Cheering for Death - Again

September 13, 2011
Posted by Jay Livingston

(In case you thought the cheering for death I referred to in the previous two posts was a fluke.)

“Are you saying society should just let him die?” The man in question is hypothetical, the subject of a question Wolf Blitzer put to Rand Paul in the Republican candidates’ Tea Party debate last night – a healthy 30-year old who looks at the probabilities and decides not to pay $200-300 a month for health insurance.  But something happens and he winds up in intensive care. 

The question is not whether he should have bought insurance – of course he should have.  The question is: given that he doesn’t have insurance, should society just let him die.

“No . . .” Paul starts to say.  But you know those Republican debate audiences, especially the Tea Party folks.  When it comes to righteous death, they’re just so darned irrepressible.  Sure enough, a few of them shouted, “Yes.”  Go to the video  and listen, if you can, to the enthusiasm for letting someone die.

UPDATE:  A commenter did not think that the people were “cheering.”  (Either that or he didn't think that “let him die” involved death.)  So here's the excerpt:


Bob S. said...


Saying "yes" isn't cheering for death.

Nice way to lie.

Now, what about the man's right to choose?

Obviously barring mental health issues, doesn't a person have a right to decide whether or not to buy issue -- KNOWING that it could eliminate the means of him staying alive?

Funny how you are all "right to choose" when it comes to abortion, lifestyle, etc but you are willing to step in and force your world view on others this way.

Bob S. said...


Why do you twist the truth?

(Either that or he didn't think that “let him die” involved death.)

The applause was for the "that is what freedom is all about, taking responsibility".

Are you saying that you are against freedom? Against Responsibility?

Yes, there were a couple of people yelling "Yes" to "would you let him die". That is NOT Cheering.

Huffington Post (probably where you get your talking points since their headline is so similar to yours) has a longer version

Why don't you put up that fuller version.

And please answer my questions

Are you saying that a person does not have the right to live or die as they choose?

Are you saying that society should step in and force their views on another person in the absence of mental illness?

(by the way, why are you ducking responding to my comments?)

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone way the heck over on the other side of the Atlantic, I'm really glad I'm not any where near the "flustercluck" that America is becoming.

Seriously, those are some very messed-up-in-the-head people, and they seem to want to run the show.

And as a more-or-less impartial observer, one who googled for the whole video, not just edited highlights... Bob.S is full of it and being disingenuous in his questions.

Bob S. said...


they seem to want to run the show.

Who are you referring to? Wolf Blitzer who seems intent on forcing Americans to pay for other people's healthcare when the person in the coma could have afforded it?

The liberals who are trying to tell everyone they have to have healthcare insurance?

The conservatives are just as bad but in a different direction. I have problems with many of their limitations on the right to choose also.

But I am not being disingenuous. Please show me how I am?

Does a person have a right to choose whether or not the live or die?

Does a person have a right to choose how to spend their money?

Should anyone have the authority to step in and say "Hey we realize you didn't do the right thing (buy insurance) and now we are going to keep you alive --regardless of whether or not that is what you want?

Jay Livingston said...

Bob S.: I have not responded to your comments of late for a few reasons.

1. Their belligerent tone, despite my previous request for civility, is not something I want to reinforce.

2. They tend to be very long, and a point-by-point response would be even longer. I doubt that anyone else would read comments of that length, and since you have given the impression that nothing I say would affect your thinking about anything, it would be a pointless waste of time.

3. The comments are often irrelevant to the issue in the post. For example, the current post is not about the right to die. I am certain that Blitzer did not mean that his hypothetical victim of illness wants to die any more than a careless driver who gets in an accident wants to die. As to what the applause was for, yes the audience applauded for the personal responsibility argument, but very clearly, when Blitzer asks if we should let him die, people interrupt Paul to yell out “yes,” and at least one of them yells it out very loudly and enthusiastically.

If we have such varying perceptions as to what the subject of a post is or what the sentiment expressed by the audience is, further discussion is bound to be frustrating all around.

Bob S. said...


. Their belligerent tone, despite my previous request for civility, is not something I want to reinforc

I notice a clear double standard in your "request for civility".

You are free to disparage as you like. You are free to curse at me or my comments. You are free to savage people with the same believes as I have.....but I have to meek and mild in my response to you.

