“RE: Schiavo,” by John Derbyshire, The Corner, 15 June 2005, http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_06_12_corner-archive.asp#066242.
Great post by John Derbyshire in reaction to the latest Schiavo fuss. Emphasis mine
Some comments on that e-mail that seemed right to you, Kathryn:
“Regardless of the severity of brain damage, it seems to me the moral principle still abides...”
Regardless? Regardless? So all those things we heard about Mrs. Schiavo’s condition not really being as bad as the husband & the doctors said, was just cynical propaganda? In fact, however bad her condition actually was, the right-to-life side would have held the same position? Then wasn’t it dishonest of them to raise the issue of Mrs. Schiavo’s actual neurological status? Even if she had had no functioning cerebral cortex at all (which seems, in fact, to have been pretty nearly the case) the right-to-lifers wouldn’t have budged — “regardless”? Which right-to-lifers — names, please — made this clear at the time? It sure wasn’t clear to me.
“1. No human life should be contingent as to whether or not another person gives it credibility or not.””
So if anyone, in any condition, has a metabolism that can be kept functioning somehow, that ought to be done, regardless (!) of what any person — spouse, parent, eminent neurosurgeon, judge — thinks? Start building some real big warehouses — you’re going to need them.
“2. If a family member wants to terminate a human life where the human in question is not able to speak for him or herself, and another family member wants to sustain that life, defer to the family member that wants to keep the human in question alive.””
This is not currently the law in the state of Florida. If the people of Florida, in their collective wisdom, would like it to be the law, get lobbying. It seems like a fair principle to me… provided you can iron out a definition of the term “family member” that will not produce results just as rancorous as the Schiavo case (which I doubt — see next point).
And what if ALL family members wish to terminate a Schiavo-type life? Should that life then be terminated, even in violation of our reader’s point (1)?
“3. A fortiori should this be the case where the family member wanting to keep the human in question alive is willing to care for that human in question. (in this case, the parents).””
What if the parents are both 90 years old? Prisoners in the state penitentiary? Only doubtfully of sound mind? Stand to gain financially from their caring? Etc., etc.
“4. It remains true, no matter how many different circumstances one raises, the only direct cause of Schiavo’s death was government action, i.e., a court order.””
At least two of the governments (if you mean, executive administrations) involved — the Florida govt. and the Feds — were trying every way they could to find some way around the laws — laws written and approved through elected representatives, according to state and federal constitutions. The laws won. May they ever do so. And may we ever remain free to change the laws when they no longer satisfy we, the people.