Saturday, April 16, 2005

Marriage and Death

I have not commented on Schiavo or gay marriage, mainly because I don't have much to say.

I do think, however, that by the time I am 80, physician assisted suicide will be normal. As medicine keeps us alive for longer but does not help us become any younger, I think that death is going to become voluntary. By this I don't mean that one can choose not to die, but I think that the precise moment of death is going to occur when someone flips a switch, not when the body decides its time has come. I know that public mores are very far from this point, but just as we have had tremendous changes in public sentiment between 1950 and 2000, we will have equally tremendous changes from 2000-2050.

I very much enjoyed this long post by Jane Galt on how messing with institutions (such as marriage) can have unforseen negative consequences. The examples Jane gives, an income tax cap, welfare in general, and welfare for unmarried mothers, highlight now well meaning policy changed and eroded the key institutions it was meant to support. Nevertheless, I do not see how gay marriage changes the incentives for people to get married or not get married, so I suppose I do not care. Next step -- best friend marriage!

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