Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Make the Argument

 

shutterstock_210347026Most people in the country are at their limit, emotionally. It can be seen in the comments section here at Ricochet, on TV news, on campuses, and even among friends and family. The emotions include anger, fear, disgust, distrust, and doubt. These aren’t exactly the best emotions for this time of year. The Christmas season is supposed to be a time of hope and expectation, so I’d like to share a recent experience that buoys my spirit.

I’m in graduate school in DC receiving a Masters Degree in Physiology before beginning medical school next year. Occasionally, we will have speakers who discuss relevant issues in medicine, followed by small group discussions. During a discussion of end-of-life care, one student in my group of 20 made an argument in favor of physician-assisted suicide. He said that he would happily assist a patient end his own life, if he wanted to end it. The room fell silent and awkward silences make me uncomfortable, so I decided to offer a retort.

I argued that there is a great moral line that should never be crossed by physicians. The line between removing a patient from a ventilator, and letting nature take its course versus actively killing a patient. Also, as a matter of policy I believe that “Right to Die” will easily turn into “Duty to Die.” Patients feeling pressure from administrators, physicians, and family will eventually end their own lives.

As soon as the words left my mouth, the professor moderating the lecture began laughing and incredulously asked, “do you actually believe that? Come on, you can’t really believe that?” When I shot back a stone-cold stare at him, he knew I was serious. He then proposed the same question to the class who, to my professor’s astonishment, agreed with me. He decided to go around the room and asked everyone why they agreed with me and one girl’s response was representative “well, I walked in here not really thinking about it, but I kinda supported assisted suicide. I just never heard that argument before, but now I don’t think I could support physician-assisted suicide.”

I was a sophomore at this same university during Obama’s first term, and I could have taught a course in keeping one’s mouth shut and hiding one’s own views. I didn’t want to rock the boat, or be “that person” who is always disagreeing. Now that I am back in school, I have decided to change my personal policy of hiding and not engaging. The first reason is that after living in the real world, I have adopted Morgan Freeman’s attitude from the end of The Shawshank Redemption, and I don’t really care what liberal academicians have to say about politics. Most importantly though, I know that there are others out there who agree but are too scared to say anything, and a larger group that has just never heard the argument.

I don’t want this to turn into a Trump vs anti-Trump article, but I agree with David French’s piece about shifting the Overton Window. A group of future physicians were unwittingly on the slow road to accepting a progressive cause. I moved the window and totally blew up the argument. Conservatives have been playing away games for too long, but we can change that by being confident and unafraid to challenge the orthodoxy of the today’s groupthink.

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  1. Kay of MT Member

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I like, like, like this post.

    • #1
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:04 PM PST
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  2. Profile Photo Member

    Good for you-what you did is so awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for witnessing to the truth :)

    • #2
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:05 PM PST
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  3. Brian McMenomy Inactive

    Great stuff. You are exactly right; we need to start playing home games and winning those before we start going on the road.

    • #3
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:09 PM PST
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  4. Jordan Inactive

    Hercules Rockefeller: A group of future physicians were unwittingly on the slow road to accepting a progressive cause. I moved the window and totally blew up the argument. Conservatives have been playing away games for too long, but we can change that by being confident and not afraid to challenge the orthodoxy of the today’s group think.

    I’ve had similar experiences in the humanities with respect to feminism’s assumptions.

    It only takes one voice speaking in opposition to group-think to force others to assess the situation themselves.

    Groupthink’s power is based in unanimity. Take away the groupthink and you’ve just turned what would have been a rout into a battle, where victory is at least possible.

    • #4
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:12 PM PST
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  5. Hoyacon Member

    I echo the comments above. And so very well written. The Overton Window reference seems very apt.

    Hercules Rockefeller: I was a sophomore at this same university during Obama’s first term, and I could have taught a course in keeping one’s mouth shut and hiding one’s own views.

    So … GW? [I’m not expecting nor requesting a response].

