Monday, March 28, 2005

A Challange Met - And When Did WFB Become a "Paleocon"?

Kang, Kang, Kang. I don't know where to begin. Let me first dispense with your 14th Amendment argument as that is really the crux of your case. The reason this argument didn't work in the courts and why it doesn't work for you, is that after 15 years, 19 judges, and more billable hours than you can shake a stick at, it really is impssoble to say that Terri Shiavo is being deprived of anything without due process of law. If Ms. Shiavo's family was not given a day in court and appeals were ignored, then the federal government could claim that the State of Florida was denying her due process. But that's simply not the case. The State was not derlict in it's duty and the 14th Amendment simply does not apply to this case. Now, I know you hate the courts, and I'm not their biggest fan either, but I don't think that 19 judges, the 11th Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court having had a shot at this can be interpreted as a "runaway jury" of judicial activism subverting the Constitution, the 14th Amendment, or their duties.

As to the charge that this is essentially murder. The Styen argument. Steyn is not ALWAYS right, Kang. He is almost correct in his assessments of foreign policy, but that's because he's been to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places. He's talked to the people. In the Schiavo case, he's just another commentator in a chorus of commentators. He may have a better grasp on the subject than some, but he seems as unfamiliar with the particulars of the case as Fred Barnes was on FOX this past week. I usually like Barnes alot as well, but he has his facts mixed up. Either way, I'll take William F. Buckley over both of them if forced to choose. But I'll get back to him in a moment. First, the murder vs. death argument. I'm not a "right to die" advocate, as in legalizing assisted suicide. And this is, in the end, not a right to die case, at least, on it's merit's it wasn't originally. It may have morphed into one, but legally it's not. Let's take a look at the woman, Ms. Terri Shiavo. Have you seen the CAT scans of her brain? The ones that show the parts of the brain that show higher function are essentially liquid? She's not operating at 5% brain capacity. She's not operating at all. What this comes down to is intent of the patient and who decides what. By all accounts, Terri wasn't a hard-core Catholic. Her parents were, she wasn't. Secondly, Michael Schiavo, who under Florida law has the final say in his wife's stead, did not sudddenly decide to kill her. He took her all over the country to find treatment. He himself refused to accept the reality of the situation, as her parents are now doing: that she is gone. People have ascribed many negative things to Mr. Schiavo, things that are not backed up by the facts. He was not the only one to say that Terri wouldn't want to live in a persistive vegatative state. The courts would not have taken his voice alone on that after 7 years. Others did. They were friends of his (and Terri's), but I don't think he could have gotten them to ALL say that she did. Think about this-he could have walked away from all of this. Divorced her. Said to the parents, "She's your responsiblity, good luck". He didn't. It was initally said by supporters of the parents that he's holding out for the insurance, or the lawsuit money, but that was mostly gone before he asked about removing the feeding tube. I look at him and I think that he really believes he is carrying out his wfe's wishes. The parents, and I feel for them, I do, need to realize that they are simply deluding themselves when they say that Terri is "talking" to them, and that she responds to them. People see what they want to see, and if I were in their position, I might just see what they do, but that no one else does. So is it murder? No, it is essentially the final part of a DNR request being carried out. If this were a simple matter of a plug being pulled, this case never would have made headlines. It is, rather, the unfortunate fact that her feeding tube has been removed and that she will starve/die of thirst. This is what has driven emotions and pushed reason out of the way.

People are taken off feeding tubes all the time in this country. Their ventillators are removed even more often. Yet we don't call it "murder" when this happens. Because it's not. If Terri Schiavo were fully aware but needed a ventialltor/and or a feeding tube and the courts said "no", I would be down their feeding her myself. But she's not aware. Her brain is gone. As science stands now, we know that brain cells don't grow back. She has no real brain, she just has the simple roots of one that perform her bodily functions. Calling this murder actually cheapens the word and may allow a true "culture of death" to take root. Had this case not become a circus, their would be no larger worries about Steyn's precieved "culture of convenient euthenasia" because quite simply this is NOT a case of convenience, not euthenasia, and Steyn and you are wrong to suggest it is and are probably doing damage to people who are trying to stop that culture from really coming about. This is simply not the state taking a life or allowing a life to be taken. This is a private matter, arrived at after consultation with hundreds of doctors, that is not taken lightly by anyone involved. This, again, in the end of a DNR order that the legal system, not lightly, has decided was this woman's wish because in her current Vegitative state she has no wishes of her own to make.

As to state's rights. That is the argument I used to say that the US Congress should not be involved. Conservatives, from Buckley to Reagan to probably Steyn have long held this up as an important part of the movement. To keep the larger federal government from having jursidiction over our lives. There are cases where the federal government should be involved, mostly spelled out in the 14th Amendment(which, again, does not apply here), but in other places in the Constitution as well. However, all Conservatives, and Republicans since the 1930's and '40's, Do not think that an invasive Federal government making new laws for specific indivduals is a good idea. As a matter of law, what Congress passed in the Schiavo case is a poorly worded disaster that simply makes the GOP look bad and prolonged the hideous farce this case has become. State's rights are as essential to the Conservative movement as smaller government and low taxes. They should not be thrown away when Congress feels like it. In the very important debate about the grotesque "right" to die, Congress must speak from the moral and legal authority that comes from consistancy, not political expediency.

This entire case has brought out the worst in both sides. Democrats have overreacted in a rather insane way to this (Jesse Jackson used the word "facisim" in relation to this the other day), and Republicans have come off looking hypocritcal and ideologically beholden to the nutjob religious right. Both sides have shifted positions with the whims of their base and this is not good for anyone.

Finally, I want to ask Kang when William F. Buckley became a paleocon? I mean really? He supported the invasion of Iraq, and has always stood by the principles of Conservatisim first. He's never been a fan of the original Paleocon, Pat Buchanan. He is not a partisan, and he is probably the most intellectually consistant person I've ever read. He is a Conservative, no prefix required. Calling him a Paleocon is absurd, and If I didn't know Kang was trying to bait me, I would rip him a new one for suggesting it.

Let me finish with an answer to Steyn's rhetorical question about a living will kit that keeps the courts off your back if you're in an accident: you can get one. In your living will, say "In case I am incapacitated and am only kept alive by machines and cannot communicate, keep me alive". That would do just fine, I think.


Blogger Joseph said...

The paleolibertarian Murray Rothbard expresssed some skepticism over the "right-to-die."

Wed Mar 30, 02:51:00 PM 2005  

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