Social Question

doggywuv's avatar

Should people have the right to die?

Asked by doggywuv (1041points) August 31st, 2009

My opinion is that your life is your property, and as such you may do whatever you wish with it.

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54 Answers

Sarcasm's avatar

I do indeed believe people have a right to pick death.
Though it’s a bit tough to prove that the recently deceased did agree to die under not duress.

Darwin's avatar

Historically, your life was considered the King’s property and so you were stealing if you ended it. That has become your life is the government’s property, hence the government’s view that you aren’t allowed to end it yourself.

And whether assisted suicide or good old-fashioned do-it-yourself suicide is legal where you live or not, you have no right to make a mess that others have to clean up. At the very least that would be littering.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Yep. End of story.

Dog's avatar

Regarding terminal illness:

It is a right to choose to die with dignity and without pain from a terminal illness.
It is the right to be treated with the love and compassion we show pets.

nikipedia's avatar

Sure, I think people should have the right to die. But I think most of the time it’s not a particularly good idea.

Grisaille's avatar

Funny how we can pick up a rifle, get shipped to the sand, and claim dominion over another man’s life yet – when we want to end our own – it is immoral.

However, just because I believe that suicide should be “legal” does not mean that I think people should do it. You take your life, you leave despair behind. If you are truly ready to end your life, speak it over with your family and friends. If you are so brazen as to cease to exist, the telling the ones closest to you shouldn’t be an issue, right?


NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I’ll do it. I’ll play devil’s advocate. No, I don’t think people should have the right to choose death. For the most part, those that would choose death are not being coherent or their thinking is all wonky no?

At the very least reserve this “right” for those who are in perpetual, unbearable pain or something like that. But giving it to everyone is just… well… sick.

Grisaille's avatar

the devil’s advocate, fighting against suicide

hell must be getting crowded

doggywuv's avatar

@Grisaille “Funny how we can pick up a rifle, get shipped to the sand, and claim dominion over another man’s life”

We can kill other people if it prevents a possible greater number of deaths, or to prevent a significant amount of suffering.

Grisaille's avatar

‘sides, there is no “right to choose.”

Ain’t like anyone could tell you not to. The choice is always there, with a myriad of tools available. Billions of ways to die; no amount of finger wagging can take those options away.

Dog's avatar


Terminal illness is entirely different.

Grisaille's avatar

if you’re lookin’ to scold or lecture me, you’re talking to the wrong guy

I understand, I’m merely pointing out the irony

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Grisaille I’m sure hell will have plenty of people in it. The devil for which I advocate is strictly for argument’s sake of course. Advocating the real “devil” is already being handled by the general population. XD

seVen's avatar

No,..there’s a higher puropse in suffering. We might not know it now but maybe sufferings are highly glorified when all is said and done. Look at what Mother Theresa did from her suffering, Ghandhi, and many others who suffered through pain.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t see suicide as “right” in any sense of the word but people have the free will to do that if they really want to.

If what you’re asking is likening suicide to a human right, I see that as about as much a right as it is to jam a screwdriver in your eye.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@seVen There are many more examples of horrible people who did horrible things because of their suffering. Just because we might not know is a bullshit excuse, and it doesn’t mean someone should have to suffer if they don’t want to. If someone wants to die, then they should be able to. Plain and simple.

Grisaille's avatar

Personally, @The_Compassionate_Heretic hit it right on the head, though it’s not necessarily about inflicting bodily harm, as it is inflicting bodily harm to end all harm, thought, feeling, suffering, etc.

I still think it is inherently selfish – unless the person has the courtesy to tell everyone who has ever met him what he is to do, settle his paperwork, etc.

Ironically, I believe most people would be too scared to tell the ones that love them what they wish to do.

doggywuv's avatar

@Grisaille I wasn’t looking to scold or lecture you. Sorry if it appeared that way.

seVen's avatar

Oh yeah one more thing, I don’t want this stuff be near me when some nut – hitler – job comes on the scene once again and begins injecting me with poison off all sorts just because I got different ideology than him/her.

