Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sliding to Senilicide

Defaulted Loans May Haunt Seniors

This is really amazing to me. Our society is undergoing a fundamental ethical wait...our government and corporate business interests are orchestrating a fundamental shift in our country's ethical fiber.

The corporate manipulation of our current health care debate is not going to end with Obama, even if he manages to pass his bill. I'm starting to envision a future where assisted suicide will become a corporate tactic to lower insurance rates. I can see the incentive in the insurance contract, "If you agree to "planned passing" we can decrease your current insurance rates by 20%." I can see the "planned passing" industry becoming a lucrative emerging market.

The practice of senilicide is commonly associated with the Inuit (FYI, Eskimo is actually a derogatory term). The Arctic landscape is a cruel and unforgiving environment, in order to survive in such a harsh climate the Inuit incorporated a number of social practices which seem unconscionable or "uncivilized" by our current social mores. It's important to try and look at cultural practices from the point of view of the culture which incorporates them, and the Inuit's use of senilicide can't possibly be understood unless you look at the physical challenges and spiritual beliefs they held at the time it was practiced (it isn't practiced any longer). The need for self preservation, as a group, dictated some hard realities on the indvidual.

While some of their past practices may seem cruel by modern standards, I had the pleasure of spending a couple of weeks with an Inuit tribe from Point Barrow, Alaska while working at the Smithsonian and I can tell you their social bonds and sense of altruism left me envious. I often think I would have rather lived 50 good years in such a rich cultural and social environment like theirs than 90 years in the often isolated existence known as "civilized society".

Point being, the practice of senilicide with the Inuit was incorporated out of pure necessity. If an effort unfolds to incorporate a watered down version of senilicide in modern society the impetus would have to be "it's necessary and the best thing for our society as a whole". You may think the notion is ludicrous but a society bound by the single teleologic goal of increasing capital can eventually justify anything, especially when the select few who reap the benefit of any capital gain control the media and attention of the general populous within the society.

Yeah...I'm making a huge jump from government decisions to garnish social security checks to putting a gun to Granma'ma's head, but I'm only following the logical, "ethos-evolutionary" path our society is currently on. It's not hard to imagine a future where children are so financially strapped that they can't afford to care for their elderly parents so they look to "planned passing" as an option....especially if there has been a media push by corporate entities to convince people it's "necessary" and socially acceptable.

If I live to be 90 (2050), the world's population is estimated to be 5 times larger than what it is now. In order for societies, domestically and globally, to function, something is going to have to give. In my opinion, unbridled capitalism is a recipe for disaster, but that appears to be the strategy this country has chosen.

I suppose an argument could be made that the inevitable increased warfare spawned by lack of planetary natural resources could lead to nuclear exchanges and hence lower global population. Combine that with a systemic, domestic culling of the non-productive population (the elderly), and you have a nifty blueprint to increase capital through destruction and selective death. I'm just saying the formula makes sense when capital output is your only goal.

You may think I'm crazy for suggesting that could happen, but once again, I'm just following the logical path on which we seem to be headed.



tuna sammich?

Maxine said...

Which is why a woman's right to her own body is so critical.

Women who are forced to breed even when they cannot support a dependent generally end up in poverty, adding to the non-productive sector of society.

An excess of non-productive population forces a transfer of resources from public amenities to subsistance. Public amenities increase general welfare, subsistance payments have no return for the general welfare.

In other words, the delicate feelings of religious wingnuts steal tax dollars.

Jason Brad Berry said...


I had heard that, but I wasn't sure if it was true. Thanks for setting me straight.


I am conducting my own little experiment. When I write a speculative post, I'm listing what I had for lunch that day. Trying to see how much my diet affects my mood and creative output. If I eat heavy lunches I tend to be useless.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Maxine, I'm with you on a woman's right to choose, OK?

But there is something a little fucked up about responding to Zombie's fear that old folks will be asked to euthanize themselves with a "and that's why we need abortions" message.

SO, kill the "surplus population" at the front end or at the back end?

What if we do not want to abort our babies OR face pressure to sign up for "planned passing" for ourselves or for our old ones?

A culture where "choice" means,
"if you are poor, if your partner leaves you, if your family isn't helpful, you can CHOOSE to have an abortion whether you want one or not, because ain't nobody going to be a community for you, little Mama." is not one where women have free choice.

I'm pro-choice despite my hatred for abortions because what happens when women don't have legal rights to their own bodies is terrifying.

Eight states now have insurance regimes that classify domestic abuse as a "pre-existing condition", so a woman and her kids could be flat turned down for health coverage for having reported abuse.

Combine that with laws in some states that will charge a woman with "fetuscide" after she miscarries for making desicions that might have harmed her baby...

Imagine it: for STAYING with an abuser, perhaps to keep herself and her kids insured, for falling down the stairs, for planning a vaginal rather than C-section birth, etc. ... the nightmare scenario is already playing out.

Women need to retain their rights over their own bodies.

But privatizing economic woes that were created by a global financial system and making women abort babies they want because they have been impoverished, and none of the services they pay taxes to recieve actually exist or actually help, is not the answer.

Affordable housing, living wages, universal health care, and other things that make life livable and a welcoming a baby possible, even if as the mother you are the only one stepping up to a responsibility that should be shared by the Dad and by the two extended families...

Something along those lines suits me better than your plan.

"If we don't want to be faced with euthanizing our old, we'd better abort our young."

Fuck no.

