Who owns you dead? (Note video not for the squeamish)


Gordon Brown, while outlining his plans for reforms to the organ donor system, has expressed his support for an organ donation system based on “presumed consent ” rather than the existing system of patient and next of kin consent. The SNP Scottish Government agrees. However, patient groups are opposed as are others as it will involve a significant shift in the relationship between the individual and the state. The idea would deal with the shortage of organ donors in the UK which contributes to approximately 1,000 deaths each year. Personally as an organ donor card holder I prefer the “primary consent” approach that would remove the next of kin from decision-making rather than the “nationalisation” of dead bodies. In the UK, 40% of families (75% of minority ethnic families) of a organ donor refuse permission despite the wishes of the deceased.

  • Turgon

    Fair Deal,

    It is a complex issue:
    The waiting list for an organ transplant is very long and as such not everyone who needs a donor organ can get one, with it seems some people dying whilst on the waiting list. It seems that the majority of people in the UK would support an “opt out” scheme whereby people are presumed to be prepared to donate their organs unless they had previously stated otherwise. As you have noted, it looks as if the government and Brown in particular are in favour of such an opt out scheme. Clearly this has great utilitarian value but some are opposed including it seems an organisation called “Patient Concern” (though what I presume is their web site) makes no comment on this.

    What is unclear to me on reading the assorted statements is whether or not the relatives will have a veto on the use of organs in any new system. This statement at the end of the BBC report on the subject seems to imply that some health care professionals might be considering advocating removing relatives right to refuse:
    “Chris Rudge, director of UK Transplant, said there were weaknesses in the current system that needed to be addressed, saying lack of family consent meant four out of 10 organs considered suitable for transplant were not being used.”

    The Spanish system which sees to be effective and is being held up as a model does, however, seem in practice to allow relatives to refuse. The relevant quote from the Spanish surgeon being “While the law presumes consent, the doctor who set up their system says in practice families are always asked for consent.” In addition his views seem to caution against presumed consent as a panacea for this problem: “Many countries try to increase organ donation through legislation. But a change to presumed consent doesn’t improve the donation rate”.

    So maybe the problem is not so easily solved. It does, however, seem to me to be fairly logical to try to increase organ donation rates. Without wishing to get into controversy regarding this important issue I do wonder if some of the problems surrounding organ retention and the media storm over this a few years ago may be having some negative effects? I do hope I am wrong about that. The other thing I wonder / worry about is the possible fear that some may have that there might be competing interests between the wish to save a potential donor’s life and the wish to save other lives with that person’s organs. Personally I think that is a completely mistaken assumption but I think it is something, which should be brought out into the open and dismissed.

    In reality I suspect that a change to presumed consent would change attitudes and as such result in relatives being more likely to say yes and quite possibly even making it easier for doctors to ask. I doubt very much that doctors would actually remove organs from deceased patients for transplant against the expressed wishes of the deceased’s relatives.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/statistics/statistics.jsp

    There were 3086 organ transplants (from 1495 donors) in the UK last year.

    If we take this to represent the 60% of organs next of kin consented to their use and similar levels of donation per donor, this means there could be up to 2086 more organs a year(from an approximate 996 donors) extra organs available if next of kin was removed ie primary consent. A potentially big dent (up to 29%) on the 7234 on a waiting list. A good boost without the state laying claiming to ownership of the body.

    Also the gap between the levels of registration and public support show significant potential for growth too.

    The opinion polls on this have something of a disjoint – 90% in favour but only 25% bother to register but in the real life situation 40% refuse. In polls people too often try to make themselves out to more beneficient than they are eg everyone in NI polls is much more reasonable/liberal plus the general public can be a bit blase with individual right’s in opinion polls.

  • Turgon

    I think what often happens is that in these very distressing situations people find it very hard to agree and doctors find it very hard to ask.

    I wonder if presumed consent and then people asked something along the lines of “you know your relative did not opt out is it okay if we use organs”. Obviously much more gradually and delicately put.

    I think if we have a situation whereby the family feel they were unable to say no then that may generate ill feelings. If we can make it that everyone expects the doctors to ask (because of presumed consent) and it is expected that people will say yes yet the family still feel they have a say that may be the best. All very difficult though. Much easier to think about when it is hypothetical not your own relative than it would be in real life.

  • fair_deal

    Much better that the family are not put in the situation in any scenario, the deceased’s wishes are paramount.

  • Turgon

    Oh I agree but I just observe that the family may well have a view and there is a danger in an absolutely imposed “presumed consent” system that a doctor is going to have to say to a deceased person’s relatives – We will now take your loved one and remove their organs whether you like it or not. That would be extremely difficult for a doctor to do.

  • fair_deal

    Families may well have a view but take wills as an example the deceased’s views prevail over a family’s except in clearly defined circumstances.

  • The Dubliner

    Effectively, the State has claimed ownership of human beings, albeit the useful organs of dead ones. Perhaps this is an example of where you can be innovative with a BoR in NI: give rights to the dead. Ownership of their body, entitlement to a funeral, an obligation on others to treat them with dignity, etc.

    The daughter of a friend of mine, who carried an organ donor card, was killed by a car on her way home from school. She was dead when he arrived at the hospital. He was taken in to see her, her eyes had been removed and no attempt was made to cover them. The hospital formally apologised later, but it greatly compounded his grief. To them, she was just a collection of useful organs.

  • Turgon

    fair-deal,
    The much vaunted system in Spain seems to effectively allow a relative veto.

    I am not necessarily disagreeing but I wonder how easy it would be for the doctors to ignore the relatives. Think about the practicalities, removing body with relatives complaining / demanding access / trying to remove the body. I do not think in practice doctors would be prepared to do this.

  • fair_deal

    In practice the Spanish system does but from the description it seems to be not an actual requirement. Also its approach is to circumvent the issue of family consent decline by increasing the number of families asked. Better to address the issue directly by acting on the deceased’s wishes. Also as the doctor who designed the Spanish system said he doesn’t think it offers the answer to the issue we are seeking to address.

    Most organs can be removed without particular issues around the body or effect upon looks (with the notable exception of eyes as dubliner’s example point’s out.)

    “I do not think in practice doctors would be prepared to do this.”

    Doctors unwilling to act godlike surely not ;-).

    The situation is not disimilar to Do Not Resusitate orders which AFAIK the issue may be discussed with a patient and their relatives it is the patient’s decision/view that is followed.

  • Turgon

    Your comments regarding Do Not Resuscitate are technically correct. However, in practice the family’s views are usually one of the most important aspects of any such decisions; indeed in practice the issues are rarely discussed with the patient but with the family. Sometimes when discussed with the patient and not family the family have complained afterwards and the patient’s wishes can no longer be ascertained (the patient being dead). In those circumstances at times the doctors have had considerable grief regarding this, and have not always received support from the hospital administration or health board etc. I fear a very similar problem could occur regarding organ donation. I do not want to shatter any illusions but doctors are usually very unwilling to act in a godlike fashion in these issues.

