Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Talk about politics here.
Forum rules
Please read the forum rules carefully before you post.

If you like AnimorphsFanForum.com, please consider making a donation. Any donation will go towards the cost of the hosting, the domain and any other running costs.

Who should win?

Team 1- TF & Dr Giggles
9
47%
Team 2- Blu & Current
10
53%
 
Total votes: 19

User avatar
TF.
Poke'mon Master
Poke'mon Master
Posts: 1950
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:19 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: We can't tell you who we are. Or where we live. It's too risky... (Australia)

Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by TF. » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:03 am

The Great Debate, episode 1- Should we carry out compulsory euthanasia for all people over 60?

First of all, we're not entirely serious. Second of all, enjoy. :D

...coming soon


So, this is the big debate (perhaps the first of several). There’s a poll at the top to decide the winner (which will run for a week or so) and this will be balanced with a professional decision from nomadsland. Remember, the poll is for who wins the debate so it's not based on whether we actually should kill old people. It's based on who's done a better job of arguing it. Obviously, none of us are actually admitting to endorsing killing anyone.

Now, without further ado, debating ho!


Affirmative, #1

We totally should establish compulsory euthanasia for all people over 60. All right?

First of all, old people suck. They totally do, as evidenced in Figure A. (I cannot assure you that this source is entirely valid) If someone/something sucks, then it’s a good idea to get rid of them. Therefore, we should get rid of old people.

Image
Figure A: I told you so.

Now, unless you are some sort of sicko (such as the other team, ad hominem FTW!), the best way to do away with human beings is by painless euthanasia. Alternatively, they could be drowned in chocolate or crushed beneath naked supermodels. We, the open-minded affirmative, are not ruling out these very fine options. We are so committed that, when we hit 60, we will go out of our way/s to make these things happen. (evidence on this may still be pending)

Anywho, I expect you want to hear some serious debating and stuff. Ok then. Anyone with an attention span of any length will be persuaded, forthwith.

Ok, so basically, we should establish compulsory euthanasia for all people over 60. The establishment of this should be vaguely legislative (though it doesn’t really matter) but binding on some general jurisdiction- the world, Western nations, whatever. But the main idea is whether we should do this, or whether we ought to. Dr Giggles and I say that we should indeed. But why? We’re glad you asked.

When it comes to a system of value, of obligations and of righteous action, we’re talking morality. The causes and implications of compulsory euthanasia are, essentially, moral ones. The opposing team’s objections are also, presumably, moral ones. “Oh dear” you must inevitably say, “You guys are screwed now.”

But screwed we are not (in that sense, at least). One of the most eminent systems of morality is Utilitarianism, developed first by Jeremy Bentham and then later revised by John Stuart Mill. We’ll be going with the original Bentham/Mill form because it made the most sense- act (rather than rule) utilitarianism based on felicity rather than knowledge or preference satisfaction. So, basically, the only moral worth is the consequence of increased pleasure.

So, as things are, is pleasure (utility) being maximised as is? Hell no. First of all, life past 60 is inevitably of a lower quality than life before 60. The circumstance of retirement may boost it up a little for them, but old people have been found to be less capable of experiencing pleasure via endorphins and dopamine and all that other garbage that floats around in our brains. And, with the menopause of both men and women, they’re less likely to have fun anyway. Their later lives are essentially less pleasurable than those of youths in similar situations. This leads to higher rates of suicide and depression and all of the crap that’s going to drag down the overall utility like a cracked tile on a 21st Century USA space shuttle (or one of two skyscrapers in Manhatten). ;)

And, with the retirement issue, the removal of the retired population would allow the reduction in time working (and taxable income used in paying for nursing homes and health care through tax- more on that later) and hence the increase of utility for all us super-awesome youngsters. Could you honestly disagree with that?

And then there’s the old-person suicide rate (links above). Come on, if we leave them alive long enough to get miserable enough to kill themselves then we’re doing them (and the community) a disservice. And the risks of most forms of suicide- brain damage due to overdosing and the unsuccessful wounds that may follow unsuccessful shootings, hangings and wrist-slashings. The recovery from these issues is yet another burden placed on the youngsters whom are still biologically capable of blowing their taxes on producing more enjoyment and utility. Most importantly, utility/pleasure is maximised by taking the oldies out before they get the poos. And by doing so we save the tax money that, in most developed nations, is reducing the standards of living of everyone else while prolonging the misery of retired old codgers (we’ll get to that later on).

Now, you might ask, how is the actual killing of unwilling 60 year olds in any way moral? Surely, TF, you’re just wriggling through the loopholes of a moral system that’s a few centuries old? Perhaps modern morality swings in a different direction.

Well, to put it simply, no. Utilitarianism remains a central ethical theory in the formulation of laws, the governing of nations and the objective evaluation of actions. And it ascribes moral worth exclusively on the consequences of actions, and their contribution to the pleasure of the community as a whole.

