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No, I Still Don’t Buy into the Smith and Wesson Retirement Plan

Aaron Clarey: "I’m not saying you have to do it, I’m just saying it is an option."

by
Helen Smith

Bio

February 24, 2014 - 10:00 am

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Aaron Clarey, author of Bachelor Pad Economics: The Financial Advice Bible for Men discusses the Smith and Wesson plan with Ed Driscoll. Here is what Aaron had to say:

MR. DRISCOLL: Aaron, I believe that both of your recent books rather infamously reference “the Smith and Wesson Retirement Plan.” Most of us would rather not, to quote Pete Townshend, “fire the pistol at the wrong end of the race.” While recommending much about Bachelor Pad Economics, in a post at PJ Media earlier this month, Dr. Helen Smith, who helped champion your books, took strong offense at your suggestion. Could you elaborate on your reasoning?

MR. CLAREY: Well, the reasoning is economic. And it is secular. I won’t deny that. So people who are religious or even traditional, they obviously would be against that. And I take no umbrage and no offense to it.

But from a purely economic point of view, and even a humanitarian point of view, there are some times where you’re terminally ill — pick your poison: cancer, a brain tumor, whatever. And you’re not coming back, you are going to die, and the remaining two weeks, three months, whatever your life, are going to be absolutely in pain and misery.

I think it’s wise or humane or ‑‑ what’s the word I’m looking for ‑‑ compassionate to, you know, somehow kill yourself, not necessarily with a Smith & Wesson, but some kind of euthanasia. And it not only puts you out of your misery, but it also saves a ton of money. I mean, I forget what the statistics are, but a plurality of your health expenses are incurred in the last six months of life.

So you want to talk about, you know, saving your family the grief of watching you just decay and, whatever, mentally, physically, what have you, or be in pain; not to mention save the finances for a future generation. It’s not for everybody. I’m not saying you have to do it, I’m just saying it is an option.

So it seems that Aaron is just advocating along with Obama that healthcare is expensive and it’s best to just die once you reach a certain age especially. Aaron advocates a gun or other means and Obama advocates a pill or pain killer, rather than investing in life saving treatments. I get that people suffer when they are older (and sometimes younger) but killing yourself for economic reasons is not a good solution in my book. My great aunt was 90 when she asked doctors to do bypass surgery. None would until she found a younger doctor who gave her the gift of four more years of a very good life. Her story is an inspiration to me.

And what about enjoying the decline? By using up government-run healthcare as we age, wouldn’t we be doing our part?

****

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

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Top Rated Comments   
You first, Aaron.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (16)
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Your dear Aunt must have been fearsomely hardy! And I'm glad of that for all of you.

I must say, however, that after reading "Knocking at Heaven's Door" (which you may have seen excerpted in WSJ a while back) with its sobering picture of bypass surgery, I would have many hesitations about choosing it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm an atheist so I have no fears of being punished by deities should I commit suicide. I thought I should lay that on the table immediately.

Having said that, I find it appalling that the government could ever decide to arbitrarily take your life for any reason, except possibly if you had committed a horrible crime and been proven to have done so in a fair judicial system.

I also find it abhorrent that society could deprive me of the right to commit suicide if I wanted that. It's not very hard to imagine having a painful, expensive, and terminal illness. Wanting an early exit from those horrors strikes me as an inalienable right. It is my life, not society's or the government's. If I have no reasonable prospect of enjoying that life any more, I see no moral justification for anyone standing in my way.

If you want to deprive yourself of the right to end your own life, that's fine by me but don't try to take that right from me.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
> If I have no reasonable prospect of enjoying that life any more, I see no moral justification for anyone standing in my way.

Just curious... what puts the "ought" in your moral compass, and how would that follow from a godless universe?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you're asking me about what is right in wrong in a godless universe and WHY is it right or wrong. In all honesty, I've never come up with a very satisfactory answer to that. Without the fear of god's anger/disapproval/disappointment for not leading a godly life, what other source of oughts and should nots should guide my journey?

I suppose the closest I've come is The Golden Rule: don't screw over other people lest they do the same to you. I think that one works even without god. As an atheist, I don't behave a particular way to avoid God's wrath but simply in the hope that it will reduce the chance that someone will do something rotten to me.

It's not much perhaps but it suffices for many situations.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
> I think you're asking me about what is right in wrong in a godless universe and WHY is it right or wrong...

That's not exactly what I asked, but I'm still interested in hearing what you have to say.

> In all honesty, I've never come up with a very satisfactory answer to that.

Well, with all respect, I'm not surprised.

> Without the fear of god's anger/disapproval/disappointment for not leading a godly life, what other source of oughts and should nots should guide my journey?

Maybe that's the wrong direction from which to approach the problem. If right and wrong objectively exist, it's fair to ask, why? Most atheist philosophers will admit that, by their world view, right and wrong is a matter of opinion, which means (if they're correct) it exists subjectively, but not objectively.

Matters of opinion are generally not considered to be ultimately authoritative. E.g., (not trying to Godwin this discussion, just using Hitler here as the reductio ad absurdum) Hitler believed he was doing good. Or at least seemed to believe it. If right and wrong are simply matters of opinion, we have a problem here. Was Hitler genuinely, objectively evil? Or is that simply our opinion of him?