    • #5
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:12 PM PST
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  6. TKC1101 Inactive

    Conservatives need to become as much “In your face” as progressives. They (Progs) wilt under push back and absolutely die when singled out from a crowd.

    Just say “I am a white male (female) free market gun carrying believer in personal liberty. You gotta problem with that?”

    • #6
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:29 PM PST
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  7. Hercules Rockefeller Inactive

    Hoyacon:I echo the comments above. And so very well written. The Overton Window reference seems very apt.

    Hercules Rockefeller: I was a sophomore at this same university during Obama’s first term, and I could have taught a course in keeping one’s mouth shut and hiding one’s own views.

    So … GW? [I’m not expecting nor requesting a response].

    The yell that wins the day…

    • #7
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:36 PM PST
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  8. Richard Fulmer Member

    Hercules Rockefeller:I do not think many would disagree with me if I said; most people in the country are at their limits emotionally.

    Naw. I think you’re confusing your college campus with America. Other than that, great post.

    • #8
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:37 PM PST
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  9. Hercules Rockefeller Inactive

    TKC1101:Conservatives need to become as much “In your face” as progressives. They (Progs) wilt under push back and absolutely die when singled out from a crowd.

    The key to this is knowing their argument before they even make it. Progressives are susceptible to this https://youtu.be/VmRe_fK7pbw?t=1m2s

    • #9
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:40 PM PST
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  10. PHCheese Member

    From the mouth of babes.

    • #10
    • December 11, 2015, at 2:11 PM PST
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  11. Annefy Member

    I always answer the phone – some small part of me thinks it’s (finally!) Ed McMahon calling about the Publisher’s Clearinghouse.

    Consequently I talk to pollsters, survey takers, etc. I always answer their questions and when possible engage the caller.

    A few years ago I convinced one caller that the minimum wage is a bad idea for workers and employers alike.

    • #11
    • December 11, 2015, at 2:23 PM PST
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  12. BettyW Inactive

    Thank you

    • #12
    • December 11, 2015, at 2:32 PM PST
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  13. MarciN Member

    Interesting that no one who has commented so far has argued with your description of the general level of tension and insecurity out there. :) Nor would I.

    Your point, variations of which I have read on Wesley J. Smith’s Human Exceptionalism blog, now a link at NRO, was the best argument against assisted suicide that I have read too:

    Hercules Rockefeller: Also, as a matter of policy I believe that “Right to Die” will easily turn into “Duty to Die.” Patients feeling pressure from administrators, physicians, and family will eventually end their own lives.

    It’s so easy to die. It is much harder to live. I wish we would focus as much energy on curing the problems of loneliness and isolation and fear as we focus on helping people die.

    I am appalled at how the medical profession has changed its thinking on this. As recently as fifteen years ago, the doctors at the top of the AMA were adamantly against assisted suicide.

    It’s a stupid move on the part of the public. In terms of management, it makes much more sense to leave the doctors alone to do what they do best: save lives. If we must pursue death by design, let us get someone else to do it. Leave the doctors out of it.

    What is the most frustrating about this new movement is that it is unnecessary. Patients have complete control over their healthcare and are always legally able to decline healthcare treatments.

    • #13
    • December 11, 2015, at 4:40 PM PST
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  14. MarciN Member

    The value of Ricochet is that it allows members to rehearse points they wish to make so that when the moment arises to say something, they will have something in their head, all worded and ready to go.

    Reading, writing, and being responded to about the subjects we are interested in gives us as conservatives an opportunity to hone our own arguments.

    Speaking of which, Mr. Rockefeller’s post is perfectly constructed and written. I am impressed by it on its own rhetorical merits. I’m really glad, with this ability, that he is on our side. :)

    • #14
    • December 11, 2015, at 4:52 PM PST
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  15. Merina Smith Inactive

    This is inspiring. I’ve taken that course too lately. I’m always respectful and make a point of being really kind to my liberal friends and serving them in any way I can, but I also make my points. The other day I was talking with one of them about Down’s Syndrome. I said that I really miss these sweet people, many of whom were part of our community when I was a child. She said something like, where have they gone? I told her they had been aborted. In spite of her yay PP facebook posts, it had never occurred to her that Down’s babies are usually aborted. I think she was a bit taken aback, which is a good thing once in awhile.