So actually killing these people might make you sad? Then we’ll get some psychopathic badass to do it for you- and they are aplenty in the American mental health system. If the thought alone of such killing saddens you, then we’ll do it in secret. Utility is maximised. Bentham and Mill may sleep soundly in their graves. But aren’t the actual deaths a bad thing? No they aren’t. When the two alternatives are of old people dying now with a few seconds of terror (though this can be dealt with by drugs) or allowing them to adopt the melancholy of retirement, the principle of utility clearly points toward killing them. Better dead than miserable.

This same sort of thing is brought up with consensual euthanasia in more liberal countries. Shouldn’t we allow the death of a terminally ill patient who is suffering? We sure should, but it would be even better if we could prevent that suffering from occurring to begin with. That’s where our syringe full of green comes in.

But what’s that? We can’t possibly assume that every one of those oldies would be miserable? Actually, we can. We have biological evidence that they cannot be as happy as youngsters. The action of killing all over-60s would result in a net increase of pleasure by eradicating these sources of grumpiness. With a new system of retirement and leisure, the pleasurable idleness of retirement could be shifted to the more enthusiastic youngsters among us where it will, again, result in greater net utility. Though individual cases of happy old fellows may be heart-warming, they are not predictable nor significant enough to detract from the utility-gorging black hole that is the over-60 age demographic.

However, perhaps there would be some way in which we could effect pleasure in these shrivelled old corpses (pre-death, that is) without resorting to murder. Perhaps. We could pump them full of happy gas and endorphins (it is possible) but the production of such chemicals is limited. Utility and pleasure may be maximised by doing this but that is only for the old people on which it is used. For the populous as a whole, utility could be better served. Youngsters have been found to be more sensitive to dopamine and other pleasure-inducing hormones. Thus, such chemicals could be better used on them. Killing off the old people to induce pleasure more effectively remains the ideal way to maximise utility. But you must remember that we are not arguing for such a system of Matrix-esque drugging to be established. It just remains true that, even if such a system were established, the culling of pensioners is morally obligatory.

So, by one of the most respected ethical systems of the day, we should quietly do away with everyone over 60 years of age. This is a moral obligation.

But isn’t there a problem with killing people? Aren’t there other systems of morality? Morality be damned. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that morality did prevent us from killing over-60s. Oh golly gosh, now we seem to be up poo creek without a paddle. Never fear, moral subjectivism is here!

Image

When it comes to morality, we have three options. First of all, morality is a realm of confirmed objective fact- things can be right or wrong based on moral facts (moral realism). The second option is that morality is based on objective values, such as utility or obedience (moral objectivism). The final option is that morality has no legitimate basis beyond the whims of the moralist (moral subjectivism). But which is correct?

We have no empirical means by which to detect moral truths or facts. So, we can’t rely on moral realism. The ‘conscience’ might be considered evidence but it is still an unverifiable strand of our minds that can’t be definitively separated from our own desires. Without the consensus of other humans, we can’t actually tell whether it’s morality, instincts or just revulsion that stops us from killing someone. So, moral realism is out the window. Moral objectivism relies on some source of value, but there are multiple sources. We can rely on cultural consensus (such as the feudal Japanese samurai happily testing their blades on innocent bystanders). We can rely on the value of economic productivity (if you’re an android). We can rely on religion (the Crusades, September 11, etc? Totally moral, they were). We can rely on utility, which does actually make some sense because it can be clearly recognised that pleasure is a desirable outcome. But how can we place value on a source of value above other sources? We can’t. And since many of those sources disagree (such as an old person might disagree with the utilitarian stance on compulsory euthanasia), we can’t rely on common universal principles.

Since we have to accept a value system to evaluate a value system, such moral sources will always be based on unverifiable axioms, or circular arguments of authority. So objective morality is gone as well. What do we have left? Moral subjectivism? Yes, that’s it. That makes all moral worth dependent on the attitudes and whims of individuals. Morality is what we feel like, and all moralities are equally valid as insidious little attitudes within our psyche and whatever it is that we instinctively want, regardless of outcome. But our attitude, as young people under the burden of high taxes, is that we would prefer to be taxed less and out riding jetskis (probably). So, to look down on certain actions as immoral cannot be objectively done. The killing of old people may seem barbaric but, through the promotion of pleasure, reduction in taxation, increase in economic productivity and actually satisfying the traditional circumstances of the wild (the average lifespan of uncivilised cultures is almost always below 60), our proposition is well justified.

