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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Debate April 12
It’s My Life and I’ll Die If I Want To

Christopher Phelan, Chairman
Marianne Stebbins Beck, Secretary
Larry Colson, Chief Whip
Roger Belfay, Chancellor

APRIL 2006

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.”
— Plato quoting Socrates


IN A FREE SOCIETY, no one should wield more control over a person’s body, life and decisions than that person, to the extent that those decisions do not adversely impact another being. Does the State have an interest if an autonomous individual decides to opt out of life? Is a portion of the tax base lost? Not likely. In terminal cases at least, the government may be freed of a financial burden. In our “socialist-lite” system, this may also be true of the chronically depressed, who may be less likely to stay employed or be productive Citizens, often relying on society for their basic needs.

For those who are irretrievably on their journey to death, is it humane to withhold food and water for the purpose of allowing death to occur naturally? This is the only legal recourse for the desperate terminally ill patients who no longer wish to live with their suffering. That many of these patients plead with their doctors to violate the law by less than overt methods leaves physicians in a hard place between compassion and the law.

ON THE OTHER HAND, any intentional cessation of life is a step down a slippery slope. Physician-assisted suicide by those who have sworn to “do no harm” is an ethical demise. Furthermore, once the subject of termination may legally request euthanasia, it is inevitable that relatives, powers of attorney, and others who may stand to gain financially, would soon have the same authority. Besides, since when have we had complete control over our bodies and lives? Seat belt and helmet laws, drug restrictions and regulations over consensual behaviors are very popular in our “free” society.

The chairman, having given up death for Lent, has called for a debate to settle the question:

RESOLVED: It’s My Life and I’ll Die If I Want To.

The Debate will be held on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at eight o’clock, following a Society Lecture by Justice Barry Anderson at seven thirty. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 204-5615 or the Secretary at (952) 470-8090.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Am I the only one to notice we have just one lawyer on the Masthead this term? And only one to two Catholics (is the Chancellor, well, you know, one of THEM)? My, how we've evolved.

3:36 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I don't think any of the masthead officers are lawyers.

A travesty!

10:21 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

And no Captains either! A double travesty!

11:18 PM, April 08, 2006  

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