Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Suicide and libertarianism

rated by 0 users
This post has 103 Replies | 7 Followers

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 Posted: Sat, Jul 21 2012 8:08 PM

Hi all. From my understanding of Austrian/Libertarian theory, I understand that suicide should be legal and that the non-aggression principle is applied to allow aggression against oneself in this instance. Is this correct?

  • | Post Points: 80
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745
Wheylous replied on Sat, Jul 21 2012 8:25 PM

Non-aggression doesn't mean non-violence/force.

Yes, I think libertarians generally think suicide is ok.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sat, Jul 21 2012 8:33 PM

impala76:

Hi all. From my understanding of Austrian/Libertarian theory, I understand that suicide should be legal and that the non-aggression principle is applied to allow aggression against oneself in this instance. Is this correct?

Certainly. One owns their body and their life itself, as a property, and may choose to end their life at any time, just as they may choose to throw away a shirt they no longer want.

There are many instances where suicide is the most rational choice, and we aggress against people by preventing them from ending their life, such as those in severe physical or emotional pain.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 128
Points 2,945

Would you be okay if one of your family members chose to commit suicide?

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745
Wheylous replied on Sat, Jul 21 2012 9:51 PM

I wouldn't be ok with it, but I don't think I should have legal power to stop them.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sat, Jul 21 2012 9:59 PM

So I can see that people have the right to use force against themselves. What about euthanasia? I'm talking about assisted suicide, or granting another person permission to terminate one's life. (Presumably one would be unconscious or anesthetized during the actual euthanasia.) Do individuals have the right to alienate control over their own bodily safety and survival?

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745
Wheylous replied on Sat, Jul 21 2012 11:49 PM

How else do you get surgery done?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sat, Jul 21 2012 11:54 PM

Friedmanite:

Would you be okay if one of your family members chose to commit suicide?

Depends on circumstance. If my dad had like bone cancer, one of the most painful of all diseases, I would be fine with it.

If it was my little brother who killed himself over some silly breakup with a girl, I would think it a stupid waste.

None of that implies that I have a right to stop a person from attempting suicide.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 12:01 AM
 
 

impala76:
So I can see that people have the right to use force against themselves. What about euthanasia? I'm talking about assisted suicide, or granting another person permission to terminate one's life. (Presumably one would be unconscious or anesthetized during the actual euthanasia.) Do individuals have the right to alienate control over their own bodily safety and survival?

Wheylous's point is good, that surgery after all is the sanctioned use of force on your body to correct some problem.

If your problem is life itself, why should there be any moral qualms about assissted suicide. Considering that there's a lot of ways to botch a suicide and make your problem worse, having some assisstance is a great help. Many who want to commit suicide for real also fear botching the job and waking up a quadraplegic or physically disabled such that they can't finish the job or would be a burden on family continually, etc.

I think there should be a process to assissted suicide. Doctors whom engage in it will want legal protection, naturally, meaning they would insist on having a contract so that the situation is clear, having it witnessed, having a cooling off period, etc. Once the person is sure, has been given time to think on it, has paid for the procedure and submitted to the method of suicide, which is may be as simple as drinking some chemicals that render one unconscious and stop the heart, then it's a humane and rational way to go.

Much worse is the way we 'assist' suicide in the US, with hours or days of hospital torture in the ICU, with loved ones spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases to 'do everything possible' as one last show of compassion for an aged loved one who would be much better off dying peacefully on their own terms. The people who work in elderly care say the deaths of these old people are often drawn out and very painful and it bothers them that they have to do these procedures, but the system forces them to do what the patient and their family ask for.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 12:25 AM

I understand your concerns about euthanasia, but I was interested in confirming that euthanasia is an allowable way of alienating control over your own body (which you all generally appear to agree with).

Doesn't this make euthanasia a permissible form of slavery? Should selling oneself into slavery be permissible?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 2:37 AM
 
 

impala76:

I understand your concerns about euthanasia, but I was interested in confirming that euthanasia is an allowable way of alienating control over your own body (which you all generally appear to agree with).

Doesn't this make euthanasia a permissible form of slavery? Should selling oneself into slavery be permissible?

Eh? Not sure how you're making that leap. Gonna have to say no. Selling yourself into slavery is not actually possible.

It's not possible because slavery is a state of continual aggression, and always against the slave's will. It is not a state that could be both voluntary and involuntary at the same time. You cannot alienate your own will as long as you remain alive.

