Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Life as a hospice

Craig Biddle makes an astute moral observation about the nature of altruism as applied to organ donation at Principles and Practice:

Not only do eighteen people die each day while waiting for an organ; many people also suffer as they wait. Why are so many people suffering and dying while waiting for organs? Because the acceptance of altruism has convinced Americans that it is better for some people to suffer and die than it would be for others to donate organs for a profit. Profit is plainly selfish; thus, according to altruism, it would sully the whole "beautiful" altruistic "ideal" of people giving away organs for free.

Moreover, on the premise of altruism, it is wrong for those who possess more wealth or more virtue to benefit from that fact; thus, the authorities must see to it that the distribution of organs has nothing to do with who can afford to purchase an organ or whether the recipient is an innocent child, or a heroic soldier, or a convicted murderer.
Altruism treats life as a hospice, and the more able or worthy you are, the more you deserve to suffer and die. As Biddle notes, "The solution to such atrocities is for people to repudiate altruism and embrace egoism."

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