  • Harry Flashman

    I have a little red and blue organ donation card, signed and dated by me granting the use of any organ that might be useful in the event of my death.

    The day the government introduces a system whereby they claim the right to take parts of my dead body whether I gave prior consent or not is the day that little card is torn up and thrown in the bin.

    I’ll make this nice and clear; the government does not own me, not one little bit of me, living or dead. To concede the ownership of your dead body to the government is one huge step towards conceding ownership of your living being.

    No bloody way, I am happy to donate my dead organs on the basis that they are mine to be disposed of as I see fit, if the government suddenly claims that in fact they are the rightful owners of my organs then they can go to Hell!

  • lib2016

    Just what are we talking about here? I donated an eye some time ago and woke up the next morning with one eye permanently closed. It wasn’t particularly upsetting and made me feel as if the eye was at least going to be useful for medical research rather than merely being treated as useless waste.

    I carry a donor card and have tried to make sure that both my GP and the hospital which I have been in and out of repeatedly over the last few years know that my organs are available.

    It has been my experience that they don’t want to know until the actual opportunity arises, and even then they wanted my next of kin to be present and were extremely careful about getting papers signed etc.

    It all seemed far too legalistic to me. If it was my child waiting for help I would want the authorities to feel they had the right to go ahead and save life.

    Surely a third party could be introduced to act on behalf of patient’s rights. Someone with authority to step in if a hospitals records on donated organs differed too widely from the norm.

  • DM

    I agree that it should be totally down to the patient´s wishes. Presumed consent sounds like a good idea, make everyone aware that you will automatically be placed on the national register at birth and you then have to opt out of it. If you care that much about not doing it, surely you´ll go to the trouble of taking yourself off? I can see why some would be uncomfortable with the idea of the state having more control over the system, but it´s still your say, your decision regardless.

  • Hogan

    At last a politician with the balls to run on this issue. Good on Gordo.

    Many years ago i registered online with the donor register, i never recieved a card? Does that mean i’m on the list or not?

    I think it comes down to this really…

    I have made it clear to my family that if the worst should happen they should allow the hospital to “gut me like a fish”.

    Now that means my views on the subject are well known to them and so will be respected.

    Now in the case of someone who has not had that conversation? Their views are not known, if the govt. makes the change in the law clear then the default position will mean they will be harvested.

    If they have strong views the other way, then make them known the same way i have, opt out of the scheme and make it clear to your loved ones that you wish to meet your maker totally intact.

    Let us not forget people are inherently lazy….

  • Yvonne
  • Harry Flashman

    Here’s another suggestion; make it a matter of presumed consent that everyone with a spare room should give it over to a homeless person.

    After all there are desperately needy people out there and if you haven’t specifically told anybody that you don’t want to hand over your property to the government why shouldn’t the government simply take your spare room off you? You don’t really need it, well not as much as a homeless person does and if you’re too lazy to let the government know your opinions on the rights of private property, individual freedom, the relationship between freeborn citizens and their government, well then you can’t really complain when government agents confiscate what doesn’t belong to them can you?

    And of course we all know government agents would absolutely never, no never, abuse powers given to them now would they?

    The sheeplike mentality of some people completely gobsmacks me at times. It would appear that some posters here have already had their brains removed by the government so I suppose taking the rest wouldn’t bother them too much.

  • republicanstoned

    The British govt. have enslaved us for a thousand generations and still deny Nationalists basic human rights. Now they want to own our dead bodies…..not over mine.

  • Henry94

    At last a politician with the balls to run on this issue. Good on Gordo

    I wonder who donated them. Ed maybe.

  • DM

    I do hope that wasn’t directed at me Mr Flashman. I like the way you automatically become a government drone because you support this; I feel strongly about this issue and have been firmly in favour of such measures for a long time. These ‘government agents’ were elected by us; we can unelect them if needs be.

  • BfB

    The sheeplike mentality of some people completely gobsmacks me at times. It would appear that some posters here have already had their brains removed by the government so I suppose taking the rest wouldn’t bother them too much.
    Posted by Harry Flashman on Jan 14, 2008 @ 12:19 PM

    Clone yourself. Brilliant stuff.

  • graduate

    DM- who, exactly elected Gordo as our PM? He’s quite happy to step into Tony’s shoes without asking permission so body snatching seems a logical next step:-)

    I’m inclined to agree with Harry here- my body, my consent and the government does not yet hold the mortgage deeds.
    BTW, I’ve also made sure that my family knows that I’m happy to be someone else’s spare parts. After all, if one of my kids needed a transplant I’d like to know there’s a donor but if Gordo’s going to push this one I might have to rethink

  • Hogan

    There are certain things in life which cost you nothing, basic manners, voting, giving blood.

    All should be compulsory.

    I’m as much for civil liberties as the next man, but it is important to choose your battles.

    Q: Do i want i.d. cards where the govt. has a right to hold information to the nth degree on me (not that they don’t already!)?

    A: No way!

    Q: Do i care what happens to my bundle of earthly carbon when i shuffle off the mortal coil?

    A: Same as above.

  • The Dubliner

    “Let us not forget people are inherently lazy….” – Hogan

    Which is exactly why the socialist State will always fail. It relies on creating unequal rights for its citizens, with the burden of providing for the needs of the “inherently lazy” being displaced onto the hardworking citizens, forcing them to work harder for less reward. In order for the State to pay for the positive ‘rights’ of that underclass without disenfranchising the hardworking by dispossessing them of the rewards for their labour, it has to take ownership, step-by-step of all individual rights, granting all rights to the State. The logic only goes one way and that’s it. By the time folks cop themselves on, they won’t be in any position to alter it.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The British govt. have enslaved us for a thousand generations and still deny Nationalists basic human rights. Now they want to own our dead bodies…..not over mine.’

    Given 20 years per generation then you are assertng that HMG has been ‘enslaving’ us Irish for 20,000 years ? Admittedly it may seem that long:) however truth must out . When the last ice glaciers retreated some 10,000 years ago the ancestors of conservatives, liberals , labour and sinn feiners were apparently spending most of their time trying to hunt down some decent size steaks dressed up as hairy mammoths or elks .

    ‘Surely a third party could be introduced to act on behalf of patient’s rights. Someone with authority to step in if a hospitals records on donated organs differed too widely from the norm.’

    Now this sounds eminently sensible and answers the caveat referred to in the first post above 1 on Jan 13, 2008 @ 09:03 PM

    ‘The other thing I wonder / worry about is the possible fear that some may have that there might be competing interests between the wish to save a potential donor’s life and the wish to save other lives with that person’s organs.

