X-Message-Number: 16454
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 21:44:45 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Freedom to Choose

There has been much discussion lately about whether people should have the 
right to do certain things. An important example is to arrange for a 
premortem cryonic suspension in the face of a brain-threatening illness, 
when still in their right mind, before it's too late. This would mean 
inducing clinical death, but we in cryonics do not see this as the real 
death at all, since generally the brain is still intact and might be 
temporarily restored to function with aggressive intervention. But as for 
the right to choose itself, it is worth quoting John Stuart Mill: "the only 
purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a 
civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His 
own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant." (*On 
Liberty*, Introductory, 342-46.) Mill's principle, reasonably understood, 
is something I and probably many if not most others on this list accept. 
It's too bad that most jurisdictions in the world are not similarly 
enlightened. If they were, it's clear that the right to a premortem 
suspension would be recognized. Similarly, one would have the right to 
apply advanced technology, if and when available, to enhance one's 
functioning or otherwise achieve a desired self-modification.

Mike Perry

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