The Death of a Moral Monster

Already there a paeans to Jack Kevorkian lauding him as a hero; this is presumably because he relived the suffering of the dying. Such descriptions belie ignorance on the part of writers whose main knowledge of the man appears to come from shallow news reports and HBO movies. In reality Jack Kevorkian was a sick and twisted individual, a medical quack, and a convicted murderer who had little interest in helping people.

Kevorkian’s history is certainly problematic for those who would paint him as a compassionate man. He earned the moniker ‘Dr. Death’ not because of his work with euthanasia, but because of his penchant in as a medical student in the ’50s to hover over dying patients in an attempt to watch the light fade from their eyes. Previous to his ‘career’ as a professional euthanizer he sought permission to experiment on condemned death row inmates, permission he was thankfully denied.

And his main motivation appears to have been a pseudo-scientific interest in a term he coined – ‘obitiatry’. He wanted to experiment on dying patients to determine what happened at the moment of death:

If we are ever to penetrate the mystery of death—even superficially—it will have to be through obitiatry. Research using cultured cells and tissues and live animals may yield objective biological data, and eventually perhaps even some clues about the essence of mere vitality or existence. But knowledge about the essence of human death will of necessity require insight into the nature of the unique awareness of or consciousness that characterizes cognitive human life. That is possible only through obitiatric research on living human bodies, and most likely centering on the nervous system…on anesthetized subjects [to] pinpoint the exact onset of extinction of an unknown cognitive mechanism that energizes life.

Prescription: Medicide, p. 214

And it is a myth that he only helped ‘dying’ people. The fact is a number of his subjects weren’t dying, and some didn’t even have serious illnesses. People like Marjorie Wantz, who was in perfect health. Rebecca Badger, who believed she had MS, but didn’t (something ‘Dr’ Kevorkian wouldn’t know as he never worked as an actual doctor). And Judith Curren who appeared to be suffering primarily from depression.

The reality is Kevorkian, like many secularists, didn’t see human life as inherently worthwhile. He considered quadriplegic and paraplegic people to be a burden on society saying about them that “The voluntary self-elimination of individual mortally diseased and crippled lives taken collectively can only enhance the preservation of public health and welfare.”

He was sympathetic with Nazi experimentation writing in a 1986 edition of Medicine and Law:

The so-called Nuremberg Code and all its derivatives completely ignore the extraordinary opportunities for terminal experimentation on humans facing imminent and inevitable death…[including] the extraction of medical benefit from the process of judicial execution from those dying of irremediable illness or trauma and from suicide mandated by inflexible religious or philosophical principles or by irrevocable personal choice. Other potential subjects include comatose, brain dead, or totally incapacitated individuals as well as live fetuses in or out of the womb.

Much more could be said about the detestable activities of this man, but this is certainly enough to repulse even those who were somewhat sympathetic with easing the pain of the dying. The reality is that those who are lauding his life are either ignorant of his true motivations and actions or are themselves so morally corrupted that they no longer see his actions as horrendous.

Either way, it’s good the monster has died.

Advertisements

14 Responses to The Death of a Moral Monster

  1. Nate says:

    As someone who leans libertarian, I don’t care if people want to kill themselves. I don’t think we need doctors running around injecting people with things with no oversight though, it’s practically a license to murder.

    One does have to wonder, with so many easy ways to kill ones self and the unlikelihood of being convicted of anything afterward, why doctors even feel they need to be involved.

    I think every life is precious, but I also believe in self-ownership and if people want to end their lives, that’s their business not mine. If we could get consent from babies prior to abortion, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with that either, does seem kind of unlikely though.

    If there is a God, each will have to account for their own actions not for the actions of others.

  2. kenetiks says:

    I haven’t really done a lot of reading up on the “doctor” so I don’t have much to say on him one way or another. I simply don’t have enough information to say.

    However, I feel that true “assisted suicide” should be an option to individuals who are terminally ill, in great pain and who have no possibility of any recourse. But I also feel that some sort of oversight and regulation should be put into place so that this can be used only in the gravest of cases. But this discussion should be bereft of religion itself, which has nothing to offer the discussion.

  3. Nate says:

    Neither do you in that case.

    Religion is a part of people like anything else, the only way to remove all religious influences from things is to remove all religious people. Many atheists would jump for joy at that, but it’s ridiculous.

    Suicide is abhorrent in my opinion, my political beliefs lead me to think that it isn’t any of my business. Others however do believe their views of right and wrong should be applied with the force of government. To imagine that non-religious people have some higher, more proper sense of right and wrong is ridiculous.

    Liberals seem to have this sense that they are more enlightened than others, but it’s simply not the case. Your opinions are no more or less valid than Jacks, regardless of whether they partly depend on the existence of a God or Gods or whether they do not.

  4. kenetiks says:

    Not what I meant. Perhaps I should have stated “bereft of religious arguments”.

    I’m also not making a moral argument here either. Nor do I feel that I’m more enlightened than any other person capable of critical thought.

    Perhaps you should drop your politics for once. Your continued fluff and chest thumping over the evils of “the left” only raises your blood pressure, not mine.

  5. Nate says:

    My blood pressure is perfectly fine. And you still have the same issue, even if you bar direct religious arguments. I don’t need to use the word God to say or argue that abortion is bad, yet my reasons could be largely religion based.

