leave the law completely out of it. Leave the issue up to families and doctors to make a decision and whatever happens is their business, provided no one runs to the DA and complain.

    It is not a perfect rule. But I think “we the government stay the hell out of this horrible situation unless someone connected to the person invites us in to settle a dispute” is about as good as we are going to do.

    But understand once there is a disagreement and someone runs to the government saying “they are trying to kill my father”, then the rule is absent absolute evidence that the person in question contemplated this situation and wanted their lives to end should it arise, then sorry Scott, you dad lives on.

    1. I think that’s what Adams is saying.

      The problem is that there are laws banning doc-assisted suicide. He isn’t saying there should be laws legalizing/regulating it, per se, only that laws banning the practice are immoral.

    2. Agreed. There is no easy way to handle doc-assisted suicide, but this would be the best solution IMO.

      Extending this to minors or the mentally disabled (as is being done in Belgium) goes a bridge too far, though.

      1. I agree, retards and children should be made to suffer! Just busting your balls, but why should mentally handicapped and children be made to suffer terminal illnesses? If a child or mentally challenged person is suffering their legal guardian should be able to consent to assisted suicide. Guardians can consent to all treatments, why not this choice?

        1. with children, there is the unnaturalness of it. Your kids are not supposed to die before you do. And with the mentally handicapped, this might be an area ripe for abuse.

          I don’t know; those are tough spots. Damned if I’m going to tell folks living in them what to do.

          1. That is what I mean. Assisted suicide should be legal, not mandatory. If your child has cancer and you don’t believe in suicide don’t consent to it. Go the palliative care route. But it should be left to the individual to choose.

            1. What the fuck? When did we get to “mandatory”?

        2. Quite simply: a guardian’s scope is reasonably limited to such areas where the critical reasoning and rationality of the guardian (not accorded to the trustee in his current state) is called for to steward and improve the trustee’s assets. (It is not a grant for an unlimited sphere of decisionmaking subject only to the guardian’s personal benefit.) By definition, suicide cannot improve the condition of the trustee; it can only cause the trustee to cease existence*. Therefore, such decisions which absolutely cause the trustee to cease existence cannot be considered to lie within the guardian’s sphere of authority.

          Less abstractly, there are too many situations where a guardian’s self-interest or societal prerogatives conflict with the trustee’s right to life that it would be irresponsible to allow the guardian this power. Obvious examples include racial hatreds, eugenics campaigns of the interwar period, and (of course) the early laws of the Reich pertaining to the mentally disabled.

          *Speaking materialistically, of course — contingent on religious beliefs, other things may happen after death.

          1. -By definition, suicide cannot improve the condition of the trustee

            When the alternative is great suffering I think it can easily be said to improve their condition.

            1. This.

              Of course, the alternative is almost always great suffering, making claims like this even more confusing.

    3. This is one are that is so personal and so individualized that the law should remain silent.

      not a shot at you or the sentiment – which I agree with – but this is like asking a dog to walk past a bone. Lawmakers know no other remedy, whether their intentions are self-serving or honorable. Doing nothing is not part of their calculus.

      1. Doing nothing is not part of their calculus.

        We are lucky if these fucks can do even basic arithmetic. Calculus is like Klingon to them.

    4. I could have sworn in the other thread you argued that the government should prevent it absent written evidence of consent on the part of the patient?

      1. That is when the family gets the government involved. In most cases, leave it alone. The rule should be must have written consent. The fudge is, the government only enforces that when someone asks it too.

        It is not a perfect rule. But it is as best we can do.

        1. I agree that when family members disagree it is a different ballgame.

  6. I’m as pro-life as anyone, but why should people be forced to suffer when we put dogs and horses to sleep humanely?

    1. so you can revel in the pain, er, drug-induced haze as they continue to pump more and more junk into your veins. I told my wife I want a pillow over my face… squeeze until I stop breathing.

