Ethernight (ethernight) wrote,
Ethernight
ethernight

ethics of freedom and suicide

As most of you know, I am a Libertarian and as such individual rights are the core of my philosophy. I think that respect for individual rights creates a more healthy and prosperous society, based on a myriad of principles such as the value of personal responsibility, the effectiveness of localized decision making, and the inevitable corruptions and inefficiencies that coincide with centralized power.

Aside from the pragmatic reasons that I support freedom, it is my strong feelings about the moral aspects that are relevant for the purposes of this discussion. Stated very simply, I believe that individuals have the right to make decisions about their body and property and that coercion through force is unethical.

Stated that way, it sounds entirely reasonable and agreeable to nearly everyone. It is when I explain that government is a utility to coerce through force decisions that individuals could not be convinced of otherwise that people start to say, "Well, wait a minute there." It is when I further expound on the position that it is not freedom unless it applies to entirely stupid ideas as well as the good ones that they start to think that that apparently benign statement, when taken to its logical conclusion is downright crazy.

In spite of appearances, this post is not about Libertarianism. In fact, if all of this sounds stupid, crazy and evil, then this post is not for you. It is only a preface to explain that I do in fact take this simple philosophy to its logical conclusion. I believe in personal freedom as it applies to relatively pedestrian issues such the right to choose your sexual partner(s) and the right to choose how to distribute your income, as well less pleasant issues such as prostitution and suicide.

I know there are a few of you on my readership who agree with those basic principles, to the the same unwavering extent that I do. That freedom is only freedom when it is applied to make bad choices, often even those that you personally passionately disagree with. To you then, I would pose this question.

Starting with the premise that a person has the right to make decisions about their own body, life, and therefore the right to end it, and the premise that it is unethical to coerce a person through force; If then a loved one called you in the middle of the night and informed you that it was their imminent intention to end their life, is it unethical to call the police to prevent them from carrying out their intention?
Tags: about.freedom, about.suicide, contains.ponderings
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  • the most beautiful thing I've ever seen

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