Bring on the crazy: organ selling and duels to the death edition

Last night, while I was sitting at the kitchen table and trying to write about attacks on the press in Afghanistan, my roommate (henceforth Libertarian Roommate) sauntered in and started talking about how awesome it would be if people could sell their organs –all of them even ! At once!– for profit. I sighed and jumped into a debate that ultimately consumed the entire evening and drew in our neighbor, B.

Libertarian Roommate argued, I kid you not, that “It is profoundly immoral for government to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body”— in relation to selling organs, even to the point of for-profit suicide with the suicide’s family receiving the cash payout after the “harvest.”

I told him I was against organ selling and suicide, and that I thought he was off his rocker. I said that organ selling is something the rich will never do, and will be a new hell for the poor to confront in their desperation. I also said that it would almost certainly involve coercion, with at least some people being pressured or forced into selling their innards to support their families. I said it was inhumane, and would turn large numbers of people in the developing world into disposable sacks of spare parts.

Libertarian Roommate shrugged and said something about organ selling not being more inhumane than working at McDonalds, and that he would know, because he worked at McDonalds.

Then, the conversation segued to dueling, and why it is “profoundly immoral” and “taking away freedom” for public duels to the death for fun and/or profit to not be permitted in the United States.

Libertarian Roommate envisioned a macabre scenario in which he and our neighbor, B, each swallowed half a bag of diamonds (bear with me here) and then fought to the the death, bare-handed, with the loser being ripped open and the victor getting all the diamonds.

My response: WHAT THE FUCK!?

“You know what would make it even more awesome?” Libertarian Roommate asked, rhetorically, of course. “If Pay Per View televised it. Yeah, that would be sweet.”


“I don’t think people have intrinsic value,” he told me. “I don’t believe in human rights.”

By now, B had joined the fray, and was trying to convince my roommate that the things most normal humans understand are wrong by about age five (slavery, cold-blooded murder, gross exploitation, etc) are, well, wrong.

What have I gotten myself into?

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