The state of Oregon has been a “leader” in the euthanasia movement in America. I say “leader” in quotes because I am not sure that progress is always in a good direction (there is a fine line between progress and regress). That is an inherent problem with the “progressive” political movement. Just because one is progressing away from the status quo does not guarantee that the movement is good. Children sometimes move away from their parents in crowded parking lots, and the results are not good. The question is whether Oregon’s leadership in the euthanasia movement is a good thing. I happen to think it is not.
A recent phenomenon has emerged with a dying man in Oregon. According to this news report, the man has become an internet sensation through Reddit and Youtube, as he has chronicled his own death and invited others along for his final ride into eternity. Lucidending—the username of the dying man—has posted a video which has been viewed more than 75,000 times concerning his death. His Reddit statistics are among the top 10 all-time, making him an internet sensation.
Lucidending does not represent a good ending for Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” laws. These laws are purportedly designed to increase human dignity through the process of death, but they end accomplishing just the opposite. And here is why. Before passing such laws, the general disposition of the state was to uphold the value of all human life. After passing the law, the state surrendered its high ground on the value of human life by joining with the forces of death, which whisper in the ears of the sick, the handicapped, the bed-ridden, and the elderly, telling them that their lives are worthless because they cannot contribute, telling them further that they ought to go ahead and die. Indeed, these laws affirm for them not only that they should die, but that they should die quickly—even if it means killing themselves.
This surrender to the forces of death by the state of Oregon is an action which diminishes the value of human life, even though, admittedly, it was designed to preserve “dignity.” But dignity is a non-descript term; it can morph into whatever meaning its speaker assigns to it. It is not a fixed concept. So, someone can kill himself instead of suffering and call that dignified. Others assert that dignity is found in suffering well, drawing a family together with loved ones to the end. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong in that debate, the conclusion of the matter is still found in the fact that Oregon has not increased dignity, but, rather, has diminished all human life by saying that some people are better off dead. It is very sad to me that so many people have cheered this poor man on to kill himself, even though he has admitted that he is terrified of dying, not knowing what lies beyond death.