This afternoon, as I was starting to prepare additional comments for posting that had arrived in response to yesterday’s entry, “Is suicide always immoral?”, I suddenly realized that the entire discussion that I had initiated was wrong, wrong in multiple ways. For one thing, it put an unfair burden on my readers and friends. For another, it injected an intensely personal problem into the public sphere where it did not belong, and it blended and confused that personal situation with the abstract, general question about the morality of suicide in a way that was not right. There are surely other reasons it was wrong and inappropriate to write on the subject publicly, and I may think of them later. In my own mind and for my own self, I had clear and compelling reasons, emerging from an intense personal crisis over the weekend, for thinking and saying that suicide is justifiable under certain extreme circumstances, but, again, it was wrong to say it publicly.
In any case, the problems with the thread cannot be remedied. I am therefore taking it off-line. At some point I may peruse it and ask myself if some parts of it may be appropriate for public posting, but, for now, the only way to fix the situation is to remove the thread in its entirety.
My profound apologies to VFR readers for broaching a subject which should never have been broached, and for soliciting heartfelt and intelligent comments which I had no right to solicit, at least not in the manner in which I solicited them.
Paul T. writes:
For what it’s worth, I think you’re being much too hard on yourself, the discussion was a valuable one and if any of your readers feel discomfort, I suggest that’s because the subject is inevitably an uncomfortable one, not because you committed any sort of boundary violation (obviously I think you didn’t).LA replies:
Thank you. It’s a complex issue. It’s so complex that to separate the legitimate aspects of the thread from the dicey ones was too difficult, at least at this time, so the only practical way to resolve the problem was to remove the thread altogether.Charlie K. writes:
Your post shows you to be, as always, a considerate and conscientious man. However, no apology to your readers is necessary. All of us are on the same road, and many of us are much closer to the end than to the beginning of our days. This is a time to reach out without undue pride to those to whom you have offered so much.Larry T. writes:
I’m extremely disappointed that you elected to bail on the topic, “Is suicide always immoral?”LA replies:
I have sent Larry T. the entry.Daniel S. writes:
I agree with Paul T. I don’t think you crossed some sort of line. It is a real issue that requires real struggle, with few easy answers. You are hardly alone in having had to confront this question. I guess since the discussion has been put aside for the moment, I would merely offer the words of our Savior that have provided me with much hope in those times when my soul seems lost in darkness: In the world you will suffer many tribulations, but take heart, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).LA replies:
One of the problems was that some comments (including the ones I never posted) got very complex and went at great length into issues that were aside from the issue I had raised. For example, people kept talking about how wrong it was for people to commit suicide to escape personal troubles. But I was not talking about that. I was talking about a person who is in such pain that he is no longer living a human life but is just suffering torture. For such a person to take his own life is not destroying a human life because there is no life that is being lived but only the experience of unendurable pain.Roger G. writes:
I strongly feel that you were in error to take the thread off-line, unless it makes you uncomfortable. I don’t see where you or any respondent said anything wrong. It was a valuable discussion, and in my opinion should be replaced without deletion or change.LA replies:
Perhaps at some point I will restore the thread in whole or in part. But the fact is that it did put me in a highly uncomfortable position, and the only way to resolve the problem was to take the thread off-line, at least for the time being.February 5
Julien B. writes:
You wrote:LA replies:
It’s not that I felt that the discussion was insufficiently abstract and general; it’s that I was making myself, my own person, the focus of a highly charged confrontation in which people, appealing to the authority of Church doctrine, were telling me that it would be wrong, sinful, and evil of me if, faced with the prospect of unremitting physical torture, I took my own life. As I made it clear in the (now-removed) thread, I `disagreed with them. But when I realized that in addition to facing this extreme and desperate personal situation, I was putting myself, or was in danger of putting myself, in the position of being an outspoken opponent of Christian teaching, and against my friends who care for me, it became too much. The stress and burden of continuing with the thread, and the possible hubris of doing so, was too much. So I removed it. I don’t know if I have with sufficient clarity explained my reasons.Aditya B. writes:
I gave the okay to pulling the plug on my grandfather. I have no grounding in theology, but culturally speaking, the Hindu isn’t confronted with Christian guilt about ending his life, when such life has ceased to be anything other any unremitting torture.LA replies:
Aditya, thank you. that’s my view too. I simply disagree with Christians on this. Maybe I’m not a good Christian.Aditya replies:
No, Lawrence; you’re a Christian, if there ever was one.AB writes:
After having read “My Fault” I just wanted to mail you the following: Often times -practically always- the views you express are identical to mine.Your talent for distilling ideas, beliefs, facts, and sentiments into concise and well-thought-out language is however far beyond my own—in Dutch, let alone in English. The post is a case in point. In short, I agree it was right to withdraw.LA replies:
While VFR has a Christian orientation, it is not a Christian website per se; it obviously does not exclude non-Christians. And, seriously, do you equate Judaism with holistic, relativist, multiculturalism?
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 04, 2013 05:25 PM | Send