    • #15
    • December 11, 2015, at 5:29 PM PST
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  16. Profile Photo Member

    Merina Smith:This is inspiring. I’ve taken that course too lately. I’m always respectful and make a point of being really kind to my liberal friends and serving them in any way I can, but I also make my points. The other day I was talking with one of them about Down’s Syndrome. I said that I really miss these sweet people, many of whom were part of our community when I was a child. She said something like, where have they gone? I told her they had been aborted. In spite of her yay PP facebook posts, it had never occurred to her that Down’s babies are usually aborted. I think she was a bit taken aback, which is a good thing once in awhile.

    This is ot, but growing up, whenever we saw or encountered someone with Down’s, my mother would say, “There is one of God’s angels”, and she would explain to us that people with Down’s are angels. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the people I have known with Down’s syndrome are so incredibly good, that whenever I am with them, I feel as though I am encountering the divine. Maybe my mother just set me up to feel that way, but I like it.

    You are right, Merina: the world is worse off without the disabled people who have been aborted. May God have mercy on us.

    • #16
    • December 11, 2015, at 5:42 PM PST
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  17. Annefy Member

    Regarding the medical profession’s attitude regarding this issue, my experience has been unexpected.

    My mother is 88 and is in fantastic physical health. She only takes one medication, for her blood pressure. Her dementia, however, is a different story. She’s been in assisted living for 18 months, no longer knows any of her family members, can no longer feed herself, etc etc.

    When my sister and I took her for her annual check up her BP was a little high. I explained it was probably the stress of the visit and we weren’t going to worry about it.

    I asked the doc: just out of curiosity, if her BP was high on the next check, what would you do? The doc replied that they would start experimenting with different dosages or possibly a different medication.

    I told her, it wasn’t going to happen. That we weren’t going to start “experimenting” with a woman who can no longer communicate with us and would be unable to share any side effects.

    And recently the home called 9-1-1 as they thought my mom had had a stroke. All day in the emergency room, various tests. Nothing. They wanted to keep her and do more tests; I politely declined.

    • #17
    • December 11, 2015, at 5:42 PM PST
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  18. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Materialistic utilitarianism has become the dominant philosophy in society. The idea that human life has inherent value is absurd to them; if life is inconvenient we shouldn’t have to put up with it.

    I can’t help but suspect that despite his current protestations that “duty to die” is absurd, if it ever did come to that he’d argue for it just as vehemently as he denies it now.

    • #18
    • December 11, 2015, at 6:04 PM PST
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  19. The Reticulator Member

    Did the professor explain why he had trouble believing this? Seems to me he has a little explaining to do.

    • #19
    • December 11, 2015, at 6:41 PM PST
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  20. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well struck, sir!

    • #20
    • December 11, 2015, at 6:58 PM PST
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  21. Eb Snider Inactive

    Nice piece.

    By the way, the condescending, dismissive laugh is a common reaction from leftists who typically don’t have a response. Rather than formulating a serious response, the person tries to brush you off as a joke or some quack that requires no retort. Being that this was a response at a college doesn’t surprise me. I typically think the best response to this laugh response is to be calm, serious, and straight forward with your position with not responding in kind.

    • #21
    • December 11, 2015, at 7:42 PM PST
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  22. mezzrow Member
    mezzrowJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kay of MT:I can’t even begin to tell you how much I like, like, like this post.

    Like, Like, Like. Gessler’s hat.

    https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2015/12/10/the-american-reboot

    • #22
    • December 12, 2015, at 5:35 AM PST
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  23. Patrick Chiles Inactive

    THIS. Well done, sir.

