Thursday, March 31, 2005
Evolution, Environmentalism, Abortion, and Schiavo
Let's work backwards:
- Terri Schiavo was murdered this morning. Actually that's not accurate. The act that caused her death was committed some time ago, with the blessing of the Florida and United States judiciary. She did nothing to deserve to be slowly killed over the past two weeks. She simply found herself at the mercy of those who both used her for personal gain and at the same time declared her to be no longer a person. We were told that she was in a "persistent vegetative state," a term that was distorted repeatedly as she was called "brain dead." We were told that she was on "life support," a term that conjures up ventilators and heart-lung machines, not the simple feeding tube upon which multitudes of healthy Americans (and one notable Pope) depend daily. We were told that she would be blissfully unaware of what was happening to her, a fact that was soundly refuted when she was being administered morphine to curb the excruciating pain of dehydration and starvation. And, perhaps worst of all, we were told that she didn't want to live, a vicious lie in light of her fight for life over two weeks without nourishment or hydration. Her sole crime against humanity was falling into a category through no fault of her own that left her open to be declared a "non-person."
- In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court of the United States made abortion a legal act, exempt from any restrictions imposed by states. In effect, they declared that the living human being inside a pregnant woman was not protected by the Constitutional guarantee of the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What they accomplished, perhaps unwittingly, was dictating that a human being who was dependent upon another person for survival was devoid of "personhood," and as such could be considered a nuisance and exterminated like a cockroach.
- Environmentalists argue that humankind has no more right to exist than any living thing on planet Earth. An extrapolation of this logic defines us as a parasite on a fragile planet. As such, we are not only to do nothing that harms the environment, but also to ensure that we don't put our own needs for life over those needs shared by our "cohabitants" on the planet. We should see ourselves as no more entitled to life than the lowest member of the animal kingdom.
- Evolutionists argue that all life on earth descended from a common ancestor. This strips mankind of any basis for holding a higher valuation for human life than he holds for animal or plant life. This theory, of course plays well into the hands of the environmental movement. It also, however, undermines any basis for morality, as we're just a higher form of animal. If animals live by a rule of "survival of the fittest," there's no moral reason for us not to, and any deviation is a restriction on our freedoms as individual creatures.
Now I'll make an attempt (perhaps feeble) to tie all this together. If Evolutionists are correct, there truly is no reason for humans to hold themselves accountable to any higher moral code than that shared by animals. Any notion of a Creator who has dictated what is "right" and "wrong" summarily goes completely out the window. The environmentalists, then, are correct in assuming that humankind, being the biggest hindrance to Mother Earth's health, are expendable for the good of the Planet, and therefore attempts at artificially sustaining life are harmful to the Earth. Abortion establishes that "personhood" is a needed criteria for life to be considered valid, and paves the way for systemic extermination of "non-persons" who happen to pose a burden to "persons." And Terri Schiavo was the first openly public case of a post-birth "non-person" being legally eliminated to facilitate a better life for a "person." I realize that many may "poo-poo" the "slippery slope" argument that has been used against evolution, abortion, and euthanasia, but I think we're seeing how fast that slope can become a downward spiral. Things will get worse, I'm afraid, before they get better.
Remember that Nazi Germany declared Jews to be devoid of "personhood," and thereby perfect subjects to the experimentation of demented scientists and the exploits of power-mad militarians before their (relatively humane) extermination in Hitler's Final Solution. This isn't, in all honestly, more than an arm's reach away from where we stand now. If we can declare an incapacitated but otherwise healthy human being to be devoid of that magical quality we've defined as "personhood," only time and further desensitation need take place before we're willing to make that same declaration towards an entire class of citizens.
Monday, March 21, 2005
My take on Schiavo
- Michael Schiavo, although under law Terri's next-of-kin, and therefore responsible for medical decisions, has gone on with his life to the extent of moving in with another woman and having children by that woman. In my estimation, this tarnishes his status as her husband to the degree that he should have no say whatsoever in her fate.
- Terri Schiavo, although drastically incapacitated, seems to respond to some stimuli. Barring extensive and current tests, nobody can determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether she is having any true cognitive function, or whether her responses are simply reflex-loop based. Those tests have been blocked by her husband.
- All rehabilitative efforts, even the brushing of Terri's teeth, were blocked by Michael after the court awarded the Schiavos a large sum of money to cover the costs associated with rehabilitation.
- To date, there has not been even one explanation why Michael won't simply divorce Terri, go on with his own life, and allow Terri's parents and siblings to assume the role of primary caregiver. Many folks on many blogs have been viciously attacked for suggesting that Michael's motives involve money, but I haven't seen even one alternate motive. One could possibly make the argument that since the couple is Catholic, the Church wouldn't recognize his divorce, and therefore he couldn't move on his intentions to marry his fiance until Terri was dead anyway--but I'm sure the Church's position on adultery wouldn't be a whole lot more lenient.
- I have profound doubts that anyone in the world, no matter how much they wouldn't want to live in Terri's condition, would want an estranged spouse to hold such power over their personal affairs. Consider a couple who has been separated for years, but not divorced, and the outrage at the spouse's insistance that he or she retains such rights.
- There is a distinct difference in "allowing a person to die" who is on life support, and withholding nutrition and hydration from a living being whose only dependence upon any machinery is for that nutrition and hydration.
- Judge Greer seems to have a clear bias towards protecting Michael's "rights" over Terri's. He has exhibited this not only in his rulings directly involving withdrawing Terri's feeding tube, but also in a ruling that allowed Michael to use the medical trust fund originally earmarked for Terri's rehabilitation to cover his own legal fees and expenses. To date, Michael's primary attorney alone has received more than $400,000 of that money.
There is absolutely no way that I would condone someone being kept on life support against their own or against their family's wishes. That decision, made daily by families all over the nation, is difficult at best, gut-wrenching at worst, especially when there is significant disagreement upon the best action. What I see in the Schiavo case, however, is not an emotional, illogical hope by Terri's family, but rather a desire to see whether anything can be done to help their daughter and sister. I have a huge problem with any postion that contends that her husband is her "family," because of his actions in abandoning Terri. Until there are more tests, we simply cannot know what level of functionality, if any, Terri can attain. Until there is more time to study her body and brain, we cannot know what state she is truly in. I think the designation of "permanent (or persistent--I've heard both) vegetative state" is an attempt to make more people eligible for euthanasia. I also have very deep personal convictions that insist that to cause death, whether by comissive or omissive action, is morally wrong, outside the realm of capital punishment (that's another debate entirely).
Please, search your heart. Look closely at the unbiased, established facts (not hearsay). Go through the events of Terri's illness, from the mysterious collapse at her home through all the legal wrangling, to today. Ask yourself whether Michael is truly acting in Terri's best interests. Perhaps most importantly, ask yourself not whether you would wish to live in Terri's condition, but whether you would consent to an estranged spouse making the decision of life or death on your behalf.