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ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel has anounced the 'optimal age of death' - you won't like it
Old people are such a burden.
Democrats seem to love death. Whether they're yammering about abortion or "end of life" planning, they just can't get enough of talking up the myriad ways people can exit life's stage. They always claim this is simply a discussion about personal responsibility and individual choice but, since they despise those ideals in virtually every other matter, it's a hard argument to buy.
Enter Ezekiel Emanuel.
Emanuel was one of the chief architects of ObamaCare and is, of course, the brother of Rahm. Over at The Atlantic, he's penned an article about his own death and he's made a shocking announcement about the perfect age at which he hopes to die. While he very specifically rules out euthanasia, Emanuel says he hopes his ticker shuts down at the not-particularly-old age of 75.
The reason? 75 is, apparently, the perfect age for a human to buy the farm. According to Emanuel, people who live longer than that risk struggling through a less-than-perfect existence.
Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.
But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.
Emanuel rambles on in a painfully long-winded argument about how modern medicine is extending lives but, in his view, does so by keeping people in a sad, miserable, and often painful state. The elderly are not enjoying being alive and - according to Emanuel - become burdensome shadows of their former selves.
"living as long as possible has drawbacks we often won’t admit to ourselves. I will leave aside the very real and oppressive financial and caregiving burdens that many, if not most, adults in the so-called sandwich generation are now experiencing, caught between the care of children and parents. Our living too long places real emotional weights on our progeny"
So, for the sake of their overburdened families, they should probably just snuff it at 75 rather than drag it out for another 20 years. After all, they’re probably pretty unhappy being alive, and their continued existence places a ton of emotional stress on their progeny.
Sure, their children may love them - and they'll miss them when they're gone - but as long as mom and dad are alive they're putting a lot of pressure on their offspring.
"But parents also cast a big shadow for most children. Whether estranged, disengaged, or deeply loving, they set expectations, render judgments, impose their opinions, interfere, and are generally a looming presence for even adult children. This can be wonderful. It can be annoying. It can be destructive. But it is inescapable as long as the parent is alive. Examples abound in life and literature: Lear, the quintessential Jewish mother, the Tiger Mom. And while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone."
How incredibly, horrifically, selfish.
Emanuel argues that the price of adding more years to your life is decreased ability. In short, he argues that we're not really adding "life" as much as we're stretching out the process of death - and he wants no part of it.
The example he gives to showcase the horrors of old age is truly disturbing. Not because the life in question is so miserable, but because it actually sounds pretty great - and it belongs to his own father.
"My father illustrates the situation well. About a decade ago, just shy of his 77th birthday, he began having pain in his abdomen. Like every good doctor, he kept denying that it was anything important. But after three weeks with no improvement, he was persuaded to see his physician. He had in fact had a heart attack, which led to a cardiac catheterization and ultimately a bypass. Since then, he has not been the same. Once the prototype of a hyperactive Emanuel, suddenly his walking, his talking, his humor got slower. Today he can swim, read the newspaper, needle his kids on the phone, and still live with my mother in their own house. But everything seems sluggish. Although he didn’t die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life. When he discussed it with me, my father said, “I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.” Despite this, he also said he was happy."
So, let's get this straight, Ezekiel's own father has a happy, relatively healthy life. He lives with a wife he loves, gets to interact with the children he loves, and can still swim and engage with the world. ...But that's not good enough. He's "slowed down" so, in Emanuel's warped mind, he's a good example of how life after 75 isn't all it’s cracked up to be.
As he puts it: "the fact is that by 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us."
Emanuel says it's "uniquely American" to assume that you're going to have a happy, healthy life right up until the very end. He calls people who think they're going to avoid the slow decent into death "American Immortals." He claims these immortals believe they're going to be perfectly healthy until they're in their 90's and then just keel over dead one day.
I've never met anyone who thinks that. We all know that the end of our lives will, more likely than not, involve years of "slowing down" and some time in a hospital bed. Most of us have watched - or helped - someone they love go through the process.
That doesn't mean we stop fighting for every. single. precious. second.
Most of us want to spend as long as possible with the people we love. Most of us want to see and do as much as we possibly can, for as long as we possibly can. Most of us are desirous of a medical system which is constantly struggling to give us as much life as science can provide.
Unfortunately, the man who was - in large part - responsible for Barack Obama's unpopular, rightfully despised, "signature law" is not "most of us."
I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive.
In other words: "just take a pain pill."