The Treatment

Stephen Gorden posts an interesting commentary in the form of short fiction at the Speculist.

Of course, I'm far more cynical than Stephen. I think that those who protest the loudest are often the most tempted and the heaviest users. I don't think that it'll take any external prompting at all for Leon Kass to keep up with the vanguard of healthy life extension medicine as it becomes available, no matter how hard he rails against it now.

The human desire for survival is strong, and few people are capable of suicide through refusal to accept available medical care. That just makes those who campaign to block medical progress even more immoral, unethical and hypocritical in the long run.

We should all remember that of every 100 politicians and bioethicists who are trying to turn back the clock and demand a halt to stem cell research, 99 will be lining up in years to come for the regenerative medicine that they worked so hard to delay.


If a completely rational individual consciously decides that suicide is the best option for oneself, I would try to convince them otherwise but ultimately I think it's a decision one should be able to make for oneself. Forcing that decision upon others, of course, is murder. So, once real life extension medicine becomes available will Leon Kass choose the voluntary suicide option? We'll see.

On a related note: Leon Kass isn't the only hypocrite in this country. According to the map at, a lot of our country is. The Republicans who nominally decry public spending are actually the ones who benefit from the charity of others. The progressive, blue areas of the country are being similarly scammed into working for the benefit of those who oppose them.

Posted by: tomo at February 23rd, 2004 10:25 PM


I need to confess that I was trying to bait you a little with this fictional post.

I'm interested in knowing how a pro-life extension libertarian would feel about the government mandating life extension once it becomes a reality.

Maybe it's premature to debate this now - but maybe not. Anyway, thanks for the link.

Posted by: Stephen Gordon at February 25th, 2004 11:54 AM

Heh. The same way I feel about anyone forcing anyone else to do something they don't want to do. If any person wants to die in a way that harms no-one else, their wishes should be respected.

An objection voiced to healthy life extension by some people is based on a similar misunderstanding: that everyone would be forced to continue living even if they wanted to stop. This is far from the truth. Healthy life extension is all about choice - the choice to continue living a full life, should you want to do so. This is a choice that we do not currently have the luxury of making.

Posted by: Reason at February 25th, 2004 3:41 PM

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