You could agree to serve as someone's "slave" in the sense that you will choose to do whatever they demand of you. But if at any point you backed out of the deal and they tried to prevent you from leaving, they have aggressed against you and can be prosecuted.

In any case, there's no room for slavery in a libertarian haven based upon the highest virtue of voluntaryism.

I have no idea what euthanasia has to do with the slavery issue...

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 8:39 AM

I have no idea what euthanasia has to do with the slavery issue...

Both euthansia and slavery involve alienating control of your body (not necessarily your will, but the slaveowner is free to punish slaves whenever he wants). Is it inconsistent to say that alienating control of your body is only permissible on one specific instance?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 7,105
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

euthanasia does not alienating control of your body, it involves alienating your present from your future.

Once you have been euthanised, there is no you that has been seperated from your body. you are dead. you are not a person anymore, there is only a body. To be alienated you would still need to be a person, and yet be fully distinct from your body... which is not possible.

I'm leaning on the Epicurean idea, that death is not to be feared as the dead do not suffer their deaths.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 8:57 AM

Once you have been euthanised, there is no you that has been seperated from your body. you are dead. you are not a person anymore, there is only a body. To be alienated you would still need to be a person, and yet be fully distinct from your body... which is not possible.

Not necessarily. Alienation involves lending someone else direction over something you own- like lending a drill to someone to build their house, or lending your body to a doctor during euthanasia.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 7,105
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Does alienation require a subject and an object? Might the subject need to be aliv during the time when the alienation is happening?Or is Karl Marx alienated from his body today?

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 639
Points 11,575
cab21 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 9:20 AM

my current thought is

if we can allow one dose of a drug in anesthesia, a lethal dose of the drug in euthanasia does not seem like it should be aggressive.

a person has a contract with the self, but  there is no defined end date or terms of termination that a person breeches if they decide to end life.

if a slave says he can leave at whim, a master would take one that promised a time and payoff for early termination of the contract. the 7 year indentured servant would be more attractive than the at whim servant.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 9:26 AM

No/Yes/Maybe.

Anyway, I don't think we're understanding each other.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 639
Points 11,575
cab21 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 10:06 AM

gray/yes

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 295
Points 4,255
David B replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 10:08 AM

I agree, an action by an owner against one's property is by definition, legitimate.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,375

Wheylous:

I wouldn't be ok with it, but I don't think I should have legal power to stop them.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 6,885
Points 121,845
Clayton replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 1:08 PM

What are you going to do to make suicide illegal? Sentence them to death??

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 6,885
Points 121,845
Clayton replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 1:10 PM

@nirgraham: Lucretius lays the smack down on the fear of death:

Lucretius – On the Nature of Things (excerpt)

Therefore death to us
Is nothing, nor concerns us in the least,
Since nature of mind is mortal evermore.
And just as in the ages gone before
We felt no touch of ill, when all sides round
To battle came the Carthaginian host,
And the times, shaken by tumultuous war,
Under the aery coasts of arching heaven
Shuddered and trembled, and all humankind
Doubted to which the empery should fall
By land and sea, thus when we are no more,
When comes that sundering of our body and soul
Through which we're fashioned to a single state,
Verily naught to us, us then no more,
Can come to pass, naught move our senses then-
No, not if earth confounded were with sea,
And sea with heaven. But if indeed do feel
The nature of mind and energy of soul,
After their severance from this body of ours,
Yet nothing 'tis to us who in the bonds
And wedlock of the soul and body live,
Through which we're fashioned to a single state.
And, even if time collected after death
The matter of our frames and set it all
Again in place as now, and if again
To us the light of life were given, O yet
That process too would not concern us aught,
When once the self-succession of our sense
Has been asunder broken. And now and here,
Little enough we're busied with the selves
We were aforetime, nor, concerning them,
Suffer a sore distress. For shouldst thou gaze
Backwards across all yesterdays of time
The immeasurable, thinking how manifold
The motions of matter are, then couldst thou well
Credit this too: often these very seeds
(From which we are to-day) of old were set
In the same order as they are to-day-
Yet this we can't to consciousness recall
Through the remembering mind. For there hath been
An interposed pause of life, and wide
Have all the motions wandered everywhere
From these our senses. For if woe and ail
Perchance are toward, then the man to whom
The bane can happen must himself be there
At that same time. But death precludeth this,
Forbidding life to him on whom might crowd
Such irk and care; and granted 'tis to know:
Nothing for us there is to dread in death,
No wretchedness for him who is no more,
The same estate as if ne'er born before,
When death immortal hath ta'en the mortal life.

