We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Our Soylent Green is GM-free!

It takes some nerve to announce this on the day of a General Election. Mind you, I doubt very much that it would at all influence the outcome:

Patients should be refused treatment because of their age in some cases, government advisers have proposed.

Where age can affect the benefits or risks of treatment, discrimination is appropriate, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said.

Charities representing older people said the recommendations were outrageous and sent out mixed messages.

Wrong. The message is quite clear and will gradually become more acceptable. Within five years, people over 75 will be offered euthanasia when they get sick. Within 10 years it will be mandatory.

8 comments to Our Soylent Green is GM-free!

  • Given that we have a tax-funded and therefore rationed health service I don’t necessarily think age discrimination in medical treatment is bad.

    In fact I don’t think it is always bad whoever pays. Some of it boils down to the assessment of potential good against present pain that any doctor or patient ought to make. For instance the question of whether to perform an operation that is highly dangerous has different answers depending on whether the patient can expect to live for decades more or months more.

    I cannot object to flu shots being targeted at the old either.

    Of course that we have a command-economy health service it is a most regrettable “given”. (“Given”, hah! “Taken” more like.) I do see the danger that age discrimination will evolve into a quiet movement to get rid of the unproductive old. This danger is, I agree, exacerbated by the incentives to “rationalise” treatment that are part and parcel of a state funded health service.

    They haven’t yet gone for lifestyle discrimination, I see. They will.

    At the same time as it becomes ever more acceptable for the state to discriminate they will penalise employers and insurance companies for doing the same thing. No usurping Nanny’s privilege!

  • Winzeler


    I don’t think so. Regarding flu shots (and basically the rest of the medical establishment) the public is basically better off without them. I have NEVER had a flu shot, and I have never had the flu last more than 8-12 hours (I’ve only had it 2 or 3 times). I’ve never taken a prescription antibiotic, and I’ve never had a major infection, despite a ton of stupid injures (cuts and burns from doing construction). I personally think the establishment in medicine is way overrated and is abusing its directive.

  • GCooper

    Natalie Solent writes:

    “They haven’t yet gone for lifestyle discrimination, I see. They will.”

    Sadly, that is only “officially true”. In real life, certain ‘lifestyle’ (I hate that word) choices are actively discriminated against, for example, smokers, drinkers and, increasingly, anyone not pipe-cleaner thin.

    Personally, I have always thought it curious that injuries sustained through sporting activities are treated so light-heartedly. What could be more self-inflicted?

  • steve shackleton

    Lifestyle discrimination

    What do you think the ID card is for?

    To either control what you do, or as a record to show you deserve what you get

  • Julian Morrison

    There isn’t even anything new about this, it’s a variant of “triage” which is what any medical establishment does when there’s a surge in demand that outstrips supply. More typical examples would be when an A&E has to cope with a sudden influx of disaster victims. So the question that ought to be asked is not “why are they sorting worthy from unworthy”, but “why are resources so low that they have to”?

    To most comment readers here the answer should be obvious: because unlike a private provider, they are making a loss on every operation they do. An increase in custom means rationing, rather than profit and re-investment.

    It’s not only that the state oughtn’t to run hospitals (or pretty much anything else), but also that it can’t afford to do a proper job even with the best of intentions. Thus the people saying “skoolz’n’ospitals need more money” are quite right – they only mistake the way to get it.

  • The problems are basic. Those who are paid to provide the good/service- “health care”- are the ones who decide how much the customer needs. There is no “enough”- the demand is infinite. There is no incentive on anyone in the transaction to cut costs or limit treatment. The ultimate payer, government, creates the money it uses to pay. And, culturally, we cannot accept the price of limiting things. That price being, die, old woman, or sickly child, we won’t pay to keep you breathing.

    So no, euthanasia won’t be mandatory or even encouraged. What doctor will want to kill off part of his income stream?

    Treatment will become slower and slower and worse and worse, and creating more money to pay for it will rot the value of savings more and more. Look at history, that’s what always happens.

  • nt

    Medicine will be rationed as costs increase. This is happening already, both officially and unofficially.

    Winzeler, with regards to your ‘flu’, influenza is a viral illness causing weeks of symtpoms, particularly in the elderly and infirm, which is why fluvax is offered to those in ‘at risk’ groups. Your 8-12 hour maladies were most likely simple upper respiratory infections, the vast majority of which, in young healthy people, will clear without any medical treatment other than common sense. Saying you have never been ill enough to require medical attention, and using this as a justification to denigrate modern medicine is similar to me saying ‘I’ve slept in the middle of the road and never been hit by a car, it must be safe for everyone to do so’…..

    That said, I look forward to the day when I can practice medicine to achieve better health for the healthy rather than achieving unhealthy longevity for people with self caused and self perpetuating diseases.

  • MSM

    You’re assuming that the elderly would be the ones refused treatment.

    It’s probably more likely that people who are in the prime of life would be refused such things as antibiotics, flu shots, etc. We’re too dependant on these drugs anyway.