    • #23
    • December 12, 2015, at 5:37 AM PST
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  24. Pony Convertible Member

    I applaud you and wish you luck. The advise I gave my son’s was keep your mouth shut until you finish school, then you will have more freedom to speak. Too many profs will give low grades based on your opinions.

    My youngest took this advice and got a A on a green energy engineering design project for the local transit company. After the semester the prof asked him to present it to the city. My son then enjoyed telling the prof all the reasons it wouldn’t work. Had he written a working plan, he probably would have failed.

    • #24
    • December 12, 2015, at 5:54 AM PST
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  25. Kay of MT Member

    mezzrow: Like, Like, Like. Gessler’s hat. https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2015/12/10/the-american-reboo

    Ditto, ditto, ditto!

    • #25
    • December 12, 2015, at 6:56 AM PST
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  26. Tedley Member

    MarciN: Patients have complete control over their healthcare and are always legally able to decline healthcare treatments.

    So easy to forget.

    Merina Smith: In spite of her yay PP facebook posts, it had never occurred to her that Down’s babies are usually aborted.

    I’ve been out of the states for so long, I wouldn’t have noticed this. Here in Japan, while out and about in town, I occasionally see people (some young) who have Down’s Syndrome. Judithann’s mother’s characterization in #15 seems so appropriate.

    • #26
    • December 12, 2015, at 8:32 AM PST
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  27. Buckpasser Member
    BuckpasserJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator:Did the professor explain why he had trouble believing this? Seems to me he has a little explaining to do.

    Why would the professor have anything but the utmost confidence in the government not allowing “duty to die”. Progressive government is always on the side of what’s good and decent.

    • #27
    • December 12, 2015, at 11:19 AM PST
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  28. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN: What is the most frustrating about this new movement is that it is unnecessary. Patients have complete control over their healthcare and are always legally able to decline healthcare treatments.

    There’s a big difference between turning down treatment that might artificially prolong a life and taking active steps to artificially end one. It’s a mistake the Party of Death (h/t Ramesh Ponnuru) wants people to make.

    • #28
    • December 12, 2015, at 5:29 PM PST
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  29. Father Duesterhaus Inactive

    Part of my duties each week include work as the assistant chaplain at the only Level One hospital in the region. We have seven different ICUs and end of life issues are a daily challenge.

    HR is correct that the “right to die” will become the “duty to die.” All you have to do is read what happened in Holland and what is going on today. Doctors admit putting patients to death “for their own good.”

    Now, this said, do we need to spend 50% of our annual health care dollars on the last two months of life? (Someone out there can correct/adjust my stats – I am recalling a four year old article that was in JAMA.) Many processes are initiated because they can be and no one sees the cost – both in dollars and family stress – when the best course of action would be for life to take its final bow.

    I am glad that smart, good people are pursuing a career in medicine.

    HR, keep up the good work!

    • #29
    • December 12, 2015, at 6:57 PM PST
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  30. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White MaleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Father Duesterhaus: Now, this said, do we need to spend 50% of our annual health care dollars on the last two months of life?

    The problem is that “the last two months of life” may only be determinable in retrospect.

    My mother is 89 years old, still lives alone in the house where she raised her family, is still travelling the world (Both Europe and Alaska in 2015), and probably has a more active social life than I do.

    She also had a hip replacement in July, and a heart attack/emergency bypass surgery in September. For 3 days after the surgery her kidneys shutdown, and it was not looking good, before she rallied. She spent three weeks in a rehab facility, and is back home. Saw here yesterday and commented that she looked good and seemed to be back to 100%. She made a face and said “maybe 96%”, to which my brother said “96% is pretty good – most days don’t feel like I’m at 96%!”

    I think there’s still a probability that she’s going to outlive me.

    My point is, it would have been easy to say that it’s not worth putting resources into keeping this old lady alive. Why spend all this money, she’s probably in her “last two months”.

    But who knows?

    • #30
    • December 13, 2015, at 6:41 AM PST
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