    2. I can see how a doctor could oppose to do it because he sees it as a violation of his Oath… but for the state to criminalize the practice is just simply amazing.

      The state has no business getting in the middle of a decision made between a patient and his/her doctor.

      1. and I imagine Adams would cut such a doctor some slack and move on to one less conflicted about it. Which sounds like the way things ought to be.

      2. I want no truck with a doc who kills.

        I suppose they could list themselves as a preserver and ender of life, both?

      3. The oath says “do no harm” or something. If you’re ending a person’s suffering, how are you doing them harm?

    3. What if we know the person doesn’t want to die? Is it okay then? If not, then what about if we don’t know? Do we just assume they would have wanted it that way? That is a pretty slippery slope isn’t it?

    4. Because your life belongs to God, not yourself, and you should not be allowed to take it, only He can.

      1. That is the basis for laws prohibiting suicide and assisting in suicide.

    5. There’s a moral presumption from ancient cultures that suffering is caused by living unrighteously, from early Christianity that suffering leads to redemption and that bringing an early end to a life is thwarting God’s will.

    6. maybe because dogs and horses are not human? we don’t live on the planet of the apes. There is a difference, otherwise we would be putting people down with a broken leg.

      I think a bigger debate though that isn’t looked at is how our medical advancements are very focused on making life longer…but that doesn’t match with making longer life better. We can keep someone alive for decades on a machine, but we can’t guarantee they have any type of life that is really considered “living”.

  7. Allowing doctor assisted suicide would be like saying we peasants own our own bodies. Nope. We’re property of our feudal lords. They can legally kill us, but we can’t legally kill ourselves. Hell, we can’t even choose what kind of fat to use when we cook dinner.

  8. Part of me wonders if it’s money. I hate to be all cynical on doctors, but end-of-life care is where the money’s at. We’re talking thousands of dollars a day, all on the government’s tab. Who wants to give up that guaranteed income?

    1. This cuts two ways. How many government bureaucrats in Europe haven’t restricted care (and the ability to pay for it out-of-pocket) for the elderly/end-of-life treatment as a misbegotten attempt at “cost-saving”?

      1. I would think that restricting care to the single biggest voting block would have political repercussions from both them and their children.

        1. The bureaucracy doesn’t generally have to make itself accountable to the body politic. Regardless of who is nominally in charge of government, Leviathan keeps on truckin’. This makes it an ideal place to carry out unpopular cost-cutting measures, and why you will never see Euro pols talking about the measures that bureaucrats implement to make their “universal healthcare” schemes viable.

        2. but if our medical system morphs toward a European-style setup, those death panels the left pooh poohs will become very real. That’s the thing about socialized systems – money is a finite resource and unpleasant decisions get made.

    2. I have a pretty cynical view of most people but I don’t think that would make up a large chunk of the 50, give or take, percent who are against it. I think it’s just plain lack of empathy, these people just can’t put themselves in someone elses shoes and imagine for a second what they might be going through.

      1. When making business decisions, like, say as a hospital administrator looking at revenue streams, it helps to have a dearth of empathy.

      2. Suicide is a mortal sin — you cannot get into heaven if you commit suicide.

        It used to be a crime to attempt suicide. Assisting anyone attempting suicide is still a crime in most jurisdictions.

        The issue isn’t doctor-assisted suicide. It is just assisted suicide.

        1. We read a case in Crim Law and Procedure where a young woman was trying to kill herself in her car and a passerby cut himself and bled to death smashing her window in an attempt to stop her. The woman was charged and with felony murder with the predicate felony being attempting suicide.

        2. Suicide is a mortal sin — you cannot get into heaven if you commit suicide.

          What?

          1. Christianity forbids suicide (I do not know about judaism or islam).

            This was the basis for laws criminalizing suicide. There were significant consequences for surviving an attempt.

            1. Ladies and gentlemen of the congress, the Loch Ness Monster says picking up stones and putting them in your pocket is a sin so we need a law against it.

