For example, my grandmother is now well into her 80s. Her life has seen a very sharp decline from back when she was a little crazy (in a fun sorta way) in her 60s and 70s but not long after her 80th birthday began a very rapid, very sad (and distressing for her children) decent into hardcore dementia. She lives in a home in relatively good physical health, but is completely oblivious to her surroundings. She thinks she lives at the local RSL club, her fellow home mates and care staff are other club patrons and she has no ability to recognise anyone in her family for who they are. It seems that we all inevitably end up in one of two baskets, good physical health coupled with severe mental degradation or the reverse, a sharp mind and a failing crippled body in constant pain. Very few of us die peacefully in our late 80s or 90s with a sharp mind and a strong body.
So on this alone, it would seem that dying in fair health at the age of 75 or thereabouts would save a lot of heartache, tears and pain for pretty much everyone involved. However, I would like to explore this idea a little from the perspective of our current work-life and retirement expectations. Here in Sweden (where I live) the retirement age is 65. In the USA a quick google search suggests that an early retirement is 62 and a 'normal' retirement is 67. In Australia (where I grew up) it is 65 (I believe) with plans to raise the age of retirement to 70 (if that is not already the case). So, I am going to make a few broad assumptions about Dr Ezekiel Emanual just for the sake of argument. Dr Emanual belongs to a tremendously privelidged group; white, male, middle-aged, well educated, medical professional. One assumes he grew up with a similarly privelaged background that enabled his education, since I doubt that education is free in America. So Dr Emanual argues that setting a resonable age to die allows you to concentrate on quality of life, and I guess in his case it does. He was able to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with his two nephews. Now that, is leisure time! He is obviously in the financial position where he can fill his leisure time with meaningful, empowering life changing experiences. Hell, he can probably afford to regularly eat out! He may even be able to retire early and really be able to capitalise on that life of good income and spend his retirement years traveling and doing other lilfe-fulfiling things so that if he retires at 55 to 60 years of age, he has 15 or 20 years of relatively good health (something he can also afford) to enjoy himself before reaching the perfect age of 75, at which point he can die happy and fulfilled.
I would like to contrast that with someone of more meagre means. Perhaps not in Australia since a retirement age of 70 means most people will die of fatigue before they retire, solving the whole problem before it starts and leaving the government with a huge budget surplus. But perhaps here in sweden where a lot of people work laborious jobs in industial factories (looking at Volvo here) where a family with 3 children might have to save for 10 years for an overseas holiday (even in a society with free education and health) and then that holiday might be a once in a lifetime experience. So the majority of people work in jobs they dont particularly enjoy, with very little job satisfaction. Most of the money that comes as a productof their labour go towards making other people rich and they will depend on their pension to survive in their old age (if some conservative government hasnt swept it out from under them by that time). Their old age, by the way, wont look as sweet as it does for Dr Emanual. After almost 50 years of hard work, and having little to show for it, their health may not be so fabulous. Lump a lifetime of financial stress on top of that and what you basically have is a broken slave society who have 10 sad years of retirement to look forward to, with no prospect of the kind of rewarding, satisfying, quality-of-life-empowering achievements and leisure time that Dr. Emanual might enjoy.
Actually when you look at it this way, even if we dont 'aim to die' at 75, the reality is still basically the same, which makes this smug, blinkered, attitude even more bitter to swallow. We work our whole lives for the financial gain and prosperity of othe people. We struggle our whole lives with financial stress, and the burden that places on our relationships, then we retire and are allowed a few shitty years of sub-par health on the pension with fuck all to show for our lives of servitude... thanks for your opinion Dr. Ezekiel Emanual... now please quietly fuck right off.