    ‘I’ll make this nice and clear; the government does not own me, not one little bit of me, living or dead. To concede the ownership of your dead body to the government is one huge step towards conceding ownership of your living being.’

    Assuming you pay taxes and receive in return benefits such as public libraries , health service , sanitation , police service , education etc etc then the ‘huge’ step you allude to is not that huge just more of the same .

    A good proposal by the PM IMO . Lets hope he gets it through . Given that in the the vast majority of deaths cremation is the norm then surely this can be seen as a way of giving when not living ?

    Dean Swift famously proclaimed that we (in Ireland ) should burn everything english except coal . If he were around today I’m sure the good Dean would make an exception for body parts as well :)?

    Bertie should follow Mr Brown

  • Harry Flashman

    To Greenflag and DM, line up, form an orderly queue, the showers await you, baaa baaa baa.

  • DM

    Is that the best you can do? Not quite sure if that constitutes an argument or a personal attack. Perhaps you could clarify why supporting this issue makes me and others nothing more than slavish followers of government policy? As someone who has (to put it mildly) a strong dislike of ´NuLab´, I´m just glad that they´ve managed to come up with something I agree with for a change.

    But hey, maybe I should forego my personal opinion on the matter and oppose the government´s proposed stance – wouldn´t want to be a sheep now would I?

  • gram

    This policy is long overdue IMO.

    In addition people like flash Harry who choose to opt out should also be unable to receive an organ should they need one in future.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_Deal: “Doctors unwilling to act godlike surely not ;-). ”

    The biggest difference between God and a doctor is that God does wander the links Wednesday afternoons imagining he’s a doctor.

    Turgon: “We will now take your loved one and remove their organs whether you like it or not. That would be extremely difficult for a doctor to do. ”

    Care to wager? Put it within their power to look at the deceased chart, see that he or she hasn’t opted out and do as they will, then doctors will turn around and do as they will.

    lib2016: “It all seemed far too legalistic to me. If it was my child waiting for help I would want the authorities to feel they had the right to go ahead and save life. ”

    It’s good to want. That doesn’t make it right or just.

    DM: “Presumed consent sounds like a good idea, make everyone aware that you will automatically be placed on the national register at birth and you then have to opt out of it. If you care that much about not doing it, surely you´ll go to the trouble of taking yourself off? ”

    Contrariwise, seeing as how little effort it takes to pledge one’s innards in the name of medicine, why not retain the opt-in system? I’m with Harry — were I subject to an opt-out system (I have presently opted in, per my driver’s license), I would immediately do so.

    Hogan: “There are certain things in life which cost you nothing, basic manners, voting, giving blood.

    All should be compulsory. ”

    Jahowl, Herr Hogan… Let us see your papers, so as to make sure you are in compliance mit der State’s diktats…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DM: “Not quite sure if that constitutes an argument or a personal attack. Perhaps you could clarify why supporting this issue makes me and others nothing more than slavish followers of government policy?”

    You cede power over your body to the government as the position of default. The current system, that allows you to elect to do so, engenders choice. The state’s proposition, on the other hand, discourages choice in precisely the way some on this thread have done, demonizing or recommending punitive positions vis-a-vis those who do not appreciate the state’s encroaching upon their corporal forms.

    Power, even seemingly trivial power, has the capacity to corrupt. Better to leave the decision to the individual as an opt-in, rather than a state-empowering opt-out.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “In addition people like flash Harry who choose to opt out should also be unable to receive an organ should they need one in future.”

    Curious… would you take an equally hard line on someone who, say, ruined their liver through drink or through drug use? Or prevent a smoker from getting a heart or a lung on the basis of their partaking of noxious herbiage? I mean, not only are they ruining their own organs, preventing their eventual transplant, they are placing additional strain on the system.

    Do you *really* want the state in the position to determine who is worthy (or, more importantly, unworthy) of an organ transplant?

  • DM

    [i]Contrariwise, seeing as how little effort it takes to pledge one’s innards in the name of medicine, why not retain the opt-in system? I’m with Harry—were I subject to an opt-out system (I have presently opted in, per my driver’s license), I would immediately do so.[/i]

    What I don’t understand here is that you are obviously in favour of organ donation at the moment, however you would witdraw that support in protest at a change to the system, despite presumably supporting the idea of organ donation in principle?

    [i]The current system, that allows you to elect to do so, engenders choice. The state’s proposition, on the other hand, discourages choice in precisely the way some on this thread have done, demonizing or recommending punitive positions vis-a-vis those who do not appreciate the state’s encroaching upon their corporal forms.[/i]

    I disagree – you still retain full choice. Your decision remains 100 percent up to you. However I do believe more people should be encouraged to donate after death, and if this new system encourages them to think a bit more about the situation then it will be worth it in my opinion.

    I strongly disagree with the idea of people being ‘unable to receive an organ’ incidentally.

  • The Dubliner

    “I disagree – you still retain full choice. Your decision remains 100 percent up to you.”

    That’s an error of naivety that the State is relying on you to make. The State has claimed ownership of your body, and has placed the onus on you to contest the State’s ownership. If you contest the State’s claim of ownership, ownership will revert to you. If you do not, it won’t. If you cede ownership, what is to stop the State from cancelling your right to opt out? Howls of protest from people who evidently couldn’t care less about the issue? Hardly. Likewise, those who die before they opt-out – such as by accident or by bad timing – will become the property of the State irrespective of their will or the will of their families. This is a very dangerous precedent to be set in the developing relationship between citizen and state and the rights of the individual versus collective rights. And just because that is a ‘slippery slope’ argument doesn’t mean that the slope isn’t actually slippery. 😉

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DM: “However I do believe more people should be encouraged to donate after death, and if this new system encourages them to think a bit more about the situation then it will be worth it in my opinion. ”

    It does nothing to encourage choice, DM.

    Firstly, encourage them all you want after they die, their answer isn’t going to change.

    Secondly, the system, nothing nothing to encourage thought — indeed, it thrives under the assumption that people won’t think and the state will have their way.

    Thirdly, if put into practice and given the growing multi-culti encroachment, this scheme will last right up to the first immigrant from a religion that doesn’t do transplants gets stripped for spare part without so much as a by your leave by the gowned ghouls.

    DM: “What I don’t understand here is that you are obviously in favour of organ donation at the moment, however you would witdraw that support in protest at a change to the system, despite presumably supporting the idea of organ donation in principle? ”

    Larger principle at stake — leaving my organs for transplant purposes is presently a choice I make of my own free will. The day the state claims they own the flesh and I’m just using it and will reclaim it as soon as I shuffle off this mortal coil and it is up to me to contest it, then I will damn well contest it.

