Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Debra J. Saunders uses assisted suicide on reason and sense

I was just thinking the other day that I haven't read anything stupid and nonsensical from Debra J. Saunders in a while.  Luckily she's here to fix that.  Today Debra J. Saunders is tackling assisted suicide, which is a complicated, nuanced topic that Debra J. Saunders cannot understand or discuss intelligently.

SPOILER ALERT: Debra J. Saunders is against assisted suicide.

Here's my favorite disclaimer in a while, at the VERY END of the column, so you have to read her childish attempts to rail against it before you find out:

Full disclosure: My husband, Wesley J. Smith, is a paid consultant with the anti-assisted suicide Patients Rights Council.

Haha.  I hope he has some better arguments than you do, because yours are terrible.  Debra is here to discuss the case of Brittany Maynard, who has terminal cancer with less than six months to live and is moving to Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, because she wants to be in control of the end of her life.  Personally, I have no problem with that, but we're not here to discuss why I'm right, but rather why Debra J. Saunders is so very wrong.  Here's the key section:

I love the spirit, but there is a huge flaw in Maynard’s reasoning. She says she wants her story to help change California law so that no one else has to “move to another state to not die horribly.” Close to 40,000 Americans kill themselves every year; they make the same choice Maynard is making, although most won’t have the media attention that is being lavished on the vibrant and telegenic UC Berkeley graduate. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country.
Perhaps Maynard sees this choice as a way of beating back at death, to not allow the beast to own every turn of an end approaching far too soon. I respect that. But she is wrong to call it, as advocates do, “death with dignity.” The very phrase suggests that people who do not choose suicide lack dignity.

I've read this over and over and I can't see what she thinks is the "huge flaw in Maynard's reasoning."  Is it that "advocates" call it "death with dignity" and that somehow impugns non-suicide death?  Because that argument is so breathtakingly stupid I'm amazed that Debra J. Saunders could turn on or operate a computer to compose those sentences.  In no way does calling suicide "death with dignity" imply anything other kinds of death, any more than calling Debra J. Saunders an idiot imply that she has occupied the idiot field and there are no other idiots.  Sadly, this is not true.

Also, nowhere in the article does Saunders attribute the phrase "death with dignity" to Maynard, so it's not even her goddam argument.  Debra J. Saunders is assisted suiciding a strawman.

She - or husband Wesley, I don't know - also comes up with one more anti-assisted suicide argument.  Well, she doesn't, but she manages to write down what someone else said. 

Marilyn Golden of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund in Berkeley is concerned that Maynard’s story obscures the larger picture. “For every individual with a happy family who’s not at risk for abuse, there are many other individuals who may be subtly steered toward assisted suicide by their insurance company or pressured by their family.”
Sure, families subtly steer other family members into all kinds of bad decisions, but we don't ban options that people want because some people may get steered towards them.  Just because a kid in a military family feels pressured to join the Army, we're not going to ban the Army. 

In the end, just like with gay marriage, it's impossible to construct a logical argument against assisted suicide, because it doesn't fucking affect you at all. Debra J. Saunders is just too dumb to realize this.


GG said...

I wish someone would assist Debra J. Saunders with suicide. Maybe that person can take out Nevius too.

I think what Saunders was ham-fistedly trying to say is that the flaw she perceives in Maynard's reasoning is that there are only two choices: To kill yourself or to "die horribly."

Of course, accepting that argument exposes the much larger flaw in Saunders' argument, which is that any of us have the right to dictate what manner of death someone else considers "horrible." For me, that would be someone reading Debra J. Saunders columns to me as I fade away.

Civic Center said...

With writers like Debra J. Saunders and Chuck Nevius as their proud standard bearers, it looks like we're witnessing the prolonged suicide of the San Francisco Chronicle. My only wish is that somebody would assist it, and fast.