excerpted from the article "The Man Who Invented Normal"
by LUCY GWIN
Jack Kevorkian, a latter-day natural selection buff, has been jailed for his hobby, but a clinical brand of Kevorkian's compassion goes on sale in state referenda every election year. Health care rationing is official in only one state so far, Oregon, the same state that finances euthanasia for the poor. (The drug that gets the job done costs $140.) I don't think it's rash to infer a connection between managed care efficiencies and death by compassion. Fact is, many of us are way cheaper dead than alive. I hear all about so-called safeguards against non-voluntary euthanasia, but as soon as your medical bills exceed your tax-paying productivity by $140 -- I wonder if that's annualized -- you, too, can qualify for better-off-dead status. Just so you know.
And before you go signing a Do Not Resuscitate order, or one of those living wills, look hard into the eyes of the person you delegate to decide exactly when you're better off dead. Do not, repeat, NOT, pick a social scientist or even a social worker to play the part. Yeah, I know, you want to be spared the indignity of diapers. Note, though, that Walgreen's sells more Depends than aspirins. All that indignity out there on the hoof. Interesting.
One more note on dignity: When we segregate, sterilize, kill and deport what eugenics called "the inefficients," we're likely to do it in the name of their dignity. Insert moment of silence here, then take this metaphorical tangent. Down through the ages, as we closed the eyes of our dearly departed, were we preserving their dignity? Or preserving ourselves from their vacant stares? Check one.