But, what proof do we have that the lives of oldies are really affecting us that much? Unless you’re living in the nether-regions of the armpit of the barren wastelands of god-knows-where (possibly Canada), you’re aware of taxation. It’s a big deal. For instance, in 2010, the United States federal government spent 3.5 trillion dollars of tax money (2.1 trillion collected that year). Of that amount, more than 800 billion went towards healthcare and health insurance. Another 700 billion went to social security and pensions. It is estimated that, through social security, health care and other benefits, retirees used up almost 1 trillion dollars after their own taxes have been deducted. In Australia, to put it simply, a similar cost was recorded in 2006 as close to 48% of the total national taxation figure.

Woah, numbers! Yeah, numbers. So what do they mean, and how are they an ethical justification for murder? Well, this is a jetski.
Image

It costs less than $1500. And it is fun.
Image

So, if we weren’t required to pay up the trillions of dollars that old people demand in tax, we could have about a billion more jetskis.
Image
Image
Image
Image

Or new friends.
Image

Or whatever you’re into.
Image

I’m not going to presume that I know what makes you tick. But it cannot be argued that another trillion dollars or so wouldn’t make us all a bit happier. If nothing else, it would contribute to an overall rise in pleasure. Miserable old people; hoarding the assets of their inheritance (estimated to be standing at a further 20 trillion dollars in the USA) that could be circulating in the economy and generating wealth; gobbling up trillions in taxes for medical expenses and pensions when they’re about to die anyway; and generally just being grumpy old gits- these old people are an obstacle to the promotion of pleasure. That is, pleasure including, but not restricted to, this.
Image

Thus, the action of slaughtering the nasty old twits (see Figure B) would increase the utility of the community.

Image
Figure B: nasty old twits, hungry for your income tax.

So, morally, it is an obligatory course of action. The actual killing? Not a problem, since it cannot truly be said to be wrong. So, we should implement compulsory euthanasia for over-60s. ‘nuff said.


Well, that’s it for me. Over to you, Blu Current. We are reeeeeady.
Image

Click to skip to next section
Last edited by TF. on Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:09 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Image Image Image Image

Umbrielle
Aristh
Aristh
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:19 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-50s (debate)

Post by Umbrielle » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:36 pm

I hope it's okay for me to post in here... I was just wondering, who the hell voted before the debate even started?!

User avatar
TF.
Poke'mon Master
Poke'mon Master
Posts: 1950
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:19 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: We can't tell you who we are. Or where we live. It's too risky... (Australia)

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by TF. » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:57 pm

It sure wasn't me.
Image Image Image Image

User avatar
dr.giggles
Prince
Prince
Posts: 221
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:55 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Favourite Animorph: Ax
Location: somewhere over the rainbow

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by dr.giggles » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:05 pm

whoops
14:51:39) dr.giggles commits suicide
(14:51:49) ChatBot: dr.giggles is now known as (dead).

User avatar
TF.
Poke'mon Master
Poke'mon Master
Posts: 1950
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:19 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: We can't tell you who we are. Or where we live. It's too risky... (Australia)

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by TF. » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:15 pm

Yay, we're winning!
Image Image Image Image

Umbrielle
Aristh
Aristh
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:19 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by Umbrielle » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:39 pm

Tsk, tsk, Dr giggles. Tsk tsk.

You bring up good points, TF. I'd like to keep my grandpa though, if that's okay with you. Also, it's probably worth noting that men don't go through menopause... unless you mean that because women their age have gone through menopause, the men suffer for it.

Now quit calling Canada barren.

User avatar
TF.
Poke'mon Master
Poke'mon Master
Posts: 1950
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:19 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: We can't tell you who we are. Or where we live. It's too risky... (Australia)

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by TF. » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:52 pm

The Canada reference was pure sarcasm, since Australia is viewed much the same by those darn Yanks. And I have no intention of killing your grandpa, for now. :ninja:
Image Image Image Image

User avatar
Current
Eldritch Abomination
Eldritch Abomination
Posts: 1780
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Favourite Animorph: Rachel
Location: Southwestern quartersphere

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by Current » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:33 pm

Though you might have been expecting my team-mate, we have decided to switch up, since I have time now, and I won't again for a few days. Thus saving you, the reader, valuable time and giving you this debate-y goodness right when you want it.

Against compulsory euthanasia, #1

Now, you might be thinking, how will I contest my opponent's arguments? Will I appeal to another moral system, ignoring the insight Utilitarianism gives us? No, I will not. You see, my opponent, in his haste to kill your grandparents and buy jet-skis, has made the crucial mistakes of the utilitarian. He has been short-sighted, and forgot to consider the long-term consequences of his "euthanasia" plan. And he has underestimated the value of an utility. Two mistakes novices in the Art make frequently, true, but nonetheless are inexcusable.

