Walker Percy Wednesday 61


“I get uh uncomfortable when politics gets mixed with medicine, to say nothing of angels.”

. . .

Here’s the hottest political issue of the day: euthanasia. Say the euthanasists not unreasonably: let’s be honest, why should people suffer and cause suffering to other people? It is the quality of life that counts, not longevity, etcetera. Every man is entitled to live his life with freedom and to end it with dignity, etcetera etcetera. It came down to one curious squabble (like the biggest theology fight coming down to whether to add the que to the filio): the button vs. the switch. Should a man have the right merely to self-stimulation, pressing the button that delivers bliss precisely until the blissful thumb relaxes and lets go the button? Or does he not also have the right to throw a switch that stays on, inducing a permanent joy—no meals, no sleep, and a happy death in a week or so? The button vs. the switch.

And if he has such a right and is judged legally incompetent to throw the switch, cannot a relative throw it for him?

. . .

She lives for what she considers rare perfect moments. What I long to share with her are ordinary summer evenings, cicadas in the sycamores.