  • Harry Flashman

    *What I don’t understand here is that you are obviously in favour of organ donation at the moment, however you would witdraw that support in protest at a change to the system, despite presumably supporting the idea of organ donation in principle?*

    It’s really rather simple DM and shouldn’t take too long to grasp, it’s a principle you see, a principle called freedom, it’s quite precious and hard won and should never be lightly given away.

    I tried the spare room and the homeless analogy you didn’t get it so let me try this one.

    I happen to believe that I should eat well, exercise more often and generally look after my health, the government agrees with me, no problem then. However imagine the government is concerned that not enough people are following its advice and so orders everyone by law to eat a balanced diet and go to the gym three times a week. How would you respond to that?

    Well because you agree with the desired result you’d meekly go along with the government and sign on at your local government run gym and throw out your bags of crisps and meat pies. You would do so because you are a good little boy and always do what Nanny government tells you, because no government official ever abused their position of power so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give up your freedom to them.

    Me? I’d tell them to go fuck themselves and immediately get on the phone to the pizza delivery man, tell him to supersize my delivery, add extra meat on top and as much trans fats to his chip fryer as possible. Now why would I do such a strange thing? Because I bloody well can and no blasted government man is going to tell me how to treat my body because it’s my damn body, NOT THEIRS!

    I hope this clears things up for you.

  • The Dubliner

    The other side to this is that organs have a commercial value. Making the human body into a commodity that is the default property of the State gives the State access to commodities which it can then realise the commercial value of. It can also export these commodities to countries that will pay for human organs. It is a form of wealth creation. If the supply outstrips the demand, why not earn income by exporting the surplus organs? It helps people who need organs in other countries and it helps keep taxes low. Win-win situation. Perhaps income can also be earned by using human beings as raw materials for animal foodstuffs and as organic fertilizer, etc. If society concedes the ‘principle’ that the State owns human bodies and may use them to serve the common interest, I’m sure compelling arguments could be made for a plethora of uses. Perhaps we might also conclude that it is in the common interest, since some humans have a greater potential value to society as corpses than they have as living humans, that we expedite their conversion into socially useful entities – but only in the common interest, of course.

  • Greenflag

    ‘If society concedes the ‘principle’ that the State owns human bodies and may use them to serve the common interest,’

    When people have the option to opt out of the default donor plan how then can the state be said to own ‘human bodies’ . ?

    So presumably if your nearest and dearest needed an organ to stay alive you would prefer the present situation whereby the possible lack of a donor would mean the end of life instead of a situation in which your nearest and dearest could live a normal life span ?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “When people have the option to opt out of the default donor plan how then can the state be said to own ‘human bodies’ . ? ”

    Is that not the new proposed default position — that unless otherwise directed, the state is free to do with your corpse? If they don’t have to ask and can do as they will, obviously they own it. This is a change from the current status quo, where I own my body and can will the usable bits to the organ procurement organizations for transplant. Under this bit of statist drivel, I have to file a claim for something that, currently, I already own.

    Likewise, if they can change the status quo from opt-in to opt-out, what is to prevent additional “tweaks” to the system? This intrusion touches upon freedom of religion — a number of faiths do not agree with transplants. If the new regieme still isn’t getting enough organs, what is to prevent them from deciding that religious objections are insufficient criteria for not donating? Gee, still not getting enough healthy organs — what is to prevent the state from decreeing diets, so as to keep those organs nice and healthy?

    I also find it ironic that Scotland has a “right of sepulchre,” preventing graves from being disturbed, whilst a Scot now wants people to be treated like stolen cars in a chop-shop, stripped down to whatever bits the doctors can’t use.

  • DM

    Harry mate, stop throwing your hissy fits and addressing me as if I were a child. Your analogies are fatuous; I take it you started lighting up eagely after the smoking ban? I can’t understand why people will knowingly deprive someone of an organ that could quite possible save their life, because the state has declared that we must now opt out instead of opt in. Freedom? You’re free to tell the Governmet to fuck off and opt out of it. And of course, next time round you’re free to vote for another party that doesn’t support the scheme.

    I will have a word with my colleagues over here and see what they think of this system, up and running in their own country. Should be interesting, especially given the often strained relations between central governmnet and autonomías.

    By the by, as regards your health ananlogy – I’d probably be over the moon. As a fitness freak there’d be a good chance I could claim back a lot of money to do something I already do of my own accord 😉

  • gram

    Dread Cthulhu:Curious… would you take an equally hard line on someone who, say, ruined their liver through drink or through drug use? Or prevent a smoker from getting a heart or a lung on the basis of their partaking of noxious herbiage? I mean, not only are they ruining their own organs, preventing their eventual transplant, they are placing additional strain on the system.<

  • Harry Flashman

    Still the sheeple bleat on, there’s no talking to them, there really isn’t.

    Folks, you either understand the concept of individual freedom and the proper relationship between the citizen and the state or you don’t.

    I fully understand those concepts and I for one will never compromise one iota. My body is my fucking body, it’s mine, is that clear?

    If, as I do, I wish to donate my organs after my death, then it will be me, ME, not the government who will decide that. Understood? Good, it’s my body, not Gordon Brown’s nor is it the property of the incompetent clowns who run the NHS, it belongs to no-one else, it’s mine, there’s no debate about it.

    You lot can meekly line up for the showers all you want, I’ll tell the government to go boil their heads, I have pride, you don’t.

    It would seem the government got your balls as well as your brains.

  • DM

    [i]I have pride, you don’t.

    It would seem the government got your balls as well as your brains. [i]

    I severely doubt that. Still, thanks all the same for the personal abuse. I´ve nowt more to say on this, I´m sure you glad you won´t have to listen to any more of my bleating…

  • Rory

    I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. We didn’t have any of that transplant malarkey in my day. Did’nt do me any harm.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “I think you’ll find alcholics are denied a liver transplant until they stay off the sauce. So the state already decides who is worthy of a transplant. ”

    That’s one out of three. What of the others? What prevents them from extending this ban to say, fatty foods, risky sports or, hell, Morris dancing, were the state to get a wild hair up its fourth point of contact?

    gram: “You either agree with organ donation or not.”

    Ah, but its not really “donation” under an opt-out system. It is assumed consent, at best like a sibling taking something without asking and, at worst, the moral equivalent of a chop-shop.

    gram: “You either agree with organ donation or not. Should you wish to opt out of donating an organ due to religious grounds, stubbornness etc then you should not be entitled to receive one should you need it. ”

    Then I shouldn’t be required to help fund that portion of the NHS budget that pays for transplants.

  • Rory

    Now look what you’ve gone and made me do! Transplanting the bloody apostrophe in “didn’t” and I’ve gone and made a hash of it.