> I suppose the closest I've come is The Golden Rule: don't screw over other people lest they do the same to you.

What's the difference between doing right out of fear of retribution from God, and doing right out of fear of retribution from other men?

I appreciate your honesty. I'd offer only this insight, or maybe it's a delusion, you decide: morality is absolute and objective, and is based on relationships. That which helps and fosters good relationships is good, that which undermines and destroys them is bad. For morality to have any authority, it has to be permanent and unchanging. The only theology that offers a moral code that is permanent and unchanging, and based on relationships, is Christianity. This is due to what the Christians view as the triune nature of God -- one God, three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The fact that God is permanent and unchanging, and so are relationships, allows good vs bad to be absolute and objective.

It doesn't work in any other model. Monadic religions such as Islam have one God, but presumably there was some time before creatures were created, therefore relationships aren't eternal -- i.e., Allah was alone for a long time. The theology of Islam reflects this. Allah is depicted as a capricious god who changes his mind about what is good. Since relationships aren't permanent, neither is the moral code.

This is not a proof of God's existence. It only serves to point out that, if the Christian God does not exist, then the moral code is simply a matter of opinion. Collective opinion, perhaps, but opinion nonetheless. If the Germans had won World War II and conquered the world, the Jews would all be dead by now, and the history textbooks would be doing an end-zone dance.
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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Robert Heinlein defined sin as hurting others when you could avoid doing so; all else, he said, was peccadillo.
The Golden Rule and its partner, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", will do very well.
Neither one precludes your option of suicide but they would preclude it for me.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Sparky
You identify a crucial point. My concept of what would be worse for myself or my family, when there are only bad decisions, should only be binding on me. As I would oppose government-guided euthanasia, I'd be very slow to judge someone who did choose suicide, especially in the case of terminal debilitating disease.
A test of someone's devotion to liberty is this: what would that person refuse to do, but ensure that others could do if they choose?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
A test of someone's devotion to liberty is this: what would that person refuse to do, but ensure that others could do if they choose?

An interesting point!

My wife is a long-time Libertarian. She has said many times that she feels about guns the way she feels about abortions -- she doesn't want one herself, but doesn't feel she has the right to tell someone else they can't have one.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would she feel she has that right if she were the one being aborted?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, in the photo you see me with one of my guns. But Mrs Brookline defines it well. I don't smoke but I voted to leave smokers in bars and casinos alone. We lost.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
> So you want to talk about, you know, saving your family the grief of watching you just decay and, whatever, mentally, physically, what have you, or be in pain; not to mention save the finances for a future generation. It’s not for everybody. I’m not saying you have to do it, I’m just saying it is an option.

Shades of Governor Lamm. The old duty-to-die schtick. Who knows, as Christianity's influence wanes here in the West, maybe that viewpoint will be embraced -- if not by those in that boat, perhaps by their erstwhile caregivers and benign, helpful government.

The "you" is usually silent, of course. Read carefully, it's not a "duty to die" but "[your] duty to die". Except Mr. Clarey doesn't even bother wiith the inclusive "we" in this quote. He uses the second person exclusively.

> It’s not for everybody. I’m not saying you have to do it, I’m just saying it is an option.

And you know if someone is saying it out loud today, someone else is thinking maybe it ought to be mandatory.

Probably the worst thing about ObamaCare is that it gives our government an excuse to think about us in purely economic terms. The logic is inexorable: without a spiritual component to factor in, it starts with, "an old person should die when he's no longer of economic use;" it progresses on to "we should facilitate dying for economic purposes"; and finally flowers into "it's okay to kill anyone for economic convenience." The mustard tree grows from the tiny seed, and if you plant this one, leftist faith will nurture it all the way to the next leftist holocaust.

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, suicide IS a terrible crime, you know.

The penalty's death.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You first, Aaron.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doctors are after all human. They do make mistakes. If I'm ever in the situation described it'll be my decision and mine alone.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clarey is, at heart, a pessimist. Everything he writes must be considered in that light.

My father passed away almost a year ago. At 70, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had a 90% mortality rate within 2 years. He was 81 when he passed away. Had he taken Clarey's advice, my sons would have missed getting to spend the last 6 months of his life with him, learning from him, and seeing how God can fill a life.

As a great captain (doubly fictional) said, "Never give up, never surrender."
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is really a tough one.
My father was fortunate; he died during surgery from which he had expected to recover. His final illness was measured in days.
My mother was less so but ahead of many. By the time she let anyone examine her, the pancreatic tumor was inoperable. She was under chemo palliation for several months but she didn't go through surgery and definitive care with all their side effects and with no real hope of a cure. But dad was 71 and mom was 79.
A prolonged and debilitating illness like cancer, COPD, or Alzheimer's, can rob a person of much more than money, of things far more valuable than money is. But any action to end the suffering and the loss is ethically very hard to justify -- hastening any human's death is a dreadful thing to consider.
In particular, people with a family will be hard-put because any choices they make, or do not make, will affect the families as well as themselves.
No answer from me. In the case of my own family, I could at need choose to let nature take its course but I could not hasten it. The effect on my family would be worse than the effect of the disease.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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