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

If the person is in a vegetable state, then yes I think they should have the right to die. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life lying in bed, not able to move and not appreciating life to the fullest extent.
But it shouldn’t be over something trivial like “My iPod got stolen!” or “I just broke up :(”

rooeytoo's avatar

If you successfully commit suicide, what does it matter if it is legal or not, what are they going to do, bury you in a jail yard? If you are not successful in your attempt, then you (I think) get sent to a mental hospital which may or may not be a good thing for you in the mental condition you find yourself.

If you are terminally ill and want to commit suicide there are numerous websites you can go which tell you what you need, where to get it and how to do it.

The problem arises when the partner of the terminally ill person gets indicted for complicity. They just put a 70 something man in jail here because he helped his dying wife commit suicide.

I see how it could be abused, but there has to be a way that he could hold her hand while she died and not be considered an accomplice.

Grisaille's avatar

@doggywuv It’s fine, just a minor misunderstanding.

dpworkin's avatar

Um, who gets to pick not dying?

JLeslie's avatar

@rooeytoo how awful about that man in jail. I am very pro euthanasia for the terminally ill or terminally in agony.

Suicide is a different thing. The problem with suicide is generally it is a temporary impulse. Many people who are suicidal do not wish to die, they want to leave the current pain they are in. So the state taking reasonable measures to prevent you from doing it kind of makes sense to me. Still, I can see both sides of the argument, it is your life after all.

jamielynn2328's avatar

We just had a death in the family, and it sparked my sister and I to have this very same conversation. Why is it okay for us to show humanity and not allow animals to suffer, but we do not extend the same right to those that are suffering from a terminal illness. It is horrible to think that so many have to eek their way to death’s door without having the right to choose. In my opinion it is disgusting.

JLeslie's avatar

@jamielynn2328 Someone once told me that veterinarians take an oath to reduce suffering, but doctors take an oath to do no harm. Someone correct me if I am mistaken. So, there is a different premise they start from. But, I agree with you.

DrBill's avatar

You should be able to decide when quantity has surpassed quality.

tinyfaery's avatar

Of course. All we really have is ourselves. I can do whatever I want with me.

ratboy's avatar

The right to die is our sole inalienable right. Everyone successfully exercises it at least once.

skfinkel's avatar

A person contemplating suicide who is otherwise healthy, needs to think carefully about the others in his life that will be affected by his ending his life. The ripples are endless, and it becomes a tragedy that is both horrible and pointless. Better to get back on medication, or get on medication, or get whatever help is needed, and fast.

If on the other hand, a person has come to the end of his life and feels his days are numbered by disease or horrible pain, ending his life is somewhat different. I just read about a man 101 years who had a huge slash on his leg. An MD himself, he saw that he would soon die from the wound, stopped eating and drinking, and died quietly in his sleep.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@Grisaille How is suicide more selfish than forcing someone to live when their life is such a hell that they would rather be dead, just because you would be sad if they died?

Grisaille's avatar

“I still think it is inherently selfish – unless the person has the courtesy to tell everyone who has ever met him what he is to do, settle his paperwork, etc.”


Suicide is not selfish in itself – the act is what it is. I’m talking about leaving a mess for the people you leave behind – legal, emotional, literal and otherwise. If your life is as hellish as to where you wish to end it, the very least you can do is tell people, so it doesn’t come as such a shock. Sometimes, the only thing a person that was left behind wants is to say goodbye.

I never said anything about “forcing someone” to live. Where did you pull that from?

galileogirl's avatar

There is no question of “right to die”, we’re all going to die, period.

If you are asking if we have the right to pick the time, place and manner we end our lives, I think only if we picked the time place and manner we started our lives.

That may sound a little too deist for some, how about this. In life when we have relationsips with others, there is a give and take. We shouldn;t hurt the people who love and trust us and offer their essence and accept ours in return. Suicide is the greatwst treachery there is but if that’s the way you treat your loved ones, well….you were never much of a human being anyway.

tinyfaery's avatar

Man are people self-centered. Suicide isn’t about other people. The way you are affected by suicide is your choice. If someone is so deep in misery that death seems like
the only option, and you can find a way to make it about you, then selfishness does not lie with the dead, but in your mirror.

Darwin's avatar

@tinyfaery – Tell that to the parent or young child of a suicide and see how far that viewpoint gets you.