Hence, where thou seest a man to grieve because
When dead he rots with body laid away,
Or perishes in flames or jaws of beasts,
Know well: he rings not true, and that beneath
Still works an unseen sting upon his heart,
However he deny that he believes.
His shall be aught of feeling after death.
For he, I fancy, grants not what he says,
Nor what that presupposes, and he fails
To pluck himself with all his roots from life
And cast that self away, quite unawares
Feigning that some remainder's left behind.
For when in life one pictures to oneself
His body dead by beasts and vultures torn,
He pities his state, dividing not himself
Therefrom, removing not the self enough
From the body flung away, imagining
Himself that body, and projecting there
His own sense, as he stands beside it: hence
He grieves that he is mortal born, nor marks
That in true death there is no second self
Alive and able to sorrow for self destroyed,
Or stand lamenting that the self lies there
Mangled or burning. For if it an evil is
Dead to be jerked about by jaw and fang
Of the wild brutes, I see not why 'twere not
Bitter to lie on fires and roast in flames,
Or suffocate in honey, and, reclined
On the smooth oblong of an icy slab,
Grow stiff in cold, or sink with load of earth
Down-crushing from above.

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,288
Points 22,350

I hope you guys realise that 'impala76' is actually mustang19, aka troll19.  He's not asking these questions to actually get a good answer, he's just trolling and doesn't care what you say.

The Voluntaryist Reader: http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/ Libertarian forums that actually work: http://voluntaryism.freeforums.org/index.php
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 5:50 PM

Why do you feel the need to point that out? It's already clear that the people here are big-government paternalists who oppose my right to sell myself into slavery.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 6:13 PM
 
 

impala76:

Why do you feel the need to point that out? It's already clear that the people here are big-government paternalists who oppose my right to sell myself into slavery.

Lol, the idea is that it's metaphysically impossible to sell yourself into slavery, more than opposing some silly right to do so.

All libertarians would recognize your right to trade your work for the cost of living, that can be arranged contractually. But that's not slavery. Slavery always means a state of coercion. Thus, how can one willingly be coerced? It's not possible, because A cannot be both A and B at the same time. One is either coerced, directly or indirectly, or engages voluntarily.

But I guess you're still just trolling.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 6:16 PM

I'm not. Slavery is just a lifelong labor contract. Technically, slavery might involve becoming someone else's property under some definitions, but for all practical purposes, it's equivalent to a lifelong labor contract with certain restrictions on the person's body (like euthanasia) and ability to make further contracts.

Practical example: Someone agrees to turn over control of their daily activities (their labor), their body, and any earnings they make to someone else for a given period of time. What right have you to deny them this contract?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sun, Jul 22 2012 8:45 PM
 
 

impala76:

I'm not. Slavery is just a lifelong labor contract.

Not so. I see that your definition is faulty. A labor contract is an exchange of value, labor for X, where X could be money or just the costs of living like housing and food. That would not be slavery, that would be an exchange generally known as employment.

In such an arrangement, you would be able to break the contract, decide you don't want to work anymore, and the recourse of the other party would only be to stop providing you with living expenses. They could not force you into labor, whip you, etc.

impala76:
Technically, slavery might involve becoming someone else's property under some definitions, but for all practical purposes, it's equivalent to a lifelong labor contract with certain restrictions on the person's body (like euthanasia) and ability to make further contracts.

One of the main designators of slavery is that a slave is human property and cannot themselves own property. It is not merely a lifelong labor contract, it's much more than that. It implies that a human life is subsumed under the property rights of another human being, rights which include the ability to dispose of your own property as you see fit, thus the very life of the slave was greatly devalued if not totally worthless as a slave, which is not true of a lifelong labor contract.

impala76:
Practical example: Someone agrees to turn over control of their daily activities (their labor), their body, and any earnings they make to someone else for a given period of time. What right have you to deny them this contract?

They can do that just fine, and none of us would oppose them. I'll tell you when we will step in. The minute that person wants to end the contract and the employer attempts to prevent them from leaving, as such prevention would be an act of aggression against them.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 372
Points 8,230

Yes, suicide should be legal, though I'm not in favor of it.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:19 AM

In such an arrangement, you would be able to break the contract, decide you don't want to work anymore, and the recourse of the other party would only be to stop providing you with living expenses. They could not force you into labor, whip you, etc.

