Sunday, January 24, 2010

A more perfect world

There was a fine post over at The Hyacinth Girl the other day on the ongoing push for euthanizing our elderly and unwanted. Novelist Martin Amis declared that Britain was facing a demographic time bomb as its ageing population places an impossible burden on society.

The 60-year-old novelist predicted Britain could be engulfed by a 'civil war' between the old and young if it did not tackle its ageing population.

The whole notion that our elderly place an impossible burden on society is flawed at its core. The 'burden', if you will, of our parents are to be borne by us, their children. And it is little burden and more blessing, to care for those that cared for us, and brought us into the world.
'How is society going to support this silver tsunami?There'll be a population of demented very old people, like an invasion of terrible immigrants, stinking out the restaurants and cafes and shops."

How inconvenient.

Amis, a grandfather, added: 'There should be a booth on every corner where you could get a martini and a medal.'

His whole notion is based on a utilitarian concept, that there is no value in life if it cannot produce something tangible for you to consume. This is errant at its core, sadly thankless and heartless.

He told how his support for euthanasia had deepened since the death of his stepfather, Lord Kilmarnock, last year. He said he had wanted to help the Roman Catholic peer to die because it was clear he was fighting a 'lost battle'. He thought he was going to get better. But he didn't. I think the denial of death is a great curse. We all wanted to assist him... it was clearly a lost battle.'

The man wanted to live, was fighting to live, and this relative of his wanted to assist him to the grave? That strikes me as very troubling. David Warren wrote a piece which touched on this topic a while back:

"One cannot begin to appreciate the glory and beauty and preciousness of a human life, until one has grasped how tenuous and transient it is."

I don't know why there is suffering and hardship in this world, but I believe it is wrong for us as people to decide whose lives are worth living, and whose lives are not.


  1. I do know that Obama just announced his initiatives today which included the following. I feel a whole lot better now. Those plane trips I was paying for my visiting father were really starting to add up. I wonder if that will include a cocktail on the plane?

    Obama will also call for the allocation of $100 million to assist families caring for aging relatives by providing help with transportation, adult day care and in-home aids.

  2. We all wanted to assist him

    It rather seems that they all wanted to assist themselves -- at the least, out of having to watch someone they cared for suffer. Someone that they knew was willing to accept the suffering to be alive. Friends like these...

    Nicholas, thank you for the link to that wonderful David Warren piece. Warren illustrates so beautifully the unknowable moments in other people's lives that belie the assumptions we make about "quality of life."


  3. Hey Anthony - 100 mil, huh? He's looking to spread it a round a little.

    It turns out, 100 million dollars is hard to earn, but pretty darn easy to spend.

    Cath - thanks for checking in.

  4. And it is little burden and more blessing, to care for those that cared for us, and brought us into the world.

    I like your heart.

  5. Pssst...

    I did a link over at April's. :) I feel soooo cool.

  6. I saw that! I almost commented on your link, but then thought ... she's got her cool going on - I'd best not blow it for her.

    And E was commenting on your link phrase! Nicely done!!

  7. Okay, I couldn't resist drawing a little attention your way. You're my star pupil.

    Good for you, Cathy!!

  8. It turns out, 100 million dollars is hard to earn, but pretty darn easy to spend.

    **Face-to-palm laughter**

    LIfestyle of the Rich, albiet Clueless?

  9. Hey, Nicholas!
    Yay! Next I have to try that link that takes you to a more specific point in the page -- I'm sure I have the notes to that around here somewhere -- but that will have to wait until I get caught up on "real life", where I am significantly less cool. (Plus, I want to find out how to get a picture into a comment. Ahh, ambition is good...)

  10. Getting a tad off-topic here, since at the moment I can't seem to pinpoint your ClimateGate posts, Nick, you'll be delighted to know that things are back on track now that the fun time is over:

    Also, my latest on the Statist of the Union and Mr. Self-Referential should set your mind at ease on ClimateGate--and more!

    (two for one deal tonight, Nick)

  11. Make that a three-for-one deal, Nick.

    Another good resource I found while piddling around smashing Mooney's Politicized Science can be found at

    I WILL (Lord willing, and creeks don't rise) try to get around to posting a third and fairly final installment of ClimageGate III, this time hopefully gathering enough ammo for the harboon kill of this beast, and I shouldn't wonder if I might be soliciting your research help.

    I'll let you know, and before publishing you'll get a first rough draft to pour over. You might have uncovered some rich wreckage from the HazMat fallout from CRU that I missed, etc.