“If we didn’t have all of this technology…”
Advocates for the right to self-murder argue that technology is a big problem. “In the old days,” they would argue, “you weren’t hooked up to all of these machines.”
The argument is misleading and illogical. First, it is misleading because technology is one of those things most people – even advocates of self-murder – embrace wholeheartedly. We use technology to open our garage doors, quickly microwave our meals, turn the channels our high-tech televisions, view our email and even read this blog.
In the middle 1980s former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop spoke at a national convention for Christian Life Resources. He observed (and I paraphrase), “we praise the technology that preserves the life we like and curse the technologies that preserve the life we don’t want.”
The technology argument for assisted suicide really only uses technology as an excuse to justify terminating a life. The intent is quite narrow and focused – get rid of lives with poor quality. The presumed entitlement is to a quality life (regardless of what “quality” may mean). If technology gets in the way of ridding lives with poor qualities, then it is just one more obstacle.
So, using the technology argument is just misleading. Technology is merely the excuse to get rid of unwanted lives.
Second, it is an illogical argument. Efforts to legalized assisted suicide rely on technology. Advocates use technology to make their case. They use technology to broadcast their message. And, they appeal to technology as the means to terminate a life. They want a medical professional, trained in the latest technology on how pills and chemicals work on the body, to use that technology to terminate life.
Allowing assistance in self-murder presents many logical challenges. Arguing that technology is the problem is clearly misleading and illogical. Logic would dictate that we find a way to alleviate suffering while venerating God’s gift of life – but then that brings religion into the arena – another position used by assisted suicide advocates to make their case. I will deal with that one in a future blog.