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Fake libertarians and Terri Schiavo

I had initially planned to get through this entire sorry episode without blogging a word about it. With all the barrels of ink and megabytes of pixels that have been spilled on the subject to date, what more is there to say? Plus, I simply find the entire subject distasteful from top to bottom, and since I maintain this blog for my own entertainment, I didn't even want to go there.

But there are a few things that really bug me about the case, so I'm going to vent now, and, hopefully, never mention it again outside this thread.

First of all, let me clear about one thing. I am not a pro-lifer, by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not even anti-euthanasia, in that I support a person's right to die.

Moreover, I don't pretend to have enough insight into the case to know who truly has Terri's best interests at heart, and I don't have enough medical knowledge to adequately evaluate her prognosis.

But it's not about any of that to me. It's not about whether patients should have a right to die, or whether Terri will ever recover, or whether her "husband" has a right to move on with his life, or even whether he's an asshole or not.

To me, it all comes down to this: Any "solution" which leads, either directly or indirectly, to slowly starving/dehydrating this woman to death, should be rejected out of hand. I'm sorry, but "More humane methods of euthanasia aren't legal" is not an excuse.

As with any tragedy, there are lessons to be learned here, and good that can come out of it. For example, this case drives home the importance of having living wills, as well as (I would argue) for enacting clear, unambiguous laws allowing doctor-assisted suicide.

Maybe the aftermath of this nightmare will help prevent such cases in the future. But meanwhile, we have the question of what to do with Terri. I strongly doubt she will ever have a chance of recovery, but there seems to be enough lower brain function that doctors cannot be at all sure whether she can experience pain or discomfort. That is why I think it's a no-brainer that the poor woman not be dehydrated to death. I can't believe we're still even debating it.

I think the reason for it is that, while this case has nothing whatever to do with abortion, some people have such a strong tendency to view every such issue through the abortion prism that they end up on the side of the tube-yankers. Shame on them.

And here's another thing that pisses me off: all the tube-yankers who are hiding behind high-minded rhetoric about the right to privacy, and how the government should "butt out," and mind their own business.

My God, as soon as there's any issue that smacks even remotely of "right to life," you suddenly see a kajillion "instant libertarians" suddenly spring into existence, demanding politicians "mind their own business" in rhetoric worthy of Ayn Rand.

Please, people. Just fucking please.

First of all, if protecting the lives of its constituents is not a legitimate concern of government, then what is, pray tell? Moreover, as a friend of mine points out, the "government" has been involved in the Schiavo case for years now, our courts system being a component of government.

It's all well and good to say such matters should be left to the families, but where does that leave us in this case? Who should speak for Terri, her husband-in-name-only, or her parents? If her family were capable of coming to an agreement, the case would have been settled years ago, and politicians would never have gotten involved at all.

And are these instant libertarians going to hang around after this case is resolved? Can we rely on their assistance the next time Congress starts pushing (say) some moronic gun control measure?

Not bloody likely. The "instant virtual libertarians" will disappear back into the vacuum and re-emerge as activists who are willing to use the power of Congress at the drop of a hat, as long as it's in the name of mandating some social change which they support.

So please, people. Pedal that bogus, hypocritical limited-government crap elsewhere. It's not fooling anybody.

And for those who think it's "unusual" that the political structure of an entire nation is so focused on a single, individual case? Well, it is. But it's hardly unprecedented. Whether it's Dred Scott or Rosa Parks, our history is replete with examples of individuals who, intentionally or otherwise, have brought our legal system into uncharted waters, which must then be explored. That's the way it works, guys. That's how our legal system evolves.

Anyway, these are the only public thoughts I ever intend to express about Terri Schiavo.

Now let's talk about something else.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Fake libertarians and Terri Schiavo:

» Only A Pawn In Their Game from PBS Watch
The other from Barry N. Johnson at Cynical Nation, from another part of the spectrum, crude in more ways than one, but effective. Both make the point that this debate is no longer about Terri, if it ever was [Read More]


Keeping citizens alive or not is certainly a matter for government. Local and state government.
Why is the federal government getting involved in a local affair?
It's not about "keeping it in the family", it's about the media arbitrarily highlighting one incident, and the entire structure of federal government following closely behind.
I recommend reading this article:

It sums up my own point of view rather nicely.
INDC Journal and I seem to agree a lot these days as well.

In any event, if the federal government is so interested in maintaining everyone's "right to life", they would figure out a way to get health insurance to everyone. The Institute of Medicine claims 18,000 Americans die each year because they lack private health insurance. This would certainly be a more noble effort than trying to keep alive a woman who has been in a persistant vegetative state for fifteen years and does not want to "live" like that, according to her hubby/legal guardian.

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