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Choose Death - for a better quality of life

 article about about death

This article belongs to D.E.A.T.H theme.

We have the legal right to push knitting needles into our eyes… so long as the intention is not to die from our injuries.

Choose life. Choose the slow and inevitable aging process. Choose retirement funds, heating allowances and the slim hope of receiving a small state pension. Choose reclining chairs, walk in showers and stair-lifts. Choose replacement limbs and cataracts. Choose to watch society change to a point where you no longer recognize it. Choose complete dependency.

Last month 4.7 million U.K viewers tuned in to the BBC to watch Julie Walters kill herself. This wasn't another coked-up, off the rails actress trying to steal a moment of fame and self-indulgence, this was ‘A Short Stay In Switzerland' – a moving and thought provoking drama portraying the death of UK Doctor, Anne Turner. In this true story Dr Turner – facing the same debilitating neurological disease that killed her husband – makes the decision to end her life rather than bare the pain of a slow deterioration. And who could blame her? The British Government, that's who. Both assisted suicide and euthanasia are still illegal in the U.K and the Turner family had been forced to keep their mother's plans secret until their return to the country. But why?

For those who did not watch the one off drama, this was part of the ongoing debate as to whether or not terminally ill patients should have the ability to end their lives.

Why is it that we have a legal right to life but no legal right to death? We have a right to a ‘quality of life', even, but not the right to a dignified death. The American Declaration of Independence states that all men have the unalienable right to ‘the pursuit of happiness' but no ‘right to peace' is ever discussed in the laws of the modern western world. Governments are charged with our well-being as well as our protection and so why the obsession with life OVER liberty? Doctors swear to ‘do no harm' but can debate until the end of the Earth as to what ‘harm' actually means. Is it for them to decide, or the government? Or does this call upon our own personal interpretation when it comes to making a hard decision? Do we not have the ability, and the right, to use our own judgements?

Why not just take a long walk along the roadside near Baghdad dressed like Evil Knievel, waving an American flag and singing 'Highway to Hell'?
We have the right to do silly and dangerous things, of course. Smoking, for example (although we may soon have that right taken away from us), and dangerous but amusing extreme sports. We have the legal right to push knitting needles into our eyes if we really want to, so long as the intention is not to die from our injuries.

Military recruitment programs actively encourage us to place our lives in danger, or to let the government place them in danger for us. Why not skip the ‘danger' part altogether? Why not just take a long walk along the roadside near Baghdad dressed like Evil Knievel, waving an American flag and singing ‘Highway to Hell'? It would be suicide, that's why, and suicide is not only illegal – it's a sin!

I can think of many reasons why more people should be allowed to die of their own accord. Miserable hangers-on like Pete Docherty aside.

The simple fact is that the world's population is growing wildly out of control, spiraling toward unprecedented numbers. Infrastructure in the Western world simply isn't designed to cope with such a huge number of mouths to feed and neither is the ecology of the world. Eco-geeks will agree that each person, no matter how wee has the need to consume food and energy, contributing to the global energy crisis and leaving even less for those poor, trodden-on African kids.

In the U.K, America and most of Europe we also have an ‘aging population'. Put simply, with better health-care and quality of life (there's that term again) more people are living to a ripe old age. With more treatments for more diseases and free, readily available flu inoculations even ripe old age is no longer a major killer. More virulent than ever is the progressive ‘shrivelled old age', for which a cure is expected to be discovered soon.

The aging population is a major problem, sucking money from the economy and putting nothing back. Think about it – these people don't work, the only food they grow is tomatoes and they need increasingly more NHS care as they continue to age. Now I'm not saying that we should do away with the elderly in some kind of horrific ‘Logan's Run' scenario, and I'm not denying that people have a right to age. I'm simply saying that society needs to make changes to accommodate the changes in our population.

Another drawback to having an overly sized population is the high levels of unemployment we have experienced over the last several decades. Now, I'm not talking about the ‘economic downturn'. Compared with the good old days of the Black Death we've been swamped by the unemployed for over a century.

This is largely to do with ‘automation' (that's right I'm blaming Henry Ford for this one). As our society advances it becomes more automated, needing fewer and fewer people to keep the cogs oiled. Now the growth of the entertainment industry in this time has slightly offset the job losses caused by these changes, but who wants to run around buying crisps for Fern Britain? If science fiction has taught us anything it's that automated societies work best for smaller populations, allowing a decadent few in short-shorts to focus on art and culture whilst machines make the cars, do the laundry and turn the deceased into soylent biscuits.

So if you want to live in an Asimovian utopia, join me. Choose death. Choose painfully inserted knitting needles. Choose a comfortable passing surrounded by your loved ones. Choose dignity. Choose Switzerland.

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