“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Yesterday, the Seattle Times printed an op-ed from Booth Gardner, the former Governor and supporter of the Death with Dignity Initiative. Curiously, though, this was the picture that ran alongside it online:
I don’t think I really need to describe the image any more than what’s obvious about it. It shows a doctor preparing a needle with an elderly woman (with a concerned look on her face) next to it. There’s one obvious problems with this – with I-1000, the medication is orally self-administered. Right within the column, Gardner lists out the safeguards:
The basic provisions of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act that have been included in Washington’s Initiative 1000 include:
• The patient must be diagnosed by two physicians as being terminally ill with less than six months to live
• The patient must repeat the request in writing twice with at least two weeks between requests
• If either physician suspects the person is not mentally competent to make the decision, a mental-health evaluation is required.
• The patient must be provided with information about and access to palliative (hospice) care.
• A prescription may not be written if there is any indication of coercion. Coercion is punishable as a felony.
• The patient must self-administer the medication.
All of these rules are meant to make it impossible for the slippery slope scenarios of this initiative’s opponents to come true. This is copied from Oregon, where the law has worked just fine, allowing for only a few hundred patients to make this choice about the end of their life, and with no stories of doctors forcing elderly patients to end their lives against their will.
The Seattle Times has long been the beacon of nanny statism within Washington. It’s probably not as bad today as it was back when Lou Guzzo was there, but it still carries the torch for just about any cause that is meant to protect the citizens of this state from themselves and their own decision-making ability. And if you’re not clear on whether or not the Times is carrying water for I-1000 opposition, check out the title they put on this article.
The ideals of liberty that people like Thomas Jefferson fought for are illustrated quite well by the quote above. He knew that the risks of having too much liberty were far more appealing that the risks of having too little. But the Seattle Times reminds us again that they seem to always arrive at the opposite formulation, that any time people are demanding greater liberty to make choices about their own lives, it’s equated with an unforeseen (and in this case, unfounded) danger. It’s the nanny state mindset, one that constantly seeks to equate choice with peril and freedom with disaster.