    The only thing you can hope for is simply not to hear the word “God” or something similar. You can allow certain arguments to not convince you, but you don’t get to decide what arguments people use, or should be allowed to use, what arguments are acceptable in what circumstances.

    I’ll stop going on about the left when the large bloc that thinks themselves the enlightened ceases being so pretentious. I was recently reading about how we should fund traditional African dance classes for Africans, in Africa because Africans “find communicating in words and writing” difficult.

    I call that ‘paternalistic racism’, “it’s okay son, good thing daddy is here to fix everything, now go to your room”. That’s the way many liberals seem to look at things, maybe you don’t, good for you.

    If I should drop my politics than you should also. So once I drop my political beliefs and my religious beliefs, and you do the same, do either of us even have anything to say?

  6. kenetiks says:

    My blood pressure is perfectly fine. And you still have the same issue, even if you bar direct religious arguments. I don’t need to use the word God to say or argue that abortion is bad, yet my reasons could be largely religion based.

    The only thing you can hope for is simply not to hear the word “God” or something similar. You can allow certain arguments to not convince you, but you don’t get to decide what arguments people use, or should be allowed to use, what arguments are acceptable in what circumstances.

    You know exactly what I meant.

    I have no objections against personal faith. But such useless pseudo-moral objections often used by the faithful are pointless. Such an observation is within the grasp of any thinking human being. People are entitled to their own opinions and I wouldn’t try to deny anyone of their own thoughts even if I thought I could. But debates with real world consequences should be made with all seriousness.

    I’ll stop going on about the left when the large bloc that thinks themselves the enlightened ceases being so pretentious. I was recently reading about how we should fund traditional African dance classes for Africans, in Africa because Africans “find communicating in words and writing” difficult.

    I call that ‘paternalistic racism’, “it’s okay son, good thing daddy is here to fix everything, now go to your room”. That’s the way many liberals seem to look at things, maybe you don’t, good for you.

    If I should drop my politics than you should also. So once I drop my political beliefs and my religious beliefs, and you do the same, do either of us even have anything to say?

    My intent has never been to seem pretentious nor do I feel I’m more enlightened than any other thinking person. There are a great many things in this universe that I do not know and more than a few I simply don’t understand. And what’s more, I relish this fact. That means there is more for me to discover and understand and I’ll always be learning something new. This to me is exciting.

    Where we differ is your divisiveness. Where I say “we” you use the terms “us” and “them”. We’re all in the same boat and instead of concentrating on real matters you insist on further divisions and spending your time on non-issues.

  7. Nate says:

    Luckily you are not the authority on what is and is not an issue.

    Furthermore, you started right off saying religion should have no voice in the matter. Don’t try and push the divisions off on me.

  8. kenetiks says:

    Classical religious arguments should be left out of such a debate. They have nothing to add to the discussion and are only useful in bogging down or completely derailing any progress toward real solutions.

    It doesn’t even really matter that any argument is religious or not that really matters to me. If the argument is sound, then by all means, I’m open to giving it consideration. It’s the fact that a good many arguments happen to be religious in nature and utterly useless. Such arguments could range from “Because god says it’s bad. Case closed!” to any number of other such baseless ramblings intended to end any debate.

    As I said, arguments made solely from inside the sphere of religion are meaningless in the real world and if you expect me to accept an excusively religious argument then it should be one that is relevant to the rest of the world.

  9. Nate says:

    I don’t expect you to accept anything. That’s your business, not mine.

    “Because God says it’s bad” is just as valid as “because I say it’s bad”. You can use only hard evidence to form an opinion, but it still ends up being an opinion. One could make a perfectly logical and evidence based argument for euthanasia for disabled people, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it and it doesn’t mean you have to accept it either.

    I think every life is valuable and my reasons for thinking so, whether entirely religious or not is just as valid as you saying so for entirely different reasons.

  10. kenetiks says:

    No they are not “equally valid”. They are of equal merit but this does not make them valid.

    You may be religiously motivated to find a valid argument but the argument itself should be weighed on it’s own merits not it’s motivation. It’s motivations do not make it valid.

  11. Nate says:

    And it devolves into semantics. Nice chat we had.

  12. kenetiks says:

    Not from me. You were trying to meld religious convictions and personal feelings into a different classification so as to make them appear valid arguments.

    It would help if we were actually debating points but instead we’re debating arguing.

  13. Justin says:

    It’s hard to ask a person after the fact if they consented, and it’s hard to judge after the fact whether they were of sound mind and body to even give a legal consent.

    In the end, this is a moral issue, because it deals with what action ought to be allowed.

    Any convictions kenetiks holds will be “religious” in nature as well, with or without a god, since science and atheism cannot rationally support the value of human life to any great extent – it’s just subjective.

  14. kenetiks says:

    Any convictions kenetiks holds will be “religious” in nature as well, with or without a god, since science and atheism cannot rationally support the value of human life to any great extent – it’s just subjective.

    Utter nonsense. Stop being silly Justin. I and great many others can rationalize the value of human life without a single call to dogmatic belief systems. The fact that you yourself lack the ability to do so doesn’t mean that no one else can.

    You are simply taking the “I am holier than thou” road. You’re merely proclaiming as if the proclamation itself did all the work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: