Friday, March 18, 2005

Persistent Vegetative Morality

A few days ago I saw a hopeful sign in that languishing, bedsore-ridden patient that I call Politicism. Could this festering mass of pathology reassert its humanity? I almost thought as much, when R. Lucian at Daily Kos called for liberals and Democrats to oppose Michael Schiavo's attempt to force the execution of his crippled and abandoned wife Terri.

In response to this plea, Monolithic "Liberalism" seemed to move its head and smile. Positive and sympathetic voices chimed in. Then the nasty pathogens rallied and extinguished the spark, prompting this craven retraction:

I've come to realize that, basically I did not know enough about the facts of the case. And then when told about them, I argued for a while in stubbornness. My apologies. I am a scientist, although nothing close to biology. And I am an agnostic. And I have absolutely no problem with euthanasia. I was taken in by videos of Terry. I saw what I thought was a smile from her. I let my emotions take over. I wrote a diary without even knowing much of the details of her physical condition, including, for example, the complete lack of activity in the cerebral cortex. I apologize for going wing-nut on everyone. To my credit, I eventually recognized that I was acting like I'd just consumed a bottle of rat poison.
This is what it has come to: to even entertain the notion that Terri Schiavo might be allowed to live another day is to go "wing-nut". The comment about rat poison is confusing though - in the culture of Death Worship, eating rat poison would seem to be a good thing.

But the consensus is overwhelming and clear - saving Terri Schiavo's life would somehow gratify "Rethugs" and "wingnuts", so she must die. If she is allowed to live, it would be like killing Al Gore all over again. [My own nasty sentiment while observing this case: It occurs to me that the Florida courts had only one historical purpose - to steal the 2000 election for Al Gore. They failed miserably at that, and having no other positive function they might as well be disbanded.]

I've never been impressed with the "Right to Die" enthusiasm. If such a right exists, it is certainly the least impressive of all rights. I can't picture old Tom Paine rattling the rafters with an impassioned plea for suicide - or (more appropriately) for the right to inflict "suicide" on other people.

Nevertheless, one might grant such a right if a so-called "living will" exists. The law certainly allows for it. But no living will exists for Terri Schiavo except for the recollection (seven years after she was struck down) of a husband who has long since abandoned her. That seems to have as much legal weight as a contract that someone supposedly intended to sign, but never did.

Let's get it straight - they want Terri dead because they hate the people who are trying to save her, period. It's the same killer instinct that goes beyond supporting the right to an abortion, to assaulting anyone who might counsel against an abortion. It's an attack on the despised religion that demands respect for innocent human life. It's not a human life to them, it's another expendable pawn in the dumbest of all cultural wars.

In justifying it, the proponents of death employ the only moral category that they recognize: HYPOCRISY! Terri's defenders are all hypocrites, you see, because they presumably support the war in Iraq or capital punishment or States' Rights. Leaving aside the obscene notion that a guiltless and helpless woman is the moral equivalent of Ted Bundy, appeals to hypocrisy make for lousy morality. They all cut both ways - if supporters of capital punishment are hypocrites for wanting to save Terri, then opponents are hypocrites for wanting to see her die. So we are all hypocrites alike. Shame on us. But pointing out the existence of hypocrisy proves nothing about any moral or practical point - a smoker who tells his kids not to smoke might be a hypocrite, but he's absolutely goddamn right all the same.

The left doesn't see it that way, of course. To them, pointing out hypocrisy is a real one-way knock-down argument, because (and there is no other way to put it) they are presumably willfully amoral and therefore immune to any counter-charge. After all, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. If you have nothing but contempt for "virtue", you can't be accused of paying tribute to it.

Beyond the stink of everybody's hypocrisy, there is much talk of Terri's suffering. If Terri is "brain dead", as the plug-pullers insist, then she is certainly not suffering. The two conditions are utterly incompatible. Neither is her long-absent husband Michael Schiavo showing any signs of suffering. The only suffering that will be inflicted is the suffering of Terri's mother and father, which is apparently a small price to pay for this stellar victory over the Wingnuts and the Rethugs.

Still, I thought that Michael Schiavo's lawyer, in his statement today, might have at least acknowledged the grief and pain of Terri's parents at her impending death (or as he puts it, "entering the death process"). Just mentioned it, out of politeness, if not out of decency. Instead he launched into a bizarre rant against Congressional Republicans, and then issued dire threats (itemized by name) against Democratic politicians who might fail to stop those Republicans. Everybody is going to burn in Hell if Terri doesn't die, right now.

The only thing we need to complete this all-too-familiar picture is the ACLU. As I asked at Discarded Lies a couple days ago, where is the goddamn worthless-ass American So-Called Civil Liberties Union? Lined up with Michael Schiavo, of course. Why, it's all they can do to restrain themselves from barging into that hospice room and smashing that Catholic woman's head with a shovel.

Here endeth the rant. They've pulled the plug, so God help Terri Schiavo.