Choosing the way to go

Lest you leap to the conclusion that this is just another woe-is-us piece on the world bequeathed to us by the C-word, list a while. It is my attempt to suggest a rational and compassionate way forward.

Much as The Who pined to die before they got old in ‘My Generation’, today’s younger generation tend to think they wished we had because then the planet would be a far better place than it is. Be that as it may, I find myself increasingly attracted to the sentiments behind it.

We have known for many weeks now that the virus is almost exclusively taking the old and the medically compromised, many of whom have remained on this mortal coil due to highly profitable drugs and eye-wateringly expensive health services. And of course many of the medically compromised are so as a result of the self-inflicted wounds of over-indulgence in food, smoking and alcohol. (I know of what I speak because I fit into both risk groups but if you thought this aside was to be an episode of True Confessions you will be disappointed.)

If we’d wanted the world to stay largely the same when it became obvious where the most likely deaths from the virus would occur, the logical strategy would have been to isolate those groups and let the rest of the world go about its business. But, being the illogical humans that we are, we didn’t. Instead we decided (slowly, to give the virus a sporting chance) to lock everyone down and wreck the livelihoods of 99% of the population for decades to come. As a result, the few remaining people over 12 and under 40 who didn’t already hate Boomers have now been given permission to go to the dark side.

How we got here, in my view, is that gradually the idea that we all should be allowed to live as long as possible, in any condition possible, has taken over any rational analysis by both electors and governments and abolished any notion of the cycle of life.

Most people over 60 have had more than enough time to live a productive life through spawning and nurturing the next generation, growing food, teaching, writing a novel or any number of other worthwhile pursuits (not including being a politician, operating cruise ships, being a computer expert etc). Absent major medical interventions and medications, most would pop their clogs in their seventies, with a smaller cohort winning the lottery of life into their eighties and beyond. The net result is we have developed an unsustainable health care system and an aged care system that is eating up an increasing proportion of our GDP.

Closely linked to this phenomenon is the dictatorial medicalisation of death by doctors and religious zealots. When anyone bothers to ask them, the vast majority of older people say they would choose to depart this life peacefully and painlessly when their body, and more importantly, their brain, fails them to the point of incapacity. Even when they leave strict instructions in this regard, their wishes are routinely ignored by doctors and families who refuse to come to grips with their own mortality and are, in fact, the real underminers of ‘God’s will’ or the natural cycle of life (whichever you prefer.) What we would do in the blink of an eye for a suffering pet suddenly becomes unthinkable.

So, ‘where to from here?’, I hear you cry.

In a nutshell:

  • Let social movement, business, education etc return to normal immediately, knowing that otherwise healthy people who are infected will survive, as they survive the flu, which is also never going to go away.
  • Provide palliative care only to infected persons over the age of 60 and offer them the option to depart this world peacefully and painlessly.

The positives to this approach include:

  • Rebuilding the economy and providing jobs as soon as possible and before it bankrupts us all.
  • Re-starting the education vital to our children’s and our grandchildren’s future.
  • Kick-starting a real community debate about the rational allocation of health resources in a time of crisis and more generally. To provide just one example, it would be more rational to give priority to a single mother who needs a knee operation so she can return to work to support her children than it would be to put a corona virus infected, obese, lifelong smoker and drinker in an ICU ward.

Over to you, dear readers.

Note: These are my thoughts and opinions only and I’m happy to hear your views. However, any comments I find abusive, obscene or moronic will be deleted and no further correspondence will be entered into.

11 thoughts on “Choosing the way to go

  1. This is awful, Doug I mean, reprehensible. That fact that is true and rational should not obscure its horror. Seriously, it’s quite brilliant. It could provide a winning political platform for a candidate in Someotheruniverseilandia.

    Present company excluded, very good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Daniel. My intention was to start a discussion outside the realm of politics but within the lived reality of what we are facing and see where mature adults, such as your good self, might take it. I am aware that there are many who will find the topic disturbing and uncomfortable (including me) but unless somebody voices it, we cannot begin to find our way through.

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  2. Ah, Doug, your views make absolute sense and thus will be very unpopular. I have a slightly different view in that I believe that the older generation has made a valuable contribution to society and should be given every opportunity to survive this virus. I do agree, however, that this total lock down is economic suicide and I fear that when we come out of this in the weeks to come, this is going to come as a total shock to many people who may find that their governments can no longer afford to pay their social grants and even pensions. That is the economic reality we are facing. I my view, governments have taken away freedom of choice. People should have the right to chose between their economic needs and self isolation. The implications of the choice should be made clear i.e. if you get sick and there are not enough beds in ICU or ventilators, you may die. The elderly can then chose to self isolate and society should support them and help with the delivery of goods, etc. This total lock down is ridiculous and agree completely with your view here. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that governments have endless resources to pay unemployment benefits even in the face of no tax revenue. Well done on this thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robbie, for your thoughtful and sympathetic response. I totally agree with your proposition that the older generation has made a valuable contribution to society and should be given every opportunity to survive this virus, with all the home supports they need. However in my country those trying to live out their lives at home in isolation are being forced to queue at dawn to obtain essential supplies. My 98-year-old father is in a nursing home interstate because he can no longer be physically and medically supported at home but he remains rational and amusing and we converse by phone often. Both he and my late mother, who died at 95, talked openly about being ready to go for years, as their health and mobility deteriorated, but our medical system does not allow that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, Obb, and therein lies the rub. As to who makes the cut, my call is for governments and the medical profession to sit down with the public and have an adult discussion about resource allocation that is in the long term interests of a fair and compassionate community and that has the resources to be fair and compassionate. In the process, let’s be clear and get out in the open that medical professionals are already making these decisions on a daily basis but cannot talk about it for fear of prosecution and/or being strung from the nearest lamp post. And let’s have an equally open discussion about the right of any human being to decide the timing and manner of their departure. One of our society’s dirtiest secrets is that we bring in foreign workers to shovel shit food in one end to demented patients and wipe up food shit at the other to salve our consciences that we are doing all we can to honour our elderly. What honour is there in being a drugged, dribbling excuse for a human being?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah. This was – effectively – the Conservative GB governments policy at first I think. It wasn’t very highly thought of and I can understand why… it was everyone being disgusted that a Government could value human lives only in economic and monetary terms when the cost of saving them was likely to be a mere fraction of what they had earmarked for a road building or ‘defence’ procuring project for example.
    Understandably, people seemed to value their grandparents more than a new roundabout on the A1.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Bryntin, but my view is a long way distant from your Clown Prince BoJo and his economic ‘rationalist’ fellow travellers. My call is for governments and the medical profession to sit down with the public, without resorting to fatuous sentimentalism, patriotism and short-term convenience, and have an adult discussion about resource allocation that is in the long term interests of a fair and compassionate community that has the resources to be fair and compassionate. One aspect of those discussions is whether it is fairer that the interests of grandparents like me trumps generations of dole queues and I think I have made it clear where I stand on that.

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      • No, it’s not far distant… it was a few weeks ago, albeit without any ‘adult discussion’ as it was just a few men in suits deciding how many thousands dying would be acceptable, but otherwise exactly the same basis.
        They tried to work out how valuable to the economy versus a drain the people likely to die were and decided not to do anything much about it all once they decided ‘not very valuable’.
        It is the same thing, no matter how you envisage it coming about.

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