The politics of "right to die"
The Economist has an interesting story on laws allowing for physician assisted dying for people with certain health conditions. The first such law was passed in Northern Australia back in 1995. More recently, many other jurisdictions have adopted similar laws. This map caught my eye:
With the exception of Hawaii, every single state with assisted dying is also a state where pot is legal. Notice that these states tend to be in the western US. (Canada also allows both pot and assisted dying.) All but Montana are “blue” states.
The politics of marijuana legalization is quite interesting. Support for legal pot is far higher among the public than among politicians (of either party.) According to the Economist, the same is true of assisted dying:
In Britain, an Oregon-style bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords in October. But to become law it would also need the support of the House of Commons and the government, which looks unlikely. Three-quarters of Britons support a right to die, but only 35% of MPs do.
Perhaps this reflects the fact that elites don’t like the idea of ordinary people being able to decide for themselves how to live (or die). Elites like to be in control.
On the other hand, for at least one type of assisted dying, support is actually higher among the old than the young (at least in Canada):
This is the exact opposite of the case with marijuana, where the young are more in favor of legalization. I wonder what explains the difference? One possibility is that young people tend to have milder forms of mental illness, which they don’t see as being severe enough to justify terminating a life. Or perhaps older people with mental illness have just given up hope:
John Scully, who has lived with severe depression and ptsd for decades, agrees. At home at night in Toronto, Mr Scully, who is 80, is haunted by the horrors he witnessed as a war correspondent: the dead torn apart by vultures, the AK47 scoped to shoot him. He also experiences physical pain. “There is no cure,” he says. Nineteen shock therapies, countless medications and six stints as a psychiatric patient have failed to bring him relief. The “only help available”, he believes, is assisted dying. He sees it as a far more dignified choice than suicide, which he has attempted twice, and he thinks it would be less painful for his family.
Perhaps if you are 30 years old then you can still envision a better future.
PS. You don’t know how depressing it is for me to see Boomers listed as the very oldest group in that chart.