If the person agreed to be put into labor and whipped under the contract, you have no right to deny them that.

One of the main designators of slavery is that a slave is human property and cannot themselves own property.

If the person agreed to turn over their current and future property to somone else, you have no right to deny them that either. You're using a specific, narrow definition of "slavery". Giving control of one's life (as with euthanasia), liberty (daily labor), and fortune to someone else is an entirely legitimate contract. The difference is that you believe they should be able to leave the contract at any time.

But this denies people the right to have their contracts enforced. Under your reasoning, anyone can break a contract at any time and the other party's only recourse is to discontinue their part of the contract. That makes the right to form contracts almost meaningless. If an employer contracts an employee for a certain amount of work, and the employee doesn't do the work, the employer has no recourse to ensure the employee maintains their part of the contract.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 421
Points 7,165

It's not a contract if it is slavery. That's the point he is trying to make. Slavery cannot be contracted, at least I don't see how it could be, seeing as how contracts can end, be broken. And as far as I'm concerned, no one has a right to have their contract enforced, as by a governing body. One has a right to try to enforce their own contracts, and even use a private arbiter or court that is agreeable by both parties. As for your example with an employer and employee contract, most of them today are what is called "at-will," where the employer has a right to terminate the employment at any time and so does the employee. You're being ridiculous with your attempt to stretch definitions on contracts, or you have misunderstood them.

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:36 AM

Ban-Evader:
Hi all. From my understanding of Austrian/Libertarian theory, I understand that suicide should be legal and that the non-aggression principle is applied to allow aggression against oneself in this instance. Is this correct?

If you want to end your life, how is it aggression? Maybe you shouldn't equivocate so much.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:37 AM

Friedmanite:
Would you be okay if one of your family members chose to commit suicide?

I'd be upset if one of my family members chose to commit suicide (assuming he wasn't suffering from some terminal illness). However, it's his life, not mine.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:39 AM

Ban-Evader:
So I can see that people have the right to use force against themselves. What about euthanasia? I'm talking about assisted suicide, or granting another person permission to terminate one's life. (Presumably one would be unconscious or anesthetized during the actual euthanasia.) Do individuals have the right to alienate control over their own bodily safety and survival?

I would say so, yes. Problem?

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:41 AM

Points taken. I still think contracts are meaningless if they can be ended at any time. Employment contracts are currently at-will, but that's only the case in our current welfare statist system.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:42 AM

Ban-Evader:
I'm not [trolling]. Slavery is just a lifelong labor contract. Technically, slavery might involve becoming someone else's property under some definitions, but for all practical purposes, it's equivalent to a lifelong labor contract with certain restrictions on the person's body (like euthanasia) and ability to make further contracts.

Practical example: Someone agrees to turn over control of their daily activities (their labor), their body, and any earnings they make to someone else for a given period of time. What right have you to deny them this contract?

I personally believe that I have no right to deny them this contract. Nor do I see this as a reductio ad absurdum, if that's your point.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 421
Points 7,165

No, there is nothing wrong with an at-will contract. Contracts can be set up with these terms. Almost all contracts are this way, in one way or another. If I contract you to build my house and pay you for materials plus whatever you decide your hourly rate is, and you don't build it, that's too bad for me. I can find someone else that will want to earn my business. I have no need, much less no right, to force you to build it. Stop with the ridiculousness. You do not understand contracts, or are intentionally misrepresenting what their purpose is, are you not?

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:58 AM

You do not understand contracts, or are intentionally misrepresenting what their purpose is, are you not?

The problem is that you're operating under the welfare-statist paradigm of contracting. Under a system of truely enforced contracts both parties would have to keep their word.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 9:07 AM

Ban-Evader:
The problem is that you're operating under the welfare-statist paradigm of contracting. Under a system of truely enforced contracts both parties would have to keep their word.

Please do go on.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 421
Points 7,165

Who will enforce? Not a central authority. you're the statist here.

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 163
Points 3,650
impala76 replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 9:13 AM

Free market legal agencies following a true version of natural law that enforces contracts. Otherwise, one has no guarantee that contracts will be kept.

  • | Post Points: 20
Page 1 of 3 (104 items) 1 2 3 Next > | RSS