Nothing gets me bristling quite like questions about healthy life extension that involve words such as "allowed," "permitted" and so forth. Whatever happened to the presumption of freedom? A commenter on a post about the SENS Challenge proffers an interesting exchange for consideration:
Both Nuland and the Editor of Technology Review, Jason Pontin, made clear that they believe extending the human lifespan is a terrible thing which could adversely and irrevocably effect our species by transforming our nature in dangerous ways.
I therefore thought it would be timely for me to publish an exchange of letters I had with Jason Pontin. (There did not appear to be anything in Jason Pontin's letter which suggested he would want it kept private or which would be embarrassing to him.)
It certainly seems that Pontin comes to view healthy life extension in a manner similar to Leon Kass when it comes down to it. There is the presumption of central authority making decisions for us - controlling our future access to healthy life extension technologies - and the sense that "something could be done" to prevent people from extending their healthy life spans. As I've pointed out in past posts, that something is called murder, no matter how you might go about organizing or whitewashing it. See this comment from Pontin, for example:
That said, you raise the issue of personal freedom. Does personal freedom--including the freedom to life--trump all other interests? Societies traditionally limit personal freedom, even the freedom to live, for any number of reasons. I am not saying this is a good thing--but I don't think the argument of "choice" can decide whether or not Immortality is a Good Thing.