In response to the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s editorial on California’s recently enacted assisted suicide bill, Coming soon to Gov. Christie's desk: The right-to-die debate, a correspondent named Kevin Foley rebutted:
Just more Culture of Death. . . We gotta "off" grandma... just can't stand to see her suffer.
Grandma is going to die. We're all going to die. Some will die slowly. Some will die with pain. Our responsibility is to treat the dying as they are valuable. Not treat them as if they are disposable.
I left this reply:
This is the argument from collectivism. Collectivism holds that the focus of moral concern is the group. The individual has no moral validity. What if the suffering individual herself no longer considers her life a value? On the collectivist view, the suffering individual’s value judgements are irrelevant. It’s “our” responsibility to decide whether Grandma’s life is a value. Therefor, “we” forbid Grandma to make her own end-of-life decisions.
But the whole point of right to die legislation is to place the responsibility of end-of-life choice where it belongs—with the individual. Right to die liberates “Grandma” from the tyranny of others—the collective—that seeks to impose their values. Protection from the collective is what individual rights, the foundation of the American republic, are all about.
Our individual responsibility is to treat the dying, and everyone else, with dignity and respect—and that means respecting each individual’s moral right to make his own value judgements. The right to life and liberty necessarily encompasses the personal right to decide the means and conditions, to the extent possible, of our inevitable end.
The Strong vs. the 'Weak' in the Assisted Suicide Debate