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Stupid capitalist tricks



My fridge light blew awhile back. After spending days opening the refrigerator and thinking “<gasp!> The fridge is dead!” I finally got around to buying a new bulb today.

Either the profit margin on these things is very small, or GE is just messing with me. The smallest number of bulbs you can buy is two. They also sold a four pack.

Let’s see. This fridge is about ten years old, and this is my first bulb replacement. Yes, I’m sure a decade from now when the next one goes, I’ll know right where I put that spare. Especially if I put it in a drawer I use a lot and bat it out of my way for ten years.




May 8, 2007 — 4:37 pm
Comments: 17

Elderly Aussies build clandestine drug labs

They’re making Nembutal for euthanasia purposes.

Nembutal is a venerable barbiturate with a variety of uses, from sleeping aid to seizure control. It’s used to euthanize animals. Also people in Australia until ten years ago when, I gather, their assisted suicide law was struck off the books.

That latter fact is significant here, I suspect. Per the article, twenty Aussies chipped in $2,000 each and spent two years of painful trial and error learning to make the stuff. They have plans for four labs. They name the people involved and the location of the proposed labs. Why, after all this toil and sweat, would you nark your operation out the moment you achieve your goal? It smells of publicity stunt.

And that’s a shame. Because this is a significant conversation the West needs to have with itself, and we need to do it without posturing, bullshit or book burnings.

When I was younger, I was strongly pro-euthanasia. It was entirely selfish. I am a coward. I wanted to be sure there would be an easy way out if I ever needed it. Something that didn’t involve leaving behind a really icky tableau for somebody else to clean up. I still think the only moral dimension to self-murder is the mess you leave behind. If you don’t have ultimate ownership of your own life, what rights can you possibly have?

But I have changed my thinking about what constitutes a life worth living. I don’t have much experience of death, thank the whatevers, but I have seen a little. More than once, I have watched, amazed, as someone turned and fought keenly to hold onto a life I would have thought nothing but misery. My faith in the welcomeness of death has been somewhat shaken.

I once thought the only moral delimma surrounding euthanasia would be crafting the law controlling how we choose death for someone else. You know, “yeah, oh sure…Grandma always said she’d rather die than be an inconvenience. Trust me.” But there’s something else in this article that’s a real craw-sticker.

One of the illegal manufacturers, Bron Norman, said the drug should be available for those who wish to commit suicide when they have outlived their useful life.

Useful life. I fucking hate that expression, and not merely because I am, personally, useless. It’s like “giving back to the community” — it implies that a human being is a net negative until he proves otherwise. I cannot tell you how violently offensive and wrong I think this idea is. I’m an atheist; I’m not arguing from some traditional notion of what a God thinks life is worth. It’s entirely possible to develop a belief in human exceptionalism entirely by way of being one and observing others.

I might even go so far as to measure the worth of a society by how it treats its useless. Haven’t we dug up Neanderthals who were clearly so crippled they were in the care of others for years?

If we’re developing a climate in which people are encouraged to value their lives by the contribution they make, then I don’t think we’re ready for legalized euthanasia. We’ll have to wait until we level up to Neanderthals.

— 12:07 pm
Comments: 23