    Anyway I’m with Flashman on this one. I have no intention of willingly surrendering control of my little body parts to HMG or any other body. I simply don’t trust the bastards not to whip ’em out while I’m still fit enough to cause trouble.

  • lib2016

    “What prevents them extending this ban to fatty foods…”

    The public do have a say and when a government makes foolish mistakes eventually they pay the price in lost support.

    Either one accepts democracy with all it’s faults or or one doesn’t. I prefer to trust the goodsense of the people, though I have to admit that I disagree with them now and then. 😉

  • gram

    Dread Cthulhu: Then I shouldn’t be required to help fund that portion of the NHS budget that pays for transplants.<

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Either one accepts democracy with all it’s faults or or one doesn’t.”

    This isn’t democracy, unless they propose a public vote on whether or not this change will be enacted.

    gram: “Doh! I wish you’d start thinking before you type”

    Why, you haven’t.

    gram: “When your kidneys pack in the NHS will still have to provide your dialysis. A transplant is actually cheaper than paying for someone to stay on dialysis. So in effect you actually owe the NHS money. ”

    Ah, but if the gov’t is going to deny me access for excercising what the government generously still says, for the moment, is my right, then I am denied that less expensive solution, am I not? As it is the state’s choice and the state’s penalty to pay, should it adopt your policy, gram. Ergo, it is you who are not thinking things through. It is unreasonable to have to pay for a “public service” when, despite being a tax-paying part of the public, I would be sumarily denied access merely for exercisng their rights.

    Besides, once you start penalizing folks from exercising their rights, you’re going to start undermining the foundation of the NHS in a very public fashion.

    I am merely holding the government to the contract they made, prior to the one sided changes they wish to make. I own my body and I should have the right to decide how to dispose of it, without the state assuming they have “first dibs” at my innards and making me trot down to some hive of bureaucratic drones to register my opposition to their future expropriation of my self.

    As a minimum, it sets a bad precedent — what is to prevent the state from resolving a cadaver shortage in medical schools under the same basis? Simply decree it so, claim the bodies in the name of the people and move on.

    It is bad business to simply allow the government to decree new powers for itself and its minions without protest. Power should, as a matter of principle, given to the state grudgingly and with great reluctance. The fact that you can’t wrap your head around the fact that this has *nothing* to do with my opinion on transplants and organ donations, per se, is telling.

  • gram

    Ah, but if the gov’t is going to deny me access for excercising what the government generously still says, for the moment, is my right, then I am denied that less expensive solution, am I not? <

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “No, it is you, not the government, who would deny yourself access by opting out. ”

    No — the bull’s share of the power is in the state’s hands, not mine. They get to define the rules of engagement. If exercising my dwindling rights as a citizen over my body forces the state to pay extra, then that would be *THEIR* choice, gram.

    gram: “Please keep up. We’ve been over this before and you didn’t admit you were wrong. Not everyone currently has a right to a transplant; smokers, alcos etc.”

    You’re stumbling, gram. Under your proposed discriminatory policy, I might not be entitled to a transplant, but under the NHS, I would be entitled to treatment. Ergo, the state would be on the hook for the extra for a life-time of dialysis. Penalizing someone for exercising their right to choose seems a trifle undemocratic, gram.

    Besides, your example is weak and, largely, moot — those needing dialysis are, typically, not exactly a good source of healthy organs. Beyond the failing kidneys, the liver would have been stressed.

    Your willingness to cheerfully adopt a policy government confiscation and coercion in an area where moral persuasion would be the more appropriate tool is worrisome. But, then, you are still stubbornly focused on the transplants themselves, which are tangential to the real question at hand.

  • gram

    >>Besides, your example is weak and, largely, moot—those needing dialysis are, typically, not exactly a good source of healthy organs. Beyond the failing kidneys, the liver would have been stressed.< >But, then, you are still stubbornly focused on the transplants themselves, which are tangential to the real question at hand.<< Yes why don't change the subject when you have lost the argument.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I fully understand those concepts and I for one will never compromise one iota. My body is my fucking body, it’s mine, is that clear?

    If, as I do, I wish to donate my organs after my death, then it will be me, ME, not the government who will decide that. Understood? Good, it’s my body, not Gordon Brown’s nor is it the property of the incompetent clowns who run the NHS, it belongs to no-one else, it’s mine, there’s no debate about it. ‘

    Good man, well said, bravo, how macho ,brilliant :).

    But instead of getting worked up why not just fill in the form that enables you to opt out if and when the new measure becomes law ?

    Some reflections on our imperfect human nature.

    ‘ Most people would rather die than think : many do’

    ‘ A die hard is a reactionary who worships the ground his head is buried in’

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “To simplify. You are healthy and choose to opt out. Fair euough. That should be your right. You then get ill and need a kidney. Do you think you should get one ahead of someone who chose to stay in the program? No way. ”

    Will you then deny heart by-passes to those who prefer fatty foods in defiance of government guidance? How about denying artificial joints for those who voluntarily engage in risky behaviors, such as mountain climbing or hang-gliding? How far would you be willing to take this theory of yours, gram?

    Gram, you are arguing to establishing a state-sponsored punitive response for what even the state acknowledges as exercising a right. It is, essentially and morally, putting a gun to the head of the populace and saying “It’s your choice.” It would undermine the NHS by creating two tiers of service — one for “sheep” and one one for “goats,” if you will.

    The state should not be in the business of punishing an individual for exercising what the state claims is their right. Likewise, it should not be in the business of extortion, as you propose.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “But instead of getting worked up why not just fill in the form that enables you to opt out if and when the new measure becomes law ? ”

    For starters, it is not an appropriate basis for the relationship between the people and the government. It certainly isn’t one folks would accept in most other areas of their life. People voluntarily leave bequests to charitable organizations and foundations — would it then be appropriate for the state to legislate that, unless you specifically opt out and regardless of whatever arrangements you may have made outside of the state’s bureaucracy, a certain percentage of your estate will be confiscated and given to charity?

    Taking the organs to the next step — would you want the state to be able to come along and co-opt a kidney and a piece of your liver because you were the best and closest match for some stranger while you were alive? I mean, you can live without those parts — your liver will heal and you only really need one kidney?

    Likewise, if you don’t specifically opt out, should the state be permitted to take your corpse in toto and donate it to a medical school, so as to clear a cadaver shortage?

  • gram

    Dread>>Will you then deny heart by-passes to those who prefer fatty foods in defiance of government guidance? < >How about denying artificial joints for those who voluntarily engage in risky behaviors, such as mountain climbing or hang-gliding?<

  • Greenflag

    ‘For starters, it is not an appropriate basis for the relationship between the people and the government.’

