Saturday, March 06, 2010

Suicide double standard

First Things looks at this article:

Pulling loved ones out of the lure of suicide:

The rational arguments against suicide are compelling. It causes intense suffering for loved ones that few would intend in their right mind. It is not a valid expression of autonomy or choice, because it ends all autonomy and choice. It represents the tyranny of one moment of hopelessness over every future moment of possibility.

But it is the peculiar cruelty of hopelessness and severe depression that they attack insight and perspective. ....

For those who yield to the logic of the nightmare, it is difficult to be harsh or judgmental. Empathy, like grace, can reach to the grave.

Yet suicide is often preventable. Coping can be learned. Medication can treat underlying depression. But precisely because despair can rob individuals of judgment, it may require family and friends to intervene.

When the person contemplating suicide is "normal" -- in good health and with no disability -- we as friends, family, and society seek to help the person overcome the urge toward self-destruction. But, as First Things points out, as soon as a sick or disabled person contemplates suicide, society rushes in, not to help the person to overcome the suicidal urge, but to help him to carry it out.

There is a multi million dollar suicide promotion campaign ongoing in the country and around the world–aided and abetted by the mainstream media–that says that if you are sick, or disabled–suicide is empowering and rational. Indeed, it claims that such suicides are so right and worthy of being honored that the state should permit third parties to help make sure the suicidal person is made dead.

I'd also like to share a snippet of some a comment:

An intransigent wish to die has long been a marker of clinical depression in the annals of psychiatry ever since the birth of the field 100 years ago. The notion of a “rational suicidal wish” has no basis in medical or social science, but is rather a brand-new philosophical construct.

It's a philosophical construct based on the idea that human life is instrumentally valuable, not intrinsically valuable. That it's what you can do, not who you are, that makes your life of any value to anybody, including yourself.

HT: Jill Stanek

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