Lanterns: Who Owns Your Life?


Who Owns Your Life?

I thought it to be a simple question. Who owns your life? What I discovered was that many people have not really given the question any real thought. Most gave answers that they thought were correct but were easily swayed by simple questions.

By now, everyone has probably heard of the guilty verdict in the case of Michele Carter and her part in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. With her urging through text messages, Conrad committed suicide, and Michele was brought to trial and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Most agree it was a heinous act. Urging someone to follow their dark thoughts and take their own life had no defenders. But that is where consensus ended.

Whether she was guilty of a crime brought on much contention. Free speech was brought up and argued a great deal. “How could words make her guilty when he was already contemplating suicide?” “You can’t yell fire in a movie theater so there are limits to free speech in our society.” “She took advantage of a mentally unstable person and he is dead because of it.” “She only urged him to do something he already wanted to do.” The argument went back and forth with no clear winner.

Then I asked the simple question, “Who owns your life?”  Is suicide against the law, and if so, why? To me, it was a simple concept. You and you alone own your life. That is a basic principle of liberty. If someone else owns your life, then you are a slave, and that person is your master. I thought we had finally figured that out, but it seems that some people, when faced with the idea of suicide, had changed their mind.

Suicide, in most cases, is abominable. There is nothing you can do to yourself which is worse. To end your own life is to take away the greatest right you have- the right to life. But sometimes it is the correct decision. I recognize that a life of enduring pain could drive some to this action, and rightfully so. I can fathom the notion of risking your life in a suicidal attempt to save others as some have done on the battlefield. But then you encounter other people, who, in a fit of pique, depression, or overriding passion think that suicide is their only solution. Human nature is strange and often leads people to make rash and illogical decisions. But does that make suicide a crime? Only if you want to control another person’s life.

There still is only one answer to the question though. Who owns your life? You and you alone. To claim otherwise is to say someone has a  greater right to your life, and that makes you a slave. There is no better word to describe this condition. What you do with your life is your decision. The products of your life are yours, and yours alone. This is a basic principle of liberty some seem to have forgotten.

Today, government confiscates at gunpoint (make no mistake about that) the fruits of your labor and routinely gives it to others. By taking away what you produce, they also take away that part of your life which produced it. That is not liberty. That is bondage. You are no better than the serfs who used to work the fields for their masters and were allowed to keep a portion of what they had grown, with the rest being taken from them by their rulers.

Giving freely to a person in need is charity, and is a noble practice. Having something taken from you involuntarily and giving to others is theft and is contemptible. To support this idea of robbery makes you equally disgusting. Yet, that is what is repeated every day by some who try to invoke guilt on those who are against the redistribution of wealth in which our government regularly indulges itself. The “poor,” the “needy,” the “children,” they all need our help, so some invoke the power of government to do what they perceive others will not do voluntarily. No matter the recipients of the largesse, it is still theft.

No one has more right to the fruits of your labor than you do. No one owns your life, but you. Government throughout history has proven itself a poor ward for people in need. More often than not, the problems faced by those in need is created by the same government that is invoked to help those people. The government creates a problem, then others want more government to fix the problem. This is a cycle that is cruel and neverending in its operation.

There used to be a time when people helping people was the norm. Family, friends, church, and charity organizations helped those in need. Was it a perfect system? No. Was it an ethical system? Yes, it was.

Today we face the juggernaut of government and its adoring sycophants who preach the power of the state as superior to the power of the people. Is this a perfect system? No, of course not. Is it ethical? No, again is the answer. They ask for slavery in the guise of helping others. This may seem harsh but it is the truth. People helping people is the true solution.

You own your own life. Never forget that.

My usual focus is on the Constitution, but I have realized, with the urging of others around me, that some basic concepts which used to be widespread are not as well-known as they used to be. Mr. Michael Pickens, thank-you. If you are interested in liberty and returning these United States of America back to its proper trajectory of prosperity and freedom, then join me at Constitutional Cappucino.

Written by Frank Caprio

7 Responses

Great article Frank!

Thanks. Jst saw these notifications. Sorry for the delay.

Thanks for this article, Frank. It really has me thinking. Seems the logical result of the answer to that question (who owns your life) could have far-reaching implications. I confess--I don't like the idea of suicide being someone's free and legal choice. However, If I don't own my own body, it is not only suicide (ie: life and death) which can be mandated by the government; it also--eventually--could mean self-harm (cutting; drug abuse) could be mandated by the government; it also could mean that food and exercise could be mandated by the government; why not hairstyles... why not clothing... why not the medications we take? I know these are far-fetched ideas, but the more power we give up to the government, the less individual ownership we have over our own lives.

I just saw these replies. Very sorry for the delay. I say that government should NEVER be able to tell you what to do with your body. Suicide is horrible but how can it be a crime if it is voluntary? The alternative of government controlling our body and actions is far worse in my opinion.

I spent quite a bit of time arguing this on FB. As abominable as her actions were, she did not restrain him or turn on the engine. She is guilty of being a disgusting and despicable person, but if we are to take her behavior as murder, we remove his agency, his free will. It may be possible to argue that mental illness has removed his agency, and therefore, he was not in control of his faculties. That's an argument for another time.

If he truly owns his life then no crime was committed.

I just saw these replies. Very sorry for the delay. To Sarah I say that government should NEVER be able to tell you what to do with your body. Suicide is horrible but how can it be a crime if it is voluntary? The alternative of government controlling our body and actions is far worse in my opinion.

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