As a society, I think it’s time we decided which is more important to us, EACH individual’s freedom of choice, or salving our own consciences for having the temerity to be alive and heaping mindless activity, activity meant to involve others in our personal angst, onto our fear of death.

This morning, I got a request on Facebook to sign a petition asking that organ donation be an “opt out” procedure in the UK. In short, should this petition succeed in convincing government to do this, in order not to have your organs harvested when you die, you would have to exert yourself to make sure you had opted out.

Government and bureaucracy being what it is, you would also be well advised to keep checking that your opt out decision, if that’s your choice, remained on the books, in force, and available for those who would otherwise slice and dice you upon your demise.

That is, quite frankly, ludicrous. If a person wants to donate organs upon death, an “opt in” decision gives them control over their body. It is likely that those to whom organ donation was important would have apprised their friends and relatives of that fact, as well as filling in the appropriate documents. With every hospital already looking for donor organs, it is unlikely in the extreme that a request to donate would go unheeded.

Stopping the harvest would conceivably be much more difficult than starting it, especially after a society had got used to opening up the dead and passing the still-viable tissues on to others without a moment’s hesitation, which would be the case after donation had become virtually universal. It would be incumbent upon those few who had determined not to donate to move heaven and earth to ensure their wishes were honoured. Note: The word “donation” is used here and by those offering the petition. If an activity is required by government, then it is not a donation. It is a mandate. Simply put, the petition seeks to mandate that all UK residents give up their organs after death whether they want to or not. The idea of a donation has jumped headfirst out the window. But I digress.

By now, many are asking who wouldn’t want to donate organs, to give another a chance at life? That’s what the Organ Donor Nazis usually come up with.

The simple answer is this: It doesn’t matter who that would be. Whether there are millions of non-donors, or just one, the principle is the same, and it regards who has the right to sovereignty over each person’s body. I know for sure who I want in charge of mine, and that person bears my name. It is not the nation in which I live. It is not people who have known people who needed transplants. It is not even my husband. At the moment, I have no intention whatever of becoming a body parts factory. At the moment, all I have to do to ensure that I don’t “donate” (see above) is precisely nothing.

I lost a client over organ donation once. We were having lunch and, that very week, it had become possible in Tennessee, where we lived, to add organ donation to one’s driving licence. She said, “I assume you’ve done yours,” and she had assumed wrong.

But any form of Nazi who believes their way is the only way is likely to ask questions in a way that assumes you have complied with THEIR wishes, because if you don’t THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES: “You have eliminated all the Chewish people from your company, ja?”

I’ve never been good at giving Nazis the answer they want. I told her I had not chosen to donate my organs. She persisted. “Well, you’ll do it next week.” No, I would not, I said.

Well, that tore it up. She never hired my work again. (To be honest, I’ve lost more than one client over holding beliefs with which they disagreed. I lost a really good client because of my dislike of George W. Bush….whose organs I wouldn’t insert into a dying monkey lest it become too stupid to live with those genes inside it.)

I might change my mind about organ donation some day. But I won’t if I am forced to; I’ll dig in my heels and ensure that the only person who has control over my physical body is the only person who has control over my mind, me.

Indeed, should this horrific movement achieve its goal, I will very probably begin a movement to get it overturned. We have very little freedom left in western nations these days, but paramount among those things the greedy bankers and politicians have left to us is self-determination. By making our body the body of others by fiat, even that is taken away.

Which leaves us control over our own minds. Yes, that is in some ways more important than control over one’s body, especially one’s dead body. But that body was allocated to house a specific mind; frankly, I cannot separate mind and body. I doubt those whose heads have been severed from their bodies by ISIL recently would disagree with me. Sure, they had control of their minds because no one could force them to think any way they didn’t want to (except for the torture aspect, which changes that). But they had no control over what happened to their body. ISIL wanted to harvest their heads for its own purposes. As an organization run amok, ISIL did exactly that without sanction.

And it is gruesome. There is probably nothing more gruesome than that in human conduct. Because it is not only final, but it is how we know—we ALL know—that the person whose head is being severed in conscious of it even while it happens and is powerless to stop it. AND it is the end of that person. Remove the head and, before fingerprinting and DNA, one couldn’t even have determined for sure what person it was. The ultimate dehumanization. Gruesome. Without exception.

Some people’s understanding of their selfhood, their sovereignty, extends beyond their head, and it extends beyond their death. It is not for another to mandate or legislate that. Women have control of their bodies: men are not permitted to invade them when they like; they must be invited. Indeed, for a man to have intercourse with a woman after her death is regarded as both illegal and uncommonly low in western society, because it is still her body. And she did not give permission to invade it.

I rest my case.

Personal problems and the body politic

Naturally, as so much these days, the petition to change organ donation to Opt Out arose because one person had a period of stress waiting for organ donation for a loved one. Life does not come with guarantees. When we are born, we are subject to ALL the possibilities inherent in human life. That includes illness. It includes uncertainty. What it doesn’t include is the right to impose one’s own terrors, distress, sadness and other woes on others. Period. It is, frankly, aggressive to attempt to do so. Aggression is not always carried out with guns; sometimes, it is carried out with manipulation of human emotions, as it is here, with the story of the little girl who needed an organ (who actually got it, by the way, meaning that her illness is very little more than an excuse for her mother to attempt to impose her belief in organ donation on others). Worse, if one refuses to kowtow to the demand to cry and beat one’s breast immediately over the current Issue du Jour, one is branded a philistine, war-monger, people-hater or rat.

The petition says, “If a citizen feels strongly enough, he or she could simply remove himself from the database.” I won’t point out that herself apparently cannot be removed, because this is not a grammar lesson, but rather an ethics lesson. I will point out that the obvious rejoinder is, “If a citizen feels strongly enough, he or she could simply add himself or herself to the database.