    At the time any transaction would take place there is no relationship i.e the deceased is no longer in a position to discuss anything. The parrot so to speak is dead -deceased -demised an ex parrot .

    I view the proposal from a pragmatic rather than a matter of high principle . If the present system of purely voluntary donation of organs is not working then it behoves the government to save /prolong the lives of citizens by a system which might or could eliminate the shortfall of organs .

    I share your antipathy and concern for the ‘nanny state ‘ . At the same time my understanding of human nature is that people prefer not to think or discuss at length their eventual demise or if they do so it’s normally to do with the avoidance /minimisation of taxes and inheritance wealth. Thus Brown’s plan may save a lot of lifes and reduce the heartbreak incurred by shortened lives.

    There are areas in life which no matter which way you cut it the State has to be involved . Most people have a tough enough time getting through life -paying their mortgage and rearing their children that they don’t have time or inclination to become professional financial experts in pension fund management or in advanced health care diagnostics. If for instance the State withdrew entirely from health care and pensions provisions would the result be that people would instantly change their living habits in order to reduce any possibility of becoming sick and thereby inurring expense ? Would they not bother saving for their eventual retirement ? Or would we end up with millions of destitute beggars and sick people on the streets with vastly increased crime rates , homicides etc etc .

    We now know that State control over society as in the former communist states eventually collapsed due to the inherent contradictions within this ideology as regards the flaws in it’s so called ‘scientific’ marxist understanding of human nature . We are also becoming slowly aware know that the ‘compassionate conservatism’ of the Bush era has also failed millions of middle and working class Americans and to a lesser extent Europeans . And again I would fault the purist ideology of latter day conservatism rather than conservatism per se .

    If it’s broke fix it . If it isn’t broke leave it alone . And when fixing don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The present system of organ donations is not doing the business as well as most people believe it should.

    I wonder if your opposition to Brown’s scheme could be removed if some financial compensation were offered up front say 1,000 pounds /euros /dollars ? or alternatively at the time of your demise your next of kin would get say half the market value of your innards /parts or some such arrangement ?

    Pragmatism instead of principle is usually the best guide for most of these situations .

  • The Dubliner

    “If it’s broke fix it .” – Greenflag

    No-one is disputing the claim that more donors are needed. Folks are disputing that dead bodies are the default property of the State – that the State has the right to implement a policy of nationalisation of the dead. A better way to “fix it” is to offer a financial incentive to people to sell their dead body to the State, i.e. your next of kin get £5,000 – with the proviso that the offer is void if you commit suicide (lest the policy encourages depressed people to enrich their kin).

  • Rory

    It strikes me that the most important thing to recognise in this debate is, as the Irish-American poet, essayist and professional undertaker, Thomas Kinsella, says that “the dead don’t care”.

    Three men in the aftermath of a terrible accident will ask:

    “Are you o.k.? ” “Yeah, I’m o.k.Are you o.k.?” “Yeah, I’m o.k. Joe, are you o.k.?”

    Joe doesn’t answer. Because Joe doesn’t give a shit if the other two o.k. or not. Joe is dead. He is beyond caring about such matters. Kinsella would say “He is careless, or perhaps care-less”.

    But his friends, the survivors, and other friends and family and his community will care. About the collection of his mortal remains and their dignified treatment of disposition and their right to accepted funerary rights within their tradition. Joe still doesn’t give a shit. Joe is dead and past all that.

    And because Joe, being dead, cannot be bothered to give a shit nor should he be allowed any voice in how his remains are disposed of. That becomes the right of those who cared about him while he lived, whose lives he touched and affected. The disposition belongs to them and old Joe now has to take a back seat in all the discussion of how best this will be arranged. But Joe don’t give a shit about that either because Joe is dead.

    If Joe were able to consider the matter at all he might recall that his surprise birthday and anniversary and stag parties went off terrifically well without any of his input barring his presence at the event. But Joe don’t give much consideration to this comparison because Joe don’t give a shit. Joe is dead and the party planning remains as always. This time old Joe won’t really participate or enjoy it much. But Joe don’t care – Joe is dead.

  • The Dubliner

    Rory, ‘Joe’ is not in a position to care when he is dead as you correctly deduced. However, Joe may leave a will that detail his instructions about how his estate is to be disposed. While Joe may not care about how his estate is disposed of after he is dead (because, as you rightly concluded, that is a tad difficult when his thought processes have fatally terminated) that does not absolve others of their obligations to dispose of his estate after his death in accordance with his specific instructions. Even the dead have rights in civilised societies.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “Let me get one thing clear. Under the opt out scheme you would deny the right of others to have your organs but you’d see no problem in taking other peoples organs if you needed them? ”

    Lord, gram, you are a slow one. Can’t even wrap your head around hypothetical extensions of the policy you approve (behave in a state approved fashion or be denied medical care).

    I am a registered organ donor. The only condition under which I would change this condition is if the state were to go in the direction you propose, a hectoring, intrusive and extortionate “gives us your organs or else” direction.

    Now, I’m not the raft of mouth-breathing bureaucratic idiots who cobbled this system together. It is the state who is unilaterally proposing changing the basis of organ donation — calling this scheme “presumed donation” is on par with calling the local smack pusher an “unlicensed pharmacist” — without so much as a “by your leave.”

    If you can’t wrap your head around the possibility that someone might not appreciate being nationalized, there isn’t much left to this conversation.

    Greenflag: “Pragmatism instead of principle is usually the best guide for most of these situations .”

    Bullshit. Pragmatism is far more dangerous that principle, insofar as, under principle, there are some places you just won’t go. Likewise, unilateral changes to systems are the stuff of tin-pot dictatorships, let alone false choice backed by punitive measures like “gram” suggests.

    How about the Chinese answer — strip criminals and other prisoners of organs — make the death penalty a boon to society? Or is that a little too “pragmatic” for you?

    I’ll ask again, would you want the state to be able to come along and co-opt a kidney and a piece of your liver because you were the best and closest match for some stranger while you were alive? I mean, you can live without those parts—your liver will heal and you only really need one kidney? Isn’t that a pragmatic answer, providing the fastest solution to the organ shortage?

    As for the matter of financial compensation, I’m undecided. Legally, it makes perfect sense, dove-tailling nicely with established common and contract law. Morally / ethnically… I squirm.

    Besides, what effort has the state put into increasing organ donation rates prior to simply throwing the proverbial “baby” of voluntary donation out?

    And, if this statist confiscation scheme doesn’t work, what is their *NEXT* step? Or worse, what other notions start to become politically palatable if folks accept this notion?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Pragmatism is far more dangerous that principle, insofar as, under principle, there are some places you just won’t go. ‘

    Take yourself back a century or even less .

    The powers that were objected to all the following on the basis of ‘principle’ up until such time as their ‘principles’ were too far removed from the political realities that they could no longer be held without public ridicule and/or political extinction.

