Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Denying The Last Gamble

 

IMG_0660Public policy, like life, is always a matter of trade-offs. The difficulty often arises not so much in determining what is good and what is bad, but in comparing goods’ value to each other, especially when they come into conflict. Further complicating matters, this weighing of risk varies for any given individual depending on his situation: under some circumstances, risks that would be otherwise unthinkable may well be prudent and wise. And the only thing more difficult than anticipating changed circumstances is accurately forecasting people’s reaction to them.

This complexity — or, more specifically, the inherent difficulties in understanding this complexity — is one of the best arguments against Progressivism: no one is smart enough to be a philosopher king and attempts to approximate one through law and regulation are doubly doomed to failure. Leaving people to make their own choices and evaluate their own risks not only wins on its philosophical appeal to liberty (no small thing that), but also on terms of pure pragmatism.

It’s hard to imagine an issue that better illustrates the absurdity — and immorality — of Progressive’s we-know-what’s-best-for-you attitude than when it comes to access to experimental drugs for the terminally ill. Whatever benefits the FDA provides in terms of public safety and accountability (I’ve mixed feelings on the matter), they’re non-existent when it comes to dealing with the terminally ill. In what may well be a first, both National Review’s Wesley Smith and Reason’s Nick Gillespie both applaud the California Legislature (yes, you read that right) for passing a bill that would lax regulations for the dying which, unfortunately, met a sad end under Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto pen. As Smith notes in what can only be described as one of the most perfect ironies of all time, Brown also recently signed legislation — and with much fanfare — allowing assisted suicide.

There’s a limited purview under which the government should be able to say it knows better than you. We can — and often do — debate precisely what the bounds of that should be. But allowing the dying one last, high-stakes roll of the dice when they’ve got so little to lose and much to gain should be a no-brainer. Alas.

There are 8 comments.

  1. Profile Photo Member

    Thank you for this post, this is something I was unaware of. Agree with every word you have said.

    • #1
    • October 13, 2015, at 9:36 AM PDT
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  2. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Reverend!

    • #2
    • October 13, 2015, at 9:39 AM PDT
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  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So, assisted suicide is OK but potential life saving procedures are not allowed . . . because you might die from them?

    • #3
    • October 13, 2015, at 10:18 AM PDT
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  4. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vance Richards:So, assisted suicide is OK but potential life saving procedures are not allowed . . . because you might die from them?

    No! Because your hair might fall out!

    • #4
    • October 13, 2015, at 11:07 AM PDT
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  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iWe:

    Vance Richards:So, assisted suicide is OK but potential life saving procedures are not allowed . . . because you might die from them?

    No! Because your hair might fall out!

    My wife might agree with that. Five years ago my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer (almost exactly five years ago, so she is not a big fan of October or Breast Cancer Awareness month).

    Anyway, before she received the diagnosis, while we were waiting for the biopsy results, we started to discuss what would be the worst case scenario. My wife immediately replied, “I have to have surgery and chemo and my hair falls out.”

    I told her that was not what I was thinking as “worst” case. Then she said, “What? If I die I go to Heaven, how is that bad?”

    Thankfully for the kids (and me) it was her worst case scenario, and not mine, that played out.

    • #5
    • October 13, 2015, at 11:38 AM PDT
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  6. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The rationale (or excuse?) Brown gave for signing the assisted-suicide bill is that it was what he would’ve wanted were he in that position. I guess he’s pretty certain that he’ll never be in a situation where he’s terminally ill with an option of curing his body with experimental drugs that have yet to be FDA-approved.

    • #6
    • October 13, 2015, at 12:04 PM PDT
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  7. The Reticulator Member

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: the dying which, unfortunately, met a sad end under Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto pen.

    I’m glad I don’t live in California so my end doesn’t have to be so sad.

    • #7
    • October 13, 2015, at 1:35 PM PDT
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  8. Gatomal Member

    But luckily, he did sign the bill ending plastic microbead exfoliants in beauty products. Phew!

    • #8
    • October 13, 2015, at 1:45 PM PDT
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