May 2008

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I wrote a story about this a while back:


You are right, Instead of assisted suicide, we can probably start eating fellow-humen for food looking at the way food prices are increasing. I bet we will all be the animals in "I am the legend" one day!


But if brats in Asia (i.e. Japan) are so egocentric the sole idea of children makes them puke, what will happen to their nations? They'll sacrifice them for their selfish sake? Will the governments grab them by the nuts to keep on, or the Robot race will just wish to suicide them in order to free valuable resources?


Japan is there already. A birthrate down to near one child per female, an average lifespan of 80, about one in six of the population is a pensioner, (the age for which has been raised from 60 to 65 recently), and it has been said they need 30 million immigrants over the next fifty years to keep the economy (and society) functioning.
There is a forest near Mount Fuji which is famous for people going in to it and not coming out. They have patrols watching out for depressed looking people who arrive alone.

Paranoi A

Sorry, Scott, maybe I'm nitpicking or possibly just schizophrenia kicking in, but I read through your whole post and in the end couldn't get my head past the title.

I know that it's a word play of some sort on "euthanasia", but what does asia have to do with it? I see nowhere in your post that you even mention asia. Could you be implying that asia will be the first continent to embrace assisted suicide en mass?

Maybe this post is related so some recent news event that I don't know about that hints on asian children wishing the death of their elders. Or maybe asia just has to too many people that if euthanasia is ever morally allowed, it'll jump at the chance.


I am pretty tough guy, but if I was brain dead, a vegetable and there was no hope for a recovery and a quality of life, hey, pull the plug. But any time before that I will hang on to the bitter end, fighting, kicking and screaming with all my might to stay in this world.

If anyone hears of me committing suicide under anything less than described above, call the local District Attorney as there is probably foul play afoot.

Suicide is a very personal choice, the most personal. So it is up to the individual but should still be an option. How can you convict someone of killing themselves, especially if the are successful. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes and feed the worms.


I'm sure people will just choose to not use a healthcare program and hope for a faster death. But disease evolves pretty fast. Do you think humans can beat out all diseases?

Joe Cooper

It doesn't work that way.

People see that the average lifespan has continually gone up - it's around 30 to 40 in some places and in ancient times - and conclude that people live longer and longer.

No they don't.

What's actually happened is that people are continually less likely to die prematurely.

In the absence of early death from disease and accident, humans now live just as long as they ever did.

While surprises are always possible, something that actually extends a human's potential lifespan would be unprecedented and thus not something to ~expect~.


Christopher Buckley's novel "Boomsday" is a hilarious satire on the topic of "voluntary transitioning" (i.e. assisted suicide) as the solution for the economic drain of retiring boomers on social security.


Don't know if your longevity premise is true. Just a few weeks ago, the NY Times reported “large and growing” disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans and that life expectancy is declining in some pockets of the country. Another interesting story on the subject here: claims in the past 20 years, the U.S. has sunk from ranking No. 11 in life expectancy to No. 42.

Chubby Mike

Not only will assisted suicide be legal, it will be mandatory at some point.

Line Noise

I refer you to Peter F. Hamilton's novel "Misspent Youth" which is about the first human to undergo a rejuvenation process that returns his body to that of a 20 year old.

I then refer you to his following books "Pandora's Star" and "Judas Unchained" set over 300 years after "Misspent Youth" which detail how the human race has adapted to near immortality.


Hmm... in theory many many people will want to live a really really long time, but many people have crummy jobs. Plus they wouldn't be able to afford the new technology anyway, so I predict that world population size will not be a problem.
Besides, we're all going to die because of either accidental/intentional nuclear war or food shortage, which will occur long before we will be able to live to 140...


Who needs assistance? It's fairly easy.


... This is the dumbest thing I've ever read. I think we have a LONG time before we need to worry about people living too long.

Bruce Purcell

If you aren't competent to cut your own throat, you shouldn't take the grave responsibility of ignoring God's ban on suicide.

If you are, whether it's legal don't signify.


You can't make it too easy. There's just been too many mornings when I would have opted for it. But then I had some caffeine and all was good.


just think of the savings on the round trip tickets. the security screeners will go nuts, "he's either a pruny al queda or goin' on the big one way ticket special....pass."


In Australia we have a way of dealing with regions over-populated with kangaroos. It's called "culling".

Just a suggestion.

caveat bettor

When did you get so Malthusian? I guess I haven't been reading very carefully.

Tyler Cowen just posted today on increased agricultural productivity, via the price mechanism. I'm not sure Malthus will ever be vindicated, at least without totalitarianism.


Logan's Run. All people over a certain age will be terminated in as entertaining a manner as possible. If they run there might even be the potential for an international Raisin Hunt. You would, of course, be required to get your raisin hunting license prior to gunning down all the old people (like me) in your vicinity that resemble the offending runner. What fun.


you just need to make friends with a pharmacist, or become a pharmacist yourself. OR it isn't any harder to hold up a pharmacy and drink a couple bottles of nembutal than it is to fly to another country.


With the American health care system, most people don't have to worry about living much longer than they do today.


Your question is "What will happen when medical science can keep almost anyone alive indefinitely?" and suggest assisted suicide will become inevitable.

Why keep someone alive to kill them? Why not stop propping them up and let them naturally die? No need for euthanasia then.

In Holland (where assisted suicide is legal) they are considering moving on to enforced killing of the disabled.

It's a very slippery slope.


Sometimes I long for the existence of "The Society For Creative Euthanasia". Usually after reading comments like rockbert's...

Among the Howards of "Time Enough for Love", a basic tenet of their culture was "death is everyone's right".

I've always thought that there ought to be booths every couple of city blocks. You go in, validate identification, answer the computer kiosk's questionnaire and, hey presto!, the door opens to an empty booth 30 seconds later. If it could be combined with converting matter to energy, the entire global civilization could be run of the energy created by painlessly excusing unhappy people from the game.

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