My opponent argues that those over 60 are an economic drain, and incapable of feeling pleasure. His arguments might seem convincing, for a second or two, but think. What, in the history of humanity, has been the general trend of old age? Well, what is considered "old age" has consistently moved back, time and time again. At the time of the Greeks and Romans, most people died before thirty. Nowadays, the world average is what? 67. And that's the world average. If you are lucky enough to live in the United States and not, say, sub-Saharan Africa, your life expectancy rises quite a bit more, to closer to eighty. In some countries, almost ninety. And that's still the average life expectancy, which means that you'll likely live longer than that if you avoid making stupid mistakes. Right now, my opponent is asking you to give up one-third of your life, for a jet-ski. And that's now.

Do you care to take a guess how medical technology will advance before you hit that age? Follow the trends. Science feeds on itself. Medical advances come faster and faster every year. Your life expectancy will be greatly extended in the next decade alone, at the rate this is going. By the time you're sixty, which for the average user of this forum is forty years from now, can you imagine how long people will live? Can you imagine the discoveries we might make, on reversing aging, on making life more and more enjoyable no matter how old you are? Let me tell you, I am not betting on the side that says science stopped growing and the future will be just like the present, only later. I'm betting on the side that looks at the trends of humanity, and knows that today's sixty might be tomorrow's thirty. Want to see a bit of concrete evidence? Look no further than the thread that spawned this debate. Notice how, in the first post my opponent mentions euthanasia for everyone over 50? That's right. Only within a few days, it became obvious that his conceptions of old age were outdated, and he had to push them back to 60. How long until he has to push back to 70, or 80, or 90? Will you take the risk of siding with such short-sightedness, when it's your life that's on the line?

But that's only one mistake my opponent makes. Utilitarianism, he argues, is a most valid moral system, and I happen to agree. But the true core of utilitarianism, the only way to use it correctly, requires one to assign the proper utility to everything. So, what is the utility of life?

Would you believe that the utility of life can be reduced to simple neurochemicals, to dopamine and endorphins? That if you lack those, your life is no longer worth living? This, I fear, is the rookie mistake of all rookie mistakes for utilitarians. They confuse pleasure having utility for pleasure being the only utility. There have been many thought experiments dealing with this, of which I can just give you a sample. To put it simply, imagine the best world possible, as best as you can. Is there challenge, in this world? Is there learning? Is there effort, or does everything come as easy as pressing a button? Is your perfect world complex and exciting and full of discovery? Or is it you, plugged to a machine feeding you drugs and giving you mindless pleasure? Do you enjoy a game more, when you earn your victory, or when you enter a cheat code and the screen flashes "You Win"? Do you want to be like the lotus-eater Odysseus finds in his travels? Or is there more to life?

I say that there is more to life than pleasure. That, even if science cannot find a way to fix the problems of aging, even if we do get less reward from dopamine, life is not that. And life, thus, is worth far more than a few neurochemicals. You've heard it said that life has intrinsic value, that ending a life is one of the greatest evils humans can sink to. Even if you disagree, do you not recognise where those ideas come from? Human life has huge utility, even without dopamine. Human life is far, far more precious than simply saving money and buying jet-skis. My opponent tries to hide that, to say it is worth little after a while, that you can easily outweigh it. I urge you to reconsider. It is rare to find something worth more than life, whatever the age.

And if my appeals to you have failed so far, I have one last thing to say. I appeal to you as Animorphs fans, this time. As you know, Animorphs is being re-released, new editions. As you might also know, if these new editions are successful, Scholastic is considering a sequel to Animorphs. A new series. Now, these new releases take several months each. If they are successful, several years will have passed before the new series of Animorphs starts. And Katherine Applegate is 54. If you choose to end the lives of those over 60, you are killing also the author of Animorphs, when she might be in the middle of writing the eagerly-awaited second series. Can you, in good conscience, do that?

Thank you, and good night.


EDIT: Click to go to the next argument in the debate
Last edited by Current on Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
What is not the answer to this question?

User avatar
Current
Eldritch Abomination
Eldritch Abomination
Posts: 1780
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Favourite Animorph: Rachel
Location: Southwestern quartersphere

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by Current » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:05 pm

An addendum. You might notice that the thread I linked to was edited to show "over 60" (instead of its original wording of "over 50", the one I mention in my argument). You can easily see, by the "Last edited by..." timestamp at the bottom of the post, that this took place after I had posted. I have, further, a witness to a chat conversation with TF. admitting the crime. He may or may not have reversed that edit by the time you see this, but don't fall for his trickery.

Nice try, though :)
What is not the answer to this question?

User avatar
dr.giggles
Prince
Prince
Posts: 221
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:55 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Favourite Animorph: Ax
Location: somewhere over the rainbow

Re: Compulsory euthanasia for over-60s (debate)

Post by dr.giggles » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:14 pm

Current that was my idea and he said 50ish
14:51:39) dr.giggles commits suicide
(14:51:49) ChatBot: dr.giggles is now known as (dead).