I'll start with a question.
If you, your doctors, and your family all agree on an end-of-life healthcare strategy to minimize your suffering, should the government be allowed to veto your choice?
Before you answer, keep in mind that the government's veto might devastate your family's psychological and economic health. Who is onboard with letting the government make those decisions over the wishes of you, your family, and your doctor?
I ask because I've never met anyone who would prefer the government to have veto control over their own healthcare decisions. That's why I think the debate over doctor-assisted suicide is a fake debate.
My hypothesis is that the alleged 49% of the country opposed to doctor-assisted suicide is more like 1% nut jobs and 48% people who got tricked by a poll question that was some form of "Should the government allow your doctor to kill you if it seems convenient?"
But I try to be open-minded. I really do. Can anyone point me to a rational person who would answer yes to the government having veto power over your end-of-life wishes, your doctor's advice, and your family's preferences?
It's no fair rewording my question into something you DO object to. I'm looking for someone willing to say proudly and loudly that the government should make their end-of-life decisions for them over their own wishes, the advice of doctors, and the wishes of their family. Any takers?
I submit that that person does not exist. If I am wrong, I'd like to debate you right here. Please show yourself. Maybe I'll learn something.
In the unlikely event such a person exists, and cannot be swayed with simple information such as the success stories of similar systems elsewhere, that brings us to the second topic on my list.
It turns out that having an outspoken opinion about anything important in this world is very bad for business. The folks who disagree with you on any sensitive topic will use it as a reason to take their business elsewhere.
That leaves no one but the nut jobs to dominate the debate. Sane people stay out of the line of fire.
Now here's the interesting part: I just became an orphan.
Living parents are a huge limiting force on a writer. I was always worried about embarrassing them. They trained me to be that way. I'm now freed from that restriction. (The rest of the family wouldn't much care.)
My remaining reason to self-censor is purely economic. In my unique case, 100% of the money I earn for the rest of my life will be spent for the benefit of others. I already have enough for my own needs. The main reason I keep working is because I am in a rare position to make an oversized contribution to the economy, and perhaps add value in other ways. Apparently I am genetically inclined to find that prospect satisfying if not necessary. I don't want my valuable business engine to clog up just because I was outspoken on an emotional topic. That wouldn't be fair to a lot of people in the value chain who were minding their own business.
So I'm going to offer you (the public) an arrangement. If my new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything...
" hits #1 on the NYT non-fiction list I will be freed of my last remaining reason to self-censor. And I will drive a stake through the government's heart on this doctor-assisted suicide topic.
You haven't seen me uncensored. You might enjoy the show.
I'll even sweeten the deal. I guarantee that you know someone who would benefit from the book. That person might be you, or it might be someone in your life who is making suboptimal career and lifestyle decisions and doesn't want your advice. The book is designed like one of those soft dog treats inside of which you hide the dog's medicine. The reader won't even see the useful stuff coming.
If you're counting, that's three potential benefits from one book: The book might help you personally, or at least entertain you. It might help someone you care about (after you read it first, of course). And it might free me to jackhammer some rational thought into the end-of-life debate.
Or you could just buy clothes for everyone on your shopping list. Clothes are fun too.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.