    1) Freedom from slavery 19th century USA and UK.
    2) The Electoral Reform Act of 1832
    3) Women’s right to vote (20th century)
    4) Home Rule for Ireland
    5) African Americans right to vote
    6) Catholic Emancipation

    I’m sure that many people pondered long and hard about what other notions would start to become politically palatable if folks accept the above notions?

    Up until the 1860’s most people died at home attended by family members . Only the poor died in hospital . Things change . Not too long ago cremation was considered ‘unchristian’. Today it’s accepted . Divorce was also considered a no no today it’s almost mandatory! Homosexuality was considered a crime and still merits the death sentence in the most Islamic States .

  • Rory

    Dubliner,

    Joe, being dead, has no care as to how his will,expressed when he was ‘carefully’ living is obeyed now that he is beyond such such caring.

    That expression of his living wish only assumes as much import as his immediate family, his surviving friends and community may accord it and that due accord may well conflict with some recorded expression of the living Joe uttered while he was at odds with that family, those friends, that community. Tough on Joe. But Joe don’t care.

    Anyway this could go on and on and really we all truly know that the dead do not matter except to the living and it is the living who must ultimately make decisions as to disposal.

    It does not help such decisions that the surgical transplantation of vital organs from one human being to another has been of very limited value and requires medical care and resources far outweighing its return. I recently learned, for example, that it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have so far died have died from malarial infection.

    When I find that that the huge medical resources with matching enormous investment is being dedicated to the potential for the use of the organ tissue of dying rich old white men * to be harvested while they are breathing their useless last in order to benefit the life of a poorly poor child then of course I might rethink my position.

    (ah, shit, I ain’t no racist – they can be any colour – jest so long’s they rich).

  • The Dubliner

    Rory, I’m really not sure what point you are making. Very little, in fact, of the matter of Joe’s disposal of his estate (which, in Ireland, includes his body, as Ireland hasn’t nationalised corpses) is subject to the discretion of others. Joe may make a will detailing how his assets are to be disposed of after his death. The Irish State concedes that the assets of the individual do not default to ownership by the State after his death, unless he dies intestate and without next of kin. The UK State agrees with that principle in regard to the financial assets of the individual, but disagrees in regard to his body, wherein the State seeks to make a claim of default ownership (meaning: the status unless altered). The UK State (for now) concedes that the individual may contest the State’s claim of ownership of his corpse, but places the onus on the individual to do so. While I appreciate that NI has been conditioned by its ‘particular circumstances’ that dead people should not have any rights, specially the right to justice, lest their rights upset the political apple cart of ‘reformed’ murderers, elsewhere the position remains that they have rights that are such not subject to the discretion of others.

    Greenflag, do you believe in absolute rights? You seem to be saying that all rights are transitory, and may as well be discarded now as next year. How about human rights such as the right to equality before the law, the right to life, and liberty, etc? Are they all subject to cultural change too – are none of them worth defending against a State which seeks to deny them?

    The more I see of Europeans, the more I like my American bank. 😉

  • The Dubliner

    And, by the way, it’s pretty obvious why the socialists will agree that Joe’s body should default to the State upon his death: they beleive that all of Joe’s other assets should also default to the State upon his death.

  • Harry Flashman

    Greenflag as you seem incapable of understanding the simple point at principle here I won’t bang on about it (although I do note that you cite the abolition of slavery as a great reform, as do I, because I do not think human beings can be ‘owned’ by anyone else, living or dead, you appear to disagree as long as it is the state which claims ownership).

    Instead I will critically examine the situation that would arise if your policy were implemented. Remember Alder Hey? It’s a hospital in Liverpool where ghoulish pathologists figured, like you, they had to right to strip infant corpses of whatever they saw fit. Of course they did so for the best of reasons, they needed to perform ‘research’. So they took whatever they felt like out of the dead babies – where’s the harm? The babies were dead, sure they’d never miss them – almost 104,000 organs and body parts, including the entire bodies of foetuses and still born babies, some research eh?

    They kept the organs in their offices, at their homes, in storage lockers, one even kept a wee’uns head for Christ’s sake!

    How were they allowed to do so? Well they had received “presumed consent”, they had asked to remove ‘some tissue’, they were doctors, agents of the state and the parents assumed like you that government agents never abuse their position of power.

    What about Singapore? There they have presumed consent. Last year there was the horrific case of a man injured in a car accident, he was in a coma, his family was gathered around him, the doctors however knew best and decided he would not recover and, well he was a fit young man, and those organs would come in very handy. So in front of screaming, pleading family members the doctors came in switched off his life support and carried him off to have the innards stripped from his still warm body.

    Welcome to your brave new world.

  • Rory

    As it stands, Dubliner, the law of the Irish Republic which recognises the obvious sensibilities of surviving family over any claim or need by the state as opposed to the UK state’s dictatatorially insensitive system of a claim to all that is subject to it (as personnified by the monarch) is preferable and self evidently more kind.

    I cannot envisage that in any advanced socialist society there would be any requirement for the dead or dying, any more than the living to be always at the disposal of the state. Such demands are, after all, the requirements of capital and more likely to be made mandatory by those governments at capital’s disposal, of which England was the first. Is there one such today, outside of Cuba, that is not?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: ”

    1) Freedom from slavery 19th century USA and UK.
    2) The Electoral Reform Act of 1832
    3) Women’s right to vote (20th century)
    4) Home Rule for Ireland
    5) African Americans right to vote
    6) Catholic Emancipation ”

    All of which were championed by individuals of principle, Greenflag. Likewise, these were not conditions that were maintained solely out of principle, but had their pragmatic aspects — slavery was far more pragmatic than transplanting whole villages to the New World. The right to vote for women was not a matter of principle or ethics, but one of dogma. The right to vote for blacks arose as a matter of principle — arguably, the clan was a pragmatic response to the change in the status quo.

    Pragmatism is doing the easy thing in preference to the right thing.

    But then, you’ve had the wrong end of the horse on this. For example, it is not that people wouldn’t save for retirement if the gov’t got out of the pension business, it is that they stopped doing so when the government got into the pension business.

  • gram

    gram: “Let me get one thing clear. Under the opt out scheme you would deny the right of others to have your organs but you’d see no problem in taking other peoples organs if you needed them? “

    >>Lord, gram, you are a slow one. Can’t even wrap your head around hypothetical extensions of the policy you approve (behave in a state approved fashion or be denied medical care).

