Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"I don't want to die alone."

“I don’t want to die alone!” were the stinging words of 69-year-old Nancy Crick of Australia. Terminally ill, in constant pain, consistently nauseous and suffering diarrhea, Nancy Crick had decided that any meaningful life was over for her. She simply wanted to die.

However, in Australia “assisted suicide” is illegal, though suicide itself is not. The law is such that merely being present during a suicide is seen as assistance and could carry a penalty of life in prison.

In spite of this, 21 friends and relatives stayed by Crick’s side as she took the drugs that would end her suffering. She video taped a statement saying: “It’s my death. I’m doing it and no one else.” She told the press: “The thing that upsets me most is that the law says I can kill myself any time I want to, but no one can be with me because they just might have helped me. That’s just rubbish, and I don’t see why I should die alone. I don’t want to die alone.”

Opponents of assisted suicide argue that human life is sacred and must be preserved. But, it is the unique sacredness of human life which they deny. For these people life is merely the state of not being dead. It has nothing to do with all those characteristics of being human that separates us from a plant.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Wants to Burn Books?

 Pew polling asked people whether they thought books that “contain dangerous ideas should be banned from public school libraries.  Up until 2003 about 50%, or slightly more, of Americans agreed with the ban. But, after years of stagnation, the numbers have been dropping. By 2007 it was 47%, 2009 it was 46% and this year it is down to 40%.

So, who is more likely to support banning books today?
When it comes to political parties Republicans are the most in favor of banning books with 46% of them favoring bans. Only 38% of Democrats want to ban books, and independents, at 36% are the most libertarian.  Women are more likely to support banning books than men (43% to 37%).
Age groups show that older people are more totalitarian and younger people more libertarian.  Today 50% of people over the age of 65 want to ban dangerous books, but in 1999 it was 75%. Only 41% of individuals 50 to 64 support the banning of books, but individuals 30 to 49 are less pro-freedom, with 43% supporting bans. For those under 29 years of age support plummets to a mere 25%.
Hispanics are the most anti-freedom of the racial groups when it comes to book bans, with 61% supporting such bans, where 54% of blacks and only 34% of whites supports such policies.

Less educated people are more in favor of book bans than more educated.  55% of Individuals with a high school diploma or less favor book bans, while 36% of those with some college education support the notion, and only 21% of college graduates support the idea.
White evangelicals are the most anti-freedom of the religious groups surveyed with 52% supporting a ban. For white Catholics the support level is 35%, for mainline Protestants it is 34% and for those with no religious affiliation only 16% are ready to ban books.

For data go to Pew.