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. – John Donne

dpworkin's avatar

Suicide is a symptom of a deadly disease, called depression, which is treatable. People do not have to die of depression. Euthanasia is another topic altogether. As long as there can be no pressure from the State or from heirs, or from the medical establishment I cannot understand what is wrong with it.

dynamicduo's avatar

Of course you have the right to die, it’s your own life, you are free to do what you want to do with it, whether that’s becoming a chef, running a business, or killing yourself. Is it selfish? You’re damn right it is, but people who are alive are also selfish, so I’m not seeing the difference here.

tinyfaery's avatar

I still can’t agree.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I don’t agree when a sixteen year old takes their life prematurely, before they really even know what life is about.

I don’t agree when a person who can get control of their life and become happy gives up and jumps off the bridge…

However, when someone is in a state of constant suffering, who is anyone else to stop them from ending their own pain. Suicide is different than choosing to die with a bit of dignity. Cancer is a monster that tears a person open, turns them inside out. If a human being has been told that their life is going to end in a matter of weeks, months and they are in so much pain that morphine doesn’t help, then who is the selfish one? I wouldn’t want my loved ones to sit there and watch while I wasted away and they could only stand helplessly by. It is not a selfish act to choose to spare everyone from such a horrible ending to a beautiful life.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

In a general sense, yes, I think people should have the right to end their lives if it’s something they wish to do.

However, just like with so many other things, I think there should be certain stipulations. Are you a parent that has children? No, you can’t kill yourself – at least until the child/children turn 18. You made the choice to have children so you have the obligation of raising said children until they reach adulthood. Period.

Things like that should be considered.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@Grisaille Sorry, I must’ve misread

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yes it’s selfish, but so what? we have that right, we must have that right
that being said, we can’t or shouldn’t have children and then just off ourselves
we made a committment

wundayatta's avatar

What’s a right? Where do they come from? I believe rights are conferred by society. They aren’t natural. They only exist if we all agree that we want to guarantee everyone in our group whatever it is that we think we should all have, purely as a consequence of living in this society.

So, does society have an interest in preventing individuals from taking their own lives should the impulse hit? Clearly, the answer is yes. Society and individuals in society stand to lose a lot, and experience severe consequences when people take their own lives. I think society is more interested in protecting the whole from negative circumstances than they are for protecting an individual’s right to check out permanently.

So, no. There is no right to die because we, as a society, don’t want to confer that right on all of us. Or even, any of us. Sometimes we do think of exceptions—people who are in relentless pain that will never end; where all hope has been lost. Even then, I think we have hope. Or we can’t face the idea of giving up.

I think we believe that it’s up to nature to kill us; not ourselves. We can hasten death along by eating poorly, or engaging in unhealthy habits, but we can’t actually wield the sword that is the means of our own death. Or rather, we don’t want people to kill themselves, so we don’t confer that right. Obviously, people can take things into their own hands, and try to kill themselves whenever they want. But assisting them is not a protected act, since we don’t believe, as a society, that people should off themselves. No matter what.

virtualist's avatar

….. pick your poison [... pun intended]

wiki – Philosophical Views of Suicide

I choose from Leonard Peikoff, who states in his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand:

“Suicide is justified when man’s life, owing to circumstances outside of a person’s control, is no longer possible; an example might be a person with a painful terminal illness, or a prisoner in a concentration camp who sees no chance of escape. In cases such as these, suicide is not necessarily a philosophic rejection of life or of reality. On the contrary, it may very well be their tragic reaffirmation. Self-destruction in such contexts may amount to the tortured cry: “Man’s life means so much to me that I will not settle for anything less. I will not accept a living death as a substitute.”

BBQsomeCows's avatar

Death is not a right: it is a consequence of life

Your life will be your own in that sense when you can demonstrate that you are your own cause.

SavoirFaire's avatar

No. Everyone who kills himself should be immediately arrested. Attempted suicide is okay, but successful suicide requires a firm response from law enforcement if we are to prevent it in the future.~

wundayatta's avatar

@SavoirFaire You may think you’re joking, but I have two words for you: Zom and beez.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta In that case, the legal punishment for those convicted of suicide must be decapitation and/or a shot to the head.

wundayatta's avatar

@SavoirFaire And then electrocution.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta So let it be decided!

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