Why? Does it hurt your feelings to have to read a blunt reply?

. For example, the current post is not about the right to die.

You say it isn't but that is the point that I'm trying to make.

A person makes decisions.
Those decisions have consequences

Do they not?

Now after a person has made his choices, the question is should society -- via governmental force be required to save a person's life?

If he wanted to live, should he not have take the steps to insure that (pun intended)

When does a person's choices stop being their sole responsibilty?

Wolf Blitzer clearly stated at the beginning that the man had money, had the means to purchase insurance or save up for his medical care.


He chose to accept the fact that if he suffered an major illness or accident that he could die for lack of care.


So isn't his choice about his right to die or not?

Jay Livingston said...

Nice way to lie.
And now you show your absolute ignorance
How long have you been Pro-Criminal
Why do you twist the truth?
What a load of CRUD!

And that’s just in the last two days. I have never made such deliberately offensive comments about anything you’ve written. I have never accused you of lying or twisting the truth. Nor have I cursed at you and your comments (Perhaps you are thinking of that one instance where in asking for civility I said something being very uncivil. That was obvious self-contradiction was intended as a joke, a joke on myself, and anyway I put it in strikethrough.)

As for the argument that not buying insurance is the same as requesting death, I repeat my analogy to other people who take risks – drivers who drink or text or drive carelessly, people who enter high-risk occupations (miners, firefighters). If someone joins the Army, gets sent to Afghanistan and gets blown up, we don’t say, “Well, he was asking for it. It was his choice. He’s responsible for what happened to him.” We give him a medal. And most people would not talk about his death as a “right to die” issue. Would you?

Blitzer was not talking about the right to die. Rand Paul was not talking about the right to die. The people in the audience who yelled “yes” to the let-him-die question were not yelling about his right to die (though they were saying that it was right for him to die), and my post was not about the right to die.

You say it isn't [about the right to die] but that is the point that I'm trying to make.
If you make that point in a place where it is irrelevant, don’t be surprised if it gets ignored. If that’s what you want to talk about, you’d probably get more response putting it on your own blog rather than in the comments on someone else’s blog where that was not the topic at issue.

So to repeat what I said in an earlier comment. I will not respond to comments if they
● are too long
● are not directly related to the topic of the post
● include personal, vituperative language
I might not respond anyway. As the poet said, “Life is very short, and there’s no time. . . .”

Bob S. said...


Would you agree that every choice has consequences?

If a person chooses to have unprotected sex in the Age of AIDS, would you agree that person was risking catching AIDS and dying?

I would say yes. That person made a conscious choice to court death.

If a person chooses to continue eating sugar laden foods after being diagnosed with diabetes, would you agree that person was risking dying of his choice?

Unless you are willing to force people to forgo their freedom to choose, you have to accept they have the right to face the consequences of their actions and decisions.

The right to die.

It was clearly stated in the question that finances were not the issue.

Wolf Blitzer asked if a person who "has a good job, makes a good living" deliberately chooses not to "spend 200, 300 dollars per month".

That is choosing to die IF he goes into a coma.

What is your alternative?

If I chose not to buy food to sustain myself, can I make you buy me food?

If I chose to spend my money on luxuries, should you be forced to pay for my decisions?

Bob S. said...


Should the other patrons of a restaurant be forced to pay for the meal another person consumes if he doesn't want to pay for it?

How about this; should a person able allowed to drive a car on the streets without insurance or proof of financial responsibility AND society pay for any accidents caused by that person?

Bob S. said...


By the way, do you have any evidence to show they two people who yelled were/are conservatives?

Could they have been anarchists, libertarians or even liberals?

Or are you just drawing conclusions based on little or no data?

Jay Livingston said...

It was called the Tea Party debate, and the first thing the announcer said was that it was the Tea Party in the audience (“Tonight, eight Republicans . . .Cheering them on . . . the Tea Party.”)

I assumed that CNN distributed the tickets through the Tea Party or maybe the GOP. So I wildly speculated that it was Tea Partisans who yelled. But no, I don’t have evidence that the yellers were not in fact liberals, anarchists, socialists, members of Al Qaeda, chiropractors, quilting club members, or anything else. I guess you got me there. Touché .

Bob S. said...


So does two people yelling "Yes" constitute "cheering for death again"?