Blargh Blog

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Nanny State

When you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself, as in a coma or a persistent vegetative state, the government should keep your body alive, no matter what desires you have expressed before in a living will or what your family considers best for you. That, at least, is the position of Eric Cohen of the Weekly Standard, who argues that the government should be tending to you and making decisions for you when you are at your most vulnerable:
But the real lesson of the Schiavo case is not that we all need living wills; it is that our dignity does not reside in our will alone, and that it is foolish to believe that the competent person I am now can establish, in advance, how I should be cared for if I become incapacitated and incompetent. The real lesson is that we are not mere creatures of the will: We still possess dignity and rights even when our capacity to make free choices is gone; and we do not possess the right to demand that others treat us as less worthy of care than we really are.
(via Kevin Drum via Andrew Sullivan)

Update 4/6: Michael Bérubé makes a similar point in a long and reasoned post that responds to Cohen's article and does much more.


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