              The law is wrong, kinnath, and should immediately be repealed.

          2. Is that supposed to be some sort of argument?

            1. It was an explanation for the laws in place, not an argument in favor of them.

            2. No.

              That is merely background information on the status quo and how we got here.

              Current efforts to allow doctor-assisted suicide for end-of-life scenarios skirts around the real issue which is whether or not competent individuals have a right to terminate their own life and to seek assistance if they have physical limitations that inhibit their ability to terminate their life.

              The stumbling block remains to be a very large segment of the US population that believes that any form of suicide is a mortal sin.

              1. That is merely background information on the status quo and how we got here.

                My apologies. Disregard post above.

                1. No problem. I am not always as clear as I intend to be.

                  1. EvH has made me super sensitive to folks trying to push their religion on me and I’ve had a hair trigger on the subject lately.

                    Again, sorry, I’ll be less emotional in the future.

                    1. Emote away! H&R would be boring without it 😉

            3. There was actually a big blow up in SoCon circles recently over a pastor’s son killing himself. Some commentator suggested he could not go to heaven and many prominent evangelicals argued that this was not Biblical. Some argued that it was only Catholic theology that made that claim.

    3. I think Adam’s indicated that his father is paying for the care.

      1. That has what exactly to do with the fact that most end-of-life care is paid for by the government? Oh, nothing. Derp.

        1. I think it has to with the making of any general policy in regards to it, because there are obviously exceptions.

          1. Now I’m making general policy? What fucking planet are you on?

            1. Sorry if I misread what you were getting at.

    4. A lot of doctors are just paternalistic assholes.

    1. On the Isle of Lost Hat Tips?

      If we all wish hard enough, it may come back to us?!

  9. As I said on the knockout thread about this topic, if the concern is what the person at issue wanted, I do not see how it is OK for a relative to make a decision to take someone off ongoing lifesaving care, but it is not OK for the same relative to order an assisted suicide for the same patient. I think being against both would make sense or allowing both would make sense, but can not see how one could allow one and not the other. Either we trust loved ones to make these difficult decisions for people who cannot or we do not.

    1. and again, we have paperwork that people can fill out ahead of time re: heroic measures. My parents had that done; they were clear about not wanting to be kept alive by machines.

      And while my mom – in the few lucid moments surrounding her dementia – asked with all seriousness for a “little pill” so she could move on, there was no paper to cover that. I’m quite sure she trusted me and just as sure the state would have locked me up.

      1. I am sorry to hear about your mother’s condition and passing. Both my parents are alive and well and I do not look forward to the day I have to go through that.

  10. I’d be for it if the decision was a truly arms length transaction. government and relatives should get no say if either stand to gain part of the estate or get out of obligations.

    At this time my elderly neighbor’s house is being rented out while she is in the old folks home. Her guardian’s daughter got a great deal on the rent.

  11. “62 percent of Americans who believe in a moral right to suicide when the patient is ‘suffering great pain with no hope of improvement.'”

    If it comes with a qualifier, then they don’t really consider it a moral right. I swear most people have no morals at all.

  12. I don’t know Adams’ situation, and it seems quite bad. I’m not sure whether withdrawal of extraordinary means would work, or whether he’s talking about the more problematic matter of active killing.

    If the problem is getting your life artificially prolonged where in previous generations you would have died a natural death, then sure, there’s no necessity of using all the artificial means you can to squeeze out a few extra months.

    Of course, the euthanasia people don’t want to stop there, but to let patients or guardians (voluntarily for the patient, we’re assured) poison the person.

    It’s too bad he hand-waves away the slippery slope concerns. I don’t think the experience of other countries has been as positive as he intimates.