    I am a registered organ donor. The only condition under which I would change this condition is if the state were to go in the direction you propose, a hectoring, intrusive and extortionate “gives us your organs or else” direction.< >For example, it is not that people wouldn’t save for retirement if the gov’t got out of the pension business, it is that they stopped doing so when the government got into the pension business.<

  • Harry Flashman

    *Glad you brought up the pension system. A good example where the state requires you to opt out. I wonder how many of you have done so out of “principle”.*

    Anyone, including myself, who has a titter of wit would do so. The state pension won’t purchase a packet of cigarettes by the time I retire, if I never received it I wouldn’t miss it.

    I will finance my own old age, so what’s your point?

  • gram

    >>Anyone, including myself, who has a titter of wit would do so. The state pension won’t purchase a packet of cigarettes by the time I retire, if I never received it I wouldn’t miss it.

    I will finance my own old age, so what’s your point?<

  • Harry Flashman

    *Do you believe you would have the right to other peoples organs if you opted out?*

    No.

  • gram

    *Do you believe you would have the right to other peoples organs if you opted out?*

    >>No.

    Excellent. Then we only disagree on the principle of allowing gov assumed access to parts of our bodies on death which I have no issue with. This is not without precedent. Take for example conscription where in effect the state takes ownership of our body while we are still alive.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Greenflag as you seem incapable of understanding the simple point at principle’

    I understand your theory/principle/dogma etc etc and I share to a great extent your ‘fears’ .However the practical working out of the theory in this instance is not working to help those who could be helped .

    Back in Famine days theoreticians argued on a point of principle -in this economic principle- that nothing could or should be done to help the starving because it was ‘unnatural’ and anyway it was no business of the State to interfere .

    ‘Pragmatism is doing the easy thing in preference to the right thing.’

    At one time it was the right thing to believe that the Sun moved around the Earth . You could say that it would have been very pragmatic to believe that, particularly if non belief would involve a termination event involving a stake – woodpiles – and a chanting priest with a torch.

    Nowadays it’s the right thing to believe that the Earth moves around the Sun and it’s the wrong thing to tie people to stakes and burn them alive due to a failure to believe/keep the law of God .
    Admittedly in some parts of the world this is not yet the case .

    Pragmatic solutions are not necessarily the easy ones . The easiest is usually to do nothing . In this instance Gordon Brown is trying to do something constructive and meaningful for thousands of people . As long as the rights of those people who have religious or other reasons for wishing to opt out of any scheme -can do so -I see no good reason why Brown’s proposal should not go ahead.

    ‘ For example, it is not that people wouldn’t save for retirement if the gov’t got out of the pension business, it is that they stopped doing so when the government got into the pension business.’

    Nonsense . Prior to the establishment of national pensions schemes those who lived into their seventies and beyond were mainly supported by their children -of course that was at a time when family size was much larger than nowadays and the support of elderly parents could be shared financially. As few people lived beyond their early 70’s at that time the burden was bearable . Even so many elderly -those without children or who’s family predeceased them died without dignity in poor houses -state asylums.

    For the increasing number of millions of low income people across the western world who have been emisserated over the past two decades -‘saving for retirement’ is a luxury that they can’t afford . For this reason many of the candidates in the American Presidential campaign talk about ‘saving the American Middle Class’ from the steady erosion of their real incomes over the past three decades – never mind low income Americans .

  • Harry Flashman

    *Then we only disagree on the principle of allowing gov assumed access to parts of our bodies on death which I have no issue with.*

    He’s got it! By God he’s got it! Finally he’s got it! He now understands! Alhamdulilah! The boy took a while but he’s there now, he’s finally grasped what this is all about.

    Conscription is an exceptional step, only to be taken in times of national peril on the understanding that it is a temporary measure that will be ended after the emergency has passed.

    By agreeing to an emergency measure for a limited amount of time, free people co-operate with the administrators elected by them to achieve a specified result. At no time do the people concede ownership of their being to the state, at no time can the state claim ownership of the citizens, the right of the people to remove the state’s power is absolute and can be invoked at any time. Woe betide the government who assumed that limited use of conscription granted them ownership of the people, ask Tsar Nicholas or Adolf Hitler or Mussolini how that worked out.

    You fundamentally fail to understand the relationship between the people and the state. Members of the government, despite the name, are not our governors, we are not their serfs, they are our servants, our employees.

    I may bring in a group of contractors to renovate my house, I may agree to pay their asking price, I will allow them to work on my house and knock things down and repair other things but under no circumstances do I concede them ownership of my house, they are my employees, my agents, my servants if you like, they are not my masters, they do not own me and if they ever have the foolishness to believe they do they will meet a very sorry end indeed.

    Unlike you, I am not afraid of offending the sensibilities of incompetent or corrupt public servants, they are my servants, they will behave as such and if they don’t like it, no problem I will dismiss them and employ new ones who will do my bidding. That, gram, is the proper attitude any free born citizen should have towards his ‘government’.

    Unlike you, I am not a sheep to be harvested by my owners.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag,

    Compare savings and investment rates before and after the introduction of the various aspects of the welfare state, Greenflag. Your “In the auld days, we walked 5 miles to school over ice and snow, uphill both ways” shtick is wearing thin. As for one’s children, before other financial vehicles became more readily available to the common, children — their education and preparation for the world — *WERE* an investment.

    Likewise, don’t denigrat the opportunities that were available — my grand-da was a janitor in a warehouse to start. Died with two homes, a comfortable block of stocks and bonds to support his family after his passing and three daughters all of whom could support themselves — all founded upon cleaning a warehouse with a push-broom and saving and investing. My distrust of state pension systems (the problem with taking courses in governmental accounting is that you learn how the government treats money…) and their slow morph from pensions into entitlements led me to save 17% a year for half my career — that’s pre-tax, btw. So don’t tell me it can’t be done. All you have to do is mind your money, squelch the notion of instant gratification and work hard.

    Now, as for pragmatism, your argument is nonsensical — if the goal is to increase the number of organs available, doing nothing is hardly the “pragmatic” solution. Ruling by fiat, nationalizing the corpses of the masses — that is the pragmatic answer — the sheep will toddle merrily along as herd beasts do, whilst it is only the grumpy old goat like Harry and I, who make the effort to read the writing on the wall, who will make a fuss. The principled solution — educating the masses and applying moral persuasion — that’s too much like real work, particularly for the gov’t… and nationalizing something probably makes Gordon feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    It’s also the easier solution, since it requires no effort other than issuing the decree. It does require sufficient suspension of disbelief to hope that the NHS won’t repeat some of its more colorful escapades and not make a hash out of this new policy.

  • Harry Flashman

    *the grumpy old goat like Harry*

    You know, I think that’s the nicest thing anyone here has ever called me.

  • gram

    >>Conscription is an exceptional step, only to be taken in times of national peril on the understanding that it is a temporary measure that will be ended after the emergency has passed.< Members of the government, despite the name, are not our governors, we are not their serfs, they are our servants, our employees.<