Letters | May 13, 2020


Life and death

Paul Socken raises several interesting questions in “When did elderly people like me become disposable?” (Voices, May 7).

I am in my mid-80s, so like the author have lived a lengthy life, and throughout have done my best to stick to the sound Jewish principles of humanity, in all that term embraces. I do not accept Sockin’s hypothesis that in crises, such as the present COVID-19 when choices may have to be made because of a shortage of medical equipment, it is wrong to favor the young over the elderly.

I reach this conclusion without resorting to anything like a cost-benefit analysis, but on the basis that when faced with critical situations we have to remember that the future lies with the young. Those of us who have been fortunate to enjoy a lengthy life may have made significant contributions by raising children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren as good, honest citizens. We may even have made major contributions to humanity through our professional endeavors. But none of this means we have the right to seek precedence over the young, regardless of psalmist’s plea “do not cast me off in old age.”

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