Thursday, August 20, 2009

Embracing the Culture of Death

Jim Towey discusses the way the federal government has embraced the Culture of Death through an end-of-life planning document called "Your Life, Your Choices."

"Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living."

The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to "shake the blues." There is a section which provocatively asks, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug'?" There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as "I can no longer contribute to my family's well being," "I am a severe financial burden on my family" and that the vet's situation "causes severe emotional burden for my family."

I know of no one (although, I'm sure there are people out there) who want to be burdens to their families or suck up all their kids' inheritance in long and costly nursing home stays. But most of us might think one thing about end-of-life choices at 40 and an entirely different one at 70. While thinking about how you want your life to end is a good idea, temporary depression or a disability shouldn't push someone into accepting choices to end their lives so they "aren't a burden."