    Is it really a positive development that they now have mobile death vans in the Netherlands making house calls? Or that there were 13 euthanasia cases involving dementia and 2 cases (probably among the 13) where it seems legal consent requirements were not met, according to an official review?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…..-cent.html

    1. The main reason Netherlanders ask for assisted suicide, according the the article, is cancer and not dementia. I saw my father die of cancer, but that was because the disease killed him, not I.

      Oh, and now the Belgians are talking about euthanizing teenagers, and there are reports of euthanasia of babies.

      But I suppose all that can be waved away by someone introducing a Scott Adams’ Dad Act and dare anyone to oppose it.

    2. What is wrong with a physician coming to your home so that you can choose to die in your home with your family on your terms? If they come in a van to end my life at home vs me having to move my fatigued, cancer ridden body to an approved facility, I choose the van.

      1. If you want to off yourself at home, why do you need some guy in a van?

        If Belgium and the Netherlands are any indication, euthanasia is a bait and switch, starting with rhetoric about voluntary death and then proceeding from there.

        Now, if this could be considered solely on a philosophical level about the right to choose whether or not to die, then I’d sympathize more.

        I’m not saying I support grieving relatives offing their kin, but I sympathize a whole lot more with those relatives than with medical personnel accustoming themselves to working as killers. For former, I can see a light sentence based on them not being the kind of recidivists who deserve long prison terms. For the medical people, however, I’d say throw the book at these so-called “healers.”

        1. And, a relative of mine, not cancerous at all, exercised his “right” to suicide. The slope is well-oiled, and they won’t stop with the tragic stories of the 98-yo dementia patients.

        2. If you want to off yourself at home, why do you need some guy in a van?

          Make morphine available over the counter and grant legal immunity to anyone present for suicide and then you might have a point. As it is now, it’s pretty much impossible to kill yourself in a manner that isn’t messy/painful, and to do it in the presence of loved ones without exposing them to legal liability.

          1. Make morphine available over the counter and grant legal immunity to anyone present for suicide and then you might have a point.

            Oh, and grant immunity to anyone who assists, since many people would still not be able to acquire or administer the morphine without assistance.

          2. N2 is available at a welding supply shop.

    3. What is wrong with a physician coming to your home so that you can choose to die in your home with your family on your terms? If they come in a van to end my life at home vs me having to move my fatigued, cancer ridden body to an approved facility, I choose the van.

      1. Damn you 3 of clock!

  13. My buddy hung himself back in the 90s. He had a drug problem and I associated that drug problem with his suicide. Anyway I remember pretty clearly in my grief that I wanted all drug dealers to die.

    I can sympathize with Scott’s anger and the misdirection of it.

    1. His anger isn’t misdirected at all. It’s directed precisely where is should be.

    2. How is his anger misdirected? I think it’s directed at exactly the right people.

      1. Anger leads to the dark side. Seriously though, anger clouds your judgement. Cursing and saying you want others to die is never a good way to turn people toward your ideas.

  14. And again, this, in conjunction with the opinion of His Majesty, Barack the First, that sometimes one should take the pill instead of the hip replacement, or the valve replacement, or another expensive ‘heroic’ procedure that might, for a bit, put off the Reaper, says to me that the slope is not simply slippery here, it is being polished until it is a frictionless surface.

    There is no easy answer here, but the dangers inherent in sanctioned euthanasia, or assisted suicide should always be emphasized–particularly by the sane who understand that sometimes it’s just too hard to go on.

    Because the insane(statists) have no problem at all with reducing the surplus population.

  15. Assisted suicide would not be a hot topic if pain control wasn’t criminalized. End prohibition, and people wont want to die.

  16. For those concerned about the slippery slope, you can read up on the Groningen Protocol:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groningen_Protocol

    Essentially, legalized infanticide.

  17. So I think adding a “pro” assisted suicide video at the end could have been balanced out with a video of Kevorkian. the guy ran around looking for people to help die, instead of it being a very last resort. However, I think the suggestions in the comments that you have one or two outside doctors certify the person as terminal are healthy things for us to debate as a society.

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