The Swiss lead the world in a number of areas: offshore banking, gourmet chocolate, and perhaps most notably, assisted suicide. Dignitas is the infamous Basel-based organization that will kill you for money, but only if you meet the following requirements:
• You have to be a member of Dignitas
• You have to be of sound judgment
• You must possess enough physical mobility to self-administer the drug (this involves lifting a glass of barbiturate-infused water to your mouth)
• You must have a terminal illness, an incurable incapacitating disability, or unbearable/uncontrollable pain.
That last part is the one that gets them in trouble, as unbearable and uncontrollable pain is not strictly limited to the physical realm. The clinic has been investigated a number of times for assisting people with mental-health problems—but no physical ailments—in buying the farm, including once this year when an elderly Italian woman traveled there, allegedly because she was distraught about having lost her looks. Personally, I’m not only “for” the right to die, but I’m not exactly crazy about the supposed right to live, either.
I’m also keenly in favor of allowing the free market to operate unimpeded, and as such I find it disgusting that people constantly have to seek legal loopholes in order to make use of the service that Dignitas offers. Why should anyone have to spend thousands of dollars on a flight to Switzerland when their local hospitals are stocked with potentially lethal sedatives? Why, in this self-important age where everyone is constantly whining about their autonomy, where they constantly protest that their bodies are their property and that whatever drugs or implants or big veiny dicks they choose to put in them are nobody’s business, where personal freedoms are redefined and demanded so frequently, should anybody have to ask to be put out of their misery?
Some people get over their depression and live fulfilling lives, sure, but plenty of them don’t. For many, things just get worse and worse; relationships stagnate, job opportunities dry up, the years slip away, and before they know it they’re staggering around a public park while clutching a tall boy and waiting for the cool wind of death to extinguish their wretched lives. Surely it would be kinder to simply install Futurama-style suicide booths every five blocks in major cities and give people the option to opt out of life for the price of a cup of coffee? Or better yet, to create death-for-delivery services where you call up like you’re ordering a pizza, only instead of bringing you a tantalizing pie, the responding agents hurry over to bash your brains out, slit your throat, pump a few live rounds into your skull, or whatever specific ending it is that falls into your price range? Slap a couple of GoPro cameras on their chests and you’ve got yourself a show to boot.
Nobody should have to qualify his or her right to die; in fact, it may be the only non-negotiable human right in existence. You shouldn’t have to wait until you’re terminally ill or even chronically depressed to have your ticket punched; you should be able to kill yourself quickly and painlessly for the most trivial of reasons. Just got a bad haircut? Feel free to die. Everyone at the office went out for drinks and didn’t invite you? Into that good night you go. Persistent genital itching? Sayonara. That’s the kind of world I want to live in—and more importantly, to die in.