That is not a solution, honey.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I gotta agree with that...I wasn't promoting eugenics in that post, I was belaboring the shrewd and calculated attitude we are moving towards. I think we are sacrificing our sense of humanity in the face of economic expansion.

While I am pro-life myself, I wasn't actually promoting killing anyone as a means to increase proficiency.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Whooaaa.....I mean pro-choice....I am pro-choice. Shit...sorry about that.

And I meant I agree with Anon about his perception of your comment Maxine. I'm not sure if you meant it that way, but that's how it came across.

D-Block said...

Death Panels, you betcha!

mikenola said...


Your point is spot but apparently missed by the Anon poster after you.

There are a myriad of reasons women choose to have an abortion, and Anon listed a couple. For them those might not be the right choice but it is NOT their right to make a choice for others.


You chose to follow one very ugly thought train when you speculate on Insurance companies incentiving suicide.

For that train of thought it is a fortunate thing that we cannot get a federal standard on assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who CHOSE it. I for one have never liked being forced to watch someone who I loved being eaten alive by cancer and it has happened 3 times in my life. Lets not discuss the number of other terminal illnesses relatives and friends have suffered through.

I will never grasp why a 99 year old bedridden, blind, incontinent, arthritis riddled man with one kidney, one lung eaten by cancer (the other gone) with an enlarged heart and an enlarged prostate was not allowed to end the pain. He begged for it every day, every hour. He cried constantly, the morphine did not even touch his pain.

But to your point Dambala, the Insurance companies in this country have created a monopoly, one that is exempt from racketeering charges. They have paid off legislators for decades and in the process created a really AFU national vision of health care.

As many flaws as our legislators have put into the new health care bill the strongest light it has is that it begins to rein in the Insurance and Health monopolies.

They are finally placing some sensible regulations in place in terms of exactly how much lube the Insurers have to use when they rape their policy holders.

The Dems as usual have squandered their majority by squabbling among themselves like preschoolers.

If they pull this rabbit out of their ass, we might be on the road to preventing the future image you posit about eugenics.

Anonymous said...

Spent much time around poor women? Do you have any idea how "productive" many of them are?

Shit. It bothers me that poor people are being described as "surplus population" and "non-productive".

"Surplus" to whose needs?

"Non-productive" by whose evaluation of what kind of work or life is "productive"?

I'm politically pro-choice (despite my personal religious "wingnuttery" -- and thanks for that) because I'd never presume to know or evaluate another person's circumstances or life using my own standards and values.

(Shit, actually I do that all the time, but I would not want to LEGISLATE my practice of judging people according to my standards, ya hear?)

I don't know if you can hear how ugly notions such as describing whole segments of the population as "Surplus" is, especially in such a land of plenty and excess.

What "Public amenities", exactly, do you think their lives are costing you?

You blame the poor, not Bernie Madoff, or Goldman Sachs?

The assholes who sit twiddling their thumbs day in and day out waiting to press the buttons to launch the nuclear weapons--

assholes armed with guns so that if the guy they've spent twenty years shooting the shit with, waiting to press the button if the order comes, gets cold feet, they can blow his brains out--

those douchebags who've devoted their boring lives to nuclear war, drinking some koolaid or other to make that seem like a good idea...

Well, their work is considered "productive".

It is factored into the GDP, and paid, and taxed, and it counts.

Oil spills, Mafia activity, war...all these things are considered "productive" to our way of reconning.

But the ceaseless work and love we lavish on our children...

the housework we do for no wages in our own homes or the homes of our relatives and friends, load after load of laundry...

...the unpaid hours spent nursing babies, reading to kids, cooking for them, wiping up after them, holding them as they first walk, first swim, try riding their bike...

None of this counts.

Never mind that a lot of the work is the SAME WORK we factor into the GDP when a cleaning lady or nanny does it, or when a teacher does it.

If I help my granny to the toilet, it is "Unproductive", but if a personal support worker does it, all of a sudden, magically, that same activity becomes "productive" labor.

Countless hours of volunteer work has filled in for the deficiencies of our system in many ways, from helping the homeless, to writing blogs such as this one.

In many organizations, paid staffers and unpaid interns or volunteers often do the same exact thing, one for pay (productive?) another for no pay (A surplus person?).

Friendship, the many ways we "do for" our friends and the people we love-- tending our grandmother's roses when her hands are too sore for her to do it, walking our friend's dog when he has a broken ankle...that shit is considered "unproductive", too.

Have you spent much time with the people you consider "surplus"? Do you see what they bring to the world, what they do sustain and produce things of value?

Jason Brad Berry said...

- Have you spent much time with the people you consider "surplus"? Do you see what they bring to the world, what they do sustain and produce things of value?

try reading the post again. I think you misconstrued my sentiments. I was foreboding a future society where humanity is completely lost to the pursuit of capital, not vice-versa.

And MikeNOLA, I agree with you that suicide should be a sovereign right of every human being, I'm just projecting a future world where it's not merely accepted but encouraged to increase the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Dambala, I wasn't responding to your post or comments so much as to Maxine and the person agreeing with her.

I am pro-choice and I know what the guy means about elderly relatives who are suffering, but that euthiasia slope is too slippery for me.

Can't you just see the discounts on medical bills for those who allow their organs to be harvested?

Anonymous said...

Suicide as a sovereign right of every human being, sure.

Why not?

Let's just hope we don't see prisoners, dissident intellectuals, and others, being asked to "volunteer" to drink the hemlock.