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Utilitarian Bioethics - Disabled and terminally ill are 'nonpersons'

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posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:54 AM
(Hit escape on your keyboard if you want my avatar to stop moving. Will help you concentrate!)

I have recently read a fictional novel by Dean Koontz entitled One Door Away From Heaven. As a disclaimer, it mentions that a branch of the academic community it refers to numerous times, Utilitarian Bioethics, is infact not a product of the authors mind but a real group.

This shocked me, because what these 'academics' stand for is about as 'ethical' as resurrecting Hitler.

Let me begin by posting the Wikipedia definition:

Utilitarian bioethics is based on the premise that the distribution of resources is a zero-sum game, and that it therefore medical decisions should logically be made on the basis of each person's total future productive value and happiness, their chance of survival from the present, and the resources required for treatment.


Doesn't sound too bad so far, right? Directing medical treatment to patients most in need is not exactly a bad thing. But it is the way in which they decide who needs this treatment most that is alarming.

For those whose cost of medical treatment or maintenance outweighs their total future economic value (because they are terminally ill, are no longer productive, and have no reasonable chance of becoming productive or happy in the foreseeable future), it is economically efficient to free up medical resources by not treating them.

As an example of this logic, every nurse who cares for a terminally ill Alzheimer's or cancer patient, a comatose individual, or an individual in a vegetative state, is one less nurse to take care of a sick baby or a 12-year-old gunshot victim. See opportunity cost.


The way I read that is that a passive form of Euthanasia is sought. Instead of outright killing the person Utilitarian Bioethics states that they should be left to die if the resources needed to keep them alive can be used in another 'better' way.

The happyness part is what really strikes me though. How do they define happyness? And how can they know how someone feels, let alone relate that state of mind to their illness or condition?

The core of Utilitarian Bioethics believe that someone should be valued depending on their ability to contribute to society and live a full life. Under their evaluation, disabled people, simple people, uneducated people etc. are all 'nonpersons'.

They believe these 'nonpersons' should be left to die, or in worse cases culled, so that 'normal' people can take their places and improve the world.

Their argument is:

Therefore, the benefits Utilitarian Bioethics include increased medical expenditure on other patients with a higher chance of survival and return to a productive and/or happy status. This would ideally lead to an overall net increase in wealth and happiness.


So, they want people to die so they can make more money basically? Nice.

Lets weigh their 'benefits' against the cons:

The perceived downsides of Utilitarian Bioethics include : potential justifications for physicians to kill patients, a gravitation towards acceptance of mortality and death, lack of medical progress (as the treatment of severe injuries would not be explored), the uncertainty in measuring 'happiness', and the possibility of classification of many disabled or old people as "nonpersons".


I think it will be unanimous that the downsides far outweigh any possible benefits from such action.

Ethics? How is it ethical to allow people to die for an 'increase in wealth'?

Utilitarianism dot net have an extremely long winded and wordy description of bioethics. However, some parts are coherent enough to convey the message:

Now that the human genome has been decoded, the ramifications of a utilitarian ethic go far beyond socioeconomic and legislative reform. In era of post-genomic medicine, they extend to control of the pleasure-pain axis itself. By unravelling the molecular substrates of emotion, biotechnology allied to nanomedicine permits the quantity, quality, duration and distribution of happiness and misery in the world to be controlled - ultimately at will. More controversially, the dilemmas of traditional casuistry will lose their relevance. This is because our imminent mastery of the reward centres ensures that everyone can be heritably "better than well" - a utopian-sounding prediction that currently still strikes most of us as comically childlike in its naïveté. However, unlike perennially scarce "positional" goods and services in economics, personal happiness doesn't need to be rationed. Within the next few centuries, a triple alliance of biotech, infotech and nanotech can - potentially - make invincible bliss a presupposition of everyday mental health.


If that still confuses you (and it took me a few reads to get through the wordiness), basically they think in the near future we will be able to manufacture happiness using a combination of biological science and advanced computer technology. Until that day comes, however, a survival of the fittest-esque regime should be put into place that allocates resources to the happy, strong people and allows the 'weak' to die out.

In a way, Utilitarian Bioethics is simply another form of Nazism. Breeding out the 'nonpersons' to create a perfect race. The main difference is that they don't make death camps and round up their prey, they simply ignore them into destruction.

Please research Utilitarian Bioethics further yourselves if this outrages you too, and remember it in case it is brought into use by a government any time in the future.

[edit on 25-1-2009 by fooffstarr]

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:58 AM
I'm so sorry, but your avatar was so distracting I could only read the first paragraph before I had to stop.

This seems like such an interesting subject to me too, but I cannot get past the first paragraph without having to quickly go to another page.

I was about to have an epileptic fit.

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:11 AM
This is economic triage.

This must be sponsored by an HMO or Insurance company, incremental steps today for a more profitable future tomorrow.

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:30 AM
reply to post by fooffstarr

In a way, Utilitarian Bioethics is simply another form of Nazism. Breeding out the 'nonpersons' to create a perfect race. The main difference is that they don't make death camps and round up their prey, they simply ignore them into destruction.

not yet the camps, yes, but it should be obvious that by refusing employment, travel and purchase you could kill anyone in a hierachical society (which i presume to be their goal). the mentaliy always revolves around blaming the victim. got cancer? it's your genes, you're unworthy, that's all. if people don't get it, make the chemotherapy super expensive until 'cuts' are accepted, maybe even demanded by the clueless. sure, some will make it, but that's what martial law is for, isn't it? why are governments so eager to tear down 'compounds' of people who wish to leave society? i imagine if you grow your own food and gather your own firewood, the immediate threat of starvation recedes from view and with it goes the control outlined in your article.

guess who'll get cut?

eventually, everyone of course, because all zero-sum ideologies are contracting in nature, ie you need to progressively liquidate in oder to maintain revenue, much like the money system works, btw. it is after all a cornerstone of control.

The real and apparently overlooked secret, if you will, is that these people implicitly state that the fruits of productivity and labor are theirs first and foremost, which are then redistributed according to their 'lofty' 'ideals'. to make sure people who end up 'selected' can't prove them wrong, they intend to slam the door shut by closing society. how this was achieved is quite simple, laws, regulation or simple mobbing (care to spread a rumor?) can put anyone out of business and even while you're 'in business', the monetary system works for those who control supply and interest.

so, the CT'ers are once again proven right, economic concentration really does spell eugenics&slavery, who would have thought.

[edit on 2009.1.25 by Long Lance]

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:39 PM
reply to post by Long Lance


It all sounds very New World Order to me. A method of thinning the population that can be called 'ethical' and even be somewhat appealing to the politicians they don't control.

Really makes me sick that there are people out there like this that can measure lives by how much it costs them for those people to live.

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:50 PM
I'll read this when you change your avatar.

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:52 PM
reply to post by Johnmike

Please read the first line of my OP. It tells you how to kill my avatar.

Not a one line post.

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:04 PM
I did, and it didn't work. I think I've got a way around it though.

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