Joe Biden introduced his coronavirus task force Monday morning. It will include Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the “medical ethicist” who createdvObamacare’s “death panels.” Curiously, Emanuel wishes the 77-year-old Biden had died two years ago.
In his national address Saturday, Biden said his COVID-19 plan “will be built on bedrock science” and “will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern.” Ethics and empathy have different meanings to Democrats, as was shown by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s flooding of old-age homes with the virus.
Emanuel likely thinks New York’s death toll was a feature, not a bug. After all, it mostly killed the elderly — people the “medical ethicist” believes don’t deserve to live. He has publicly claimed that 75 years should be the cut-off for human life.
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.
By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy.
Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either. Today, when the doctor recommends a test or treatment, especially one that will extend our lives, it becomes incumbent upon us to give a good reason why we don’t want it. The momentum of medicine and family means we will almost invariably get it…
But 75 defines a clear point in time: for me, 2032. It removes the fuzziness of trying to live as long as possible. Its specificity forces us to think about the end of our lives and engage with the deepest existential questions and ponder what we want to leave our children and grandchildren, our community, our fellow Americans, the world. The deadline also forces each of us to ask whether our consumption is worth our contribution.
Coronavirus has the most impact on the elderly but Biden’s task force clearly has little use for them. I can’t see how it will exercise “compassion, empathy, and concern” for anyone born before 1946.
That includes Joe Biden, who was born in 1942.
H/T Jim Geraghty.
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