I've tried to not follow the tragic Schiavo case, but I am forced to now present a few thoughts.
First, it was really disgusting to see the Democrats on Sunday force a procedural delay of 12 hours in passing the Federal Review legislation for Terri Schiavo, even though they knew it would eventually pass. Tell me, please, what "principle" is worth withholding food and water from an innocent woman for 12 more hours just because you can, when you know it's an empty gesture?
That's Vanity, pure and simple. The right thing to do would be to show compassion for another human being, when the principle is moot on its face.
It's also odd to see "liberals" using as their main argument that Republicans are being hypocritical for getting the Federal Government involved, when normally they're for limiting Federal power. One would think the statist liberals would be all for getting government involved, but it's very revealing that they only wish to do so on behalf of collective groups of people, and not for individuals in particular: that's how your hard-core socialist thinks. And furthermore, it's a straw-man argument to say Republicans are being hypocritical; the conservative position is entirely consistent: conservatives are for preserving Rights, for individuals and the States -- so it's fine to use Federal power in the preservation of an individual's rights -- as opposed to using that power to take away their money to redistribute it for social engineering utopian programs...
But I digress.
There is a good roundup of the hypocrisies on the left in this article
In fact, not only is it a consistent use of Federal power, it's the primary purpose government has any power at all! I recall a wise man once said that the reason "governments are instituted among Men" is specifically
to "secure" certain basic human "Inalienable Rights", and that "among these are Life."
And Life is indeed what is at stake here.
I seem to remember another document saying somewhere nobody -- and that means nobody! -- shall be "deprived" of "life" without "due process of law." Nor, in principle, to impose cruel or unusual punishment. It's only the highest law of the land.
I just couldn't figure out why the ACLU types were so gung-ho to kill this innocent woman off, when they weep and wail and spend so many resources trying to keep the most heinous criminals on death row alive as long as humanly possible.
"If it will save just one life..." is so often heard on the left to justify whatever new restrictions on you they wish to dream up.
So what was different here?
Why the sudden hypocritical embrace of State's Rights and limited Federal power among the left, which is the truly bizarre inconsistent position?
It's religion. They are deathly afraid that the great boogey man of our times, the "religious right" (a force like the "dark matter" hypothesized to exist everywhere in the Universe, but which has never actually been observed), will get government to intervene and make life & death decisions for them, against their own explicit wishes.
Now, yes, that would be wrong.
If someone has a clear wish about such medical measures to be withheld, it wouldn't be right for the pro-Life fringe to step in and interfere.
But guess what, that's not going to happen.
And that's not the issue here.
It's not a case of changing Terri Schiavo's wishes, because she's really the only one we all agree has the final say. But she can't say. So in that event, I would also normally side with the spouse in making such decisions, rather than in-laws.
But to protect the Rights of the helpless, we must be sure her interests were accurately and adequately represented.
And in this case, there are real questions about what her wishes actually were, and about the conflicts of interest of the husband, who stands to gain financially from her death, as I understand. And she was not properly legally represented.
Let's even assume Terri Schiavo expressed a wish (which we know only by flimsy hearsay evidence) to not be kept alive "artificially" or by "heroic measures". Well, you know what, I doubt she actually said to anyone, "gee, honey, if I ever can't feed myself, I'd really rather starve to death, ok?"
No, instead, people colloquially probably assume that means that they're being kept alive moment to moment purely by technology and would die in minutes -- not days! -- if it were turned off, and/or are in some agony. Neither of which applies here! It's doubtful even a living will would have foreseen such a situation.
So just to put a stick in the eye of religious pro-lifers, the left wants to kill this woman with far less due process -- which is all that is being asked here! -- than that afforded to convicted criminals.
If they succeed in killing her off, which seems likely, that raises a worse precedent than the apparition of interfering religious do-gooders, as there are lots of people who can't feed themselves, like some with Alzheimers. Whose to stop people from just saying, "gee, Grandma doesn't want to live like this, yeah, she told me so, so we'll just put her in the attic and she'll starve in a week and her estate becomes ours, woo-hoo!"
What's the difference, really, between all other mentally infirm person who can't feed themselves, and Terri Schiavo who will be murdered by court order?
Well, none at all, according to Peter Singer
, the "ethicist" at Princeton University, who would argue that in fact killing them off is just fine.
Or what's to stop subtle or not-so-subtle social and familial pressure for the aged and infirm to "check out", so as to not be a drain on time and money? Why is "the family" always assumed to have the best wishes of the vulnerable person at the top of their agenda? We know that in many Islamic cultures today they pressure the youngsters to kill their sisters who have "dishonored" the family, so that no adult ahs to face any possible adult sentence (if they're living in a Western country), or pressure them to blow themselves up along with some Israeli schoolchildren on a bus.
Might as well just put the old people on ice floes like the Eskimos do.Soylent Green
Look, I'm all for "death with dignity." But she isn't dying, unless actively killed.
She isn't in pain. She breathes on her own.
Who knows what, if anything, is going on in her mind? Or if recovery is possible? I'll stipulate it's unlikely, but nobody can say it can't possibly happen. There are too many cases of "miraculous" recoveries. And the brain is complex, and the best experts really don't know. Which way is it better to err?
Suppose she really didn't want to be kept alive this way, and that against those wishes, she is. That's unfortunate, but how terrible
would that be? Compared with the alternative?
And if the Law of Florida indeed stipulates she die, must we adhere to a rigid Legalism
, or should we not change the Law to handle situations for which it is clearly inadequate to protecting the Rights of the vulnerable?
This is exactly the "slippery slope" that those opposed to Kevorkian and the commonplace "mercy killings" in Holland spoke of, that I myself dismissed years ago.
But here it is, and down we slide.
Because this case pushes the boundary, significantly, in which your life is being reduced to a utilitarian calculation of cost, benefit, and somebody else's
judgement of "worth"!!!
So tell me please, someone, how such calculations, when carried to their logical conclusion of being applied to the mentally infirm who cannot feed themselves, will differ from the Nazi policies of Eugenics in the 1930s??? What, you think they just woke up one morning and said, "hey, let's all be inhuman monsters -- it'll be fun!" No, as Albert Speer would later try to explain, "we were only trying to make things better."
And, having invoked Godwin's Law
, I must now bring this to a close.